Obama's Promise for a New Dawn Became Darkness of a Burqa

Article Summary
Three years since Obama's rousing speech in Cairo promising a new dawn, it's clear that his foreign policy has failed, writes Yoaz Hendel. The Middle East remains the same: the dawn became the darkness of the Burqa, and democratization became Islamization. 

A “new beginning,” that’s what President Barack Obama called his speech in Cairo University on June 4, 2009. “An old and familiar ending” would be a fitting title for his next speech in the same place. President Obama’s foreign policy has been a complete failure ever since he was elected to the White House. Peace has not arrived, Islam has not drawn closer to the West, the extremists have built up their strength and toppled the moderates. Egypt, that was the symbol of what was possible in the Middle East, became the symbol of the impossible towards the end of Obama’s first office. This concrete example demonstrates political lack of understanding and its fateful repercussions.

More than anything else, President Obama is the tragic hero of his own making. He believed, really and truly, in his election slogans. He believed that he could bring a new dawn to the world from the speaker's dais in Cairo.

He believed that by virtue of the power of his words, and pressure on Israel, that democracy, human rights and peace would flourish in this dry crescent.

He chose to believe, instead of studying the reality.

At the beginning of February 2011, the heads of the American intelligence stood before a hearing in the Senate. The first to report on the situation in Egypt was Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. With incredible ignorance, he described the Muslim Brotherhood as a "largely secular organization," a statement that he was later forced to retract. A week later, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta also found it hard to call it a "radical" organization. The utterings of both men was the direct result of policy that failed to understand [reality].

The spirit of the American Commander-in-Chief [Obama] was transformed into an eclipse.

Obama was not the first to err in the Middle East syndrome, with utopian dreams of biblical peace — if only Israel would show a little flexibility. The bodies of errant souls pile up here at a dizzying pace. No less impressive is the pace of memorial monument construction for [failed] peace talks and agreements.

After all, who does not want peace? Who is not interested in a new dawn, in which enemies drink coffee and eat humus together instead of wielding swords at one another?

Three years have passed since that same speech in Cairo. Even the White House can discern how the dawn promised by Obama has evaporated into the darkness of the burqa. How democratization has turned into Islamization, how the tower of cards he built has crashed — leaving only dangerous dust.

The explanation for this is found in the mirror phenomenon. Obama looked at the Islamic world and thought that he was seeing himself. He was convinced that the thought processes and desires were similar on both sides.

He thought that it is possible to convince the ignorant masses to live better, freer lives, with respect for women and minorities. Exactly as he would have wanted. He tried to pressure Israel because he thought that what was at stake was only a mere dispute over territory, over national honor.

Obama didn’t understand the very basis of the gap. The gaping cultural-religious abyss that cannot be bridged by use of slogans and good oration.

In our context, we have no choice but to acknowledge that Ehud Barak [Israel’s Defense Minister] — the man that everyone likes to hate, from Left to Right — was correct: that we are a villa in a jungle. All around us, we see Syrians slaughtering women and children indiscriminately. There’s the Shi’ite Hezbollah in Lebanon, the small Hashemite tribe in Jordan that rules the Palestinian masses by force, Hamas in Gaza, and now a Muslim fundamentalist regime in Egypt. Muslims slaughter other Muslims nonstop, the voice of progress is silenced, primitivism reigns, and the rulers who are well acquainted with the reality prefer survivability over educating [the masses].

Not politically correct, but true.

The hope for peace is important, but unfortunately the Middle East is the same old one, as we have long known it to be

Found in: us, obama, middle-east, israel, islamisation, hendel, cairo speech, cairo

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