Presidents Obama and Clinton now share a common experience.
No, not growing up in the old racist south… Obama grew up in Hawaii.
I’m talking about betrayal.
During his presidency Bill Clinton set out to solve one of the world problems. He was determined to bring peace to the Middle East. With what President Clinton believed to be righteousness on his side and an incredible ego to go with it he began extensive meetings with the Israelis and the Palestinians.
After pleading, cajoling and outright threats President Clinton was able to get the Israelis to agree to 90% of the demands made by the Palestinians and their Leader Yassar Arafat. If peace at any cost was the goal… this was truly an amazing achievement and one President Clinton was excited to have as his legacy.
At the last-minute, Arafat refused to accept the terms. Apparently, just the existence of Israel was simply too much for him and his PLO to agree to.
As Bill Clinton has subsequently written about in his memoirs, this was one of the greatest feelings of failure and betrayal he experienced during his tenure.
Fast forward 10 years…
With all the Ego and none of the effort, President Obama embarked on a similar mission in the Middle East. As Barack Obama has publicly stated, our problems in the Middle East would be remedied because of his election and his ability to “understand” their situation.
In his first term, President Obama met with more Middle Eastern leaders than any president before him… then suddenly stopped. In the years to follow he oversaw massive in-flows of foreign aid to various Middle Eastern countries and finally claimed credit for the downfall of a number of Middle Eastern leaders. So the “throw money at it and act like we’re not involved strategy” was pushed full throttle.
While it is understandable that President Obama would want to claim credit for the overthrow of these dictators considering it was U.S. tax dollars funding the rebellions, it came as a surprise to those on the ground as demonstrated by multiple interviews conducted from places like Tahrir Square. The rebels did not see the U.S. as their saviors and did not see President Obama having anything to do with what was being labeled as “The Arab Spring”.
This was the beginning… of the melt down.
Whatever agreements Barack Obama signed off on to maintain an arm’s length appearance from the happenings in the Middle East became difficult to honor for a couple of reasons. What Ego can resist not taking credit when they think they deserve it? And, Obama’s re-election campaign needed that credit to show he was the foreign policy president nobody thought he could be.
Well, the Muslim Brotherhood, just like the rebels on the street, were not interested in giving President Obama credit. In truth, even if they wanted to they couldn’t. The Brotherhood’s desire to wrest control over the outcomes in the disparate countries relies on an external enemy, specifically the U.S. So they continue to manage the rebels and guide them to the outcome which lends to the ultimate control over the region. (What would you expect them to do?) While doing all of this, the Brotherhood simultaneously pays lip service to “helping” the U.S. find those responsible for the very violence they are orchestrating. This leaves the U.S. in a difficult position as calling the Brotherhood “liars” plays into their hands not to mention criticizing “democratically elected leaders”… “Democracy” being the only positive the Administration has left to cling to and try to take credit for. Certainly it’s no longer “peace”.
So, if Obama was the Brotherhood’s keeper… the Brotherhood was having none of it.
Just as President Clinton’s legacy was to be built around peace in the Middle East… so was President Obama’s.
Unfortunately for both men, those in the Middle East don’t seem to care what these Presidents wanted…
This is Obama’s Arafat moment.
For Obama, the betrayal by the Brotherhood must be palpable. His colossal failure in the Middle East must be bitter. Obama’s legacy is being written and it will resemble President Clintons sans the positives.