Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Embarrassment at the UN

President Obama spoke at the UN yesterday and it was mostly about the Libyan consulate and the death of Chris Stevens. Very moving except that he blamed it on a reaction to that stupid movie and launched into a discussion of defending freedom of speech. It was a very pretty speech, Obama is quite good at pretty speeches, but it was somewhat lacking in contact with reality.

The initial position of the White House was that the attack was reaction to the silly movie, and when Libyan officials said it was a planned attack by militants the White House vigorously denied it. Finally they were pretty much forced to accept it and vowed to bring the militants to justice, but now he’s back to blaming it on the movie again, even as the FBI is tracking down the militia who organized the attack..

A couple of other things leaped out at me. One was that in listing the countries in which citizens have risen up and demanded freedom from dictators and oppressive governments, he rather glaringly omitted Bahrain. That might have something to do with our naval fleet being stationed there, or with our great good ally Saudi Arabia’s assistance in continuously putting down that ongoing popular revolt.

We’re all for democracy and freedom of the people in the Middle East, but only when it is convenient to our immediate purposes.

And of course he spoke of a nuclear-armed Iran, saying that it “would threaten the elimination of Israel” and that it ”risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty.”

In addition to democracy and freedom, we’re big on posturing over non-existent threats such as, first, that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and, second, that it would use a nuclear weapon on Israel if it had one. There is no evidence for either position. The endless hyperventilation about nuclear arms races never fails to crack me up, not to mention that Iran is a signatory to the NPT and has never been shown to be in violation of it, while our great good friend Israel refuses to sign it. Do people like Obama ever even listen to what they are saying?

We know that Israel has several hundred nuclear weapons, and Obama’s position is that Iran is trying to achieve nuclear weapons. Obama never admits the first, and his claim on the second is known by the entire world to be bogus, but that doesn’t keep him from making the claim, much like Bush kept claiming that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

But, knowing that Israel has nuclear weapons and accepting Obama’s premise that Iran is seeking to develop them, and given that both countries are in the Middle East, what is that if not an existing nuclear arms race in the Middle East? But Obama prates about an arms race “starting” if Iran gets a nuclear weapon because he is pretending that, at this point, there are no such weapons in the Middle East. Presumably, Israel doesn’t have any and we destroyed Saddam’s nuclear bombs when we invaded Iraq.

Am I the only one who is embarrassed for my country?


Anonymous said...

I'm embarrassed by the fear mongering and detachment from reality of our leaders, and the ignorance and apathy of the people who vote for them.

bruce said...

Ouch.... on both counts. Well, it's pretty much true.

BTW, I'm pretty sure GWB said Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" not nukes specifically. That doesn't preclude nukes, of course, but Colin Powell was famously pictured waving a tube of some nefarious substance purported to be sample of a chemical WMD.

And not sure Israel has "several hundred" nukes, estimates run from 75-200 (likely) to 400 (tops, less likely). Does that mean 'several hundred'? I suppose. Just a quibble.

Larry said...

You could be one of a pitifully small number of people who even know Obama made a speech. Some of them hate him, some like him and my sense is that most are pretty indifferent. I work at a regional jail so I interact with a lot of people every day. I wouldn't dare ask anyone there, but my sense is that I'd be lucky to find one out of the couple hundred people I encounter daily who know Obama gave a speech at the UN, let alone what he said or why it matters. Nobody seems to much care. Maybe the difference between they and I has something to do with my three years in the Marine Corps from '68 to '71 and the 13 months in Vietnam, I'm not sure. Having the perspective from Johnson through Obama sometimes feels like knowing a deep, dark secret that I can't tell anyone due to a magic spell. Plato's cave, I guess.

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