If one has followed President Obama’s statements and position on the middle east and North Africa prior to his policy speech on the region last week, you like me probably have no clue to the reasoning behind his words. After reading his remarks last Wednesday, I am even in more of a stupor of consternation.
What I can say is that his approach and policy alike are whimsical or fickle at best and unprincipled and inconsistent at worse – thus the rarefied stupor I alluded to previously. For example, I recall how initially in Egypt, he proclaimed his support for Hosni Mubarak in word, but fleetly altered this position upon the observation that President Mubarak did not have the support of the military. Similarly in Bahrain, he offered effeminate words of support for the long ruling leadership yet at the same time; he attempted to protect the leadership and longtime alley for the sake of the fleet anchored in its harbor. Even as the Monarch, with the aid of Saudi Tanks and military, killed unarmed protesters, the administration and its figure head turned a blind eye to the citizenry desire for democratic rule and liberty. This same behavior and action drew harsh military reprisals and words from Obama via NATO requesting Muammar el-Qaddafi leave office.
In Libya, our military are protecting the innocent, but we do no such protection for those in Yemen, Syria or Bahrain. In his speech, Obama commented, the “humiliation that takes place every day in many parts of the world – the relentless tyranny of governments that deny their citizens dignity. “ He added “we can – and will – speak out for a set of core principles – principles that have guided our response to the events over the past six months: “In fact the President eludes to hearing the calls for help, but strangely it is only in the middle east and Libya but no other parts of Africa.
The problem for me is that there is not one standard stated; for there isn't any unifying principle that guides this new policy. Meaning, that any effective policy for unstabilized governments on our behalf will require coherence, which thus far is lacking. Will he treat all attacks on the general populations the same? Will King Abdullah of Saudi be held to the same standard of Qaddafi? What makes a distinction to have different positions between Qaddafi and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad? He did not even mention Bahrain or Saudi Arabia in his speech.
The Obama administration is all over the place, for to say we hear the calls for democracy yet cover our ears from similar cries from the Congo, Uganda, Sudan and other nations is disingenuous and fails the litmus test of reality and consistency.