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Sunday, August 28, 2011

How would you rate US leadership on all this?

Kathryn Jean Lopez interviews Barry Rubin about the Arab Spring (updated here):
KJL: How would you rate U.S. leadership on all of this?

RUBIN: Terrible! For a number of reasons: mishandling Egypt; empowering the Muslim Brotherhood; failing to support democratic oppositions in Turkey and Lebanon, and waiting too long to call for the downfall of the Syrian government; failing to consult with moderate Arab allies and totally dissing Saudi Arabia; not giving Israel strong support at a time when its security situation is worsening; ignoring the increasing Islamization and repression in Turkey; actually acting to help the survival of Hamas in the Gaza Strip by forcing reduced sanctions and supplying funds indirectly; and being far too slow and weak to respond to the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral independence bid.

It is really amazing how badly they’ve done. And the above paragraph is not at all a partisan critique. Each of these factors is very obvious and visible even if they aren’t being covered in the main media very much. It can be summed up as failing to recognize the revolutionary Islamist threat; failing to support allies; being too soft on enemies; and not showing American leadership.

Obviously, jobs and the economy will be the number-one issue in the 2012 elections. But if crises in the Middle East blow up — as I think they will — and make Obama’s foreign policy look like a disaster, might that be the number-two issue?
I guess Barry's not a big fan of 'leading from behind.'

Foreign policy ought to be an issue in 2012. The way in which Obama has squandered US advantages and disparaged American exceptionalism ought to be thrown at him again and again. Here's hoping the Republican candidate - whoever that might be - takes advantage of it.

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