05 June 2009

Mangling history, Presidential style

A minor quibble with President Obama right off the bat at his address given in Cairo (LAT text here):

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement.

What, no mention of how the first school of secular learning, the Cairo School of Engineering was shut down in 1854 to leave the State School of Religion, Al-Azhar as the only educational institution? For all that bastion of learning and such, you would think a minor nod to how religion trumps education would be cited and how the Nation of Egypt would found a new center of learning in 1908.

Minor, yes, but still, that is not something you gloss over when addressing EDUCATIONAL INSITUTIONS: how some have been shut down in the past to squelch learning. That would play into the whole point of how totalitarian regimes, be they secular or religious, put a hard foot down on learning, in general, and ensure that it only serves the need of the religion or State, and that NEITHER of those is in any way, shape or form, good.

But then Mr. 'Constitutional Scholar' President Obama doesn't seem too concerned with that.


Now on to Leftist History 101, breeding grounds of everything:

More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Yup and right after WWII the colonial powers left Africa and the Middle East, by and large. Some of the last parts of sub-Saharan Africa took awhile, going into the 1960's, and Iraq had problems getting a government going, what with all the coups and such, plus France losing interest in all but a piece of real estate here and there. The real gripe about colonialism ending is that when the colonial powers LEFT conflicts that had been put under wraps then boiled to the surface. Throw in petty tyrants, dictators and kleptocrats and you have the perfect stew of post-colonialism that is NOT the problem of the colonial powers as they had LEFT the region. Sorry, deal with it on your own, that is what liberty is all about,no?

As to the Cold War, the USSR did curry favor with Syria, Libya, Egypt and a few other choice places, including Iraq. The US helped Israel, Jordan, KSA, Kuwait and Iran until President Carter decided to abandon an ally... which brought in an extremely radical government in what had been a by-and-large secular State for decades before that. Yup, WWII saw the Shah taken out, a representative government put in, that went corrupt, and the monarchy restored, and NO it was not a lovely place politically with so many factions that they couldn't keep a decent government together. You would think someone would back Traditional government aligned with the ethnic sensibilities of the country, just as we are implored to do today to some of the vilest regimes on the planet.

You don't want to be modern? Fine. Don't purchase modern goods and stick to your traditional way of doing things... unless you get a Leftist trying to push some 'modern' ideas at you at gun point, then you might want to arm up a bit. Ask some American gun owners about that...

As to the hostility bit? I'll get to that a bit later, but let me just say that it didn't start in the Post War, Colonial Period, or even in the Crusades... nope, you have to get pretty far back for this hostility stuff and go pretty much back to the Prophet.


Then there is this part:

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

Say, Mr. President, how about letting bankruptcy courts settle things in the US and not trying to differentiate between those 'too big to fail' and not? What is that about defining such things to sow discord at home? All of that stuff and being partisan and on the campaign trail... all of that is really causing an 'empowerment' of the extreme left to sow hatred. Really you should be the President for all of America and recognize and respect the differences between Americans and then stop shoving that stuff down the throats of Americans who will have to pay for generations for all the lovely 'good' you want to do.

You know, administer the law in a just way so that we are not impoverished saving bankrupt mega-corporations and might have a chance for prosperity again? Tell you what, practice what you preach, Mr. President and start right here at home where your job is. Call it 'An Outreach To The Americans I Don't Give A Damn About'. You know, the bitter, bible clingers that have armed up their Nation with a couple of Chinese Army sized firearms purchases in the last 6 months?


A very precious part, really, belied by his own words before and after:

As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.

Mr. 'Student of History' President Obama has already demonstrated he doesn't give a good god-damn about history. Any history, not just that of the US or the West, but of Islam and the East. World History is not his forte... he is Global Ignorant and capable of Profound Talking Points. History R Not Him.

Really, though, the concept of ZERO is a great one for President Obama to reflect upon as it is his sum ability to know history here. I've got some news for him on Navigation, though: while Muslims were going after the Eastern Roman Empire, Vikings were navigating to America with a number of rudimentary tools. You have to go back to the Ancient Greeks to get some of them, so they pre-exist Islam and its culture. Celestial navigation is not a modern invention, nor an Islamic one but dates back to that period, also. And while Zero does come from the Arabic culture, it is also independently discovered by the Maya and Chinese, if memory serves, and there may be some dispute as to where it actually does originate. And if you want to look at the spread of disease, you will probably find Galen pretty much at the top of the: study, chart and remedy area as he was in so many areas of healing.

And this is even before doing a survey of Polynesian sailing techniques, or central African Kingdoms pre-Islam.

The West does owe a debt to the Islamic culture, no doubt.

Make sure it is a half-way decent list, don't downplay the importance of separate discovery and show joy that such understanding can happen in many cultures without cross-fertilization between them. You know, the Leftist Multi-Culti Chorus Line bit? Degrading learning because it has anything to do with culture? What's up with that, anyways?


Next up on the hit parade:

Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

I'm going to skip the architecture and peace gardens bit. Rome, Babylon, Ancient Greece, etc. on that.

Nope, it is the 'possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality' bit that I'm going to hit.

'Religious tolerance' in Islam used to mean: we will not persecute you, kill you, if you pay us to practice your religion and accept that you are second class citizens without the rights of Muslims.

'Racial equality' means that all non-believers can be enslaved.

Read on.


Continuing on with the President's address at Cairo, I next run across this paragraph:

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.

Now Morocco did sign a Treaty with the US in 1777! First hit to President Obama, on getting the year wrong. That said Morocco did not stick to that and when it decided to go after the UK, it also took 100 US sailors and crew hostage. And cut down the flagpole at the Embassy. When their government was asked in 1786 why it had done so while the US had done NOTHING to Morocco, here was the reply from Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman:

It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.

As they viewed us as slaves and you cannot make a Treaty with slaves, Morocco would also be the first Nation to RENOUNCE a Treaty with the United States.

Ah, you can have your own political views, but you are not entitled to your own history. Now on to those Nations that recognized our sovereignty and MEANT IT.

The Treaty of Alliance of 1778 saw the recognition of the sovereignty of the United States by the FIRST country to recognize the Nation: FRANCE. That is how we got all that lovely money and equipment to FIGHT the Revolutionary War. You must be a sovereign Nation to sign a treaty with another sovereign Nation.

Then the SECOND country to recognize the United States was the United Provinces of the Netherlands recognizes while it was negotiating in France as part of a larger set of peace accords on 19 APR 1783. This was solidified by Treaty signature later that year as part of the larger set of accords.

The Peace of Paris signed in 1783 saw the THIRD country to recognize the sovereignty of the US: Great Britain.

Pinckney's Treaty of 27 OCT 1795 saw the FOURTH country to recognize the US: Spain.

How could ANY President of the United States NOT recognize this?

Especially that of France which helped us to the point of impoverishment to win the Revolutionary War and the fact that Morocco had disingenuously signed a Treaty it did not mean to UPHOLD?

So much for 'scholarship'. So much for modern hostility. So much for 'possibilities' of equality racial and religious.

Where did we get religious tolerance from?

The Peace of Westphalia. The US falls under that via the Winter Queen and the Restoration.


How about this next part speaking of Muslims in the US?

They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library.

Ok, Mr. 'Student of History' President Obama, imagine what would have happened to Thomas Jefferson if he did for the Koran what he did for the Holy Bible.

Yeah, the words 'off with his head' come to mind first and foremost.

Having a Koran, or Holy Bible, or any other work by Thomas Jefferson was just grist for his mental mill: he scoured them all, analyzed them and gained what learning he could across everything he read. So, instead of lauding the Koran that was once Jefferson's, just imagine him deciding that would be the next good book to hit on his analysis list....

You think we have things tough, now?

Never, ever, cite Jefferson and religion in the same breath. It took Ben Franklin to serve as his editor on the Declaration of Independence to make it readable and excise the religious tracts to make sure that self-evident stood as just that outside of any religion. If it is self-evident: say so. Once he had that down pat, he did so. Continuously. Just look at his writings on Catholicism, now imagine that mental energy turned towards Islam. That Koran he had? Treat it like a nuclear explosive and keep it in lead... along with any notes on the material.


Oh, god, MORE personal story from President Obama.

Can he cut that out? It is really getting to me in a bad way: the more he tells me about himself, the less I am liking the man.

Personal stories that lead through Columbia and Harvard, law firms, 'activism', thugs, and shady international contacts is not one of the 'little guys', let me tell you, but speaks of privilege and lack of ethics.


This is eye catching:

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.

Parents can tell 'girls' what to wear, in case the President forgets that. 'Girls' who have not followed those moral strictures and actually dated boys have wound up at the sharp end of 'honor killings'. In the US. When those who are suspected of doing so flee, we have not put on hot pursuit. I've got a problem with that.

Also, in America we demand to see who it is we are dealing with for financial and other transactions, particularly where identity is concerned. When you come before the State you do NOT get to hide those things: your identity must be revealed as the State allows NO religion to hide that. If women want to show themselves subservient to a teaching that puts forward that men are so lustful that they will go after even the barest square inch of exposed feminine flesh, thats fine. When a woman tries to get AWAY from that and abuse, as such garments ALSO hide that, then that is a concern for the State in protecting its citizens from each other. It has limitations in a marriage, and non-Islamic women have walked right back to abusive boyfriends and husbands and gotten killed: we cannot beat sense into people. We can shield them from abuse when they seek to escape it, and protect them from 'honor killings'. For a culture that makes 'rape' out to be anything witnessed by three men, that has got to be worrying to women.

Ahh, not only not knowing much about history, but economics:

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations.

It only has a real impact if the economy is big enough. Note the long slide of Japan and its 'lost decade' of overspending to perpetual debt did NOT cause a global catastrophe. Nor did the Asian Tiger economies hitting the tubes. Argentina didn't make a ripple a couple of decades ago. The collapse of the USSR actually helped things a little.

No only when the primary economy of the world has trouble can the rest of the world shake.

And the Japanese demonstrated you cannot spend your way to solvency.

So, Mr. Economist-in-Chief President Obama: why are you doing that?

Just asking!

And when the US was the only member of the Nuclear club, was, say, India threatened? Italy? Brazil? Australia?

When we had the Cold War it was in the interest of the major power blocks to keep the technology under wraps, and STILL we had India and Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Syria and other nations pursuing nuclear weapons. Here's the deal: it isn't an idea that can be put back into a bottle, but simply engineering based on physics that are well known across the world. Anyone can pursue a nuclear weapon and getting the fissile material is the hardest part of it. The rest is getting to be off-the-shelf components. No President, no UN, no Treaty, NOTHING will stop this save SELF-RESTRAINT and we have witnessed that some nations just don't have any.


On to the great peaciness stuff:

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

Ok, here is the deal: Treat Pirates as Pirates.

Treat Terrorists as Pirates because they ARE.

You want to get rid of non-State actors taking up war? This is an ancient problem, Mr. President, and the political Left has done its best to make us forget its history and what it is. You want to go after non-State actors committing acts of war? Then DO SO as you are the damned President of the United States and that is YOUR JOB TO DO.


Next is the glossy 'look at how many allies we have that I castigated the Nation for not having and now realize were really there' bit. Thanks for remembering them, Mr. President. Could you slap some of your sycophants upside the head on that score and stop the inanity of 'going it alone' as we didn't do that in Afghanistan or Iraq or with North Korea? Please?


Next up is lesson not learned in Iraq:

We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

You fight to create civil order FIRST. Then backfill with schools, jobs, and other necessary works. Afghanistan has a short window that is closing on this due to Pakistan. Pakistan's window is starting to close pretty fast and if they don't get civil government re-established in the NWFP and other 'tribal areas' then there might not BE a Pakistan around to help, but a lovely chaos and grab for the nukes.

Getting control established is required FIRST.

THEN you backfill and solidify.

Not the other way around.

If Pakistan goes down, it will be due to US money getting filtered through a corrupt bureaucracy and funds going to radical extremists. And there are more than just those near Afghanistan to worry about. The Pakistani military and police desperately need to be able to fight, hold, keep and then give a breathing space behind them to rebuilding their society while doing necessary COIN work to remove extremists. The Left SCREAMED at the cost of OIF per year, and yet the results for a stable society and elections in Iraq with peaceful transition of power are ones that need to be remembered as we fought hard and spent precious American blood to re-learn COIN in the modern age.

A lesson that we should not forget in Pakistan.


Speaking of Iraq:

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”

Iraq was not a 'war of choice' but one that President Clinton refused to address leaving a tyrant and genocidal killer in power who had not signed a peace treaty and who would not even keep to his cease-fire agreements. That is the HISTORY of what happened after Desert Storm and when Democrats were in power they squawked about it throughout the 1990's. Saddam was seen as a threat and by 1998 Congress had put forward that the President should DO SOMETHING to make that despot stick to his word. President Clinton did not. The cease fire was already in tatters, weapons inspectors had games played with them, Saddam would not come clean as HE AGREED TO and only when a Republican became President did those lovely supporters of taking him down have to put the money where their mouth was.

Congress did so.

The previous conflict hadn't ended.

Note that North Korea seems to have dissolved its cease fire agreement.

Same deal.

Just because it has been in place since Eisenhower's Administration doesn't mean it is a 'peace treaty'. It isn't.

See that sentence with Saddam Hussein in it? End it at the end of Hussein, along with the rest of the paragraph.

Jefferson's works had the following in them as recounted by Gerard W. Gawalt at the Library of Congress site on Jefferson's papers:

Thomas Jefferson, United States minister to France, opposed the payment of tribute, as he later testified in words that have a particular resonance today. In his autobiography Jefferson wrote that in 1785 and 1786 he unsuccessfully "endeavored to form an association of the powers subject to habitual depredation from them. I accordingly prepared, and proposed to their ministers at Paris, for consultation with their governments, articles of a special confederation." Jefferson argued that "The object of the convention shall be to compel the piratical States to perpetual peace." Jefferson prepared a detailed plan for the interested states. "Portugal, Naples, the two Sicilies, Venice, Malta, Denmark and Sweden were favorably disposed to such an association," Jefferson remembered, but there were "apprehensions" that England and France would follow their own paths, "and so it fell through."

Paying the ransom would only lead to further demands, Jefferson argued in letters to future presidents John Adams, then America's minister to Great Britain, and James Monroe, then a member of Congress. As Jefferson wrote to Adams in a July 11, 1786, letter, "I acknolege [sic] I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro' the medium of war." Paying tribute will merely invite more demands, and even if a coalition proves workable, the only solution is a strong navy that can reach the pirates, Jefferson argued in an August 18, 1786, letter to James Monroe: "The states must see the rod; perhaps it must be felt by some one of them. . . . Every national citizen must wish to see an effective instrument of coercion, and should fear to see it on any other element than the water. A naval force can never endanger our liberties, nor occasion bloodshed; a land force would do both." "From what I learn from the temper of my countrymen and their tenaciousness of their money," Jefferson added in a December 26, 1786, letter to the president of Yale College, Ezra Stiles, "it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason, than money to bribe them."

Jefferson's plan for an international coalition foundered on the shoals of indifference and a belief that it was cheaper to pay the tribute than fight a war. The United States's relations with the Barbary states continued to revolve around negotiations for ransom of American ships and sailors and the payment of annual tributes or gifts. Even though Secretary of State Jefferson declared to Thomas Barclay, American consul to Morocco, in a May 13, 1791, letter of instructions for a new treaty with Morocco that it is "lastly our determination to prefer war in all cases to tribute under any form, and to any people whatever," the United States continued to negotiate for cash settlements. In 1795 alone the United States was forced to pay nearly a million dollars in cash, naval stores, and a frigate to ransom 115 sailors from the dey of Algiers. Annual gifts were settled by treaty on Algiers, Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli.

When Jefferson became president in 1801 he refused to accede to Tripoli's demands for an immediate payment of $225,000 and an annual payment of $25,000. The pasha of Tripoli then declared war on the United States. Although as secretary of state and vice president he had opposed developing an American navy capable of anything more than coastal defense, President Jefferson dispatched a squadron of naval vessels to the Mediterranean. As he declared in his first annual message to Congress: "To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean. . . ."

The American show of force quickly awed Tunis and Algiers into breaking their alliance with Tripoli. The humiliating loss of the frigate Philadelphia and the capture of her captain and crew in Tripoli in 1803, criticism from his political opponents, and even opposition within his own cabinet did not deter Jefferson from his chosen course during four years of war. The aggressive action of Commodore Edward Preble (1803-4) forced Morocco out of the fight and his five bombardments of Tripoli restored some order to the Mediterranean. However, it was not until 1805, when an American fleet under Commodore John Rogers and a land force raised by an American naval agent to the Barbary powers, Captain William Eaton, threatened to capture Tripoli and install the brother of Tripoli's pasha on the throne, that a treaty brought an end to the hostilities. Negotiated by Tobias Lear, former secretary to President Washington and now consul general in Algiers, the treaty of 1805 still required the United States to pay a ransom of $60,000 for each of the sailors held by the dey of Algiers, and so it went without Senatorial consent until April 1806. Nevertheless, Jefferson was able to report in his sixth annual message to Congress in December 1806 that in addition to the successful completion of the Lewis and Clark expedition, "The states on the coast of Barbary seem generally disposed at present to respect our peace and friendship."

Sorry, but Thomas Jefferson saw extreme limits on international bodies and diplomacy, having been a diplomat, himself. When dealing with threats his message as President was not pacifism, but a robust response. You cannot quote Jefferson on diplomacy without seeing his entire view of it, and it is only one part of the ability of a Nation-State to deal with problems and depending on it as the major or only tool is weakness, not strength. Strange to bring up Jefferson and diplomacy in the Middle East and not address the record...

But then it shows just the opposite of what President Obama is saying, now, doesn't it?

Because all that time you are talking you are building the power you need to make it greater. He didn't invest in talk alone or even primarily, given how fickle other Nations are. You would think a 'student of history' and 'scholar of the Constitution' would recognize this.


Ok, next up:

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

I am glad to see President Obama standing up for Israel, now if only he would let standard upgrades to purchased equipment go through to Israel. You know, the stick up for an ally business?

As for the Palestinians, they have had decades to stand up a peaceful, law abiding State, recognize Israel, police its own borders... but they haven't. And the problem is? The Palestinians, not Israel.


A bit further:

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

So why is it when Israel pulled out of Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza that peace and happiness did not grace the Palestinian people from the heavens above? Why was it the violence started afresh against Israel from HAMAS and FATAH factions too numerous to name, plus from al Qaeda? They have their land. They aren't under occupation. They need to stand up a Nation and make a PEACE TREATY and sign off on it. But to do that would recognize that they had this chance way back in 1948 and screwed it up in a spectacular fashion while the Israelis, using old German guns and equipment left over from WWII were able to found a Nation and secure it, put down the rule of law and get international recognition.

Nothing, not one single thing, stops the Palestinians from doing that, EXCEPT the Palestinians themselves.

Israel has been attacked full-on by her Arab neighbors multiple times, and has attacked out, taken territory and then signed much of it back by Treaty. Israel is more than willing to sign Treaties to gain peace.

So what's up with the Palestinians, huh?



Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Look, if the Lebanese during their civil war were able to stand up neighborhood republics with their own flags and uniforms, and who to talk to so as to get passage, then surely the Palestinians can figure it out for something just a bit bigger... they need to crack that whip and get everyone in line FIRST then look towards a peace treaty SECOND. You can't do it the other way around, the last 60 years have demonstrated that.

Mr. President you may not like the settlements, but that is an item on a peace treaty negotiation once Israel has a stable neighbor they can negotiate with. That is not a mandate from us: we cannot impose it as the Israelis have the typical spoils of war deal going on. Israel has been more than happy to hand over territory in negotiations with stable States. If the Israelis continue building that can be cited in the negotiations, not a pre-condition for them as Palestine STILL is not stable and can't be trusted by ANYONE. There is no 'other side' in this until it appears at the table and can hold up its end of the bargain, which has not happened since 1948. Until it does we may not like what Israel does, and it may incite violence, but if Palestinians can get a stable society and government put together they can demonstrate that, show up at the negotiating table and talk about a peace treaty. My guess is much of the early demands to go back to 1948 boundaries will go by the wayside.


Leftist historical revisionism continues:

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government.

Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

I have addressed Iran, previously. It went from a number of political factions at the turn of the 20th century, had the Shah as its ruler, during WWII the Shah was deposed as he was pro-Nazi, after the war democratically elected government fell into disorder and looked to have communists backed by the USSR heading towards power, the CIA put the Shah back into power. Such is the rough and ready factional system of Iran that, to this day, you can STILL find pro-monarchists in Iran. So we get no credit for taking out a Nazi sympathizer, no credit for recognizing the threat of communism, castigated for putting the TRADITIONAL ruler back in place because representative democracy was getting destabilized... do I have that right?

Do I think any of this was 'good'?


But neither would an Iran getting a light Nazi SS Group seizing the Persian Gulf oil fields be a help during WWII. Wouldn't have taken much, what with the UK already getting kicked out of place in Oceania, India under threat, and losing France... if Gulf oil started to head to Germany... well... Turkey was neutral, after all. A bit of a Wafdist uprising in Egypt and that would be it for the Middle East and the UK in 1941. No Suez, no oil from the Gulf, and this huge supply line around Africa to India and Australia. Dark days if that had happened.

Do I like the jumble of factions in Iran post-War? No. Monarchists, mercantilists, capitalists, communists, and a hodge-podge of crossing ethnicities... I wouldn't call that stable and money and backing from the USSR would have made things in the Middle East very dicey if Iran went down. Can't say there were ANY good choices, save to do the Marshall Plan bit with a nation that hadn't suffered much in the war, and the US was NOT going to buy into that. Not in a major way, at least, although something like that was going on, but not at the scale to bring Iran together as a cohesive whole.

Our intervention in Iran did not START post-WWII.

It would be wise for this 'student of history' to realize that and stop the blame game.

Instead President Obama is trying to do the 'past is history' sort of realism and that just does not work. It is unreal 'realism' to the nth degree and President Carter tried the exact, same thing. But then I criticized Obama on the campaign trail for having people who were the CAUSE of the problem advising him. And I hit all the major candidates, too. President Obama should look up 'Islamic Green Zone' and reference it to the Carter Administration: the Administration didn't know if it wanted to support the Shah, wanted to do the 'realism' tango, and was then told that Iran didn't tango. So he ended up sitting in the Rose Garden.

To be clear, Iran doesn't really care much about the US outside of military power: it told us so then, it has told us so over the decades, its actions demonstrate that, and it continues to tell us so to this day. Doesn't matter if it is Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Obama, it does the exact, same tune and doesn't give a hot damn about US foreign policy. That should be a large hint being dropped there.


Ok, now onto the inanity:

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.

We imposed democracy on Iran during WWII. It didn't work, and we put the traditional system back in place.

Somehow that doesn't get told as part of this, does it?

We did not impose representative democracy on Iraq: Iraqis drafted a constitution, voted on it, ratified it, and now run a government under it. They had a free choice of what they wanted. A dictatorship that everyone agreed to would have been swell. Ditto an oligarchy. Same with a Monarchy. A Galactic Imperial State. Playing backgammon and deciding leaders that way. Putting criminals in charge so as to remove the intervening nastiness between civil government and criminal government and going straight to a government everyone wants to shoot at to remove the criminal element.


So long as they agreed to it, wanted it, could live with it, and it offered a modicum of freedom to people there it would be loads better than Saddam Hussein's tyrannical government. Even biennial tyrants would have been ok! The US might have had qualms about many of those, true, but so long as the people want it, can live with it, it will be stable (even, if like Italy, it is stable in its constant instability), and can keep to its agreements it would be LOADS better than Saddam Hussein. We didn't install a puppet government, swap dictators (as so many Leftists wanted), or any of that. We brought together those interested in forming a government to live with and they did so. Ratified by the People of Iraq. Now it is a set of municipal, provincial and national governments that must work together. Good job!

It wasn't 'forced' on them.

They made it.

They agreed to it.

They voted on it.

They ratified it.

And they will amend it over time to better meet the needs of the Nation as it continues forward.

Glad the Iraqi people now have politics to fight over with words rather than bullets! It is a HUGE improvement!

It is an asinine thing to say that people have any sort of democratic government 'forced on them'.


They can VOTE IT OUT!

So simple a Leftist should be able to understand the concept, and I'm sure cavemen do...


Ah, religious tolerance:

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today.

People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.

In Islam you are tolerated as a second class citizen if you pay your taxes to worship some other religion. That is under 'enlightened' Islamic rule. Indonesia is, by and large, using secular understandings of the Europeans as coming from Westphalia and the Enlightenment. Really I can't speak highly enough of what Great Britain did by bringing such understandings to the far corners of the Earth. Yup, it was an Empire. It was not all bad and did some actual bringing of civil government and law with it as it expanded. Plus Indonesia is a damned laid back place. Tropical climate, generally easy-going culture and high humidity really do change things, along with different ethnic and civil heritage than the Middle East. Has to say something where the extremists have been voted out because their rules put into law just go against the culture. That culture cannot easily be transported into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


This is a real side-splitter:

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

So why is it that the Left attacks Christianity? When was the last Methodist Terrorist attack? Presbyterian Crusade? Unitarian Radicalist Uprising? Catholics storming forward with aircraft flown into buildings? To hear the Left in America, Christianity is truly evil and everyone else is just misguided... no matter how much blood they spatter around. Preach this at home, President Obama, not about Islam but about Christianity and Judaism and how believers in THOSE FAITHS do not deserve to be castigated for CIVIL discussions they hold. Preach about Westphalia, Mr. President, as it did something that Islam didn't do until you got secular governments in Islamic countries. Governments of Westphalian origin.

Get these damned liberals to understand LIBERTY would you? And tolerance towards Christianity and Judaism? They have to deal with a lot more of those, day in and day out, than Muslims.


Good luck on the next:

The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.

Very simple: killing women for the family's honor is dishonorable and no one should do that.


Safety at home with their own beliefs is primary, and so is walking away from their religion and not becoming a targeted apostate.

Elections do help, some, but only in a non-rigged system.

Women will not be free in the Islamic world until their cultures stop supporting honor killings. Not all Islamic cultures do, and that is to the good: that tolerance needs to spread. This is an issue of human liberty and toleration, and politics follows culture. Kuwait has just elected their first women Parliamentarians, one of which was born in Lebanon, speaks with a Lebanese accent and isn't even a Muslim. While talking about other Nations that have good systems is to the good, showing that others can adapt and change is even better. Thus Kuwait, and the crossing point of Shia and Sunni extremism now throws off BOTH with a secular government that can elect non-Muslims and women.


Going onwards, ever onwards:

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities.

Does anyone remember Iraq? Muslim Nation, lots of ethnicities and varieties of Islam, plus Yezidi, Christians of various sorts, Jews, and followers of John the Baptist? About 29 million people, give or take? Bit of a conflict there, yes?

Remember that place?


Remember Ramadi?

War torn, battered, shuttered up at the worst of the insurgency. Do you know what the first thing the city fathers wanted done once the hostiles had been put to heel?

Was it schools? No.

Was it clean water? No.

Sewage treatment? No.

Family compound walls rebuilt? No, that was Fallujah.

Give up?

The first thing they wanted was the FACTORIES to re-open so they could RESTART the economy. Glass, steel, processed goods... electricity and fuel, of course, but they understood that with just a bit of those they could GET all the rest of the laundry list. Freaking amazing to find that just as things were quieting down in Fallujah, glass from Ramadi was being put into the windows there. You don't put glass in if you expect it to be broken...

The Middle East, along the Silk and Spice roads understand TRADE.


They pretty much INVENTED IT.

Yeah, that should be talked up, no?

Egypt was the cross-roads of Empires for centuries, be they the Pharaohs, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Turks: if you wanted to buy anything from Scandinavia, the southern tip of Africa or China you went to Cairo or Alexandria. Globalization has been known there back to the start of when people didn't even really get the size of the globe figured out. Cultural change IS Egypt, from Ancient times and embalming to modern times and trying to figure out how to keep everyone employed, which they can't do too well as they stopped building the Pyramids. Thank heavens or else there would be this huge pyramid that would shade Libya for half the day...

Somehow, some way, the people of the Middle East and Egypt coped with 'change'. Religions have come and gone, and Islam isn't up to the Pharaohnic time span by any way, shape or form. Hell, if Ramses II had started in power 60 years ago he would just now be in his 'last days' and he saw two entire generations grow up and die knowing only him as their leader. If Egypt could cope with Rome and Greeks, it can cope with the internet. The rest of the Middle East, particularly the followers of strict and moralist sects... they are going to have a hard time dealing with picture phones and teen 'sexting'. It has already happened and they find that they can't ban the things as they can be smuggled in pretty easily.


My good will has a stopping point, and this is it:

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops.

President Obama, by your own words, we are broke.

We have to fix THAT first.

Throwing money around to other peoples will make us more broke, not less, as the system you want will make us poorer, not richer, and unable to pay our debts.

We cannot afford to create any of this with government funds: YOU have spent the money. You will not cure our ills by sending inflated dollars overseas as that will make our situation worse, not better.

And just wtf are 'social entrepreneurs'? That sounds like damned 'community organizers' and YOU are bad enough...having never had to invent anything, run any company or even know how to balance the books of a company. Not one red cent of government money for this CF. America needs to repay its debts, reduce its government and get the damned moralizing out of the equation as I am tired, damned tired, of hearing from a SECULAR President what our Nation 'must' do for other countries.

Encourage volunteerism, that is the American way.

Support it by forgiving expenditures on taxes for those that do so.

But no more of this glad-handing our money from our wallets to third world sinkholes with greedy bureaucrats and chiselers to take money from good works we send there. Private organizations can do this better than any government, anywhere on the planet can. After the 2004 Christmas Tsunami it was the American People who gave the most and our benighted government was SECOND. Everyone else was a far and distant third.

I stopped reading the goodness at that point. All the organic and green crap is just that: crap. Money traps. Feel goodism.

Beats me how the hell that played in the Middle East or amongst Muslims.

But I can tell you this President is one of the sorriest, saddest, most back-assward politicians with a tin ear and inability to read, think or reason that I have ever laid eyes on.

Yeah, he's a nice guy. So what?

They finish last.


Harrison said...

The part that gets me all riled up - but oh-so-familiar - is that of Palestinians not given a fair opportunity to seek peace of their own: Israel has conceded to them time and again territory, peace treaties, cease-fires...all they do is court their own destruction and demise. Not by Israeli rockets or reprisals, but their inability to respect the sanctity of their own lives over that of some atavistic conception of Arab unity - if you can still call it that when Shiites and Sunnis went at each other like thirsty bloodhounds only a while ago; if you can still call it that when Wahhabists travel across continents to Asia and Europe to murder their own brethren.

They can't make a nation out of themselves. They refuse to play by the rules of the international system - that the only sovereigns that can negotiate treaties and will be respected as equal legal entities in international courts and organisations are STATES. Call it the dictates of the international system, but that is reality. They want to pioneer a new form of organisation, a pseudo-state that has zero responsibility to other states and its own people, but maximum moral and legal authority to make claims about what obligations other states owe to them.

If they can't fulfil their own obligations to their own people - to protect their sanctity of life instead of offering them as meaningless cannon fodder at the altar of sacrifice for some supra-state utopian ideal - then they will never be able to create a state, they will never be able to fulfil the obligations expected of them as a sovereign. What talk of obligation to the Palestinians do we need to engage in then?


More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims

Colonialism also denied rights and opportunities to many other ethnicities and races, not just Muslims. The thing I can't stomach is that he makes it seem as though the colonial powers were all out to get the Muslims. Other races and ethnic groups managed to climb back up, shed the colonial past, and earn their way meritoriously to the top.

As for toleration, look no further than Malaysia. Prosperous, moderately peaceful, the rule of law pervades - seems like the ideal case in favour of Islam, no?

Not really - consider the bumiputra policy put in place since the British left: Malay Muslims get preferential treatment in land sales, education (university and scholarship eligibility), civil service employment, economic opportunities (capital, credit), political positions...the list goes on. Toleration exists, but only after state-engineered policies have put the Chinese and the Indians down, disadvantaged them, denied the best of them the opportunity to develop to the fullest of their potential. Second-class citizens they remain, the taxes they pay continue to go into the reinforcement of bumiputra policies. Go figure.

If the president wants to speak about toleration, let him read Rawls (though he is far from flawless) and his theory of political liberalism. As a scholar, he shouldn't be averse to it. There needs to be a minimum standard conception of human rights that all cultures, if they are to be accepted as humane and allowed to exist such that individuals are not persecuted, need to abide by. Some Islamic cultures do, others don't.

Enough of epic grandstanding and all this goodness. Enough of this abstract moralising and talk of obligations owed to the Middle East, to the Muslim world. We have obligations, as individuals, as states, to aid the poor, the impoverished, yes. What is NOT acceptable is that we continue to throw aid without considering how it will be used, especially when we know the middlemen are thugs, dictators, leeches who are all too happy to stoke the conflict and keep the funds flowing in.

Doing all this will require a severe paradigm shift for the president. I'm not so sure that he can do it, given that he is so utterly convinced of his own rhetoric.

A Jacksonian said...

Harrison - The Left is stuck in the 1960's when any of the Obama talking points had even a slight chance of being semi-relevent. Today they are bugs in amber, long dead... and yet colonialism is STILL brought up when those alive, today, doing the killing in the Middle East don't even have a first hand knowledge of it. Often not even second-hand.

For President Obama to address the present he has to accept that the past is history: those talking points are dead. He and the rest of the Left are unwilling to 'move on' from their favorite thumbs to suck and give up their security blanket of racist, imperialist, etc. talking points. The only people still alive near any power are: Fidel Castro and the Queen of England. Point out that there have been nearly three generations since those made sense and you get lots of free dumb looks.

In 1948 the Palestinians could have gotten their act together, put a coherent government together and agree to live by a stated law under a government of their own devising. Nothing stops them, to this day and all intervening days, from doing that. Zip. I have zero feelings towards the Palestinians as they can only bitch, moan and complain and never, not once, try to actually calm their passions and make a go of putting a Nation together to talk with the Israelis to work out disagreements.

Now with the last great power waning, we see lawlessness appear at the fringes of civilization and creep inwards. And we have a President who wants to apologize for being in a civilized Nation. The things he has been groveling about are long dead to all but a very few fanatics... and thinking they are still important marks him as just as fanatical.

The storm is hitting.

Divided we shall fall.

United arise.

Don't mind the messy part in between... it has been asked for, and it will come.