B. Hussein Obama (appropriately enough, I suppose) gave his first formal interview, not to the New York Times or CBS News, and definitely not to L’Osservatore Romano, but to Al Aribiya.
Mr. Obama demonstrated his new style of diplomatic engagement, and carried on one of his own campaign themes, by distancing himself from his predecessors in the White House and by seizing the initiative in criticizing the United States for himself.
Announcing that he was sending former Senator George Mitchell as his own personal envoy to the Middle East to engage in peace-making efforts between Israel and the Palestinians, Obama, perhaps simply by force of long habit, reverted to traditional leftwing anti-American accusations, accusing the United States of “dictating” and of ignorance.
George Mitchell is somebody of enormous stature. He is one of the few people who have international experience brokering peace deals.
And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating – in the past on some of these issues – and we don’t always know all the factors that are involved. So let’s listen.
As far as I know, the US has made numerous efforts to persuade Israel to make concessions of territory and an independent Palestinian state, and the US has bribed Egypt and Jordan to make peace. The only US diktats made toward the Islamic Middle East have been: Thou shalt not eliminate Israel from the face of the map, and drive its population into the sea, and Thou shalt not aid and sponsor terrorism.
Both seem to me to be perfectly defensible policies, of a purely defensive character, that do not require an apology.
Mr. Obama gets his first Jimmy Carter Award for embarrassing poltroonery.
Andrew Sullivan snivels admiringly, in the fashion of liberal bed wetters everywhere:
B. Hussein sucking up to the dish-towel-wearing set is a case of “met expectation.”
If you’re the likes of Andrew Sullivan, what do you do with hostile enemies? Why, you brown-nose them! As Andrew explains: “it’s about R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
Liberals are so chrome yellow that any adversary, however contemptible and primitive, is always an apocalyptic threat, and propitiatory grovelling is always not only in order, it is vital for our survival.
My sense, for what it’s worth, is that Obama is genuine. He doesn’t know whether this bold new play will pay dividends any more than we do. What he does know, I think, is that we have no choice. The trajectory of the current global conflict, centered on the question of Islam and modernity, is an apocalyptic one if the game isn’t changed soon. He is attempting to change the game. Which led me to my second reaction.