When the president talks about Middle East policy, it often seems as though he’s channeling his inner Jimmy Carter. Today, however, he seemed to be going for Martin Luther King Jr.: Plenty of cheerleading for nonviolent change and loads of “vision.”
The president’s problem is he is not MLK. King could make a vision speech. His major speeches capped a long career of fighting successfully for civil rights. What was Obama building on? The answer is: two years of watching news from the Middle East on CNN; a speech in Cairo; a State Department racking up frequent flyer miles on failed diplomatic missions, and a quagmire in Libya.
Today we got a history of the Arab Spring, a restatement of the principles of American foreign policy, a declaration that free markets are the cornerstone of economic development, and more cheerleading for the peace process. For this I had to miss the afternoon soaps?
— James Jay Carafano is director of the Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies.