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Obama's Middle East Speech Nods to Bush Doctrine?

President Obama delivered quite an important speech yesterday on the Middle East and North Africa. Here's one key idea:

"It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy."

As I heard that and later read over the entire speech, I asked myself: Is there a single sentence in the entire speech that former President Bush would not have said? I struggled to find one. This means President Obama, when it comes to the Middle East and North Africa, is restating past US policy, including the so-called "Bush Doctrine."

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, makes this association powerfully in his commentary today interjecting quotes from the speech itself:

… Barack Obama openly, unreservedly and without a trace of irony or self-reflection [is adopting] the Bush Doctrine, which made the spread of democracy the key U.S. objective in the Middle East.

"Too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people's grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills."

Note how even Obama's rationale matches Bush's. Bush argued that because the roots of 9/11 were to be found in the deflected anger of repressed Middle Eastern peoples, our response would require a democratic transformation of the region.

"We have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self-determination of individuals," Obama said.

A fine critique of exactly the kind of "realism" the Obama administration prided itself for having practiced in its first two years. How far did this concession to Bush go? Note Obama's example of the democratization we're aiming for.

"In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy," Obama said. "There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process … Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region."

So who is on the short end this doctrine?

Author Joel Rosenberg and many other ardent defenders of Israel see nothing but God's judgment in any attempt to implement a two-state solution involving Israel and Palestine. So, Christian Zionists will fight land swaps and peace deals in which Israel trades land for peace.

Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Related Topics:Politics
Posted:May 20, 2011 at 10:51AM
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Obama's Middle East Speech Nods to Bush Doctrine?