The newly converted "neocon" president speaking
Politics is sometimes fascinating. Who would e.g. have believed that Barack Obama would transform himself to a virtual neocon, adopting the Bush democracy agenda? But that´s what he appears to have done, according to Power Line´s John Hinderaker - and columnist Charles Krauthammer, who both analyse Obama´s Middle East speech :
Barack Obama, Neocon?
President Obama delivered a speech on the Middle East at the State Department today. If one takes it seriously, it signified--with one key exception--Obama's transformation into a virtual clone of his predecessor. President Bush's democracy agenda, which Obama once scornfully rejected, has now been adopted as Obama's own:
The status quo is not sustainable. Societies held together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time, but they are built upon fault lines that will eventually tear asunder. ...So Obama finds himself announcing principles that are indistinguishable from those advanced by President Bush in 2003. Obama even credited Iraq as an exemplar of Middle Eastern democracy:
The United States supports a set of universal rights. And these rights include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, equality for men and women under the rule of law, and the right to choose your own leaders -- whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus, Sanaa or Tehran.
And we support political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa that can meet the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region. ...
it will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy.
[O]ne of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they've taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.
Read the entire post here
Herewith, President Obama´s May 19 Middle East speech, annotated:
"It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy."
With this Obama openly, unreservedly and without a trace of irony or self-reflection adopts the Bush Doctrine, which made the spread of democracy the key U.S. objective in the Middle East.
"Too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people's grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills."
Note how even Obama's rationale matches Bush's. Bush argued that because the roots of 9/11 were to be found in the deflected anger of repressed Middle Eastern peoples, our response would require a democratic transformation of the region.
"We have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self-determination of individuals."
A fine critique of exactly the kind of "realism" the Obama administration prided itself for having practiced in its first two years.
How far did this concession to Bush go? Note Obama's example of the democratization we're aiming for. He actually said:
"In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process ... Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region."
Hail the Bush-Obama doctrine.
Read the entire column here