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RUSH: Fouad Ajami in the Wall Street Journal today: ‘A foreign policy of penance has won America no friends.’ Our poll numbers are all the same. Barack Obama hasn’t done jack to change anyone’s opinion of America, except they think we are weaker. The Iranians are discarding any pretense now at letting inspectors in, any pretense of participating in a nonproliferation treaty because they’re not frightened. The thing that Obama doesn’t understand is they hate us regardless who the president is. The militant Islamic world hates us regardless who the president is. Venezuela, the ChiComs, the Russians hate us regardless who the president is. Obama actually has this community organizer’s mentality and this ego that makes him believe somehow that just his presence can solve problems. It’s obvious to me that Bin Laden is dead for one reason: Obama hasn’t captured him. Because Obama can do everything!

Obama! Obama! Obama! Obama! Well, we don’t have Bin Laden. That must mean he’s dead. There must be nobody to capture. Listen to some excerpts here from Fouad Ajami’s piece in the Wall Street Journal. By the way, if you don’t know who Fouad Ajami is, you’ve probably seen him on television. He’s ‘a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution … the author of ‘The Foreigner’s Gift” published in 2007. ”He talks too much,’ a Saudi academic in Jeddah, who had once been smitten with Barack Obama, recently observed to me of America’s 44th president. He has wearied of Mr. Obama and now does not bother with the Obama oratory. He is hardly alone, this academic.

‘In the endless chatter of this region, and in the commentaries offered by the press, the theme is one of disappointment. In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth. He has not made the world anew, history did not bend to his will, the Indians and Pakistanis have been told that the matter of Kashmir is theirs to resolve, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the same intractable clash of two irreconcilable nationalisms, and the theocrats in Iran have not ‘unclenched their fist,’ nor have they abandoned their nuclear quest. There is little Mr. Obama can do about this disenchantment. He can’t journey to Turkey to tell its Islamist leaders and political class that a decade of anti-American scapegoating is all forgiven and was the product of American policies — he has already done that.

‘He can’t journey to Cairo to tell the fabled ‘Arab street’ that the Iraq war was a wasted war of choice, and that America earned the malice that came its way from Arab lands — he has already done that as well. He can’t tell Muslims that America is not at war with Islam — he, like his predecessor, has said that time and again. It was the norm for American liberalism during the Bush years to brandish the Pew Global Attitudes survey that told of America’s decline in the eyes of foreign nations. Foreigners were saying what the liberals wanted said. Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama.

‘In the Palestinian territories, 15% have a favorable view of the US while 82% have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn’t seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14% and those unreconciled, 69%. In Egypt, a country that’s reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27% have a favorable view of the US while 70% do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63% in 2008 to 68% this year. Mr. Obama’s election has not drained the swamps of anti-Americanism. That anti-Americanism is endemic to this region, an alibi and a scapegoat for nations, and their rulers, unwilling to break out of the grip of political autocracy and economic failure.

‘It predated the presidency of George W. Bush and rages on during the Obama presidency.’ They hate us regardless of who is the president! ‘We had once taken to the foreign world that quintessential American difference — the belief in liberty, a needed innocence to play off against the settled and complacent ways of older nations. The Obama approach is different.’ Obama is ‘Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt…’ Mr. Ajami knows not how right he is. Mr. Obama was born and raised on the notion that this country is unjust and immoral, that it discriminates, that it is unfair, that it is bigoted, that it is racist, that it has stolen the world’s resources. It is the cause of poverty around the world. He believes all of this! It is easily understood when you see him running around the world apologizing for this country.

He is essentially thinking he’s making friends by telling these people that hate us that he understands the hate and that their hate’s justified. ‘Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt Mr. Obama and his lieutenants offered nothing less than a doctrine, and a policy, of American penance. No one told Mr. Obama that [in] the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one’s own tribe when in the midst, and in the lands, of others.’ So contrary to being exactly what they want to hear, it’s something they do not condone. They, therefore, think Obama is weak. They think that Obama is not this great messiah that he portrayed himself to be and that even some in the Islamic world thought he was going to be.

Again, ‘No one told Mr. Obama that [in] the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one’s own [country] when in the midst, and in the [country], of others. The crowd may have applauded the cavalier way the new steward of American power referred to his predecessor, but in the privacy of their own language they doubtless wondered about his character and his fidelity. ‘My brother and I against my cousin, my cousin and I against the stranger,’ goes one of the Arab world’s most honored maxims. The stranger who came into their midst and spoke badly of his own was destined to become an object of suspicion.

‘Mr. Obama could not make up his mind: He was at one with ‘the people’ and with the rulers who held them in subjugation. The people of Iran who took to the streets this past summer were betrayed by this hapless diplomacy — Mr. Obama was out to ‘engage’ the terrible rulers that millions of Iranians were determined to be rid of.’ The man is simply on the wrong side of history because his mind has been corrupted, polluted, and perverted by the anti-Americanism of the people who raised him and educated him. ‘We are beyond…’ Mr. Ajami continues: ‘We are beyond stirring speeches. The novelty of the Obama approach, and the Obama persona, has worn off. There is a whole American diplomatic tradition to draw upon’ and we are not doing it. That’s setting the stage for this supposedly important speech tonight.

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