The Old Media’s strongest advantage against Pres. Bush (43) was pressing him to admit he had made mistakes. The Left hammered the meme until well after Bush left office. They argued that Bush was too stupid to recognize his mistakes, or he was too arrogant to acknowledge them. In hind-sight, nobody was clairvoyant, and many mistakes were made. Iraq, the war everybody hated and Sen. Reid said was lost, is largely won, and the war’s goals achieved. Perhaps the price was not worth the results, but there are results. The war most people including Sen. Obama supported, Afghanistan, is probably lost. Currently Pres. Karzai and the US are negotiating a shared power arrangement with the enemy, the Taliban. Afghanistan is going down as “peace with honor,” A.K.A. defeat. These and many other outcomes were not planned and were the result of some mistakes and misunderstandings. So, why did Bush not admit his team made some mistakes? Will Pres. Obama admit his own Mid-East mistakes?
The answer for Bush’s intransigence is the same as for Obama’s – he is actually quite politically savvy. Bush knew that the OM press was not interested in his introspection and regrets; the OM simply wanted another cudgel in their war against his agenda. Bush was caught in an unwinnable bind – admitting mistakes was slightly worse than denying them. Either way, the OM was building an anti-Bush campaign to destroy his reputation, so he had no incentive to participate. Once Bush left office, he did admit the mistakes that were obvious, and the OM pounced as he must have expected.
Obama finds himself in a similar position as did Bush. Like Bush, he has badly underestimated the complexity of Mid-East politics and society. As if Obama paid no attention to Iraq, he assumed that revolutions across the Arab world would organically result in greater democracy and peace. The lesson of Palestine cannot be clearer – novice electorates do not make wise choices absent a republican framework.
Still, Obama blundered on. Much as Pres. Eisenhower used Radio Free Europe to encourage the Hungarians to revolt against Russia and then watched their slaughter, Obama sent smoke signals of support to the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama’s Dir. Of National Intelligence, Clapper, called the Muslim Brotherhood “moderate” and “secular” despite their history of radical Islamic terrorism. Nobody should have been surprised when the Muslim Brotherhood won Egypt’s elections, and quickly suspended civil liberties in favor of Islamic law. Now Egypt is under martial law and dozens of people are dying violently each day.
Likewise in Libya, Obama threw a hand-grenade into the room with no end-game plan. Libya has yet to resolve, but there is little sign for hope for government secularism. Only in Syria, where Pres. Assad’s reign of international terrorism is among the worst possible arrangements, did Obama hesitate to throw his weight around. Further, as if on cue, Obama has sent Sec. Kerry to Israel to broker a peace agreement. Obama has alienated Israel and thrown most of the US’s Mid-East allies under the bus, so the notion that anyone in the region would trust a deal brokered by Obama the grenade thrower is ridiculous.
Obama has made a historic mess of the US’s Mid-East interests – far worse than did Bush. Faith, friendship, and respect are all lost thanks to Obama’s errors, but will he admit them? No. Obama is a capable politician, and he will evade questions as did Bush. Of course, Obama’s allies in the OM are not asking him to admit mistakes, despite their obviousness. The independent media needs to start asking Obama and his staffers the same loaded questions Bush avoided. The independent media needs to ask what mistakes Obama might confess and force him to sidestep them indelicately as did Bush. Through inexperience, arrogance, or a misguided plan to transform the Mid-East, Obama has handed his adversaries a sword that they have yet to wield. It is past time to back Obama into the same corner that frustrated Bush.