"My father taught me many things in this room. One of them was 'Keep your friends close … and your enemies closer.'"Which I was thinking about yesterday when I Tweeted (you can follow me @richgalen)
So, Obama speaks with [Egyptian President Mohammad] Morsi (who is NOT an ally) but snubs [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu (who IS an ally).
Yesterday afternoon the Associated Press thought there was so much anti-American activity in the Middle East that they had to put all of it into one easy-to-digest filing. The hotspots were
-- YemenAnd this was just Thursday. We can only wait, with teeth clenched and arms wrapped around each other, for what will happen today after Friday prayers - Friday, for Muslims, being the equivalent of Sunday for Christians.
I went back and read President Obama's speech in Cairo from July, 2009 - six months after he had taken office and three months before he would receive the Nobel Peace Prize for …
The speech (which you can read in its entirety on the Secret Decoder Ring page) is heavy on suggesting that George W. Bush was to blame for the torn relationships between the U.S. and the Muslim world and Obama's approach would be to treat each nation as an equal.
It's a pretty good speech, for all of that.
But there's one thing: Obama couldn't give that speech today.
Cairo is no longer safe enough for an American President to appear in a public arena.
Well done, Mr. President.
The other night, during an interview on the Spanish Language Telemundo network, Obama said:
"People are reading too much into this. 'Ally' is a legal term of art. We don't have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies."Yeah. Well.
The Associated Press did a Fact Check and wrote:
"Under U.S. Law, [Egypt] is an ally. The statement marks an abrupt change from decades when Washington and Cairo were ironclad partners in fighting terrorism, countering Iran's influence in the region and promoting Arab-Israeli peace."
Obama's own State Department weighed in on the President's behalf, according to Politico.com:
Asked repeatedly if the State Department still considered Egypt a major non-NATO ally - a designation they were awarded in 1989 - State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said simply: "Yes."
Where's the white-flecks-in-the-corner-of-their-mouths of a political press corps ready to pounce on any little misstatement like not knowing the status of a country to which we are paying over $1.5 billion a year for its loyalty?
Well … There's so much else going on: Notre Dame joined the ACC. New York outlawed giant soft drinks. And, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the U.S. economy is in the dumper and will spend $40 billion PER MONTH to try and bail it out.
For centuries tradition and law have held that embassies and consulates are the sovereign territory of the county that owns them. An attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, as I understand it, is an attack on the United States.
Are we prepping to fight? Are we challenging would-be attackers?
Not so much.
CBS News reported that we are preparing to flee from embassies all around the world.
"American diplomatic offices everywhere have seen their security beefed up, and there are contracted aircraft being kept on the runways in major cities so that they can ferry out evacuated personnel."Speaking of "beefed up security" there have been reports - neither confirmed, nor denied - that the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson (who is a career Foreign Service Officer), forbad the Marine guards from having live ammunition.
I don't know whether that means the Marines could not have their weapons locked-and-loaded; or whether they could have ammunition on their person; or, in easy reach, or what.
If the Marines - whose job description includes the word "guard" - were forbidden the basic tools of their trade, then Ambassador Patterson should be immediately brought home and assigned to the records section at Main State to make sure every other Foreign Service Officer's marital status is up-to-date.
Until she retires.
Barack Obama's foreign policy is the same as his domestic policy: It's all George W's fault.
It's time for Obama to man up and take responsibility for his Administration's failures.
The Godfather was a movie. Obama needs to live in the real world.