Much was made in today’s media of this line by Obama, interpreted to mean a break with the ham-fisted middle east foreign policy of the Bush years.
“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
Many media outlets, such as Reuters, quoted the statement to demonstrate that Obama “promised a new start with the Muslim world in his inauguration address. But the entire statement in which that phrase appeared is worth noting for its sheer repugnant hypocrisy.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
Seriously. Just two days ago, the US’s number one friend in the middle east, a country which receives over 2.5 billion dollars in funding yearly, was guilty of an odd permuation of exactly this litany of sins. Israel blamed its ills, caused by a never-ending occupation and belligerence with its Palestinian counterparts, on Hamas and Palestinians in general. And then bombed them, hoping that they would take Obama’s advice and blame themeselves rather than Israel or the US. The populace of Israel, minus its Palestinian citizens, judged Israel on what it could destroy during Operation Cast Lead, not what it could build. And, Ehud Olmert, Israel’s disgraced Prime Minister has indeed tried to hold on to power through a corruption and deceit so great that not even his own countrymen can ignore it as they seek to indict him. Indeed, wide-spread condmenation by human rights groups and the UN, show that Israel is on the wrong side of history. And most hypocritically, we do extend the hand, despite the clenched fist. And we do so over and over again, apparently no matter the president attached to that hand.