Saturday, April 16, 2011

Explaining the Middle East to President Obama In One Sentence

This article is published on PajamasMedia. The text is provided here for your convenience.

By Barry Rubin

How would you explain the Middle East to President Obama in one sentence? Here’s my take:

Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern societies are stuck between tradition and modernity, barraged by decades of hate speech, extremist ideologies, scapegoating, and statism depriving people of freedom and so, as a consequence, it’s not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them–America, the West, Israel–and blame them for all problems.

The words in bold are from Obama’s fund-raising speech in San Francisco during the last election, applied to Americans who live in small towns and weren’t going to vote for him.

And now how would you explain to him in one sentence what he should do about the Middle East:

Your job is to protect the United States and its friends from extremism–not apologize, appease, or try to win over your enemies–and help to break this closed circle of radicalism rather than become its codependent, enabler, or–worst of all–join in with its fantasies and misunderstandings of reality.

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