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Belmont Club

A Comment About

Hold That Tiger

May 19, 2011 - 5:01 pm - by Richard Fernandez
2011-05-20 00:43:21

The point which I may have failed to make in the post above is that President Obama, rather than wowing the Arab Street, has now communicated to them his weakness.

The contrast with President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo two years ago could hardly have been starker. That speech inspired enormous interest, and raised hopes to a height that was clearly unachievable. …

Nothing seems to have happened in the last two years, and his widely respected envoy, George Mitchell, has just stepped down.

There’s a wider issue that this speech highlights. One of the biggest themes of the so-called Arab Spring has been the decline of American influence in the region.

These uprisings and revolutions are not about the United States, and the United States has only limited power to influence their outcome.

The best, perhaps, Mr Obama can hope for is to record that he was on the right side of history. And this speech may have gone some way to achieving that limited goal.

In other words, the Arab Street sees Obama for what he is, a poseur, who is belatedly trying to cover himself with the tatters of GWB’s old policies and neither succeeding in his impersonation nor striking off on his own path. What his speech really said is:

‘I am helpless but I want so desperately to be seen as leading. Won’t you let me pretend? And if you do, look, I’ll throw the Jews your way. Did ya hear? I. Will. Throw. The. Jews. Your. Way!’

That, not the AID money, is the real sweetener in the pot. And Hamas told the President to just dry up and blow away. LOL. They said he was all talk. Maybe they think they don’t even need his help any more to get what they want. He may have become an irrelevancy even to those he wishes to impress. Just think: Obama rallying the Egyptians, the Lebanese, the Syrians and nobody comes.

The reason his stock has fallen so far since Cairo is quite simple. He has repeatedly failed. Now he wants to turn hock his few successes into yet bigger failures, taking the momentum that was handed to him by the US Armed Forces and to parlay it into enough credibility to restart his Middle Eastern diplomacy, and that only succeeds in reminding everyone of what a failure he was to start with.