Over and over again I’ve written about what President Barack Obama should do. Now the voters have given him a new chance. He could take it and change his policy. I don’t believe he will do that, but let me lay out both what he’s been wrong about and what he should do, just in case Obama is seeking a different approach.
What he did in the first term and will do in the second term: fostered revolutionary Islamism in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
What he should have done and should do now: what Franklin Rooosevelt did in 1941, Harry Truman did in 1947, and George Bush in 1990 — led an international coalition that will systematically fight against a totalitarian enemy.
Today, that means revolutionary Islamism. The loose coalition should include Europe, anti-Islamist Arab regimes (Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Arab states), and pro-democratic opposition movements (Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria).
What he did: supported Islamist opposition groups.
What he should have done: supported anti-Islamist and moderate opposition groups.
What he did: pressed Israel to reduce pressure on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and helped bring about an Egyptian regime that backed Hamas.
What he should have done: supported a reformed — not overthrown — Egyptian regime and Israel in opposing Hamas and subverting its rule.
What he did: gave support and aid to the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt despite paying lip service to defending women’s rights and Christian rights and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
What he should have done: clearly conditioned aid on Egypt to protecting women, Christians, and moderates; taken a strong stand on the regime’s permitting cross-border attacks on Israel and gutting the peace treaty. The Obama administration has, and will have, no credibility with an anti-American extremist and anti-Semitic Egyptian government.
What he did: celebrated the Turkish regime as a great example of democracy and moderate Islam. He also did nothing as that regime went into a non-shooting war with Israel, backing Hamas, Hizballah, and Iran; and he rewarded Ankara with special treatment, including letting it organize the Syrian opposition.
What he should have done: without provoking a conflict, used U.S. leverage to press Turkey’s rulers to change their policies. He should have offered no rewards without their help in promoting U.S. goals. He should have been suspicious of the regime’s intentions and noted its suppression of democracy within Turkey.
What he did: accepted the Lebanese government dominated by Hizballah and backed by Iran and Syria.
What he should have done: backed the moderate Lebanese opposition that opposed the regime in order to combat the Iran-Syria bloc.
What he did: backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria’s civil war and did not interfere with weapons going to Salafist groups as long as they were not al-Qaeda affiliates.
What he should have done: supported moderates and anti-Islamists in Syria against both the Islamists and the regime.
What he did: acted as if all of Libya’s problems had been solved; tried to please the regime and show his niceness by not intervening to save Americans in the September 11 Benghazi attacks.
What he should have done: known that the U.S. is involved in an ongoing conflict in Libya and there will be more attacks in future.
What he did: nothing.