An Oped Co-written by Obama & UAE Crown Prince Mohammed?

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obama debate.jpgPresident Obama’s recently co-written oped, done with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, asserted Transatlantic concerns about affairs in Libya — and intentionally or not, proclaimed ownership of the conflict. Whether the Libya intervention succeeds or fails, the achievement will be because of the efficacy or impotence of the West more than a narrative of a well-organized, inspiring Opposition throwing off an unjust regime.
his-highness-general-sheikh-mohamed-bin-zayed-al-nahyan,property=bild,bereich=gsec,sprache=en,groesse=LightWindowZoom.jpgThis is not good. The US now has adopted a third nation — after Iraq and Afghanistan — in which the footprint of its military involvement is very large, and while there has been good diplomatic outreach to members of the African Union and Arab League, they are now invisible in this conflict in their own neighborhood.
It needs to be a high priority of NATO, the White House team working on this, the Pentagon and Hillary Clinton as well as Susan Rice to be seen connecting more with Arab and African leaders, and Arab and African people, about this conflict.
Two immediate suggestions.
Next Tuesday, UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be visiting President Obama in the White House.
al jazeera 1.jpgRather than penning opeds about the vital need for a new start for Libyans with a new leader written by heads of governments whose colonial pasts still anger many in Africa and the Middle East, perhaps President Obama should get a bit more creative and pen a joint oped with Crown Prince Mohammed. This punctures the notion that the intervention and its design is only Western. An oped written by various regional stakeholders and President Obama would be a good step forward — and would simultaneously create an opportunity to emphasize the power and importance of a free press in this area of the world.
Secondly, it’s more than overdue for President Obama to go on Al Jazeera. It’s practically an absurd embarrassment at this point that everyone has been relying on Al Jazeera’s excellent, widespread coverage and analysis of the Arab revolutions and yet the US President continues a soft boycott of the network.
To connect with the Arab world and to connect with those protesters around the region, speaking through Al Jazeera to them would be an important step forward.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

28 comments on “An Oped Co-written by Obama & UAE Crown Prince Mohammed?

  1. Kathleen says:

    John H The language used by Hillary, Obama, Susan Rice, Kerry etc to describe the situation in Libya.
    “massacre, slaughter” these words repeated over and over again by these characters. In Obama’s speech about Libya he said “the US does not turn a blind eye to human rights issues” or something close.
    Don’t look over at the “massacre” in Iraq at that pile of hundreds of thousands of bodies that the US is responsible for. Don’t look at the Gaza and the 1400 Palestinian people that Israel “slaughtered”
    Their double standards are despicable. Twisted morals

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  2. JohnH says:

    Hillary in Doha, Qatar, Feb 15, 2010: “Iran is becoming a military dictatorship…As nations strive to build and strengthen governments that reflect the will of their people, grounded in their own traditions, they can count on the United States to be their partner…”
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/15/clinton-iran-military-dictatorship#ixzz1KOSxY8D6
    How times change! You can bet that Qatar would not welcome Hillary’s posturing about freedom and democracy today. (Qatar is governed by the absolute monarch Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.) Either the monarch would ban it in advance or the audience would die laughing!
    But, as Steve says, “we should not apply a one size fits all mold to all these cases — what is key is regional buy-in.” So absolute monarchies are perfectly fine on one side of the Persian Gulf, but a “military dictatorship” on the other side is an abomination!
    These foreign policy experts never cease to amaze for their ability to come up with the most contorted, virtually incomprehensible moral arguments defending tyranny for some and democracy for others.
    If they would come out and say that UAE is adored because it is subservient to US interests, while Iran is hated because it is independent, then they would not have to constantly posture about freedom and democracy. But then, US “public diplomacy” would be so clear that none of their skills would be needed any longer. Creation of BS pays well, as think tanks well know.

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  3. Kathleen says:

    Steve “As Denis McDonough said, we should not apply a one size fits all mold to all these cases –”
    Did anyone else notice this was the mantra coming out after logical folks were questioning Susan Rice, Powers, Clinton Obama rants about protecting the Libyan people from “massacres, slaughters” (their language) but not apply those same alleged human rights standards to say Palestinians or people in Bahrain etc. You know get it folks if we need to go in for our own or Europes, or Israel’s strategic interest the Obama administration defines that protecting human rights. The other humans don’t fit our interest. And they will spin it what ever way they please

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Where does this stuff come from?”
    Think Tanks.
    Its where proffessional thinkers go to think. They think, then they tell our politicians what to think. And, in turn, our politicians tell us what they think we should think.
    Then, when it turns to shit, the proffessional thinkers think again.
    And, as before, they tell our politicians what to think, the politicians tell us what to think, and it turns to shit again.
    Its a highly successful process, lots of thinking, and lots of shit. The more shit, the more thinking, the more thinking, the more shit.
    Pays well, too.

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  5. TS says:

    OK, Steve, you really lost me here. You think it is a good idea for Obama to have a joint op-ed with a leader of a country that contributed troups to putting down the demonstrations in Bahrain, and that recently also had a bunch of people arrested after suggesting there should be elections for some offices? Why?
    Now, I do not believe the UAE is among the world’s worst regimes. Unfortunately, there are many that are even worse. But bad enough. So your idea is ridiculous. Where does this stuff come from?

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  6. Don Bacon says:

    Of course it’s the people’s fault, according to these geniuses.
    As to Libya, it has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/countries/country-energy-data.cfm?fips=LY

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  7. Tank Man says:

    Finally caught a rerun of Aspen Institute’s “Values and
    Diplomacy” conversation w/Baker, Albright & Powell.

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  8. Don Bacon says:

    On the other hand, relations between US and Saudi Arabia are a bit tense right now, and there is that biggest-ever US-SA arms sale in the works. An endorsement from a UAE Crown Prince would definitely help business. I bet it’s already written, in fact.

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  9. Don Bacon says:

    DDP: “there were, after all, firm endorsements
    from UNSC to that effect.”
    Only three major countries in the world supported this aggression — US, UK & France. Hardly a “firm endorsement.”

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  10. JohnH says:

    Wow! DakotabornKansan is on a roll! By now it should be absolutely clear what kind of people TWN advocates getting in bed with. And, frankly, I expect that Obama will have no qualms about it. It’s been the American way for generations.

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  11. DakotabornKansan says:
  12. Dan DePetris says:

    Steve-
    Penning a joint op-ed with Crown Prince Mohammad may
    stimulate some positive feedback from war skeptics, particularly
    in the Arab world. But that short article, regardless of where it’s
    featured (NYT, WaPo etc), won’t convince people that the Libya
    intervention is not simply another western-designed foray into
    another Muslim country. While the United States may have
    gotten approval from the Arab League, the GCC, and the OIC
    before the first Tomahawk cruise missiles were actually
    launched, no rational observer would be as naive to label the
    Libya campaign as a legitimate cross-regional or global
    humanitarian intervention.
    Politically speaking, I guess that you could label the intervention
    as a global campaign: there were, after all, firm endorsements
    from UNSC to that effect. But when viewing the conflict simply
    through a military lens, the fight is indeed a western design.
    France was the first country to call for forceful action, as well as
    the first nation to declare the TNC as the legitimate
    representative of the Libyan people. Great Britain busted their
    butts trying to mend differences between the Europeans to get
    the operation off the ground. The United States fired the first
    shots. And let’s not forget that the mission is being maintained
    by five powers, all of whom are western in origin: Denmark
    Belgium, France, Britain, Canada and the United States.
    Sure, Jordan, Qatar, and the UAE are technically contributing, but
    they are doing so with the most narrowly defined objectives and
    within very narrow rules of engagement.
    The joint op-ed suggestion may help politically. Militarily, it
    won’t make a difference. It is, in fact, an operation planned and
    enforced by the western powers.
    -Dan DePetris

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  13. DakotabornKansan says:

    United Arab Emirates detains Ahmed Mansoor, human rights activist and a member of Human Rights Watch

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  14. DakotabornKansan says:

    Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – United Arab Emirates
    Status: No Action
    Source: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/887ff7374eb89574c1256a2a0027ba1f/80256404004ff315c125638b005e9726?OpenDocument

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  15. DakotabornKansan says:

    Ratification of International Human Rights Treaties – United Arab Emirates
    http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/research/ratification-uae.html
    Source: University of Minnesota Human Rights Library

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  16. Don Bacon says:

    White House
    For Immediate Release
    April 22, 2011
    Statement on the Visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates
    “President Obama will welcome Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates to the White House on Tuesday, April 26th. The President looks forward to discussing with the Crown Prince the strong ties between the United States and the UAE and our common strategic interests in the region.”
    This is what this country has sunk to, discussing “common strategic interests” with a crown prince from a minor tyranny.
    Obama will probably thank the prince for recently sending UAE troops who intensified the bloody repression of anti-regime protesters in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other human rights organizations have strongly condemned the military intervention and have called the action illegal.

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  17. kathleen says:

    Bacon “The UAE, with seven emirates, doesn’t allow citizen voting for national offices and political parties are not allowed. The UAE does have something in common with the U.S., according to the latest State Department human rights report — it has employed torture towards foreigners in detention. Also the UAE has held persons in official custody without charge or a preliminary judicial hearing.”
    So are the human rights records about these guys torturing their own folk?
    “it has employed torture toward foreigners in detention”
    Which dictator the US is hugging which day is so confusing
    Links?

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  18. Kathleen says:

    So I take it this guy does not torture his people. But big in defense. Big in education. I think I read the literacy rate in Libya was 86%
    “Al Nahyan is actively engaged in several projects targeted at increasing the welfare of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He has initiated projects in various areas, such as economic development, education and environmental protection.
    Moreover, in the realm of humanitarian affairs, Al Nahyan has been underlining his commitment to the fight against human trafficking by funding the

    Reply

  19. erichwwk says:

    Thanks, DakotabornKansan. Interesting take.
    PS There were some errors in my quote sheet re Kennan (PPS23 is on wikisource). In straightening that out i came across this critique of Noam Chomskey’s (from whom Gerson took it)use of the patched quote. I am curious as to what others make of it- especially in re “where the forces that lead to conflict arise”. the relevant passage [from 2002]:
    “The American people are MORE predatory and genocidal towards the third world than the rulers – rather than foist wars on the good and innocent American people, the rulers actually modulate the genocidal tendencies of Americans and try to obtain fig leafs such as “Anti-communism” and “Anti-terrorism” etc. to justify wars against the
    third world which actually warm the cockles of average American people.
    If you take the example most frequently cited when the American people turned against their government over a war – Vietnam – AT NO TIME WERE
    A MAJORITY OF AMERICAN PEOPLE opposed to the Vietnam war – the turning point was unacceptable number of middle-class white casualties.
    There is an Anglo-Saxon/Germanic core running from Texas to Florida that essentially ensures that no government (house plus senate plus
    the presidency) in Washington that does not engage in continual genocide against the third world can survive long.
    The block vote from Texas to Florida has controlled the presidency for the past 40 years or so – and these states have made sure that a
    solid block of 20-odd senators are always present in the senate who would actively clamor for predatory warlike policies toward the third
    world.
    Genocidal attacks by the U.S. government to appropriate third world resources are fully supported by the American people and in fact the
    genocidal impulses ORIGINATE from the people – especially Southern White Males.”
    Reactions, as to “facts” and “analysis”?
    http://bit.ly/hJM9Yt

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  20. Don Bacon says:

    Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a younger brother of the UAE president, probably isn’t the sort of royalist that our Decider would pen an op-ed with.
    The UAE, with seven emirates, doesn’t allow citizen voting for national offices and political parties are not allowed. The UAE does have something in common with the U.S., according to the latest State Department human rights report — it has employed torture towards foreigners in detention. Also the UAE has held persons in official custody without charge or a preliminary judicial hearing.
    The UAE does have a constitution which provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the government restricted these rights in practice. The law prohibits criticism of rulers and speech that may create or encourage social unrest. Journalists and editors practiced extensive self-censorship for fear of government retribution, particularly since most journalists were foreign nationals and could be deported.
    In any case, it’s a new world in the Middle East as the U.S. passes from the scene, with the Libya mess a fitting obituary.
    The new alliance to watch is Turkey-Egypt-Iran, the latter with Iraq, and the new forward-lookers have no time for the old tyrannies.

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  21. JohnH says:

    Steve, you may not be “a supporter of manic US-led regime change,” but let’s get real here. Do you think that it really helps US interests to go to the Persian Gulf, trumpet freedom and democracy, and then stand alongside some of the world’s worst tyrants, stuffing them full of weapons?
    If the US prefers to side with the worst of the worst, let Obama, Biden, and Clinton at least have the decency to acknowledge that fact and end the blatant hypocrisy.

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  22. DakotabornKansan says:

    One wonders what such an act of creativity would bring

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  23. Erich Kuerschner says:

    A breath of fresh air, albeit from 1948:
    “We have about 50 percent of the world

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  24. erichwwk says:

    Why does the WH (and SC) refer to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as UAE’s Crown Prince, rather than that of Abu Dhabi? Are we trying to assign him a status he does not have? Or does he somehow by virtue of his military leadership and position in line for the UAE Presidency?
    I am glad JohnH brought the change in Al-Jazeera reporting policy out in the open.
    It seems to me this alliance of Arab dictators along religious lines,especially Iran, will eventually pose a huge problem for the US. Why try to couch what are essentially civil wars over resources and political control as humanitarian efforts? Who here is really fooled by that?
    Saudi money wins Obama’s mind
    By M K Bhadrakumar
    http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD19Ak02.html

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  25. Steve Clemons says:

    John — I’m not a supporter of manic US-led regime change. As Denis McDonough said, we should not apply a one size fits all mold to all these cases — what is key is regional buy-in. So, we disagree…best, steve

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  26. JohnH says:

    Oh great! Obama pens an op-ed with an Arab despot. That sends the right message! But at least the administration would finally have the decency to admit its stands resolutely with some of the world’s worst tyrants. But will he have the audacity to call for freedom and democracy…in Iran?
    The day of Obama appearing on Al-Jazeera is not far away. In case Steve has not noticed, Al-Jazeera has dramatically changed its coverage lately and has decided not to cross the Saudi royals or anyone they support. How could Obama refuse to appear on such a channel?

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  27. ... says:

    “It’s practically an absurd embarrassment…”
    i think this is a good description for obama’s leadership at this point… well, maybe scratch out the word ‘practically’ to make it fool proof…

    Reply

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