Paul Craig Roberts, June 05, 2009
What are we to make of Obama's speech at Cairo University in Egypt?
« I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect ».
Cairo is the capital of Egypt, an American puppet state whose ruler suppresses the aspirations of Egyptian Muslims and cooperates with Israel in the blockade of Gaza.
In contrast to the Islamic University of Al-Azhar, Cairo University was founded as a civil university. Obama's Cairo university audience was secular.
Nevertheless, Obama said startling words that many Muslims found hopeful. He said that colonialism and the Cold War had denied rights and opportunities to Muslims and resulted in Muslim countries being treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. The resulting blowback from "violent extremists" bred fear and mistrust between the Western and Muslim worlds.
Obama spoke of the Quran, his middle name, and his family connections to Islam.
Obama praised Islam's contributions to civilization.
Obama declared his « responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear ».
Obama acknowledged « the responsibility we have to one another as human beings ».
Obama acknowledged Iran's « right to access peaceful nuclear power ».
Obama declared that « no system of government can or should be imposed by one nation on any other ».
Obama's most explosive words pertained to Israel and Palestine: « Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements ».
Obama declared that « the only resolution [to the conflict] is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires ». For Obama's commitment to be fulfilled, Israel would have to give back the stolen West Bank lands, dismantle the wall, accept the right to return, and release 1.5 million Palestinians from the Gaza Ghetto. As this seems an unlikely collection of events, the nature of the « two- state solution » endorsed by Obama remains to be seen.
After the euphoric attention to idealistic rhetoric dies down, Obama will be criticized for extravagant words that create unrealizable expectations. But were the extravagant words other than a premier act of schmoozing Muslims designed to quiet the Muslim Brotherhood in our Egyptian puppet state and to get Muslims to accept US aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Obama decries regime change, but continues to practice it, invoking women's rights to gain support from secularized Arabs. He admits that Iraq was a war of choice but claims that al Qaeda, the Taliban, and 9/11 make Afghanistan a war of necessity.
Obama said that « the events of 9/11 » and al Qaeda's responsibility, not America's desire for military bases and hegemony, are the reasons America's commitment to combating violent extremism in Afghanistan will not weaken. Will Muslims notice that Obama's case for America's violent extremism in Afghanistan and now Pakistan is hypocritical?
Al Qaeda, Obama says, « chose to ruthlessly murder » nearly 3,000 people on 9/11 « and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale ». These deaths are a mere drop in the buckets of blood that America's invasions have brought to the Muslim world. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of the Muslims America has slaughtered are civilians, just as are the unarmed Palestinians slaughtered by the American-equipped Israeli military.
Against al Qaeda, whose « actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings », Obama invokes the Koran's prohibition against killing an innocent. Does Obama not realize that the stricture applies to the US and its « coalition of forty-six countries » in spades?
America's wars are all wars of choice. The more than one million dead Iraqis are not al Qaeda. Neither are Iraqi's four million refugees. Yet, Obama says Iraqis are better off now, with their country in ruins and a fifth of their population lost, because they are rid of Saddam Hussein, a secular ruler.
No one has a good tally of the dead and refugees America has produced in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, declared Obama, « The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals and our need to work together ».
In his first 100 days, Obama managed to create two million Pakistani refugees. It took Israel 60 years to create 3.5 million Palestinian refugees.
What Obama has really done is his speech is to accept responsibility for the neoconservative agenda of extending Western hegemony by eliminating « Muslim extremists », that is, Muslims who want to rule themselves in keeping with Islam, not in keeping with some secularized, Westernized faux Islam.
Muslim extremists are the creation of decades of Western colonization and secularization that has created an elite, which is Muslim in name only, to rule over religious people and to suppress Islamic mores. All experts know this, and most of them hail it as bringing progress and development to the Muslim world.
Obama said that « human progress cannot be denied », but « there need not be contradiction between development and tradition ». However, the West defines development and education. These terms mean what they mean in the West. Muslim extremists understand that these terms mean the extermination of Islam.
In typical American fashion, Obama offered Muslims money, « technological development », and « centers of scientific excellence ».
All the Muslims have to do is to cooperate with America and be peaceful, and America will « respect the dignity of all human beings ».