Green Room

WH denies that Middle East crisis casts doubt on its policies

posted at 10:56 am on September 15, 2012 by

In an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio on Nov. 21, 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama boasted:

The day I’m inaugurated, not only the country looks at itself differently, but the world looks at America differently … If I’m reaching out to the Muslim world they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country and I may be a Christian, but I also understand their point of view … My sister is half-Indonesian. I traveled there all the way through my college years. And so I’m intimately concerned with what happens in these countries and the cultures and perspective these folks have. And those are powerful tools for us to be able to reach out to the world … then I think the world will have confidence that I am listening to them and that our future and our security is tied up with our ability to work with other countries in the world that will ultimately makes us safer.

How have these impressive foreign policy credentials worked out for him—and us? Despite Obama’s having doubled down in 2009 with a speech from Cairo in which he assured the Muslim world that he feels their pain, we are now feeling own pain, inflicted by them. On Monday, the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three of his staff members were murdered by a mob of angry Muslims. The violent protests have since spread through the Middle East and North Africa. American diplomatic missions overseas missions have been placed on high alert.

Even the president has been forced to deal with the reality. At a campaign event on Thursday, he warned, “To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.”

So one might conclude that these developments call into question the success of his vaunted foreign policy, which is one of the cornerstones of  his re-election campaign. That was the conclusion reached by Reuters, which wrote on Friday that this “new wave of anti-Americanism … poses a huge dilemma for a U.S. leader who took office promising a ‘new beginning’ with the Muslim world but has struggled to manage the transformation that has swept away many of the region’s long-ruling dictators.”

Not everyone is convinced that that’s what the facts on the ground portend, however. Consider this assessment, also delivered on Friday:

This is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, not to obviously the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.

The source of these self-delusional comments was White House Press Secretary Jay (“They Were Saying ‘Boo-urns’”) Carney and the scene was the White House Press Briefing Room. Some reporters were understandably skeptical. ABC’s Jake Tapper was skeptical challenged Carney, noting, “The group around the Benghazi post was well armed.  It was a well-coordinated attack.  Do you think it was a spontaneous protest against a movie?”

Carney’s response was, “Look, this is obviously under investigation.”

Meantime, those in need of a little comic relief are referred to a Huffington Post commentary by Senior Strategist for Americans United for Change, on why Mitt Romney can’t be trusted with our national security.

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Joe Mama on September 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM

The White House has spent four years now denying reality and have been backed up by the US media. What’s new here? Nothing could ever actually be Obama’s fault – he only gets credits, like an “Incomplete” grade for the first four years. He will get around to being brilliant while IN office in his second term…

DublOh7 on September 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

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