Obama Will Not Make a Difference

Rhetoric and charm are not enough.

Prof. Sami Alrabaa

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Arutz 7

Barack Obama is undoubtedly a good orator and a charismatic figure. These two traits have certainly helped him get elected as president of the United States of America.
Unless he uses the language of Ronald Reagan, Obama will never succeed.

Islamic terrorism and a severe global economic crisis added impetus to his success. Rhetorically talented and charismatic figures usually flourish in crises.

But will rhetoric and charisma help Mr. Obama succeed at home and in the Middle East?

I doubt it. Unless Obama calls a spade a spade, he will fail. Unless he calls things by their real name with regard to the Middle East, he will fail. Unless he uses the language of Ronald Reagan, Obama will never succeed - especially as far as Islamic terror is concerned.

Instead of highlighting the root causes of Islamic terrorism and lack of democracy in the Middle East, Obama repeats himself ad nauseum. He advocates that America become partners and dialogue with Muslims. America no longer wants to impose its values on the rest of the world. He also uses aphorisms like, "Democracy brings peace and prosperity to all of us."

Had Western leaders during the Cold War confined themselves to general rhetoric with regard to Communism, the Berlin Wall would have stayed and the Soviet Union would have survived until now.

Obama must address the root causes of Islamic terror and the lack of freedom and human rights in the Middle East and Islamic societies if he wants to make a difference. Obama must speak loudly and specifically. He should tell his audience in Cairo and elsewhere:

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: Stop preaching hatred, violence. Stop practicing oppression, and discrimination against women. Introduce democracy and freedom of expression. Close down those mosques and madrassas that preach fanaticism. Stop exporting Wahhabism and fanaticism. Scrap those school books which incite to hatred and violence against non-Muslims. Allow religious freedom, and let Christians, Jews and followers of other faiths build their own temples and practice their own religion, as you are allowed to do so in other countries. Introduce democracy and freedom of expression. Stop oppressing women. We are not living in the Middle Ages.

Mr. Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, release all those political prisoners who demand democracy and human rights. Stop prosecuting them. Establish real democracy and free media. Stop confining freedom of expression. Stop prosecuting bloggers who criticize your regime. Stop prosecuting religious reformers. Fight for power through democracy and fair play.

King Abdullah of Jordan: Stop cementing your police state. Release all those political prisoners. Stop squandering our aid of billions of dollars on your palaces, luxury yachts and motorcycles. Invest the money in development projects and create jobs for the poor.

Hamas leaders: Scrap your charter in which you call for wiping out Israel. This is barbaric and there is no place for barbaric people on this Earth.

Arab and Muslim leaders: protect those scholars who call for religious freedom and modern interpretation of Islam. Stop those fanatic chaplains from preaching fanaticism.

That is the kind of specific language and content which Mr. Obama should use in his speech in Cairo. Had Mr. Obama spoken clearly and straightforwardly he would encourage people to demand political and religious freedom and isolate radical Muslims. Radical Muslims are emboldened because they are tolerated by Arab and Muslim regimes, and the West is unspecific and inactive.

Mr. Obama, and for that matter most Western leaders, are hypocritical. While they incessantly demand the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, they never demand the release of political prisoners in the Arab world. They never criticize "friendly:" Arab regimes for lack of democracy and abuse of human rights. Obama avoids being specific in relation to Arab regimes. As a matter of fact, he contradicts himself. While he always repeats that he wants to help Muslims build democratic societies, he defended totalitarian regimes like the Saudi and the Egyptian ones in interviews with BBC (June 1, 2009) and French media (June 2, 2009).

When Justin Webb from BBC asked Obama what he thought of the authoritarian regime of Egyptian President Mubarak, Obama said that he did not like to use such "labels". Then he defended Mubarak and argued that the man is a "force of stability". In other words, democracy and freedom must be sacrificed for the sake of "stability".

Webb also asked President Obama about human rights abuse in Egypt. According to Amnesty International, there are thousands of political prisoners in Egypt. "Oh, well, there are thousands of political prisoners around the world." Obama said, and added, "It is not our job to lecture on human rights."

Later in the interview with BBC, Obama said, "Action is required, not words." But obviously this does not apply to the Arab world. He wants "to open a dialogue with Muslims to remove misapprehensions on both sides." Obama added, after 9/11, the level of misapprehension has increased.

Oh, 9/11 is simply a "misapprehension"! To add insult to injury, Obama added, "There are cultural differences between us and the Muslim world, and we must understand these differences." Besides, "There are many Muslims who live among us, and that makes us part of the Muslim world."

So 9/11 and all the terror launched by Islamic jihadists is due to "cultural differences" and misunderstanding of these differences? The free world "misunderstands" the Islamic culture of hatred and violence?
Saudi friends tell me that the totalitarian regimes in Burma and elsewhere are actually paradise compared to life in Saudi Arabia.

The question is, Mr. President, who is rejecting whom? Who is inciting to hatred and violence? Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Bahais? It is Muslims, their Koran and their Hadith.

In his recent interview with French media, Obama also defended Saudi Arabia, the worst despotic and fanatic regime in modern history. He commended Saudi Arabia for being a loyal strategic ally of pivotal importance for the West.

My Saudi friends tell me that the totalitarian regimes in Burma and elsewhere are actually paradise compared to life in Saudi Arabia, which lacks all kinds of basic human rights. Obama’s defense of Saudi Arabia is music to the ears of King Abdullah and his clan. They can relax and carry on their totalitarian rule. The most important power in the world approves.

Bowing to the Saudi king, the way Obama did in London, and talking about Saudi Arabia like that is suspicious. I suspect that he received millions of dollars, directly or indirectly, during his presidential campaign. The Saudis are very good at that. They bribe influential people to keep them quiet.

On the other hand, how come Obama was so specific as far as Israel is concerned? He urged the Israeli government to stop building settlements in the West Bank, but failed to urge Hamas to stop its terrorist attacks and its denial of Israel's right to exist.

Obama's address at Cairo University on June 4, 2009, I am sure, will be rhetoric-filled speech that is void and unspecific.

Obama is maybe a good orator, but as a politician he will fail - in particular, in the Middle East.