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Empty Rhetoric is Fleeting and is Not Leadership

obama profile smileby Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi

The inclination to uncontrollable urge for verbal diarrhea, motivated by narcissism and shallow intellectual abilities and not by wisdom and experience, is the ubiquitous attribute of the professionally challenged person. Indeed, in the conjunction between self-reproach for the actions of the ancestors and the idiotic mediatization of today’s politics, the most fatal errors in electoral judgment were committed in 2008 and then in 2012. These errors had two consequences. First and foremost, the majority of the voters empowered a totally clueless president who, in turn, formed an administration full of even more clueless amateurs. That is when the executive branch’s doors opened to the semi literate leftist youth, who invaded Washington in search of power and material gain. It was in this misguided selection and the resulting incompetence that the countless seeds of domestic as well as foreign policy catastrophes were planted.

This spring, the almost universal chaos in the Middle East has replaced the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine as the leading locus of regional instability. President Obama’s misguided adventure in Libya was followed by his miscalculation in Syria. To add insult to injury, in 2011 he decided to dump the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leadership seemed to be moderate, coherent and disciplined. In accordance with President Obama’s simplistic worldview, the Brothers, known in Arabic as Ikhwan, were the forces of progress, and thus historically unstoppable. As one American diplomatic genius opined: “Basically, the Brothers are the only game in town.” It did not take long before the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch Hamas initiated an all-out bombardment of Israel. The ensuing ceasefire provided for all of Gaza’s crossings into Egypt and Israel to be opened – a good-will concession that was turned by Hamas, at least psychologically, from a clear military defeat into a rhetorical victory. Against all expectations, the ceasefire did not end Hamas’s violence. Hopes by Hamas that the Muslim Brotherhood would use the Egyptian state to wipe out Israel came to an abrupt end. In June 2013, the Egyptian military overthrew the government of Mohammed Morsi and stopped the transport of goods into Gaza through the illegally constructed tunnels, either by flooding them with sewage, or demolishing them with explosives.

Egypt’s tunnel squeeze, Israel’s prompt retaliations for the unending bombardment of its civilians, the decline in Hamas’s political status throughout the Arab world, and opposition to Hamas’s self-defeating violence prompted the latter to deliberately escalate hostilities with Israel. On July 7th, “Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, a local franchise of Hamas, resumed the random bombardment of Israel, firing its rockets and missiles as far as the city of Haifa in the north. In order to protect its citizens, Israel responded with precision bombing of the launching sites. When the bombardment has intensified, Israel has initiated a ground offensive. While rejecting several ceasefire proposals, the leadership of Hamas has revved up its propaganda machine by resorting to more virulent jihadist language. In reality, neither its violence, nor its rhetoric has done much to endear the Islamists to their Arab brothers and sisters in general and to Gazans in particular, who are collectively fed up with isolation and factional hostilities. The same overwhelming majority also rejects the Islamists politics that is chiefly financed and supported by the Mullahcracy in Tehran. While Fatah used to be the standard bearer of secular pan-Arabism in the Nasserite tradition, it had gradually succumbed to the extremism of Hamas and Iran.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is becoming an increasingly partisan proponent of the Palestinian causes. In a widely watched Sunday program, Secretary of State, John Kerry, upon hearing from an aide that the Israeli retaliation resulted in civilian casualties declared: “We’ve got to get over there.” Thus, like a snake-bitten mouse, he first flew to Cairo, then to Jerusalem, then back to Cairo, then to Paris, trying to broker a lopsided ceasefire. In his boundless incompetence and stupidity Secretary Kerry could not grasp the strategic essence and the tactical elements of a hitherto insoluble conflict. Strategically, Palestinian extremism pose a long-term threat to regional stability and international security, and especially to Israel and the Sunni-Arab countries. Although Iran’s, Hizbollah’s and Hamas’s current ambition is limited to “liberating Palestine”, which they believe had been occupied by Israel illegally, their ultimate objective is to turn the Islamic states and then the rest of the world into a single Islamic Caliphate. The West supports Palestinian statehood as a least problematic alternative to keep terrorism out of the region. What is not understood is that by appeasing Palestinian extremists the United States and its European allies have created a monster that threatens to devour peaceful Islam and the entire Muslim world.

For these reasons, Secretary Kerry’s ceasefire proposals are sad testaments for the Obama Administration’s hopeless cluelessness and professional incompetence. Moreover, these proposals would essentially allow the Sunni Arabs and Shi’a Iran to fight a proxy war in the territory of a legitimate state, that happens to be the only democracy and a staunch ally of the United States, with devastating consequences for regional stability and peace. Finally, Palestine is not a state. The Palestinian Authority’s policies do not guarantee that it would behave more responsibly if a two state solution is implemented. These irresponsible policies are exacerbated by a long-line of corrupt leaders. For example, Gaza’s disastrous economic situation has not deterred Hamas from spending hundreds of millions of dollars on weapons and tunnels instead of building schools and public health facilities.

Taking an uncompromising approach against the duplicitous behavior of both Fatah and Hamas would make the Middle East a much safer place. Against the mindset that believes in the absolute righteousness of its cause, appeasement will never work. Most importantly, the United States must recognize Islamic terrorism for what it is: extreme and ruthless criminal behavior the attraction and popularity of which continues to grow. The Obama Administration’s insistence on negotiating with criminals indicate that it does not understand the dangers inherent in the culture of Islamic violence. Congress and the American people must force this Administration to think again.

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Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi is the Vice President of Frontiers of Freedom.