At the United Nations today, President Obama explained to the world that we would not disengage from the Middle East … unless they were mean to us. He stated that America’s efforts in the Middle East depended on the goodwill of the people who were there; we could not impose our will, and if they weren’t willing to be good partners, then we might as well take our ball and go home.
Here’s his exact wording:
Understand that America will never retreat from the world. We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and our friends. We will stand with our allies and are willing to partner with countries to deepen ties of trade and investment; science and technology; energy and development – efforts that can spark economic growth for all of our people, and stabilize democratic change. But such efforts depend upon a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect. No government or company; no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are endangered. For partnership to be effective, our citizens must be secure and our efforts must be welcomed.
First off, it is incredible that an American president feels the need to tell the world that we won’t “retreat from the world.” Even Obama understands just how appeasement-oriented our enemies believe he is. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan having to give that assurance?
Second, Obama says that America won’t retreat from the world – we’ll hurt our enemies, we’ll help our friends. But …
But not if there’s no mutual interest or respect.
But not if our citizens aren’t secure and our efforts aren’t welcomed.
In other words, we’re the Jerry Maguire of the Middle East: help us help you. And if you won’t, why, we’ll just quit, just as we have in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is the polar opposite of what we should be saying. We should be saying that not only won’t we be withdrawing from the world, we’ll be promoting American values abroad, and working with groups who understand the basic nature of liberty to ensure that people across the world are eventually able to enjoy those freedoms. We should be saying that our interests aren’t dependent on the feelings of others. We should be saying that if our partnerships aren’t effective, we will do our damndest to replace those partners with partners who will work with us.
But that’s not what Obama said, because he’s not comfortable with that. We have to be invited in, “welcomed.” We have to be loved, not feared. No wonder our embassies are burning.