Chants of “The crescent and the cross against murder and torture” are heard on the streets of Cairo…
We have heard it said time and time again by political pundits and commentators that people in the Middle East don’t truly desire freedom and democracy. We have also heard it noted mostly as an aside that the US and other Western governments support the dictatorships and totalitarian regimes in the Middle East as “strategic” allies.
So what happens when the people in the Middle East through grassroots activism protest against their oppressive Western backed governments in order to create change?
Well in the case of Tunisia we witnessed regime change and in the streets of Cairo and in other locales such as Yemen, Jordan, and others we see growing support for movements primed to challenge the status quo. Yet in the West we hear crickets chirping.
One has to question the champions of freedom and democracy when they are silent on such international events. In particular, one has to wonder why the US and the Obama Administration is being silent when it comes to the cries of change in the streets of Cairo and throughout the mostly Muslim world.
What does it mean to those courageous activists and protestors when the Obama Administration will not answer their calls for liberation from dictatorships? How can our leaders who proclaim the virtues of representative government at home and abroad remain tempered and measured in their responses concerning the pleas of the oppressed seeking justice?
In a world filled with injustice and with growing hostility toward the US and her allies in this region, what sense can we make out of the Obama Administrations lack of certainty as it relates to this issue?
This is an opportunity for the Obama Administration and her allies to make a principled stand on those values that make our nations great. As the people continue to fight tyranny in the streets, team Obama sits idly, seemingly dumbstruck as it relates to a no brainer issue.
Is the US under Obama really prepared to concede defeat admitting the charges of our enemies that we are not truly interested in freedom, justice, and equality for all peoples especially in the Middle East? Is Obama capable of standing up and being the leader the world so desperately needs by supporting the democratic aspirations of the protesters? Or will Obama go on record on this issue and many others as the orator in chief whose lofty speeches rarely materialize into decisive actions?
While the US and others decide whether or not it’s in their strategic interests to support or flee from these dictators, the people are making their will known. Dangerously we flirt with the prospect that many will view this as an either “with” or “against” us moment in history, and the US cannot afford to give her enemies more recruits.
It’s time for the Obama Administration to take a principled stand and be clear regarding it’s support for the protesters or the dictatorships.