March 10, 2016

Truth After Truth From President Obama

President Obama is right on all of the points below.

An excerpt from, "Obama Deeply Proud of That Time He Broke His Promise on Syria, and 12 Other Revelations From His Unbelievably Frank Interview With The Atlantic" by Eric Levitz, New York Magazine, March 10, 2016:
Washington’s foreign-policy Establishment is actually bad.

Obama told Goldberg that the foreign-policy Establishment "makes a fetish of 'credibility' — particularly the sort of credibility purchased with force," arguing, "dropping bombs on someone to prove that you’re willing to drop bombs on someone is just about the worst reason to use force."
He further suggested that many military leaders and think-tank dwellers are belligerent, arrogant tools of Israel and Saudi Arabia.
He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex. A widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. I’ve heard one administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as “Arab-occupied territory.”
Netanyahu could get a two-state solution if he wanted one.
There is no shortage of world leaders who frustrate Barack Obama, but Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in his own category, Goldberg writes.
Obama has long believed that Netanyahu could bring about a two-state solution that would protect Israel’s status as a Jewish-majority democracy, but is too fearful and politically paralyzed to do so.
Saudi Arabia is responsible for the spread of fundamentalist Islam.
Goldberg describes a conversation between Obama and Malcolm Turnbull, the new prime minister of Australia, in which the president explains why fundamentalist Islam has gained such strength in recent years.
Because, Obama answered, the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs have funneled money, and large numbers of imams and teachers, into the country. In the 1990s, the Saudis heavily funded Wahhabist madrassas, seminaries that teach the fundamentalist version of Islam favored by the Saudi ruling family, Obama told Turnbull.
The Middle East needs to pull itself up by its bootstraps.
Explaining what he hoped to achieve with his Cairo speech, Obama tells Goldberg, “My argument was this: Let’s all stop pretending that the cause of the Middle East’s problems is Israel ... I was hoping that my speech could trigger a discussion, could create space for Muslims to address the real problems they are confronting—problems of governance, and the fact that some currents of Islam have not gone through a reformation that would help people adapt their religious doctrines to modernity."
A major theme of Goldberg's article is Obama's desire to shift his focus from much of the Middle East to the developing economies of Asia. In one revealing passage, Obama seems to disapprovingly compare the young people of the Middle East with their pro-American peers in other regions.
“If we’re not talking to them,” he said, referring to young Asians and Africans and Latin Americans, “because the only thing we’re doing is figuring out how to destroy or cordon off or control the malicious, nihilistic, violent parts of humanity, then we’re missing the boat.”
Putin is actually pretty chill.
"The truth is, actually, Putin, in all of our meetings, is scrupulously polite, very frank," Obama says of the Russian leader. "Our meetings are very businesslike. He never keeps me waiting two hours like he does a bunch of these other folks.”