In light of the brutal Islamic attacks on our embassies in Egypt and Libya, we have a principal opportunity to draw a sharp distinction between the Reagan conservative foreign policy doctrine of America first and Obama’s doctrine of Islamists first. Unfortunately, many Republicans, including some congressional leaders, are either indifferent to Obama’s reckless foreign policy or subscribe to the phantom dreams of the Arab Spring.
Thankfully, Romney has doubled down on his sharply worded statement assailing Obama for apologizing yesterday. But it’s more than the apology that is the problem in the Middle East. We must connect the dots and show how Obama used our military along with several billion in taxpayer funds to strengthen the hand of Al-Qaeda, not just in Egypt and Libya, but across North Africa.
Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham and John McCain are out-Obamaing Obama on failed foreign policy, further sullying the distinctions between the parties.
“Despite this horrific attack, we cannot give in to the temptation to believe that our support for the democratic aspirations of people in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere in the broader Middle East is naive or mistaken.
“We cannot resign ourselves to the false belief that the Arab Spring is doomed to be defined not by the desire for democracy and freedom that has inspired millions of people to peaceful action, but by the dark fanaticism of terrorists. To follow this misguided path would not only be a victory for the extremists and their associates, but a betrayal of everything for which Chris Stevens and his colleagues stood and gave their lives. In short, it would be a betrayal of our own best ideals as Americans and our own enduring interest in using our great influence to support the overwhelming majority of people in the Middle East who want to be free from the kinds of murderers and terrorists who killed our people yesterday in Benghazi.”
Graham and McCain are dead wrong. Indeed the pursuit of democracy in the Arab world, or anywhere else for that matter, is not an ends in itself for America’s self-interests. There are times when promoting democracy in a specific country is beneficial to our national security interests and harmful to our enemies. But there are also times when supporting democracy in specific countries is beneficial to our enemies and harmful to our interests, especially when the new government is ultimately less democratic than the old one (Muslim Bros in Egypt), or if the vacuum of power strengthens Al-Qaeda (Libya) .
If we’ve learned anything from Jimmy Carter and the Shah it’s that we should plan to defend against the Arab Spring, not help promote it.
Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, President Bush established the Bush doctrine, which affirmed America’s right to pre-emptive strikes against terrorists and those who harbor them. Several years later, when the war in Iraq went awry and the WMD went missing, Bush made the mistake of justifying the war based on spreading democracy to the Middle East. This grew into a whole project in itself – one that ironically is wholeheartedly embraced by Obama.
While Obama embraces the democratization part of the Bush doctrine, he rejects the first part of it. Reagan conservatives should only hold by the first part of the doctrine. The entire democracy project is counterintuitive to the war on terror. As Obama has shown, the wrongheaded goal of spreading democracy has actually strengthened the hand of the terrorists. There is a reason why our Founders established a constitutional Republic instead of a democracy. In a democracy, when a majority votes for an unsavory government, that government can do whatever it wants. And that is exactly what we are getting in the Middle East.
The comments by John McCain and Lindsey Graham are a disgrace, and only serve to muddy the distinction between the two parties.
For the real Republican view on the attacks, please read Congressman Allen West’s spot on press release:
Americans need to question whether the deaths of these innocent patriots could have been avoided. The Obama Administration touted the Arab Spring as an awakening of freedom, which we now see is a nightmare of Islamism.
Even more concerning, is the initial response to these attacks last night from the embassy officials of the Obama Administration was to apologize for a Facebook video that supposedly hurt Muslim feelings. President Obama’s policy of appeasement towards the Islamic world has manifested itself into a specter of unconscionable hatred.
How anyone can believe this President is strong on national security and foreign policy is beyond my comprehension. President Obama has clearly surpassed former President Jimmy Carter and his actions during the Iranian Embassy crisis as the weakest and most ineffective person to ever occupy the White House.”
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