Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama's Message to the Iranian People

Charles Lemos, at MyDD, argues that Presient Barack Obama's "Message to the Iranian People" marks the beginning of an "Obama Doctrine":

While it is still too early to fully articulate the totality of an Obama Doctrine, it is clearly not the Bush Doctrine of American exceptionalism and unilateralism. The Obama Administration is committed to diplomatic avenues that addresses the full range of issues that separate the United States and its adversaries based on engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect and to pursuing constructive ties that provide greater opportunities for partnership and commerce.

But check out Abe Greenwald at Commentary, who calls bull on claims of transformational "hopenchange" diplomacy:

Barack Obama released a video message intended for Iranians and their leaders, wishing them a happy Nowruz (Iranian New Year) and stressing all the usual Obamisms about hope, diplomacy, togetherness, and mutual respect. Obama supporters can swoon and Obama detractors can stew, but trying to establish a connection across intense cultural lines is nothing that Obama brought to the presidency. It is perfectly in keeping with George W. Bush’s unstinting effort to appeal to the world’s Muslims at every opportunity ....

There are two main differences between Bush’s Muslim outreach and Obama’s ambidirectional variety. First, as a man in whose life faith plays a central role, Bush could simply appeal to Muslims as members of an Abrahamic religion. He didn’t gild the lily, as Obama does, by condescending to one “great culture” after another, and citing the universal peace dreams of tyrants. Second, Bush never thought embracing the world’s peaceful Muslims was a substitute for threatening, or using, force against the world’s less peaceful Muslims. He knew that saying nice things was less important than doing necessary things. When it comes to Iran, there’s no indication that Obama sees a difference between the two.
See also, Ed Morrissey, "Video: Good Morning, Iran!", as well as Memeorandum.


dave in boca said...

I think Obama read a vacuous Newsweak cover article by Fareed Zakaria on how to live with radical Islam. Obama may be adopting a sort of let's play patty-cake and "Hope and Change" will happen stance with a lot of nasty people in awful neighborhoods.

It's basically the opposite of "Trust and Verify."

As perhaps the only Arabist who subscribes to American Power, I don't think the Islamic attitude respects compassionate compromise as much as it does power, modulated by hard-headed negotiations.

Zakaria's recent book The Post-American World is riddled, at least in foreign policy areas that I'm familiar with, the usual urban legends and wide stereotypes---especially on energy and Middle East politics. His article in the soon-to-be online-only Newsweak stressed how wise the Pakis were to give regional autonomy to a Taliban regime in Swat, an area I once visited in Pakistan.

I can see why Obama sent the Churchill bust back to the Brits; I expect a statue of Neville Chamberlain to replace the nook in the Oval Office that old Winston occupied .

AmPowerBlog said...

Great comments, Dave!