Consider this for starters: A year ago, Obama forcefully declared in a speech in Cairo that the United States sought to forge strong, mutually respectful relations with the people of the Islamic world. Arab, Islamic and world perceptions of Obama soared, sparked by a new sense of hope that the American presidency and people were now motivated by reason and compassionate self-interest, rather than the nearly imbecilic militancy and pro-Israeli fanaticism of the George W. Bush years. A year later, though, according to a new poll by the respected Gallup Survey, those gains in favorable views abroad that the United States had achieved are dissipating.
Four out of six Arab League countries Gallup has surveyed each year since 2008 “are now less approving of U.S. leadership than they were in fall 2009.” Egyptians' approval ratings dropped 18 percentage points, followed by Algerians at 13 points. These declines reverse the approval gains in Egypt (+19 points) and Algeria (+22 points) recorded after Obama's inauguration in 2009, and the further approval boosts registered after Obama's Cairo address (12 points in Egypt).
The simple conclusion is that Arabs and others around the world judge the U.S. by what it does, not by what it says. Obama is now a man with a track record, no longer mainly the refreshing breeze of sincerity and change he was 18 months ago. His words henceforth will no longer be judged mainly in contrast with the bombast and buffoonery of the Bush crowd who were so deeply buttressed by the pro-Israeli lobby zealots in Washington and the allied Christian fundamentalists who walked a fine line between divine inspiration and political lunacy.
So it is noteworthy when Obama articulates a change in policy, as he seemed to do this week, following the Israeli naval attack on humanitarian aid ships, when he said that Israel should sharply limit its blockade of Gaza, called the situation there “unsustainable,” and said that, "The key here is making sure that Israel's security needs are met but that the needs of people in Gaza are also met. So if we can get a new conceptual framework ... it seems to me that we should be able to take what has been a tragedy and turn it into an opportunity to create a situation where lives in Gaza are actually, directly improved."
These are welcomed words that reflect a sensible approach. But will they be translated into policy and actions on the ground? Judging by the year following Obama’s Cairo speech, the answer must lean towards the skeptical, if not the explicitly negative. A man who generated respect and hope 18 months ago, Obama today still generates respect -- but appreciably less hope or expectation of changes in policies when the issues at hand are linked in any way to Israel and its interests.
The Gallup poll is also instructive because it provides useful insights into the issues that people in the Arab world care about. Any changes in US policies -- such as the one Obama now dangles before us for Gaza -- will enjoy legitimacy and efficacy if they respond to the legitimate grievances and rights of all concerned, in this case mainly the Israelis and Palestinians. The large swings in Egyptians’ public perceptions of Obama, the Gallup analysts said, “may reflect a perceived lack of progress on the issues many Egyptians said in May 2008 were most significant to improving their opinion of the United States: pulling out of Iraq, removing military bases from Saudi Arabia, supporting the rights of Muslims to elect their own governments, promoting greater economic development, closing Guantánamo Bay prison, and greater technology transfer and exchange of business expertise.”
A separate Egyptian survey after the Cairo address also found that Egyptians most likely identified the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as the most important issue in the president's speech. An American policy that simultaneously acknowledges the sovereign and human rights of the Palestinians as well as Israelis’ security and acceptance needs is likely to be widely acclaimed. So the return this week of high-profile, high-intensity, and high-stakes Obama talk on a critical issue such as relieving the Israeli siege of Gaza is a new opportunity to explore two important phenomena: What drives this impressive, earnest young American president to say such sensible things, and does he actually mean anything of what he says? NO, categorically NO...
His latest moves and pronouncements on subjects as various as Iran’s nuclear activities and its internal politics, Turkey’s regional diplomacy, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the war in Afghanistan strongly suggest that he is yielding to populist pressures and special interest groups at variance with his own convictions.
The most dangerous of these blunders may well prove to be his policy towards Iran. Instead of welcoming -- as an important first step towards a wider negotiation -- the fuel swap agreement which Turkey and Brazil reached with Tehran on 17 May, Washington dismissed the deal as a time-wasting ploy and proceeded to secure Security Council backing for further sanctions against Iran.
It is hardly surprising that Iran has reacted with defiance. Obama’s early ambition of ending three decades of U.S-Iranian hostility has turned to dust.
Worse still, Obama and his Secretary of State Hilary Clinton are now openly interfering in internal Iranian politics -- something they wisely refrained from doing at the time of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s contested re-election a year ago. Last week Obama urged the world to support the Iranian people in their fight for ‘freedom’, while Clinton accused the Iranian regime of repressing its people, manipulating elections, exporting terrorism and pursuing nuclear weapons. “This adds up,’” she said, “to a very dangerous combination.”
To Iranians, the additional sanctions and the belligerent statements can mean only one thing: As was the case with Iraq in 2003, the United States is being pushed by Israel and its American supporters into a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.
The Times of London/MOSSAD front... -- once a serious newspaper but now a frequent peddler of disinformation on the Middle East -- reported on 12 June that Saudi Arabia, with the approval of the U.S. State Department, had agreed to allow Israel the use of a corridor in its airspace for a bombing run on Iran. The malicious aim of reports such as this is to persuade opinion that a leading Arab state is prepared to join with Israel against Iran, and thus prepare the ground for war. This is inflammatory nonsense....
In the wake of Israel’s assault on 31 May on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which killed nine Turks, tension has arisen between the United States and Turkey -- largely because of ferocious attacks by Jewish groups in the United States on Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his criticism of Israel’s action. American neocons are calling for Turkey to be expelled from NATO, while pro-Israeli newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard have been pouring vitriol on Erdogan and his government, virtually on a daily basis.
Instead of condemning Israel’s attack on the aid convoy, Obama has allowed himself to be turned against Turkey. This is a blunder of the first importance. Turkey is a NATO member with considerable influence not only in the Middle East -- where Erdogan is extremely popular -- but in the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia as well.
Turkey could, in fact, be of great help, not only in defusing the crisis with Iran, but in extricating the United States from the Afghan quagmire. Turkish forces and contractors in Afghanistan -- who have built schools, clinics and roads -- are the only foreigners welcome there. Obama is in danger of throwing away this asset by bowing to pressure from Israel and its hawkish friends.
This comes at an extremely perilous time for the United States and its allies in Afghanistan. No fewer than 27 NATO troops were killed there last week. General Stanley McCrystal’s ‘surge’ has proved a failure. He has been forced to delay for several months his planned assault on the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. Instead of giving full backing to President Hamid Karzai’s call for a ceasefire and immediate negotiations with the Taliban, Obama has listened to those who told him that the Taliban had first to be defeated before negotiations could take place. This is a major mistake for which the United States will pay dearly.
Not the least of Obama’s blunders is his timid handling of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He continues to repeat that he wants a two-state solution but does nothing decisive to bring it about. His envoy, the unfortunate George Mitchell, labours on, but evidently without adequate presidential support.
On the Palestinian side, there will be no peace until the United States starts a dialogue with Hamas and puts all its weight behind the formation of a Palestinian national unity government empowered to negotiate a final peace settlement with Israel.
On the Israeli side, there will be no peace until Obama summons up the political courage to talk tough to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government of right-wing extremists and religious zealots. Their violence and intransigence are condemning Israel to perpetual war. They are also blackening America’s image across the Arab and Muslim world and destroying the great hopes which Obama aroused when he first entered the White House....
Oversight Requires Honesty.....
And US Congress will do no effective oversight until they get off the payroll of lobbyists, special interests, foreign powers and organized crime...The takeover is complete. The U.S. CONgress and Senate are so corrupt from top to bottom, (bought and paid for) that there is little hope of any legislation being passed that will benefit the American people.
The recent election of Alvin Greene in S.C. says a lot about our election process.
We are busy half a world away, spending $Trillions to bring Democracy to the mideast. Maybe we need to start using the Blue Finger for voters here at home. (and I'm not talking about the index finger)....
Read more ....
Another Zionist/MOSSAD liberal pundit throwing President Obomba under the bus....for now?
As a Canadian whose nationality is Russian and who has lived in China, I can only give my own impression of what people in these countries are saying. In China .... President Obama and his government is treated with disdain (in the media, public announcements, and around the dinner table). He is perceived as a colored man, a racial distinction that many in China feel very uncomfortable with (yes .... racism does exist in China), but what makes the situation even worse is that President Obama's administration is following a policy of economics that is discredited in China. High spending, enormous deficits, bigger government .... this may be the trend in the U.S., but in China (an ex-communist country .... yes .... I am saying an ex-communist country) this is frowned upon. Throw in China's own problems .... President Obama then becomes the perfect bogeyman.
Russia is slightly more complicated. They are not in competition with the U.S., but leaders like Russia's Putin have made their opinions very clear .... they do not understand President Obama's economic policy, and they feel that The U.S. has abdicated certain important international relationships and understandings. Missile defense in Eastern Europe, sanctions and hostility towards Iran, support for Georgia, permitting Afghanistan's drug lords to produce and ship heroin to Russia and other satellite countries .... Russia perceives this as a wrong strategy, and what is worse is that unlike President Bush, President Obama is not listening to them. Even President Obama's roasting of BP and the disaster that BP has caused in the Gulf of Mexico is producing comment in Russia .... BP is the #1 foreign oil company that operates in Russia. Their participation in opening and developing new oil fields is regarded to be crucial for Russia's long term oil strategic needs, and any action that will impact this development is viewed with alarm and suspicion in Moscow.
As to Canada .... the honeymoon is over. A buy U.S. policy (and not Canadian) violates important free trade agreements between the two countries. President Obama's pursuit of policies that have failed in Canada has also produced a "roll of the eyes" response from many in this country. Universal medicare, government intervention in the economy and into our everyday lives, high taxes .... as Canadians we have bought the t-shirt more than once, and we have always been disappointed.
As to what is my take .... I think President Obumbler is focused on what he perceives is really the number one issue .... transforming the U.S. into what he perceives it should be. As to foreign policy .... it is there but for him it is not the priority. Hence .... disappointment abroad .... but he is doing exactly what he said he would do in his books and during the presidential campaign .... focus on the biggest prize of them all .... the U.S.A., but he seems to be failing badly....