Bad enough that “terrorists” were not mentioned in the speech; there’s plenty to worry about in what was said.
Mark Steyn: Obama’s message of weakness
A superpower that feeds on mediocrity cannot survive for long on leftovers from the past. It’s more than simple mediocrity, it’s outright weakness:
Once Obama moved on from the more generalized Islamoschmoozing to the details, the subtext – the absence of American will – became explicit. He used the cover of multilateralism and moral equivalence to communicate, consistently, American weakness: “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.” Perhaps by “no single nation” he means the “global community” should pick and choose, which means the U.N. Security Council, which means the Big Five, which means that Russia and China will pursue their own murky interests and that, in the absence of American leadership, Britain and France will reach their accommodations with a nuclear Iran, a nuclear North Korea and any other psychostate minded to join them.
On the other hand, a “single nation” certainly has the right to tell another nation anything it wants if that nation happens to be the Zionist Entity: As Hillary Clinton just instructed Israel regarding its West Bank communities, there has to be “a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions.” No “natural growth”? You mean, if you and the missus have a kid, you’ve got to talk gran’ma into moving out? To Tel Aviv, or Brooklyn or wherever?
Or, stretching the point, since Obama supports live-birth abortion, draconian measures like the Chinese one-child policy? Just what the hell is he talking about? Because if he means “a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth — any kind of settlement activity“, no Israeli government is going to agree to that.
But back to Mark Steyn,
At a stroke, the administration has endorsed “the Muslim world’s” view of those non-Muslims who happen to find themselves within what it regards as lands belonging to Islam: the Jewish and Christian communities are free to stand still or shrink, but not to grow. Would Obama be comfortable mandating “no natural growth” to Israel’s million-and-a-half Muslims? No. But the administration has embraced “the Muslim world’s” commitment to one-way multiculturalism, whereby Islam expands in the West but Christianity and Judaism shrivel remorselessly in the Middle East.
Christopher Caldwell: The politics of self-abasement (empahsis added):
The president’s trip to the Middle East gave an inkling of what diplomacy is like when someone else has the upper hand. In part it was the atmospherics: the state department memo warning journalists accompanying Mr Obama to Saudi Arabia that they were “expressly prohibited from leaving the hotel or engaging in any journalistic activities outside of coverage of the Potus visit”; the photos of Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, in a headscarf; the invitations extended to members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.
Did the State Department engage in censorship? To all effects, by “expressly prohibiting” the newsmen to “engage in any journalistic activities outside of coverage of the Potus visit”, the answer is yes. What’s next, a new internet so we can communicate with Muslims?
An Obama-created network would end up being, at best, a vapid, fluffy photo-op of a venture that doesn’t truly harness the free-wheeling power of the Internet for communication, but instead bottles it to serve Obama’s message of the day. That has been the case so far with the much-hyped WhiteHouse.gov and Recovery.gov unveilings, which are long on pretty and short on useful. To an extent, this is to be expected from an administration managing its image, and is somewhat benign, but it poses more problems when you’re talking about an administration diplomatic effort.
At worst, it seems an Obama-created “online network” for Americans to communicate with Muslims in the service of Obama’s “kumbaya” message would be in danger of slipping into the same kind of censorship many Muslim cultures impose on online communications. Any restrictions would be under the guise of “not offending” Muslims, but would be read quite rightly as an endorsement of speech restrictions by the American president himself. Can you imagine, for instance, Obama allowing an “online network” in service of his goals that would let Americans to speak more bluntly about the subjugation of women in Muslim societies than he did in his speech?
Which brings us to that line,
“I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal.”
How about the right not to wear head covering?
when he said this morning in his major speech that “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition” he ignored that, by the time the Spanish Inquisition was created in 1478, Cordoba has been reconquered from Islamic hands almost 150 years earlier, in 1236.
However, the more immediate, and worrying, part is this:
But the key point of the speech was to downgrade the US alliance with Israel, to shift US support from the Israeli position to the Muslim one.
This weakness, self-abasement and apologies are not making the Middle East any freer, or any of us any safer.