You tried to sell tolerance and civility to what you hope is an emerging class of Arab technocrats. “That brand of politics — one that pits East against West, and South against North, Muslims against Christians and Hindu and Jews — can’t deliver on the promise of freedom. To the youth, it offers only false hope. Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education. Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job.” But the rioters aren’t interested in your campaign rhetoric, Mr. President. They made that abundantly clear when they chanted, “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama.”
Nothing exposes the dangers to your approach more than Iran’s nuclear program. Not only did you refuse to draw a clear red line, you avoided acknowledging what the International Atomic Energy Agency has known for years: Countries don’t bury facilities deep underground and enrich uranium to 90% for peaceful purposes. “America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited.” Unless you have completely surrounded yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear, Mr. President, you should know that there is less than one year left to stop the central bankers of terrorism from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Mr. President, you believe that what’s needed are more technocrats trained in conflict resolution. But the current crisis can’t be solved in ten minutes, by adopting seven great habits, or by following five easy steps. What we need is real leadership.
Ira Brodsky is a writer based in St Louis, MO.