Commentary Magazine


Obama’s “New Beginning” Lies in Ruin

People may recall that in Barack Obama’s June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, the president promised a “new beginning” based on “mutual respect” with the Arab and Islamic world. Mr. Obama’s own background, his eagerness to apologize for America, and willingness to engage the Arab world would usher in an unprecedented era of cooperation.

Mr. Obama said, “We have the power to make the world we seek.” He added:

but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written. The Holy Koran tells us: “O mankind!  We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.” The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.” The Holy Bible tells us:  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.

I thought about the president’s New Beginning the other day, glancing at the top three items in the “What’s News” section of the Wall Street Journal. And this is what I read:

  • The U.S. is preparing plans for a possible Syrian collapse.
  • Egyptian President Morsi shuffled his government, strengthening the Muslim Brotherhood and sparking opposition complaints.
  • House Republicans plan to question State Department officials about the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

It looks to me as if Mr. Obama’s work here on earth seems to be falling rather short of what we might expect; and that the president’s New Beginning has made that part of the world less just, more violent, and more dangerous than the world he inherited.

It is disquieting to realize that in virtually every area, the gap between what Barack Obama promised and what his policies have produced is as cavernous as that of any president in modern times.

Barack Obama wanted to do the job of a president. It just turns out he wasn’t up to it.

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