Liz Cheney recently got my attention on CNN. The arguments supporting or castigating Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last week have been bubbling up for a few days now and I’ve been satisfied to sit back and watch. It just didn’t seem that hard to figure out that he did the right thing here, but that’s not everyone’s opinion.
Liz Cheney’s main argument seemed to be that we can’t make our Middle East policy based on a public opinion poll of the Middle East. Is she trying to say that US national interests as a factor do not enter into the considerations of the Obama administration? This fits in with the overall mind set of her father and gives me the feeling that the former Vice President really was the driving force behind the Bush administration’s all or nothing approach. We can call this tactic the “false choice”.
The previous demonstration of this false choice policy approach stated that the only choices were to stay in Iraq indefinitely to maintain security there and at home or withdraw completely and Iraq would implode and turn into a new super terrorist sanctuary and direct massive attacks on the homeland. This is how the Bush administration presented the “choice” for us. Either we stay in Iraq until you are told it’s safe to leave or we make the wrong choice and withdraw completely with all the terrible consequences. It turns out that while Bush and Dick were keeping America scared, they were pursuing a third choice; an in between option that happened to be a track that Obama followed as well.
Here again, we have his daughter utilizing the same mindset. She claims that Obama is running his entire Middle East policy on the basis of how the average Muslim feels. We must assume this is considered nearly treasonous behavior in the Cheney camp and they feel the same way about what they consider unneeded apologetic behavior. This is a sign of weakness in their eyes, so Liz Cheney’s alternative policy would be the opposite. No matter what, don’t base US policy on public opinion in the Arab world.
Obviously, the best course of action is to take all possible factors into considerationa and gather as much information as possible in the pursuit of protecting US national interests. In that case, you might find that we can benefit from reaching out to the moderates in the Muslim world in order to gain their assistance. The zealots that follow Osama Bin Laden are only .00001% of the Muslim world, but that is thousands of people and Obama’s speech can’t change the minds of those men. There are other policies this administration is pursuing in order to deal with those men, but thanks to gathering information and thoughtfully finding a more complex policy that approaches this dilemma from more than one direction we are safer.
That was one point that seemed completely alien to Liz Cheney. The idea that Obama’s speech in Cairo could possibly make this country safer in any way was impossible to her. With the Cheney family blinders on, there are certain aspects of the big picture they just can’t see.