September 17, 2012
CONN CARROLL: Obama’s Alternative Middle East Reality.
President Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, hit the Sunday talk show circuit yesterday to defend the administration’s Middle East policy in light of a week’s worth of spreading violence and the first murder of a U.S. ambassador since Jimmy Carter was president. In the course of defending Obama, Rice claimed: 1) that the security at the Benghazi consulate was adequate; 2) the attacks on the Benghazi consulate were not pre-planned; and 3) all of this violence is due solely to one 11-minute video on YouTube. All three of these positions are preposterous.
First, as the BBC reported this weekend, the Obama administration purposefully chose to provide substandard security at the Benghazi consulate. “US embassies and consulates in areas of the world where they are deemed liable to attack are usually offered a formal security contract called a Worldwide Protective Services Agreement … But sources have told the BBC that on the advice of a US diplomatic regional security officer, the mission in Benghazi was not given the full contract … Instead, the US consulate was guarded externally by a force of local Libyan militia, many of whom reportedly put down their weapons and fled once the mission came under concerted attack.”
Second, Libya President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf directly contradicted Rice on CBS’s , Face the Nation, telling Bob Schieffer, “It was planned, definitely. It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago. And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.”
Finally, no one outside the White House believes a single video caused the violence. Liberal commentator and Tufts University international politics professor Dan Drezner has called Obama’s decision to blame the YouTube clip a “radically incomplete and dishonest answer.” As The New York Times Ross Douthat points out, the riots have far more to do with internal power politics.
The reality is that Obama has failed internationally for the same reason he has failed at home: arrogance.
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