What a difference a day makes! Just 24 hours ago, the "informed" commentariat was telling us President Obama's foreign policy was going to be a big plus for him in the election. In the wake of assaults on US diplomatic compounds in Cairo and Benghazi, and the State Department apology for our freedom of speech and basic values, Obama is starting to look a lot like Jimmy Carter twisting in the wind as Iranians held hostages in Tehran in 1979.
All of this turmoil is the direct result of Obama's backing of Muslim Brotherhood backed forces overthrowing Gaddafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt. Without American and NATO air power, Gaddafi would still be in power, a crazy to be sure, but a crazy who had given up his nuclear program, paid restitution to the victims of Pan Am 109, and who protected foreign diplomatic facilities.
Ed Lasky writes:
This horrendous sequence of events just fits the narrative of a weak and incompetent president. He does not attend intelligence briefings, did apologize for America while overseas, appeases, bows before the Saudi king, and refuses to confront or even name jihad as a motive for terror.
Rick Moran worries that Romney's attack on the State Department apology might backfire.
Romney did attack the statement from our embassy in Cairo. But the Cairo statement was not released after the attacks but before. Romney made it seem as it was a response to the attacks.
NBC takes him down here. The Romney organization is not prepared for a foreign policy campaign if one emerges as a result of attacks on our embassies. Tunisia and Algeria US embassies issued warnings today about protests.
Rich Baehr responds:
I do not buy it. Chuck Todd and NBC are totally in the bag for Obama. Why is a US embassy apologizing for movie made in America? Is Egypt apologizing for death to America talk all over its government-controlled TV networks? Why our need to cater to Islamists? I can make a case that cowardly embassy statement was justification to attack our embassy, saying we share your pain. Of course you are justifiably angry. We are apologizing to medievalist irrational haters.
Ed Lasky adds:
Obama's best friend, Erdogan, promotes widespread anti-Semitism. Has the O administration ever commented on the anti-Semitism throughout the PA? We give them a lot of money and support.
Did Obama ever comment on that? Did he ever comment on Wright until he HAD to?
Rick Moran responds:
The bias of Todd and NBC is not at issue. Romney is accusing the White House of a milquetoast response to the violence. The statement was issued several hours before the attack. Romney is factually incorrect -- a faux pas due to lazy staff work. They couldn't be bothered to check the release time on the statement.
Whether it invited the attack is also not the issue. The issue is Romney's incorrect assessment of the WH response. He blew it.
In a post at Big Journalism, Joel Pollak deals with Rick's argument:
Because the U.S. embassy's (unauthorized) apology was offered before the attacks, which the embassy later condemned the Times concludes that Romney was "[a]pparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement." But that is nonsense, for three reasons--first, because the U.S. State Department had, as of last night, apologized for the film without condemning the Egypt attack; second, because the apologies by the U.S. Embassy continued throughout the day, though they were later sheepishly deleted; and there was no need for the U.S. to apologize at all for a film made by a private individual, least of all on the sacred 9/11 anniversary.
Ed Lasky adds:
The perception is that Obama is a paper tiger.
When the Iranians were going wild back in 1979 , the Russians sent a message there would be violent consequences should any Russians be harmed or their diplomatic outlets attacked.
Our embassy was easy pickings.
I am not suggesting that Obama would or should make similar threats but he is perceived as a weakling, drone attacks notwithstanding.
Importantly, wasn't he supposed to make us beloved over there? How is that working out?
There is no respect and his ratings are below Bush's in the Middle East.
Regarding Egypt: how about canceling the $1 billion gift that we are borrowing from the Chinese and giving to Egypt so they can buy two German subs?
This morning, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and President Obama all made statements on the death of Ambassador Stevens. To my eyes and ears, Romney was by far the strongest, expressing his disgust over the embassy response in Cairo, which he properly noted was the Obama administration response. In diplomacy, an embassy speaks for the president. If the OBama administration cannot control and coordinate its displomatic apparatus, it is too incompetent to be trusted with national security.
Only Romney had the guts to take questions from the press, which were nearly all hostile. He stood his ground, and looked strong. Obama sounded scripted, and walked away as reporters shouted questions. So far as we know, we are still borrowing money from China to give to Egypt. I hope Romney comes out and challenges Obama to cut aid to Egypt.
Ed Lasky adds:
Lest we forget the Egyptian government sent a message when they let the attackers of the Israeli Embassy off.
Graphic by Richard Terrell of Aftermath