Our new president hopes to convince the Moslem world that we are not their enemy:
President Barack Obama on Tuesday chose an Arabic satellite TV network for his first formal television interview as president, delivering a message to the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy."
The interview underscored Obama's commitment to repair relations with the Muslim world that have suffered under the previous administration.
All well and good. I'll disregard the idea that it is our fault. But the lack of historical memory from a man almost exactly the same age as me is disheartening. This is what our president said:
Obama said the U.S. had made mistakes in the past but "that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that."
Ah, so it wasn't just the last eight years that we spoiled the relationship? Our "partnership" with the Moslem world was on solid ground 20-30 years ago, the president claims. So the Golden Age that President Obama aspires to are the years from 1979 to 1989, which excludes the lip-biting sensitive era of President Clinton (ahem, Secretary of State Clinton) and basically amounts to the Reagan administration.
But what about that supposed Golden Age of Partnership?
The Iran hostage crisis begins with Iranian Shia jihadis seizing our embassy.
Moslem extreminsts kidnap our ambassador to Afghanistan (he dies in the crossfire of a rescue attempt).
A Moslem mob attacks our embassy in Pakistan after rumors of US forces taking over the Grand Mosque in Mecca are spread. In fact, French commandos liberating that mosque from a couple hundred armed jihadis, but nobody thought to be angry with the French for that.
Operation Eagle Claw to rescue our hostages in Iran fails at Desert One.
Gulf of Sidra incident in which we shoot down two Libyan fighters.
I can't recall any particular incident. Perhaps that was the magical partnership era. Although we did land troops in Lebanon that year to separate Israel from the PLO and Syrian forces.
Jihadis bomb our embassy in Beirut, killing more than 60.
Jihadis bomb our Marines barracks in Beirut, killing nearly 250 US military personnel.
US engages Druze and Syrian forces in Lebanon with artillery and air strikes.
Libya mines the Red Sea.
TWA aircraft hijacked by Hezbollah, one US Navy man murdered.
Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacked, one American civilian murdered.
TWA flight bombed , 4 killed.
A disco in Berlin frequented by US military personnel bombed by Libyan agents, 3 killed.
US jets bomb Libya in retaliation.
Pan Am aircraft hijacked by Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorists in Pakistan.
Tanker War between US and Iran begins in Persian Gulf.
Tanker War escalates until Iran-Iraq War ends this year.
Pan Am aircraft blown up over Scotland by Libyan agents.
In Gulf of Sidra, US aircraft shoot down two Libyan fighters.
Thus ends the Golden Age of Partnership between America and the Moslem world. Wow, our "partners" sure were doing a lot of shooting at us!
Good times ... Good times ... And this is just the US stuff that comes to mind.
My guess is that President Obama has no intention of taking us back to those magical days of yore--but only because he has no idea that this is our history. I'm sure he thinks the era is completely defined by Camp David and its aftermath when Israel and Egypt made peace (and Egyptian President Sadat was murdered by jihadis for his efforts). Ah yes, he remembers it well.
Oh, and given the surge of forces that President Obama is prepared to order to fight the "real" war against terrorism in Afghanistan (a.k.a. the "good war"), how does this interpretation of Bush's sins square with Obama's plans to rebuild our "partnership?"
During his presidency, former President George W. Bush gave several interviews to Al-Arabiya but the wars he launched in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted a massive backlash against the U.S. in the Muslim world.
So Moslems don't think Afghanistan is the "good war?" Fancy that.
An American president embarking on a foreign policy based on the assumption that we have done something to earn the hatred of our jihadi enemies is just asking for a Jimmy Carter Soviet invasion of Afghanistan level of disillusionment.
Brace yourselves, people, it's looking like we're in for a rough ride.
UPDATE: Amir Taheri has his own views on that Golden Age that our president wishes to restore:
What was happening during what Obama seems to regard as the "golden age" of Carter's leadership? US diplomats were held hostage in Tehran and daily humiliated with mock executions. Soviet troops were annexing Afghanistan to the Evil Empire. Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Iran, starting an eight-year war that claimed a million lives. Mecca was under siege by the ideological antecedents of Osama bin Laden. Syrian troops were preparing to march into Lebanon.
Other features of this "golden age": the seizure of power by mullahs in Tehran, the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the coming to power of communists in the Horn of Africa, the military coup in Turkey, the first Islamist terror attacks in Algeria, unprecedented waves of repression in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the imposition of military rule in Pakistan.
During the same period, and its immediate aftermath, dozens of Americans from many walks of life were seized as hostages and sometimes brutally murdered in several Muslim countries. The US ambassador in Sudan was murdered; the CIA station chief in Beirut abducted, taken to Tehran and killed under torture.
A similarly dark picture could be drawn of the situation 20 years ago, when America was arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan while Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade Kuwait.
And the first President George Bush was then trying to court the Iranian mullahs in much the same way as Obama is trying today. But the mullahs were training and arming Hezbollah units in Lebanon and opening channels to Palestinian radicals who would soon re-emerge as Hamas. Saddam was gassing thousands of Kurds to death, while Turkey was dragged into a full-scale war on Kurdish communist secessionists. Meanwhile, the Libyan terror network was killing American GIs in Europe and blowing up US jetliners over Western skies.
Face it, Moslems--if certainly not Moslem dictators and those Moslems whose only reason for existence is the jihad--are better off after 8 years of George W. Bush than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Moslems actually have a hope of choosing something beyond fascist-style dictatorships or Islamic dictatorships to live under. History will record him as George the Liberator. I hope President Obama isn't celebrated by the region's dictators for blunting this change in outlook when his time in office is over.