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May 20, 2011

Obama's Middle East Speech Nods to Bush Doctrine?

President Obama delivered quite an important speech yesterday on the Middle East and North Africa. Here's one key idea:

"It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy."


As I heard that and later read over the entire speech, I asked myself: Is there a single sentence in the entire speech that former President Bush would not have said? I struggled to find one. This means President Obama, when it comes to the Middle East and North Africa, is restating past US policy, including the so-called "Bush Doctrine."

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, makes this association powerfully in his commentary today interjecting quotes from the speech itself:

… Barack Obama openly, unreservedly and without a trace of irony or self-reflection [is adopting] the Bush Doctrine, which made the spread of democracy the key U.S. objective in the Middle East.

"Too many leaders in the region tried to direct their people's grievances elsewhere. The West was blamed as the source of all ills."

Note how even Obama's rationale matches Bush's. Bush argued that because the roots of 9/11 were to be found in the deflected anger of repressed Middle Eastern peoples, our response would require a democratic transformation of the region.

"We have a stake not just in the stability of nations, but in the self-determination of individuals," Obama said.

A fine critique of exactly the kind of "realism" the Obama administration prided itself for having practiced in its first two years. How far did this concession to Bush go? Note Obama's example of the democratization we're aiming for.

"In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy," Obama said. "There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process … Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region."

So who is on the short end this doctrine?

Author Joel Rosenberg and many other ardent defenders of Israel see nothing but God's judgment in any attempt to implement a two-state solution involving Israel and Palestine. So, Christian Zionists will fight land swaps and peace deals in which Israel trades land for peace.

Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza


I'm not sure how this matches up with the "Bush Docterine" at all... Netenyahu even responded by saying that he expected the previous commitments of past administrations to be honored. This was a referal to a 2004 letter in which Bush promised Netenyahu that they wouldn't have to return to the 1967 borders.

Obama is dictating the terms to Israel and Palestine..

Who is this man that decides what leaders can stay in power and what borders a country must be restraints to?

In this speech, Obama acknowledged that the U.S. can't intervene in every conflict, but that we would prioritize situations where the masses were rising up to demand human rights and were at imminent risk of being massacred. That sounds pretty different from the Bush rationale(s) for going into Iraq.

Also, as others are pointing out, his Israel-Palestinian roadmap differs from the previous administration's, too.

President Obama could better resolve world tensions by tending to the problems of the southern border of the United States than interfering in overseas demands for our closest democratic sovereign nation.

Nope...Bush did support the 1967 border policy for a 2 state solution. Nothing in what Obama said is remotely out of line for US policy in the Middle East. Check below if you don't believe me.


Wow Timothy, do you mean to tell us that because of this speech we conservatives can no longer paint Obama into some kind of anti-christ corner? Hmmm. You are not playing fair. :-) What I do think is an interesting development is that the reality, at least when it comes to international affairs, when push comes to shove, Republicans and Democrats often begin sounding the same.

GOP's and Dem's MAY often SOUND alike. They are, after all, trying to get elected by the same group of people :-). But that is about as far as any kind of similarity goes. President Obama is not likely to be "The Antichrist," as some would love to paint him. But that is not equivalent to not being in an anti-christ corner.

As for the Bush/Obama doctrine on the middle east: it seems to me that an attempt to push Israel into land-for-peace negotiations is tantamount to asking David to negotiate with Goliath. It is HIGHLY unlikely ever to occur, even if it should. But if it does occur, don't expect negotiations to produce a peaceable agreement very soon.

Finally, no American President should consider himself the emperor of the Middle East. It's fine to help where needed, but Americans should not be so arrogant as to expect that they will be able to end conflicts that have been going on for about 5 millenia.

Obama's real complexion has been exposed in this speech. His main objective is to abandon Israel. Although Bush wanted to spread democracy in the Middle East, he never waanted to jettison Israel. If Obama is elected aain, World War III would break out in the Middle East. Right from the beginning of his presidency, he was hostile to Israel. His speech is not the speech of the president of the US, but a speech of a hard core Hizbillah.Second term for Obama will give him free hand to implement his pro-Palestinian policy, for he need not worry about a third term. So to save the world from another world war, Obama should not be elected for the second term.

I sure can easily find one sentence that Bush would NEVER have said. He would NEVER have asked Israel to return to the 1967 borders. This is an outrage to ask this of one of our closest allies, who just happen to be God's chosen people also!

Since the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, all peoples in the world are God-chosen because all of us are called to salvation. At first, this is a territorial dispute, not a millenarist one. We shouldn't play the game of Hamas and Hezbollah. It would be better than Jews and Arabs reach a settlement between them and forgot the countires that have oppressed, killed or betrayed them in the past (Germany, France, Iran, UK, and the USA, among others). Please don't forget the Christian Arabs Palestinians.

Alejandro, I didn't mean to forget the Christian Arabs/Palestinians at all, and yes, they are as equally God-chosen also. I was stating the fact in the context of the disrespect that the President's statements showed for God-established nation of Israel. Sorry if I assumed that most people reading this article and these posts would understand that context. We are all grafted into God's salvation plan, but politically and spiritually, there are powers lined up against Israel. I felt that as a Christian, I should defend them. Netanyahu was right to call the 1967 borders indefensible.

Just because Israel is God's Chosen People does not mean that everything Israel does is right; that everything Israel does must be given a pass; that other nations and peoples don't count. Scripture itself abounds with situations in which Israel has to be called to account. Today a majority of Israelis are not even religious but secular and only conveniently use the conservative religious persepctive as a means towards political ends. With that in mind, serious Christians everywhere need to be more reflective and discerning about the entire situation in the Middle East. True friends tell each other the truth in love and hold each other to account. True friends do not enable each other in selfishness.

Velma, I am in no way suggesting that everything Israel does is right, and there is no way we can say they are being given a pass. If you look at the region honestly, you can't deny that Israel is the only true democracy in the region and that they are literally surrounded by those who want to kill them. Just because most Israelis are secular does not change God's plan for that nation, and they are not the ones who are seeking out the destruction of other nations. My comment though was specifically directed at Obama's demand that Israel give back more land to people who seek to destroy her. I do not believe this is giving Israel a pass or suggesting that everything she does is right.

Mr.Obama and those cheering him up are not fighting against Jews and the state of Isreal but are rather fighting against the God of Abraham,Isaac,Jacob.They are fighting against the Lord God Almighty the maker of all the lands,including that which the Palestinians and Isrealis are fighting for. Mr.Obama in the name of being a realist decided to wage war against God. Obama has is extreme human-rightist and freedomist.He idolized human-right and freedom.He now worships human-right and freedom above God the giver of rights and freedoms. He'll not succeed in His evil machinations. U.S.A is bigger than one man.U.S.A is the greatest of all nations.U.S.A is God's country.U.S.A is blessed and will remain blessed and can never fight God.

Let's not forget that many of the Palestinians are Christians themselves who in no way seek the destruction of Israel but simply need a land of their own. Most of them are not terroristts. Sadly however, continued injustice against them only serves to make matters worse.

If you look at Netanyahu's recent comments in front of the U.S. congress, he is willing to negotiate with the Palestinians if Abbas will break ties with the terrorist organization Hamas, which only seeks to destroy Israel. He is even willing to give up some territory, and wants peace and freedom for all religions. THIS is what would be good for the Palestinian Christians, not the continuation of the Palestinian government the way it is now.

President Obama too "wants peace and freedom for all religions" as you affirm Netanyahu does. That is why Obama has appealed to both sides to negotiate territorial swaps in good faith and also insists that the Palestinians renounce all violence against Israel.

Again, my original comment referred to asking Israel to return to the 1967 borders, which in my opinion would further endanger them. I'm sure Obama wants peace and freedom for all religions also, but I feel he is going about it in the wrong way. I also spoke out against the tone of some of the comments about Israel getting a pass, and the insinuation that Israel is committing injustices against Palestinians, particularly Palestinian Christians. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At this point, let's agree to disagree on certain points and prayerfully leave it at that.

I think it's outrageous that demands are made of Israel to constantly give up more and more of it's land. Take a map out and look at the size of Israel. Get a history book and review how the countries were divided up after WW2. What is called Palestine, was once called southern Syria and several other names. Hal Lindsey has a report at his site from about 5/13 that discusses how the countries were divided. Israel has given in to demand after demand, and it has gotten them absolutely nowhere. We have a president sympathetic to hamas, and was raised learning how moslims feel about Jews, and his viewpoint is easily seen in how he treats both groups. Until the Palestinians, and most Moslims at least acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, they must stop negotiating away their land. Yes, it's their land, read the history. When Barack Obama told Israel to move back to the 1967 borders he effectively gave half of Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall, The Temple Mount, Old Jerusalem, The holiest Christian Church in the world, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Hamas-Fatah terror alliance.
Where is it found that any moslims are being told to accept Israel to have a right to even exist?? That MUST be the starting point. At Israel's most vulnerable point, it is only 9 miles wide, and it is the most difficult to defend because of this. When they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, then maybe they can meet, otherwise, there is no purpose to this farce.