Is Obama a Threat to Osama?

June 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm (By Amba)

God, I hate to follow that last post with something tendentious and tedious, so I’ll be really, really brief.

You can view Obama’s conciliatory approach to the Muslim world as naïve, or you can view it as strategic.  If you don’t demonize all Islam, or all Muslims, you have a chance to turn perhaps the preponderance of the Muslim world in our favor.  It’s not enough; economic and political change on the part of some of our allies (read:  jobs for young men) are even more crucial to uprooting militancy.  But the former must be the reason why Osama, or his posthumous sock puppet, is slamming Obama just now.



  1. PatHMV said,

    One certainly hopes that his serial apologizing will be of some benefit, somewhere. But I doubt it. Osama has, I think, released tapes just about any time an American president has gone to Saudia Arabia. To remain silent in the face of what has always been, to Osama, one of the greatest provocations (the American presence in their holy land), would be some sort of acquiescence. So I don’t think that his speaking out now is necessarily indicative that he is afraid of the consequences of President Obama’s approach to the Middle East or the Muslim world.

    While our military presence in Saudi Arabia, along with abuses like Abu Gharib, are certainly part of what Osama uses as recruitment tools, they are far from the only ones. He (and other extremist Muslims, of both Shi’a and Sunni persuasions) also use our sexual decadence, our tolerance for homosexuals, and our respect for free expression to show that we are a godless, despicable society. Our “export” of shows like Baywatch is high on the list of offenses against which bin Laden rails.

    His public statements, while complex and multi-layered, have generally been timed to affect American and European political sentiment. Recruitment is done by others, and much more directly.

    When the American president speaks in a language of appeasement, of tolerance for repressive regimes in Egypt and elsewhere, he is also sending a message to those who oppose tyranny from within those regimes: “America does not stand with you.” He’s saying that America may pay some lip service to our own values, but we’re not going to put our money where our mouth is to do anything to help you, the dissidents in repressive regimes.

  2. amba12 said,

    It would probably be better to talk to dissidents through a back channel, but I have no idea whether he is doing that. We certainly have a history of enabling tyrants in the region because they’re our political allies and it was the Soviets who were courting the dissidents. That put us in the unfortunate position of disfavoring democracy and dissent — our interests and our values in direct opposition.

    I guess I need to go look at the text of Obama’s “serial apologizing.” Without doing so I can’t form an opinion of whether he’s being tactically gracious or disgracing us and himself. But I do think that presuming Islam and Muslims en masse to be inimical to us is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    As for “Baywatch,” if there weren’t a demand there wouldn’t be a supply. If all Americans refrained from making money when the desired product didn’t appeal to the highest human qualities, our balance of trade would be even worse than it is.

  3. PatHMV said,

    But I do think that presuming Islam and Muslims en masse to be inimical to us is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I certainly agree with that. But President Obama acts as if that presumption was made by the previous administration, when, in fact, it was not. To the contrary, it is President Obama’s rhetoric which suggests that there are significant fundamental differences between the Islamic world and the West, which suggests that the current tyrannies of the region are somehow tolerable and understandable because they belong to a “different culture.” It is a message aimed at the repressive governments (don’t worry, we’re not going to give you a hard time about human rights and promoting democracy) rather than the individuals in the region. It is a message which tolerates and pays lip service to their insistence that THEIR way is the only way.

    It’s really quite paternalistic. “We know you uneducated peasants will go off your rocker if anybody offends your religion, so we’ll endeavor not to do so. But if you want to go ahead and offend our religions (Christian, Jewish, and others), you go right ahead, because we know we can’t hold you to our standards.”

  4. PatHMV said,

    Historically, no other country has spoken on behalf of individual freedom as strongly as the United States of America. We have fallen short of our ideals many times, but of course so do other nations, and their ideals generally aren’t as strong on individual freedom as ours are. When we stop doing so, there are no other strong voices for freedom ready to step in and take our place.

    Perhaps a tactical retreat on our part will force some other voices to step up to the plate. I certainly hope so.

  5. amba12 said,

    We have fallen short of our ideals many times

    Well, that’s the human condition.

  6. Randy said,

    You are never tedious and rarely tendentious. Even when you are, you display far more grace and tolerance towards those who happen to disagree with you than the vast majority of those posting on the internet do. (Anyway, the line wasn’t meant as a criticism of anyone here – just meant as a throwaway intro to an off-the-wall video ;-)

  7. amba12 said,

    You are kind. I just think politics is so tiresome. It’s so easy to fall into the old grooves. We said politics wasn’t satisfying us. But it’s easy to fall back into. Sheer habit. & there they are, the same old two points of view and alternating hatreds.

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