--Powerful Obama risks emboldening adversaries and scaring allies
Gaffney7-5-11Director, Centre for Security Policy, Washington, DC.
Frank, Jr. “Obama’s destructive foreign policy”, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/ 2011/jul/5/obamas-destructive-foreign-policy/, CMR
The outlines of an Obama Doctrine have been apparent for some time. It can be summarized in nine damning words: Embolden our enemies. Undermine our friends. Diminish our country. These days, it is hard to avoid proof that these outcomes are not inadvertent or attributable to sheer and sustained incompetence. Rather, they are a product of deliberate decisionsapproved, we must assume, by the president himself. Consider last week’s announcement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the United States was going to “engage” the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In one fell swoop, Team Obama hit its doctrinal trifecta: America arguably has no more mortal enemy than the Muslim Brotherhood (MB, or Ikhwan in Arabic). The MB’s own documents - including a number of those introduced into evidence by the Justice Department in the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history, the Holy Land Foundation prosecution - make clear that this international Islamist organization seeks to impose its politico-military-legal doctrine of Shariah on our country. One such document describes a “phased plan” that calls for the Ikhwan assiduously and stealthily to pursue precisely this objective. Ultimately, the plan calls for the use of violence to take over our government, clearing the way for the triumph of Islam worldwide and the re-establishment of a global ruler, the caliph, who will govern in accordance with Shariah. Sounds crazy, right? Or at least unachievable? It does, at least until you realize that the message being sent by the Obama administration is that despite such ambitions, we are prepared to legitimate and deal with the Muslim Brothers who are animated by them. Well, perhaps you say that just because we are recognizing that the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to be a big player (read, the winner) in the elections scheduled for later this year in Egypt does not mean we are going to facilitate its aspirations in this country. Unfortunately, that is exactly what it means. By engaging the Ikhwan in its native land, the Obama administration is effectively eliminating any lingering impediment to the operations of its myriad front groups in this country. Even before Mrs. Clinton’s announcement, many of them already had been accorded unprecedented access to and influence in the U.S. government. In fact, it stands to reason that one of the factors prompting Team Obama to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood is the success of such influence operations within the United States. In addition to emboldening our enemies by reinforcing their conviction that we are in decline, the Obama administration’s MB initiative undermines our friends. That is most obviously the case with respect to Israel, a nation already reeling from the president’s serial, gratuitous acts of enmity toward the Jewish state. His embraceof the Ikhwan can only exacerbate the worsening strategic environment the Israelis have faced in the months since the United States pulled the plug on former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. (For example, Israel has been seriously buffeted by actions taken to date by an Egyptian military clearly under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. These include steps taken to restore relations with Hamas and Iran; broker the Palestinians’ so-called “unity government”; open the Raffa crossing into Gaza; afford a hero’s welcome in Tahrir Square to one of the world’s most virulent Islamist ideologues, Sheik Yusef al-Qaradawi; and threaten to dispense with the peace treaty with Israel.) If both the Egyptian military and the Brotherhood conclude - as they reasonably could be expected to do - that there will be no costs associated with going beyond the unfriendly initiatives Cairo already has adopted, it is predictable that still worse behavior with respect to our interests and allies will be forthcoming. That conclusion probably will not be lost on one other important audience: whatever secular democrats there actually are in Egypt, who must be watching with horror the dissipation of any hope for support in keeping their country from becoming the next Shariah-adherent Islamist stronghold. It is hard to characterize all this as other than a further diminishing of America as a beacon of liberty and a reliable friend to those who cherish freedom or aspire to obtain it. If we are unable to counter even those who are explicitly hostile to our survival as a nation, we encourage the perception that this country is reduced to appeasing its enemies and selling out our friends. We will have many more of the former and far fewer of the latter.
Obama Power Fails
--Obama power will fail in the Middle East – regional diversity and rising expectations
Robert, “U.S. Priorities in a Changing Middle East”, http://www.cfr.org/middle-east/us-priorities-changing-middle-east/p25544, CMR] Obviously, Libya is now critical because we and the international community are engaged there militarily. We have drawn a line in the sand, and we now have lives and credibility at stake. This will have a regional demonstration effect of one sort or another. I would point to three other places critical for the United States: First is Saudi Arabia, given the West's energy dependency and Saudi Arabia's centrality to Gulf security. Second is Syria, the only Arab state fully aligned with Iran, which has become a widespread killing field for the regime against its own people. Third is Yemen, a potentially failed state that risks becoming a sanctuary for terrorists and anti-Western radicals. The United States should not try to come up with a one-size-fits-all policy for the region.Our interests are too diverse and our influence too uneven. That said, on May 19, President Obama tried to articulate an American vision for its role vis-à-vis the changes underway in the region. He firmly placed the United States on the side of democracy and change. He may come to regret those words,when the gap between rhetoric and action becomes evident. They raise questions about the restrained U.S. response to the brutal repression in Bahrain, for example. Many Arabs accuse the president of producing great speeches but poorly formulated or executed policies.