September 13, 2012
THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER EDITORIALIZES: The second 9/11 illustrates futility of groveling for peace.
Forgive President Obama if he seemed a bit shell-shocked during his brief statement Wednesday on the murderous attack against an American consulate in Libya. In June 2009, he had grand plans for harmony between East and West. In a celebrated speech delivered in Cairo, Obama spoke earnestly about the need for the West and the Muslim world to look past old hostilities and suspicions.
And then on Tuesday night, his grand vision came crashing down.
Before the deadly attack in Benghazi, in which the American ambassador and three others were killed, there was another attack in Cairo. That one could well serve as a microcosm of Obama’s broader dealings in the Middle East. Just before a mob attacked the U.S. Embassy there, the diplomats took to Twitter to “condemn” a group of private American citizens who had created an offensive online film about the prophet Muhammad. (The film was the pretext for the rioting). “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” they tweeted. And so, after a painful and futile decade of spreading “democracy” and “freedom” by force in the Islamic world, American civil servants sacrificed the First Amendment in an attempt to appease an angry mob.
Naturally, these apologies (which the administration later disowned) did nothing to prevent the attack that followed or to make the embassy’s occupants safer. Rioters desecrated the American flag, replaced it with a black Islamic flag used by al Qaeda, and, according to Cairo’s daily Al-Ahram, chanted: “Obama, Obama, there are still a billion Osamas.”
The lesson from that small (and unlike in Libya, bloodless) incident applies to Obama’s entire foreign policy vision: Whatever foreign policy you want to adopt, groveling is no way to bring it about. And that explains why Obama has accomplished so little.