Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libya, On The To Do List. . .

Libya. We’re still on Libya. Ug. Why are we talking about Libya? Because Obama is an idiot, that’s why. Well, let’s get this over with.... then we’ll agree to never speak of this again!

1. Obama... Silence Ain't Golden
When a civil war starts in a country that sits a few hundred miles south of Italy, a country rich in oil, a country we bombed in 1986, a country that sponsors international terrorism. . . US Presidents tend to issue statements. So why has Obama been conspicuously silent? We speculated about this the other day and strangely, none of us came close to the real answer: apparently, Obama is soooooo busy he just didn’t have time to issue a statement. I guess Oprah’s been pretty special this week?

Seriously, I'm not making this up!

Here’s the quote from Obama Spokesmonkey Jay “small hands” Carney:
“This is a scheduling issue. The president will meet with Secretary of State Clinton this afternoon. We will have something to say out of that meeting. If possible, the President will speak this afternoon or tomorrow.”
What the heck? This is what you say when you decline a lunch invitation, not when a country erupts in civil war! And how long does it take to issue a statement anyway? It’s really quite simple. Obama takes off his wife’s jeans, puts on a suit. He walks to the statement giving hallway. The media bows, cheers and cries. Someone turns on the TOTUS. Obama reads. The media applauds and holds up lighters. Obama returns to the Huckleberry Hound Show which his staff conveniently TiVoed. How hard is that?

Oh, I see, he doesn’t know what to say? Gee, what do you say when a murderous tyrant the world hates is fighting for his life against his own citizens and his military is switching sides in city after city? Hmmm. How about this:
[look serious]

To the people of Libya,
Get him!

[beat cheeks]
Was that so hard? You don’t even have to put it in Haikou format! Seriously, it’s hard to find an easier speech to give. Grrr.
2. On Israel....
While we’re here, I thought I’d mention briefly what all of this means for Israel. I bring this up because The Economist has taken the strange position that if all of this upheaval in the Arab world leads to free and peaceful democracies in the Middle East (which is actually possible), then somehow the United States needs to abandon Israel.

Right, just like we abandoned England when Germany became a democracy.

How does this make any sense? I honestly can’t tell you. The little bit of “logic” The Economist presented was nothing more than watered down conspiracies statements in the Worldwide Zionist Conspiracy mold. Apparently, those sneaky Jews control the US because they have an effective lobby, and thus US policy has been a servant to Israel (as evidenced by us invading Iraq and in foreign aid we give Israel). If Arabs stop being meanies, then the US will need to give up supporting the regional bully, i.e. Israel. Q.E.D..

I hardly know where to begin with this. AARP is more powerful than the Israeli lobby? And if Jews are so powerful, why would that power suddenly fail them just because Arabs start voting? We invaded Iraq for a dozen reasons, none of which involved Israel. We give foreign aid to everyone. Israel isn’t the neighborhood bully, it’s the kid that stood up to the bullies. And if the Arabs stop being jerks, then Israel doesn’t need our protection. Hence, every single part of this theory is wrong.

The truth is this. If the Arab world becomes democratic and free (and gives up its desire to wipe Israel off the map), there is no reason in the world the US should abandon Israel. Frankly, I expect that would improve everyone’s relations and probably draw us closer into the whole region through increased tourism and investment.

Somehow, between the antiSemitic Economist and our silent President, I get the feeling we're not in the greatest of hands these days.


Tennessee Jed said...

It seems to me that with mush of the Islamic world, our relationship with Israel has always been THE most single important factor. If we abandon, Israel, we might actually become just a Satan, rather than "THE GREAT" Satan.

My biggest concern in the Middle East is when the dictatorships collapse, what emerges in their place. It seems to me that fundamentalist jihadist mullahs are able to jump in when the dictators who run the countries continue to opress the people and they remain in economic third world condition. Obviously, some dictators have been more helpful to U.S. interests and more stabizing than others.

I understand that to a certain extent, neither Obama nor any other president can really control events in these countries. But, as you point out, our current administration has been contradictory, and has appeared particularly weak and inept in it's response to Iran, Egypt, Behrain, and now Libya. When the jihadists get their hands on Saudi oil, we are really in trouble.

Tennessee Jed said...

in my prior post, I meant "most" instead of "mush" the point being our relationship with Israel has defined how we are viewed by most of the Islamic world.

Tennessee Jed said...

As an aside, and well off topic, Lawrence Myers, one of the better writers/reviewers over at BH has an interesting piece today about morals, themes, and subtexts in regard to the Oscar nominated films. Definitely worth a readfor the Commenterama folks, I think.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think there are two issues here regarding Obama. First, there is the long term issue, which is that we've been supporting corrupt dictators who repress their own people. That's been going on since the 1950s, and is a huge mistake. We should have been pushing them form decades now to free up their economies (as China has done) to bring economic success to their people, and then free up their political systems to make the countries stable.

Bush II started that, to much criticism from the left, who played the old "you don't mean it, you just want oil" game. Obama paid that lip service, but then did nothing to further it. It's a little late now to change that.

But the second point is that we can cast our die with protestors who are looking for peaceful democracy. We can at the least be saying the right things -- don't kill your people, free your people, etc. For Obama to send crazy mixed signals in Egypt and now ignore these same forces in Libya puts us on the side of the dictators, something which will not be forgotten when the revolution is over. History has shown that people remember who supported them and who didn't.

By saying nothing, we have no influence. But if we spoke up, we could at least offer guidance to the new government, which looks pretty inevitable at this point.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I got that. And on Israel, Israel is a pretext that Arab leaders have been using to cover up their failures. They're the boogeyman. "Why did your cousin disappear in a security forces van? Must be the Mossad. Why are you poor? Because Israeli agents destroyed our economy."

The thing about democracy is that it tends to destroy revolutionaries because the responsibility for getting things done (like picking up the trash and providing jobs) becomes yours. And in a democracy, you can't hide behind secret police and mystery happenings. So if these countries become democratic, then the Israeli hate will recede.

The danger is that they become Islamic dictatorships. I don't think that's actually very likely though because once the central government is gone, then the next question becomes "how do we set up our government." And that's where the internal problems in this country will likely blow them apart. And that lends itself to ethnic governments rather than a single central Islamic-based government.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Thanks for the heads up. I just read it and it's a pretty good read.

Here's the link: LINK

It's interesting that he sees Inception as the weakest of the contenders.

DUQ said...

I love your speech! You should write Obama's next state of the union! It amazes me how far the left has gone with open antisemitism these days. I think that's the real reason for "The Economist" piece, just like that's the reason behind so much unfair criticism of Israel these days.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, you forget that Obama is of a higher intelligence than the rest of us and can't be bothered with such petty concerns.

What makes this so bad is that the EU countries--especially France--have gotten ahead of us in condemning Gaddafi and evacuating their civilians. Sarkozy stated that the Libyan government was guilty of severe human rights abuses and needed to have sanctions placed against that, and his and other countries' reps at the UN have been working on a resolution to that effect (I know it's a UN resolution, but it's better than nothing, usually). Obama couldn't even manage to speak Gaddafi's NAME during his remarks, for Pete's sake! As my generation likes to say, FAIL. But hey, at least he ended oppression here by not pursuing DOMA, right?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I agree. For decades, the left whined about anti-Semitism on the right, when the real villains had all be leftists (Nazis, Commies, Arab Socialists). In fact, railing against "Jewish Bankers" has always been a big time leftist routine. But in the past decade or two, they've really let this creep back openly into their movement.

In fact, in a very interesting recent incident, progressive students in England attacked the leader of their union using anti-Semitism slurs. The police actually had to pull him out of the rally to protect him from his own "peace and happiness loving" members.

I think that Israel's close association with America combined with the collapse of Russia and the capitalism-ization of China, has left the left with only one hero they can turn to as a counterforce to America and capitalism -- Arabism. So they've taken up the cause of the Palestinians and Muslim extremists everywhere. And that association has made it more acceptable in their ranks to attack Jewish bankers and to buy into Worldwide Zionist conspiracies.

(fyi, the same ones Hitler, Stalin and the boys all bought into)

Unknown said...

Andrew: I know that I've said this before, but if Israel magically disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, nothing would change in the Islamic world except their ability to give their entire concentration to destroying Western civilization.

People tend to forget that when Hitler was done eliminating the Jews, he planned to eliminate the Poles, the Slavs and everybody else who got in the way of his Aryan Thousand Year Reich. Only some of the names and geographical locations have changed.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Yeah, that's Obama for you. He lets the French lead, he can't bring himself to name evil except when it's a political opponent, and he spends his time worrying about things like DOMA rather than thousands of people being massacred.

Seriously, how hard is it to at least call for calm and demand that Gaddafi stop killing his people? You don't even need to know anything about Libya to issue that kind of statement.

Also, it's not like he doesn't have a State Department already studying these issues. This isn't something so new that no one knows how to respond?!

Also, besides DOMA, don't forget that he somehow managed to find time to interfere in Wisconsin on behalf of his union buddies.

I guess the Libyans just didn't contribute enough to his campaign.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's true. If every single Jew disappeared right now, not a single thing would change in the lives of average Arabs. But of course, that's the truth about all boogeymen, they are an excuse that people use cover up their own failures. "Gee, I was fired because of racism/sexism/I spoke truth to power.... not because I didn't do my job." or "Gee, this country is a cesspool because Israel or the United States is trying to keep us down, not because our repressive socialism has destroyed our economy."

Boogeymen are just an excuse.

Ed said...

The skinny jeans need to go! What amazes me is how Europe is so willing to attack (verbally) Israel, but never holds Arab states to the same standard. I don't know if it's evidence of antisemitism or if it's antiamericanism? Just like Europe used to whine about us and our friends during the Cold War, knowing that we would protect everyone no matter what, they seem to be keeping that up now.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I see your point and Europe certain is all talk and no action, and definitely will not do anything that might actually lead to action, i.e. the only criticize safe targets and from afar. But I think there is a deep strain of anti-Semitism coming to life again in Europe.

There is a lot of evidence for it in the kinds of signs you see at rallies and the kinds of remarks politicians make in unguarded moments (things that would get them drummed out of the profession here). It certainly seems to be much more acceptable there than here, and here it's growing on the left.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, what makes this so unbelievable is that things are clearly coming to a head fast over there. Most of the country's already in rebel hands, they're planning an assault on Tripoli, and Gaddafi is probably going to launch one last bloody counterattack, after which all the protestors are going to slink back home, or--more likely--they're still going to overrun his capital and then kill him where he stands. Good riddance, but shouldn't Obama at least come out and say that this bloodshed is all on Colonel Crazy's head, and thus begin the process of building bridges with the rebels? As much as liberals like to glorify the use of "soft" over "hard" power, Obama so far hasn't shown of either.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, That's exactly what he should be doing. With the writing this clearly on the wall, Obama should be out there suggesting that Gaddafi give up to avoid further bloodshed, and he should be offering support to get the country back on its feet, to form a new government, and to help them "normalize" their relations with the world.

Not only can that not hurt us, but it might be enough to put us on the side of the good guys and might open the door for us to help their transition after Gaddafi is gone. That would be a pretty valuable position to be in, in terms of making sure they don't just trade a dictator for an Islamic theocracy.

Instead, we're completely sidelined by his failure to say anything -- a failure I absolutely cannot understand.

BevfromNYC said...

Actually, on the bright side, maybe waiting to talk to Hillary and Joe BEFORE he makes a statement might be a refreshing change of pace. Maybe they can all say the same thing for once. Anyway, ODL has a party to go to tonight to honor Motown. And then there's coaching his daughters' basketball team...

BTW TennJ, "'mush' of the Islamic world" was most accurate.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I did not know that, about the Mowtown thing. In that event, I must truly apologize to Obama, I had no idea his calendar was filled with such monumental issues. That's definitely more important. Ug.

Of course, let me point out the irony that Obama is doing a Motown gig and Gaddafi dresses like Michael Jackson. Hmmm.... harmonic convergence or just coincidence? ;-)

Good point though on him waiting to meet with Hillary and Joe before they all started speaking. At least this time they should be on the same page. At least in theory. Of course, with Joe, you never know.

Ed said...

@Bev, Lol!

Hillary: We're going to eliminate Gaddafi with extreme prejudice.

Obama: Gaddafi must respect human rights, but we're not doing anything.

Biden: Gaddafi? Doesn't he work at Dunkin Donuts?

@Andrew, He does dress like Michael Jackson! Maybe they're long lost twins?

T_Rav said...

Andrew, Joe Biden reminds me of the dog with the talking collar in "Up." Only, instead of breaking off mid-sentence and going, "Squirrel!" he breaks off mid-sentence and goes, "Trains!"

Oh, and also, a Bloomberg article has just blamed the unrest in Libya and elsewhere on global warming. Not a joke.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, At the very least Gaddafi raided his closet. Spooky!

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, On Biden, I can see that!

On the global warming issue, excuse me while I ROFLMAO. Unbelievable. Right, because slightly warmer temperatures made everyone so upset they wanted to overthrow Gaddafi and destroy their own cities because that would somehow cool things off 0.01 degree. Yep, that makes sense. It couldn't been the years of brutal oppression. No, not at all.

Did you know Hitler's primary concern was global warming? It's true. Ditto on Gengis Khan.

How dumb can some people be to believe this garbage?

BevfromNYC said...

No, you knuckleheads! The protestors are risking their lives to stop the flow of fossil fuels, so that the Earth will cool! It has nothing to do with the government shooting to kill or anything like that.

Okay, I have to say this, if you have ever seen a picture of Khaddafy (Ghaddaffy..whatever), he was actually criminally handsome. What happened? He's a freak show now.

BTW, there unsubstantiated rumors that Khaddaffy has been shot.

Joel Farnham said...


While the rumor about Gaddafi has been shot is unconfirmed, it is instructive to notice what happened to the oil prices. They tumbled and are now back under $100.00 a barrel.

Ed said...

Bev, I can't confirm that he was ever handsome, but he certainly has fallen apart in the last dozen years. Maybe he's been drinking petroleum?

I don't know how to spell Gaddafi either, I just went with Andrew's spelling.

Drudge had a headline that Gaddafi is promising to kill himself "like Hitler."

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Well that explains it! Who knew that Libyans (Lybians if you use Obama's spelling.... see Twitter), were such great environmentalists? And here I falsely accused them of worrying about their own safety and well being, when they were really looking out for the rest of us! How inspiring! ** rolls eyes **

He was a good looking dude at one point. I don't know what happened. Maybe he's been poisoned a couple times? And I'm not kidding. Look at the guy in Georgia or the Ukraine who got poisoned and he went from looking quite normal to looking like a zombie.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, True. The oil market clearly think that things will go smoothly when he's gone.

Interestingly, Libya has the best kind of oil -- it's near the surface and doesn't contain too many contaminant (light sweet crude). So its return to the world crude market could dramatically drop prices once Western firms get in there and rebuild the infrastructure.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed & Bev, I don't know how to spell it either. I'm going with what the AP is using. I actually thought you spelled it:

"G-A-D-H-E-S-D-U-M-B." ;-)

Notawonk said...

andrew: i don't know why you're upset. don't you even care about barry's upcoming motown celebration? sheesh! he's busy, busy, busy. no time in that schedule for nothin but eats and dancin'...while the rest of the world burns.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, You're right! I forgive Obama! Pass the Kool-Aid! LOL!

T_Rav said...

Andrew, it's actually probably more likely that efforts to combat global warming had something to do with the violence. And by "efforts to combat global warming," I mean "taking the corn we used to export overseas to needy countries like Libya and making ethanol out of it." Certainly not the primary reason, of course, but hey, turnabout is fair play.

I heard the rumors about Gaddafi being shot, and the effect it had on oil prices. What does it say about you that unconfirmed reports of your death cause an uptick in the overall economic picture?

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, On the one hand, it would be kind of cool to have that much influence! Look at me, I can mess with the whole world economy. On the other hand, the fact that the world economy wants you dead, would probably be a bit of a downer. :-(

On ethanol, oh come on, the government assures us that food prices have not been going up! Grrrr. There has been so much food price inflation in the past 3-5 years that it's ridiculous.

CrispyRice said...

I just keep expecting to hear that Gaddafi has been overthrown, with or without our dear leader's "help." O doesn't do anything else useful, why should this be a surprise?

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Why indeed?! "Useless" must be his middle name! ;-)

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