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Rubin Reports

Obama’s Seven New Pillars of Middle East Wisdom (Part Two)

September 10th, 2013 - 8:42 am

Despite the fact that at least two chemical weapons incidents have been documented from the regime (the “red line” for Western intervention), the Americans have been frozen. Yet the West does not want Iran to hold on to Syria. What can the West do?

6. Conciliation with Iran.

The Obama administration considers the election of a new president in Iran a tremendous opportunity, but it isn’t. The administration has always wanted to make a deal with Iran, both to avoid confrontation and for domestic popularity. Obama could claim a peaceful resolution as a great diplomatic achievement. This fits their ideological pattern of negotiations and concessions to enemies, especially to “moderate Islamists.”

But how can this collective deal on the nuclear program and on regional stability be achieved? One way is for Iran’s actual intransigence to go ignored, and for American leaders to pretend to believe a deal can be reached until the time when Tehran gets nuclear arms.

Another way is to think a deal can be reached with Iran and Russia on Syria. I am certainly not saying that this will succeed, but I believe it is the sincere administration goal. The idea is for Assad’s departure and some transition, and the idea is ridiculous. The Palestinian Authority will not co-exist today in a compromise with Israel, nor the Egyptian army and Muslim Brotherhood in one government, nor the warring parties in Syria, nor a U.S-Iran arrangement. All of these will fail.

7. Turkey is the main ally in the Middle East, which means guidance is taken from that Islamist regime on Egypt and Syria.

Turkey is considered a model of moderate Turkish Islamist democracy, though in reality it disproves the thesis altogether. Columnist Burak Bekdil notes:

How democratic a posture could a country pose when it ranks 154th on the global press freedom index, kills its own people because they protest, and ruthlessly punishes every possible means of dissent, including just standing in a public square? The Turkey of 2013 is the short-cut proof that a country where the elected have absolute control over the appointed, including the men in uniform, is not necessarily a democracy.

Of course, the idea that Muslim-majority states are building the “democracy project” — another administration agenda item — is also absurd. It isn’t wrong in principle perhaps, but it is not a primary U.S. interest.

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Dear Barry I had the pleasure of meeting you at Limmud UK nearly two years ago. Since then I've read your columns avidly and of course I am aware of your health issues. In these dangerous days, I feel you are at the helm of an old sailing ship in the eye of the storm trying to save us with your insight and knowledgeable rebuttals. Each time a seemingly momentous wave comes to overwhelm us, you bat it away like a fly and you do this relentlessly week after week. At this time of the year, Please may G-d spare you to continue with your marvellous and vital work for many years and may your analysis, insights and influence steer us to a peaceful place. Wishing you Shanah Tovah and continued strength.
1 year ago
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FDR was fond of quoting an old Bulgarian proverb to explain his relationship with Stalin: "You are permitted in time of great danger to walk with the devil until you have crossed the bridge." I don't think FDR or Churchill had any illusions about Joseph Stalin. But I think Obama has delusions about the Muslim Brotherhood. Specifically that the MB is or Erdogan ot the Syrian rebels are moderate, democratic, and sometimes even secular! Not only is Obama a post colonial student of Edward Said, he also lives in world with post modern fairies at the bottom of the garden. The only thing I think you have left out, Professor Rubin, is an apology to DH Lawrence. ;-)
1 year ago
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