Friday, June 5, 2009

Republicans critical of Obama’s speech in Cairo fearing it may hurt U.S./Israel relationship

A speech given by President Obama speaking in Cairo has been viewed as potentially hurting the U.S./Israel relationship by several Republicans.  No surprise there right? 

House Minority Leader John Boehner :  "He seemed to ... place equal blame on the Israelis and the Palestinians. I have concerns about this," the Ohio Republican said. "The Israelis have the right to defend themselves."

Yes Boehner, he clearly placed equal blame on both parties in an attempt to remain neutral.  That is important in bringing about resolution.  Had Obama went to Cairo taking Israel’s side he would be further hurting Palestinian/Israeli relations.  The Obama administration is attempting to bring about peace through means of a change in policy.  By means of reversing the current perception of the United States as being arrogant and two-faced, by telling the Arab world our stance on the Israeli/Palestinian issue. 

Romney: Obama needs to stop using foreign soil to apologize for U.S. relations in what he calls a "tour of apology."

Thiessen: "He made no mention of democracy in discussing Afghanistan.  He made no mention of democracy in discussing Iraq.  He made no mention of the advance of freedom in the Middle East that has taken place in recent years, or any commitment to continue it," he wrote.

"Indeed, he said Iraq was a 'war of choice' but then said a moment later that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein. Well, was it a good choice then?"

The United States voted for change so why are we so critical of change.  Clearly change is hard for many.  Especially when the “good ol’ boy network” have been doing things their way for years.  Herein lies the problem for the “good ol’ boy” mentality of thinking.  Obama is an African-American.  He has experienced racism, intolerance, ignorance, and injustice.  Therefore he can relate to the Palestinian disenfranchisement, injustice and anger.  There is nothing wrong with what Romney calls a “tour of apology”.  America has a lot to apologize for.

While republicans are running around criticizing his speech worrying that he may be damaging U.S/Israeli relations others around the world are praising his speech.  I believe his speech was very even-handed.  I don’t believe he favored Palestinian or Israeli specific views during his speech.  I believe that if either side wants to stop the violence they must come to a two-state solution.  Period.  That means Israel should cease continuing to build settlements on the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, and I think President Obama made this very clear.

President Obama said what other Presidents should have said before him.  The United States, he said, "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”  He also goes on to say that the controversial Hamas movement -- which controls Gaza, near Egypt, and has significant support among Palestinians -- must end violence and recognize past agreements.

The sooner we [America] acknowledge our mistakes, maintain neutrality in the Middle East, and change our old ways, we can move forward gaining the respect and trust of other nations.  Obama is making a point of changing the perception of America by implementing change.  Continuing to make enemies and not acknowledging issues until it reaches war is not the way to do business.  Heading off issues, making peace, and showing the Middle East that we are fair, just, and empathetic to the needs and cultures of other nations is Obama’s way of bringing about change.  Running around like cowboys, guns blazing, making demands, forcing democracy down the throats of countries and cultures which have existed without such forever is not the way to get your point across.  Regardless of how effective a democracy is.

America is extremely powerful.  We don’t need to remind everyone all the time.  There’s nothing wrong with going to another country and saying a few words in the hosting countries native tongue as Obama did.  Hell people come to America from other countries and they speak full English.  Just because we’re the big kid on the block doesn’t mean we have to go around bullying everyone.  There’s nothing wrong with being a “gentle-giant”, disciplining and taking sides only when such is required.  Obama is only trying to change the perception of America, we voted for change now we just need to get Republicans to open their minds to a new world and a new way of thinking and doing business. 

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