Dienstag, Mai 31, 2011

Who Lost The Middle East?

There is a writer whose last name became a verb, after so many decided to deconstruct and make fun of his reporting, which was so obviously biased and subjective that it belonged on the OpEd pages, rather than "factual".

His name?

Robert Fisk. Of "fisking" fame. I've done it here.

Read this now. For the record, this is classified as a commentary by the Independent, so they are capable of learning.

So it starts:

This month, in the Middle East, has seen the unmaking of the President of the United States. More than that, it has witnessed the lowest prestige of America in the region since Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz on the USS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake in 1945.

While Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu played out their farce in Washington – Obama grovelling as usual – the Arabs got on with the serious business of changing their world, demonstrating and fighting and dying for freedoms they have never possessed. Obama waffled on about change in the Middle East – and about America's new role in the region. It was pathetic. "What is this 'role' thing?" an Egyptian friend asked me at the weekend. "Do they still believe we care about what they think?"

President Obama isn't interested in the Middle East for two reasons: they aren't doing anything for him, and he has seen how previous Democratic presidents failed, with perhaps the exception of Carter and getting the Egyptians at least to talk. Of course, that got Sadat killed.

Now, the rest of the Fisk article descends into the usual US and Israel-bashing that he is infamous for, but this is the key quote:

Indeed, Obama's policy towards the Middle East – whatever it is – sometimes appears so muddled that it is scarcely worthy of study.

On that he is right. The rest is a quagmire of conspiracy and speculation, But once in a year of blue moons, the old Fisk, the reporter getting his facts right, glimpses through the rest of the madness and gets something right.

That President Obama and his administration is getting it wrong.

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