Jimmy Carter achieved a cold peace between Egypt and Israel — based not on mutual respect but a one-sided “land for peace” deal. Now that very peace threatens to unravel thanks to President Obama’s support for the “Arab Spring.” Nowhere has the Arab Spring led to genuine democracy. But it has emboldened jihadists.
Instead of rushing to condemn a movie trailer on YouTube, the Obama administration should try standing up for our principles. One of those principles is freedom of speech. But there can be no meaningful freedom of speech unless it includes the right to offend. While the Obama administration has been backpedaling on free speech, our enemies have been busy passing U.N. resolutions condemning “defamation of religion.” (The late word is that the administration has rediscovered freedom of speech — after scolding Mitt Romney for having pointed it out.)
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on the belief that America is just one member of the family of nations — that we have no right to pose as the champion of liberty. The only problem is that the rest of the world knows that we are the freest, most prosperous nation in world history. That makes us their target, and our pretending otherwise does not change that.
It’s ironic that in the post-9/11 world Muslims are quick to take offense at what they perceive as expressions of disrespect for Islam and often respond with violence or threats of violence. By apologizing for a silly movie, President Obama set off a chain reaction. To bring the situation back under control, we must do precisely the things that he believes made them hate us in the first place. We must replace the power vacuum that he worked so hard to create. And we must let the world know that we — not our enemies — occupy the moral high ground.
It’s worth remembering that Iran released the embassy hostages minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn into office in 1981. President Obama may not see the obvious lesson in that, but there certainly is one for U.S. voters.
Ira Brodsky is a writer based in St. Louis, Missouri.