Instead, he delivered a naive, revisionist lecture that was sufficiently utopian and self-centered to have been drafted by Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately, he also demanded major concessions from the only democracy in the Middle East and America's most steadfast ally in the region, Israel.
To no one's surprise, Obama alluded -- for the 12th time in two weeks -- to the death of Osama bin Laden and cleverly described the terror kingpin's demise, the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan, to be part of his grand design for the Middle East.
After naming a litany of places where "the shouts of human dignity" and "self determination are being heard" -- including Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Libya -- he staked his claim: "... two years ago in Cairo, I began to broaden our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect." Apparently that mutual respect extends to everyone in the region except the Israelis.
In his lecture, the president asserted "the events of the past six months show us that strategies of repression and diversion won't work anymore" because satellite television, the Internet, cell phones and social networks "allow young people to connect and organize like never before." He says "the United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region." Yet repression and violence seem to be working just fine for the theocrats in Tehran and their proxies, Bashar Assad in Damascus and Hezbollah in South Lebanon.
Sadly, the people of Lebanon didn't even warrant an honorable mention in the remarks. He did devote 11 words to the violent suppression of Coptic Christians in Egypt -- but ignored the destruction of Maronite Christian churches in the Levant, and Greek Orthodox places of worship and synagogues throughout the region.
Obama asks us to "remember that the first peaceful protests were on the streets of Tehran, where the government brutalized women and men, and threw innocent people into jail." Are we therefore supposed to forget the days of stunning silence from the White House as these events unfolded?
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.