Osama bin Laden famously said that people in his region always follow the strong horse.
President Obama sent bin Laden to sleep with the sturgeons earlier this year in a move widely hailed. No one but the Michael Moores complained that bin Laden hadn’t been given a Miranda warning or carped that our faithful friends, the Pakistanis, hadn’t been tipped off first.
As it turned out, however, the Osama raid proved to be the outlier. President Obama turned from that undeniable success and ratcheted up the pressure on Israel. (Why is it every time we finish off some Arab mass killer of Muslims we seem to find it necessary to tighten the screws on the Israelis? It’s as if some State Department expert wants to prove we are “even-handed.”)
Apart from the success of the Osama raid, this president has been stumbling, and stumbling badly, in the Mideast throughout his time in office. First, the newly-inaugurated Barack Obama bowed to Saudi Arabia’s king during a 2009 London summit. No American leader had ever done this before. No American had ever so humbled this country before one of the world’s worst despots. Even if you wanted to show a kinder and gentler face to Muslims, doesn’t he know that the king of Saudi Arabia is widely resented—among Muslims. Saudi police treat Muslim pilgrims to Mecca like cattle.
President Obama soon followed up that shocking act with a rhetorical salaam before assembled scholars at Al Azhar Mosque in Egypt. He chose this site for his highly publicized speech reaching out to “the Muslim world.” Doesn’t Mr. Obama know that Al Azhar is notorious for being the center of Muslim Brotherhood influence throughout the Arab world? They are the ones who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981 in broad daylight. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize for ending thirty years of war with Israel. That’s why the Muslim Brotherhood killed him.
So what did President Obama say there? He spoke of the Koran as “holy.” No American president has ever done that before. He said Islam had been “revealed” in the Mideast. As in revealed by God? As a candidate, he had told Nick Kristof of the New York Times that he recalled the muezzin’s call to prayer from his boyhood days in Indonesia. Then, he recited it in what the journalist called a perfect Arabic accent. (Does Kristof speak Arabic? How does he know what a perfect Arabic accent sounds like?)
So, what have been the results of all this bowing and salaaming? The prestigious National Journal this week reports that Arabs’ views of Obama and the United States are at historic lows.