It might a long way between Doha and Cairo but that distance seemed to grow even more extended yesterday when Hillary Clinton lashed into the Arab world at a conference in Qatar. Cairo, lest we forget, was the place where, on June 4, 2009, Barack Obama delivered what many regard as unparalleled gesture of appeasement to the Arab world, seeking accommodation with the dictatorial, ideologically inflexible and hierarchically indissoluble regimes which govern the Middle East.
But yesterday Hillary Clinton brought this sycophancy to a screeching halt. Here are just some of the many choice selections from her remarks, both to the conference and to the press:
” In too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand,” she said to a stone-faced audience of foreign ministers, businesspeople and rights groups. “The new and dynamic Middle East that I have seen needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere.”
Speaking about business relations between the Arab world and the West she commented:
” Trying to get a permit, you have to pass money through so many different hands. Trying to open up, you have to pay people off. Trying to stay open, you have to pay people off. Trying to export your goods, you have to pay people off. So by the time you pay everybody off, it’s not a very profitable venture.”
And on Muslim extremism, she had this to say:
“Without respect for human rights, improved business climates and an end to pervasive corruption, young people and others will increasingly turn to radicalism and violence that will bleed outside the region, threatening not only Middle Eastern stability and security but the rest of the world.”
Clinton reserved perhaps her most pointed remarks for the Arab insistence that America had failed to apply sufficient pressure to Israel to reach a final peace accord with the Palestinians.
“Israel is a sovereign country and it makes its own decisions. You often make decisions based on your own experience and history,” she said. And when the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon they got Hezbollah and 40,000 rockets and when they pulled out of Gaza they got Hamas and 20,000 rockets.”
The transparent admission that American foreign policy in the Middle East has hit a brick wall built by Arab obduracy, irredentism and corruption is a welcome evidence of a reality check for the Obama Administration. Barack Obama’s weak-kneed efforts in Cairo in 2009 demonstrated a Western leader completely out of touch with the dynamics of the Arab world and the true underpinnings of the seething contempt both its leaders and masses maintain for the United States.
For too long countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar – seemingly moderate nations and allies of the United States – have proceeded to abuse their relationship with us through manipulation and deception. Clinton’s remarks in Doha provide a springboard for hitting back. Her statements should be followed by hard diplomatic pressure, not on Israel, the region’s sole democracy and a place where Western businesses have thrived, but on the corrupt, venal sheikhs who control their desert kingdoms with no regard for morality, human rights or the will of their citizenries.
Suddenly George W. Bush’s freedom agenda seems to have been ordered a new coat of paint. Lets hope the starry eyed dreamer in the White House knows how to wield the brush.