Undoing the Bush Letter

Martin Kramer has suggested that Obama’s Cairo speech can be understood as an example of “Third Worldism,” given some of the themes that pervaded the address:

Some of the influences on Obama bubble to the surface. There is the Third Worldism: Muslims are victims of our colonialism (Obama has read Fanon) and the Cold War (has he been reading Khalidi again?) The primacy of the West is over: “Any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.” There is the implicit comparison of the Palestinians to black Americans during segregation, a familiar trope (Carter and Condi went for it too). Israel comes across as an anomaly. There is no appreciation of Israel as a strategic asset – its ties to the United States are “cultural and historical,” and thus not entirely rational. (That validates Obama’s other former Chicago colleague, Mearsheimer.) All of this has the ring of conviction – and of a Third Worldist sensibility.

Kramer’s reference to Rashid Khalidi is a useful clue to one of the more extraordinary incidents in the four-month old Obama administration:  the refusal, 21 times and counting, to answer whether the administration is bound by the 2004 Bush letter to Israel.

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Undoing the Bush Letter

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