In June 2009, President Obama stood in Cairo and offered up nothing less than the opening salvos of the later-vaunted Arab Spring. In fact, he allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to attend that speech; they received official invitations.
Obama said the United States and Muslim countries around the world would never mend broken fences by focusing on our differences, instead of commonalities. And while he said this in a way that seemed to mean he was speaking to “moderate” Muslims instead of Islamists, it’s demonstrable that since that time, the Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood have had a pretty easy go of it with Obama.
So let me ask, if we’re supposed to focus on our commonalities instead of our differences, what are the things Islamists and the West have in common?
Or to put it another way, what exists besides our differences?
Here in the West, we advance and defend women’s rights while Islamists have a special police agency given the responsibility of whipping and arresting women who wear skirts that are too short or Islamic garbs that don’t cover enough skin elsewhere. Here, mothers drive their children to school but in some Islamist countries, women are not even allowed to drive. Here, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Wicca practitioners, etc., all carry their religious books as they see fit. In Islamist countries, you can be punished simply for having a Bible, killed for being a Christian, and churches aren’t even allowed to be constructed (just look at the number of churches being torn down now that the Muslim Brotherhood has risen to power in the Middle East).
Here, Israel is an alley. But in Egypt, they’ve recently voiced their hope not only to send a “million martyrs” to Israel but to take Jerusalem and make it their capital.
Yet as Obama stood in Cairo, consumed with the thought of self-aggrandizement, he took so many supposed commonalities for granted, and talked about how no country (i.e., America) has the right to lord over another and how the war in Iraq had been “a war of choice” that demonstrated the poor diplomacy skills of the U.S. (read George W. Bush).
If you’ll recall, President Obama was so certain of himself on this one that he even instructed the NASA administrator “to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage…more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.” (I don’t know about you, but when an Islamist living in a cave without a car, cable TV, internet, or even running water, is firing full auto rounds at our troops, I never stop to think of the bang-up job he’d do as an astronaut.)
Anyway, here we are. Three years after the opening salvos of Obama’s Arab Spring were fired in a speech in Cairo, and from all indications, the world has become a much more dangerous place in which to live.
In 2009, Obama told his Egyptian audience he was seeking a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.” I hope he might now clarify that statement, so that everyone knows that taking Jerusalem from the Israelis and giving it to the Egyptians isn’t one of those “mutual interests.”