Attacks against America in Egypt and Libya aren’t about free speech or the sanctity of the Prophet Mohammed. They’re about terrorism and leadership – or lack thereof.
Let’s break this down:
• Some idiot posts a youtube video in July… JULY, mind you. Contrary to what many of my esteemed colleagues are saying on twitter, this isn’t a casus belli for Muslims. It’s an excuse for terrorists.
• The attacks aren’t being spurred by outraged crowds of peace-loving citizens in Egypt and Libya. These appear to be coordinated attacks, probably timed for 9/11. How do I know? Because Egyptian intelligence warned about attacks on our interests. Because crowds need someone to get them somewhere. Because this is how extremists work.
• It’s irrelevant whether our Cairo embassy coordinated its disgraceful apology with the White House or not. Embassies work for the president of the United States. He is the boss, and he is responsible for what they do and say. If not, let’s see someone fired.
• Romney’s condemnation of the apology wasn’t embarrassing or too early; it was correct, it was timely, and the only beef commentators have with it is that the White House didn’t issue it first.
• The White House still doesn’t get it. Look no farther than the difference between the Obama and Clinton statements; Obama equivocates and Clinton condemns:
• Obama: “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
• Clinton: “We condemn this vicious and violent attack that took their lives, which they had committed to helping the Libyan people reach for a better future.”
• This matters for the election because:
• The U.S. has disengaged entirely from the Middle East. We’re “nation building here at home” and can’t play a role on the world stage, apparently.
• There are no efforts being made to steward post-Arab Spring leaders away from extremism, there is no clear leadership from the White House about what will constitute acceptable leadership from Egypt or Libya (let alone Syria).
• Aid has flowed to Egypt unabated despite warning signs Morsi is leading Egypt away from moderation.
• Despite his promises to usher in a new era of popularity for America in the region, we are now more hated than ever. Worse than hated, we are neither feared by our enemies nor trusted by our friends (ask Bibi Netanyahu).