President Obama, the ‘Winds of Change,’ and Middle East Peace
by Robert Satloff @ The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
President Obama did a great service in sketching out a new paradigm for U.S. engagement with the Middle East in his State Department “winds of change” speech this afternoon, in which he raised the goal of reform and democracy to a top-tier U.S. interest. Nevertheless, after critiquing Arab regimes that have used the Arab-Israeli conflict to distract their peoples from the important business of reform, he undermined the potency and effect of his own message by unveiling a new — and controversial — set of principles guiding U.S. efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Specifically, the peace process principles he articulated constitute a major departure from long-standing U.S. policy. Not only did President Obama’s statement make no mention of the democracy-based benchmarks injected into this process by President Bush in his June 2002 Rose Garden speech (which might have been appropriate, given the overall theme of his speech), he even included significant departures from the “Clinton Parameters” presented to the parties by the then president in December 2000…
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it does seem like our president is throwing another ally under the proverbial bus.