Monday, November 30, 2009

"Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them,"

So chanted Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators last Nov. 4 on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the American embassy. Dr. Foud Ajami, noted author and a professor at Johns Hopkins University, says that the pro-democracy side was disappointed with Obama's answer:
By not responding to these cries and continuing to "engage" Tehran's murderous regime, his choice was made clear.
Dr. Ajami also reports that reality has caused Pres. Obama to back down from his campaign pledge to solve the Kashmir problem:
[Obama] was quick to assert, in the course of his exuberant campaign for president last year, that his diplomacy in South Asia would start with the standoff in Kashmir. In truth India had no interest in an international adjudication of Kashmir. What was settled during the partition in 1947 was there to stay. In recent days, Mr. Obama walked away from earlier ambitions. "Obviously, there are historic conflicts between India and Pakistan," he said. "It's not the place of the United States to try to, from the outside, resolve those conflicts."
In another disappointment, Obama's apology tour to the middle east has failed to make friends:

It was the norm for American liberalism during the Bush years to brandish the Pew Global Attitudes survey that told of America's decline in the eyes of foreign nations. Foreigners were saying what the liberals wanted said.

Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama. In the Palestinian territories, 15% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 82% have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn't seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14% and those unreconciled, 69%. In Egypt, a country that's reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 70% do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63% in 2008 to 68% this year.

Dr. Ajami explains why a policy of apologies fails to earn respect:

Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt, Mr. Obama and his lieutenants offered nothing less than a doctrine, and a policy, of American penance. No one told Mr. Obama that the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one's own tribe when in the midst, and in the lands, of others.

The crowd may have applauded the cavalier way the new steward of American power referred to his predecessor, but in the privacy of their own language they doubtless wondered about his character and his fidelity. "My brother and I against my cousin, my cousin and I against the stranger," goes one of the Arab world's most honored maxims. The stranger who came into their midst and spoke badly of his own was destined to become an object of suspicion. [Emph. added]

Jimmy Carter similarly committed a "great moral lapse" when he abandoned the Shah of Iran, an American ally, in favor of Ayatollah Khomeini ("the saint") and it did not earn him Khomeini's respect.

It is going to be a long four years.

PREVIOUSLY on the subject of Obama's Iran policy:
Iran accepts Obama's surrender
Obama angers Iran

PREVIOUSLY, on the general subject of Obama's foreign policy:
Obama gets an education
Krauthammer on a roll
Obama's go-it-alone foreign policy: Russian edition
Obama alienates Germany
Obama's charm offensive not working
Obama snubs Brazil
Obama insults Britain
On Iran's nuclear program, Obama abandons cooperation with Europe
Obama antagonizes India

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