The second speech is Obama's own 2009 Cairo apology to the so-called Muslim world. American conservatives can make a strong case that the U.S. has zip nada nothing to apologize for to any religious group, especially one stuck with Iran's vicious clerics and several dysfunctional feudal societies that export terrorists. Obama's speech came at what historians may call the height of Obama's diplomatic narcissism, when he implied his very existence bridged international divisions and moved tyrants to engage in responsible nuclear disarmament negotiations. Yes, that's a laugh now, but a bitter chuckle, coming as it did right before Iran's pro-democracy Green Revolution erupted.
Obama was slow to support the vulnerable Iranian protestors. Expect the American exceptionalists in the new Congress to support them unabashedly.
The newbies will also clash with other Obama policies. They may support nuclear weapons reduction but demand the U.S. maintain a reliable nuclear deterrent, which could mean building new nuclear weapons. Obama's foolish decisions regarding missile defense will be revisited.
Where will the new Congress and the president cooperate?
One of the biggest gripes among Obama's hard-left supporters is they expected him to provide the denouement to the defeatist narrative and pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq. So far, Obama has not made that mistake, though Afghanis and Iraqis voice severe doubts about his commitment. Cynics read Obama's "rhetoric of doubt" as hooey to jive the defeatists in his political base. They cite Iraq's air force as an example. It will require training and logistics assistance until at least 2018. This suggests the U.S. Air Force will help protect Iraqi skies for beyond 2011. Obama knows this. He supports it because way down deep he really does not want to lose Iraq on his watch. The new conservatives in Washington don't want him to lose it, either.
In Afghanistan, President Obama is pursuing a "surge" strategy led by Gen. David Petraeus, a man Senator Obama's party vilified in 2007 for pursuing the same strategy in Iraq. Obama will take deserved heat from new congressional leaders for his blatant hypocrisy, but they will support his Afghan initiatives. They will demand, however, he exhibit the resolve of a committed commander in chief.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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