“The video did it” argument—even if true—isn’t much of a defense of the Obama administration’s policies in the
According to the Obama administration, its policies in the
Middle Eastare working. The Cairospeech, the tougher line with Israel, the withdrawals from Iraqand pending drawdown in Afghanistan, Obama’s coolness to ’s failed Green Revolution: These have all been part of the successful effort to repair the damage done by the previous administration. Yet all of that hard work can go up in smoke if some crackpot says something mean about the prophet Muhammad on YouTube? Iran
Progress that flimsy strikes me as no progress at all.
It is simply a fact that Islamist radicals, the Arab street and the Muslim world have been angry at
for decades, under Republican and Democratic administrations alike. It’s also true that demagogues and other opportunists have used things like this video as an excuse to attack America and the West for generations. Obama isn’t solely to blame for the current conflagrations, though his naivete about the transformational power of his presidency deserves ample scorn. [Los Angeles Times, September 18] America
As a general rule of thumb, it’s no defense to say your policy failed only because of the actions of bad people. Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement was working great, too—right up until Hitler ruined it.