Add conservative commentator Pat Buchanan to the growing list of critics of President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, as anti-American unrest continues throughout Egypt, Libya and now Yemen.
Appearing on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” Buchanan, author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?,” pointed to Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo as the beginning of the administration’s “utterly naïve” foreign policy.
“What’s happening is the Obama administration’s Middle East policy is collapsing right in front of us,” Buchanan said. “He had his famous Cairo speech, and then he got behind the Arab Spring and dumped over some dictators and autocrats and other people, some of whom were friendly to us, others who were not. Thereby, they’ve unleashed these new forces, and not all of them are benign. Some of them are noxious.”
As a result, Buchanan said, many American personnel may have to permanently leave the Middle East and relocate to safer areas.
“There’s Islamic fundamentalism. There’s tribalism. There’s ethno-nationalism. All of these forces are on the move across the Middle East. And President Obama’s position is exposed as utterly naïve. I think what’s going to happen here, quite naturally, is Americans, tourists and others and American diplomats are going to have to be drawn out and drawn down from this region of the world, which is turning hostile.”
At issue is not simply the anti-Muhammad video supposedly made by filmmaker Sam Bacile, but the “detest and hate” many Muslims worldwide feel for all things American, according to Buchanan.
“Here’s what the situation is — there is gasoline all the way from Nigeria to Mali to Ethiopia to Cairo to the Middle East to the Caucuses,” Buchanan said. “Anti-Americanism is parts of it. What they did is they took this crazy little video, they threw a match in it, and people did this thing in Libya, which was pre-planned, pre-prepared terrorist act. … They detest and hate the United States. They hate our culture. They hate our policy. They have historic grievances. And they are as anti-American as they can be.”
“I think, quite frankly, all of this, what is exploding now has been building up for years and years and years,” Buchanan continued. “I think there’s a real incompatibility between American culture and between the culture of the fundamentalist and the Islamic world. … There’s a revolution underway, a great religious awakening taking place among the poor and the working class. The one thing they have is the Islamic faith. They’re very militant about it. And they look at the enemy as the great Satan, and the Americans and the others with their cultural intrusions.”
As for what ground Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should stake out in the crisis, Buchanan said he was unsure. But he did pointedly disagree with those who took issue with Romney’s quick criticism of the president’s muted reaction to the Benghazi incident.
“I don’t know exactly what Romney would do right now,” Buchanan said. “But I do think the idea that they’re attacking Governor Romney because of some statement he made at 10 at night — that’s an irrelevancy. Let me also say this incident, this video, that’s not the reason for this. That’s the excuse for what’s going on there. A lot of this has been planned. A lot of it’s contagious over there. And as I say, you have all this tinder sitting over there. One little spark, and it all went, went through that — that tells you how America, basically, and the West are regarded now in that part of the world.”