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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Obama's Hezbollah "Clarification"

In Friday's New York Times, David Brooks wrote piece in following up some peculiar statements that Barack Obama made vis a vis Hezbollah. The statement that was most peculiar was this one.

It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.”

Barack Obama followed up with a fairly detailed explanation of what he meant to Brooks. Here is some of the explanation...

I asked him what he meant with all this emphasis on electoral and patronage reform. He said the U.S. should help the Lebanese government deliver better services to the Shiites “to peel support away from Hezbollah” and encourage the local populace to “view them as an oppressive force.” The U.S. should “find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services.”

The U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.” Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.” He knows these movements aren’t going away anytime soon (“Those missiles aren’t going to dissolve”), but “if they decide to shift, we’re going to recognize that. That’s an evolution that should be recognized.”

Now, the root causes is the standard mantra among the liberal elite. They firmly believe that if we end poverty, misery, and re claim civil rights in the Middle East then the terrorists will stop hating us. This is rather peculiar because later on Obama says this.

“This is not an argument between Democrats and Republicans,” he concluded. “It’s an argument between ideology and foreign policy realism. I have enormous sympathy for the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush. I don’t have a lot of complaints about their handling of Desert Storm. I don’t have a lot of complaints with their handling of the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

Obama seems to hate being labeled and yet on issue after issue he is a standard boiler plate liberal. This isssue is no exception. That said the part that was of most curiousity to me was this one...

The U.S. should “find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services

Now, keep in mind that the U.S. has about 20% of the population below the poverty line. As Democrats like to point out, there are over 40 million people without health insurance. Gas and food is eating up more and more of the middle class' monthly budget. I haven't even begun to talk about all that we as a nation are doing to our environment to cause global warming and other ills. Yet, Barack Obama seems to think that on top of solving all our own ills he will solve the ills of the folks of Lebanon and presumably the rest of the Middle East.

This thinking is not new. In a piece at the end of March by Spencer Ackerman, Obama introduced his foreign policy vision. In it, he said that he hates so called bumper sticker ideas and then followed up with this bumper sticker idea.

This is why, Obama's advisers argue, national security depends in large part on dignity promotion. Without it, the U.S. will never be able to destroy al-Qaeda. Extremists will forever be able to demagogue conditions of misery, making continued U.S. involvement in asymmetric warfare an increasingly counterproductive exercise

So called dignity promotion is something that Barack Obama will try and make a vital part of any foreign policy vision. In other words, the way to counter act Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups is to provide the populace with the vital civil service that they provide. While Obama is right that Hezbollah (along frankly with Hamas) has grown great populist support by exactly these sorts of services to their domestic populations, he is naive if he thinks the U.S. can go around the world and solve the domestic ills of every nation.

What is even more stunning about this belief is that in Iraq, he sees absolutely no reason for the U.S. to do the same thing. He is willing to risk a genocide in Iraq just to pull troops out on a timeline, but at the same time, he is willing to commit billions in U.S. resources to provide vital domestic services to Lebanon. Never mind of course that the folks in Shia communities of Lebanon would likely not accept our services. Never mind that Hezbollah would never allow such an affront to their power in any area they control. This is in fact the Obama doctrine. We will win the GWOT by giving dignity to folks all over the Middle East, accept in Iraq of course where he will create a genocide.

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