President Obama's pointless Middle East speech 

President Obama's just concluded his long, blathering, Middle East speech in which he tried hard not to offend anybody. But by the end, he sounded a lot like President George W. Bush, talking about the need for the U.S. to stand up for democracy and self-determination abroad.

Obama even went so far as to describe Iraq as a model for a multi-sectarian democracy in the region:

Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democracy. There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process, even as they have taken full responsibility for their own security. Like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. As they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama talked about the status quo being unsustainable, but he didn't propose anything that would change the status quo. Sure, he called for an agreement based on the 1967 borders, but only after mutually-agreed upon land swaps. However, if any agreement were possible along these lines, it would have been reached long ago. When Israel offered the same sort of deal in 2000, the Palestinians rejected it.

Obama said, "the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist. In the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question"

Of course, we all know that Hamas will never change its ways since it was founded with the purpose of destroying Israel. Obama could have said that the U.S. would not offer aid to any government that includes Hamas, but he chose not to.

So, the speech was positive for supporters of Israel in the sense that his remarks give room for Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to carry on as he has been, but on the flip side, there's no real pressure on Palestinians to reject the terrorist group Hamas.

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Philip Klein

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