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Post Partisan
Posted at 03:51 PM ET, 09/21/2012

PostScript: An Rx for what ails the Middle East

We in the PostScript bunker are pleased to announce a light, palate-cleansing edition to calm ourselves after our three-day, strife-torn devotion to the secret 47 percent video. We turn to the oasis of calm in the comments to Charles Krauthammer’s column about foreign policy in the Middle East. Mmm.

Krauthammer argues that it’s time to admit the Cairo Doctrine, Krauthammer’s term for what he describes as President Obama’s more conciliatory policies toward the Muslim world, is an abysmal failure, since everything is going to sludge over there. They still hate us, the argument goes, but now they don’t fear us.

Commenters, as is their wont, picked a side and argued, but PostScript noticed both sides seemed to want one thing in common. Namely, something to do now that the abysmal failures have abysmally failed.

Golem wonders what now for the anti-Obama crowd:

Dr. CK’s analysis is right on target. The naivete of our President is so extreme as to border on idiocy. The problem is the lack of any foreseeable solution. Romney has the charisma of a frog. Barring some additional calamity he is not going to be elected. The only hope is for Obama to realize the futility of his feel-good leftist tendencies and philosophies, learn from his mistakes, and adopt positions that will enhance the safety and well-being of the greatest number of Americans.

njglea asks for the pro-Obama people, so what’s better than what he’s doing?

So what’s the answer, Mr. Krauthammer? That the United States wage war against the entire Middle East, China and Russia? Who in their right mind would want that? How dare you try to discredit OUR President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta for using diplomacy, and force when necessary such as when he found and destroyed OBL, on the world stage. You go fight in Afghanistan, Iraq and/or Pakistan if you want war.

BartStratton sees the whole cycle of U.S. efforts in the Middle East — threaten, attack, get stung, withdraw, rinse, repeat — as of a piece:

Krauthammer doesn’t offer an alternative policy and since Romney’s campaign website essentially restates Obama’s policy, it’s hard to see what the right wing alternative is. Reagan withdrew from Lebanon after the Marine barracks was blown up. George H Bush, avoiding entangling himself in the ME because, “it wouldn’t be prudent”. In invading Iraq, Bush knocked out a vicious strongman ally of sorts and replaced him with chaos — what great foreign policy gain was accomplished? According to Krauthammer, it was the inspiration for the Arab Spring, which he now writes off because a few well-timed riots.

And civil discourse occurs (again!) concerning PostScript’s very theme for this bunker report! Civility is on the march!

SteveInThailand

I’m looking (in vain, of course) through this torrent of abuse slamming the present administration for just one post that contains an idea of what to do differently. Like CK’s piece, there is none — unless we count the ones that effectively say the US should just swagger more.

skjohnson37

I’ll give this a shot. Let our Marine guards at our embassies carry live ammunition; ensure our ambassadors have armed security details with them at all times; believe the Libyan government when they warn us that our consulate is being targeted; respond to the assassination of a sitting ambassador with more than an apology. Agree or disagree, there are suggestions out there.

SteveInThailand

Those are on the ground security measures to protect US lives and property — all well and good. Nothing at all about policy in the region — which is the subject of CK’s piece and the point of my comment.

skjohnson37

As to region-wide policies, there are again, several things that could have been done differently. Supporting the Iranian revolution (against an ostensibly enemy government) supporting the Egyptian (an ostensibly friendly) government.
Regional stability is a thing to be desired, and both of the Obama Administration’s decisions vis a vis Iran and Egypt led to a destabilization.

Frustratingly, though, commenters are still discussing what should have been done, rather than what we should do. C’mon, guys, you’re having a temperate, productive anonymous conversation on the Internet! There’s going to be a Republican theater festival in Philadelphia! Anything is possible! You brought civilization and mutual understanding out of chaos! Now just do that in the Middle East. Please. Now.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  03:51 PM ET, 09/21/2012

 
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