There are two problems with current U.S. policy toward the Middle East: both the analysis and response are not simply wrong, but rather make the situation in the region much worse.
The White House has supported the antisemitic, anti-American Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria; insisted the Brotherhood is moderate; gave untrained, unreliable Libyans control over the U.S. ambassador’s security leading to his death; denied that revolutionary Islamists attacked the U.S. embassy and ambassador in Libya for reasons having nothing to do with a California video; apologized for the video in a way that escalated the crisis elsewhere; wrongly claimed that al-Qaida is finished when it is still strong in several countries; defined the Afghan Taliban, despite its involvement in the September 11 attacks, as a potential partner, etc.
Meanwhile, the Obama Administration responds with a democracy-will-solve-everything approach that the same people ridiculed when President George W. Bush advocated it.
Now the errors are deepened and the lessons of experience once again rejected in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest defense of these wrong-headed policies in a speech given at my first employers, the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.
Her argument is that the United States should ignore violence and extremism while helping to build democracies. The problem is that most of the violence and extremism comes from forces that the Obama Administration supports or groups basically allied with those forces. The violence and extremism are the inevitable outcome, not a declining byproduct, of this process.
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