There You Go Again, Professor Obama

I am not in favor of bombing Syria.  It will do no good whatsoever.  As I noted in my blog post on Egypt a few weeks ago (http://jamesstuckeyblog.com/2013/08/16/the-violence-in-egypt/), the Arab world is dominated by extremists, fundamentalists and dictators.  The good honest and moderate people of Syria, like most of the Arab nations, are caught in the middle of these fanatics.  I personally believe that bombing Syria will do no good whatsoever.  Even if Bashar al-Assad, the insane Syrian President, is removed, he will only be replaced by an extremist group who will continue butchering people.  They would exterminate those loyal to him.  And many of those perspective exterminees probably weren’t loyal at all; they were just too afraid to speak out.  The cycle of violence would just continue.  I am appalled that al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.  He is the blood brother to Hitler, Idi Amin, and Stalin.  He is the modern day example that pure evil is alive and well in this world today.

I believe in just wars.  St. Thomas Aquinas wrote extensively on this subject.  But, I don’t believe turning Syria over from one dictator to the next falls within Aquinas’ definition of “just”.  If we were to topple al-Assad, and work with the world community to institute a true democracy, I could easily get behind the effort.  However, this is clearly not what’s being contemplated.  Professor Obama has once again demonstrated that he is not a leader, and his approach to this crisis has been both ineffective and humiliating.  The executives he has surrounded himself with in his second term are even worse than those of the first.

The first rule of negotiating is that you never put a final position on the table unless you will act on it; if you do, and you don’t act, the negotiation becomes a dictation.  The other side knows that you have nowhere to go, and they begin to dictate terms to you.  This is what has happened to Professor Obama with his “red line”“in Syria.  If he were going to act, he should have done so the very first time al-Assad tested him.  He didn’t, and al-Assad continually gassed his own people until the most recent outrage killed hundreds of sleeping children as well.  Now the professor “wants to act.”  But unlike George Bush who was able to build an international coalition (even though he was supposedly despised on the world stage), and get Congressional approval prior to invading Iraq, Obama (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) finds himself all alone.  And this is not the loneliness that leaders often feel when the “buck stops” with them, it is the loneliness that comes from stupidity and the fact that he is completely not trusted by other world leaders.  The professor claims that he is punting his decision to Congress because he may need them for other votes related to the mid-east, healthcare or the budget for the remainder of his term.  This too is folly.  If I were a Congressman I would now feel like I own him.  He has displayed that his threats are toothless, and that he is incapable of making a tough decision.

His handling of the Arab Spring was a joke.  His recent inaction with Egypt was embarrassing.  Russia’s President Putin has made him look like a school boy.  His economic and housing policies are nothing more than a shell game.

Not since Jimmy Carter’s failures in Iran has America’s defense and foreign policies been so weak and devoid of purpose and intelligence.  And to add insult to injury, even Carter has come out in opposition to professor Obama’s desire to launch missiles on Syria.

I am deeply worried about what the next three and a half years will bring with a President who is a joke on the world stage; has instituted a healthcare program that will potentially bankrupt the nation; has set race relations backwards; has no viable economic policy; and, thinks that the only way to solve any problem is to give bus tour speeches.

© September 2, 2013 James Stuckey

The Violence in Egypt

I once worked with someone who told me that the best thing that happened to the Arab countries in the middle east was the creation of Israel.  Although the Jewish people and Israel have a history that spans thousands of years, the person was referring to the State of Israel that was created in 1948 shortly after World War II.  Even though Jews and Arabs lived for centuries together, my former associate postulated that Arabs of all ethnicities banded together in 1948 against a common enemy – Israel.  While there have been longstanding antagonisms between the Arabs and Israelis, Arab ethnicities have seen 25% of the armed conflicts of the world since 1945 amongst themselves (even though they only make up 8% of the world’s population), according to a 1996 UNESCO study by Saad Eddin Ibrahim.  The study, which is 17 years old, claimed that over 16 million Arabs lost their lives between 1945 and 1996 as a result if these conflicts.  These numbers have obviously grown since 1996.  In the current Syrian civil war, we know that more than 100,000 people have been killed.

Indeed, Brett Stephens who writes for the Wall Street Journal, stated in a June 3, 2013 column that we are witnessing a Muslim Civil War.  In his piece, he states that “Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the prominent Sunni cleric, said Friday that Hezbollah and Iran are ‘more infidel than Jews and Christians.’ Coming from the guy who once lauded Hitler for exacting ‘divine punishment’ on the Jews, that really is saying something.” 

And now we are once again witnessing a barbaric slaughtering of people in Egypt.  As a Catholic, I found it repulsive to read of the atrocities committed by the the Muslim Brotherhood against Coptic Christians.  I found it even more disgusting that President Obama, who I now refer to as Professor Obama (all he ever does is orate about what “should be” from behind, as opposed to implementing policy as a leader a priori), essentially sat on the sidelines once again as this situation spiraled out of control.  While there are cogent arguments that can be made on both sides for what America’s position should be in the current conflict, one thing is for sure – we should have had a policy and acted on it.

But that’s not the reason for this blog post.  The violence in this part of the world just begets more violence.  If I lived in Syria, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, or Iran, and, I witnessed my child, wife or parent murdered, I too would be filled with hate and fury and want to retaliate against those who committed the crime.  The problem is that my hypothetical retaliation would only escalate the violence further, and this would just lead to a never ending spiral of innocent, fragile and God created people being destroyed.  No good can come from this – ever.  I know that every side has a story, and that there is probably some truth in all sides.  But, no side can win in this conflict.

There are fundamentalists in all religions, and they are self-righteous and un-accepting of all but those who share their beliefs.  Fundamentalism is myopic; it makes no allowance for different points of view.  Fundamentalists of all faiths are most often those who commit terrorist acts.  While it’s easy to talk about the wars in Syria or Egypt, we should really be focusing on the tyrants, dictators and fundamentalists behind these conflicts and not generalize to the people of these nations.

© August 15, 2013 James Stuckey