- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2009

OBAMA’S METHOD

“During the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton made a shrewd observation about [Barack] Obama. She said that each time a major crisis took place, Obama … made a speech,” New York Post columnist Amir Taheri writes.

“Problem is, he seems to be continuing with that method now - making speeches as a substitute for policy,” Mr. Taheri said.

“It works like this: The president makes a speech, orders a review and appoints a special emissary. Sympathetic newspapers praise the president’s prudence and wisdom compared to President George W. Bush’s gung-ho, trigger-happy foreign policy. The special emissaries are shown on TV going to faraway places and taking pictures with exotic foreign leaders. Think-tank experts then go on TV to remind us that Obama is dealing with problems that are ‘complex and multi-dimensioned.’

“The hoped-for impression is that the problem has been taken care of, allowing the president to move on to tackle some other aspect of his Herculean task.

“Remember you first read it here: Obama has no policy on Iran or any of the other major issues of foreign policy, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia and China. He hopes to avoid endorsing the policies of his predecessor, but is at a loss as to what could be done differently. The result is political paralysis.”

FRIENDS AND ENEMIES

“I argued last year that it was hard to take seriously a foreign policy that seemed to consist of punishing America’s friends, and encouraging her enemies; that offered, for example, threats to Pakistan but dialogue with Iran,” David Warren writes in the Ottawa Citizen, a Canadian newspaper.

“I did not at the time expect that it would ever come into play, however, for I assumed that even if Obama won the election, more sober influences within the Democratic Party would prevail, and in the end he would find himself with something that secretly resembled the Bush doctrines,” Mr. Warren said.

“I have lost that confidence since watching the new White House destructively criticize Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai, congratulate Venezuelans on constitutional changes that will enable Hugo Chavez to be president-for-life, deliver an entirely gratuitous apology for American behavior towards the Islamic world, and send George Mitchell off to the Middle East to strike a more ‘balanced’ posture between Israel and Hamas. This, after decisions on Guantanamo that signal a new ‘catch and release’ approach to the world’s most dangerous terrorists.

“While I doubt Americans intentionally voted for any of that, they did sign a blank check for unspecified ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ and they did endorse a candidate whose popularity was not only greater abroad than at home, but especially high among anti-Americans. They now have a president who is taking lectures from such as Desmond Tutu. He warns that Obama will squander the world’s goodwill if he does not immediately apologize to the Iraqi people for the ‘unmitigated disaster’ in which George Bush freed them from Saddam Hussein.”

MODEST PROPOSAL

“Never underestimate the capacity of Chicago politics for spectacle. True to this form, Illinois Sen. Roland Burris is now looking at multiple ethics investigations barely a month after arriving in Washington,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“[On Friday], Governor (and fellow Democrat) Patrick Quinn called on Mr. Burris to resign for his evolving accounts of the contacts he did or did not have with Rod Blagojevich before being appointed to Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs added that Mr. Burris needs to ‘come up with an explanation that satisfies’ and that President Obama ‘is supportive of an investigation that would get some full story out.’ Mr. Burris, for his part, denies any wrongdoing,” the newspaper noted.

“This latest turn is the direct result of the refusal by Illinois Democrats to hold a special election to fill the seat. Democrats resisted that option once it became clear that a Republican might win. Senate Democrats in Washington then declared that Mr. Blagojevich shouldn’t make an appointment, and they wouldn’t accept his choice if he did. They relented once it became clear that embarrassment was not enough under the law to disqualify Mr. Burris from office. But now Mr. Burris has become a running embarrassment, so Mr. Quinn wants him to go too.

“By now it’s clear enough that the problem is less Mr. Burris or Mr. Blagojevich than the entire rotten Illinois political culture. So here’s a modest proposal: Every elected state official should resign at once, giving voters a chance to start over with special elections for everyone. State government couldn’t get any more dysfunctional than it is now, and maybe Diogenes could find an honest man.”

SHARIAH LAW

An author and lecturer who grew up a Muslim in Egypt but who has lived in the United States since 1978 is warning the West that Islamic Shariah law is “not compatible with democracy” and that “it is not a coincidence” that Islamist regimes are dictatorships.

Nonie Darwish, who has made it her personal mission to expose efforts to force Shariah law on unsuspecting nations around the globe, told the monthly gathering of the Conservative Women’s Network on Friday that Shariah “is a dictator-friendly set of laws.”

“If Islam is a policeman, Shariah is the gun,” she said, detailing for the audience of about 85 women at the Heritage Foundation how Shariah law subjugates women - in its most extreme form, so-called “honor killings” - in oppressive Islamic regimes from Saudi Arabia to Sudan.

Shariah is “penetrating the West,” she warned, as radical Islamists emigrate to Europe, North America and elsewhere, but refuse to assimilate and adopt Western values.

Asked why the political left refuses to denounce militant Islam, especially considering that its treatment of women and gays is antithetical to liberals’ own views, she could only speculate, Peter Parisi of The Washington Times reports.

Mrs. Darwish, author of the new book “Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law,” said the far left’s attitude appears to be “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” to the extent that both “hate Judeo-Christian culture.” The left perhaps thinks it can ally itself with Islam until Judeo-Christian culture is eliminated, she said, and ” ‘we can defeat [Islamic radicals] later.’ ”

“No, they can’t,” she said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.

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