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How Bush, Obama missed big in the Middle East

Thursday, May 02, 2013 - 03:41

In his new book ''Beyond War,'' Reuters columnist David Rohde says President Obama failed to work with moderates across the Middle East, leaving the region ripe for extremists to take root.

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I think in -- you see -- consequence of this paralysis. In Washington this real fear of doing. Anything wrong. And it's where haunted by Iraq I think the Obama White House correctly does not want to borrow the US and another war in the Middle East. But there we have more options you know it's not simply do we invade -- -- 100000 troops -- do we do nothing. It was supposed to be providing. Initially some aid to the civilian elements and the Syrian opposition. And and the Syrian opposition now controls seven provinces of north there were proposals to give them -- Generators search and rescue equipment from when he scud missiles ball but whenever we get any kind of -- training to -- Syrian. I'm that individual we need their name their father's name there's uniting number yes -- eleven different. Questions to their -- run through terrorism database that the US government. All because we are so fearful of potentially giving aid. War weapons to the wrong person. This incredibly slow cumbersome effort where we can't you know exert our soft power if you will has really hurt us and Syria. Now this is no good options left but our performance over the last two years is that there. I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning. It was this an epic moment in June 2009 upon us -- Cairo -- things went. Beginning between US and Islamic world. But there's a sense of these countries that you know Obama didn't deliver on the Cairo speech and that there was an opening with the Arab Spring but he hasn't hasn't delivered on those promises either. But the people of the world that beats. Us. My concern is that Washington is broken we know this from domestic legislation. Foreign legislation part of it is that our our State Department the most common active night here about our State Department. That is risk -- I wrote this book because I was surprised when I was covering Afghanistan. At the anemic state. Our civilian agencies in government you know primarily the State Department. I'm in the US agency. And national development and also you know the US department of agriculture Department of Commerce for all sending experts into Afghanistan and help with the nonmilitary effort. And you know it was essentially totally understaffed. And all of these agencies had to hire contractors to do everything. And the problem and all this is that the result on the ground. It's not better service it's not quality training. It's this rush to spend money to check boxes -- and tell -- you know the Republican members of congress remain discreet effort. In these countries and in fact it was really a slap that Americans. -- American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations. To disarm Iraq to free its people. And to defend the world from grave danger. You know there's a lesson from Iraq and Afghanistan it's it's almost no matter how much we spend. You know -- 100000 troops are not gonna stabilizing countries and and I think the key here -- and people question his basic premise. I'm convinced their moderates in the regions. And you know we can do a better job of supporting them. And actually working through moderates and local allies is gonna be more successful. At stabilizing these countries and also cheaper than these massive patients. We've abandoned the field across the Middle East. And -- -- -- hardline islamists to move into this vacuum that --

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How Bush, Obama missed big in the Middle East

Thursday, May 02, 2013 - 03:41

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