Thursday, December 12, 2013

Conservatives shouldn't celebrate Ann Kuster's Benghazi remarks

Ann Kuster came across as ill-informed and arrogant (see video below). She may well be both.

Nevertheless, conservatives shouldn't claim her comments as a victory.

First, there's the fact that Benghazi isn't actually in the Middle East. Although Kuster used that fact as an excuse not to address the Benghazi issue (which is an important one), geography is also important. Many conservatives are claiming that Libya is in the Middle East. It just isn't. Yes, Libya rightly falls under the MENA geo-political orbit, but it isn't actually in the Middle East. By claiming otherwise, conservatives are embracing a far too inadequate intellectual simplicity with regards to the geo-politics of the region.

As an extension to this simplicity, conservatives also need to realize that although Democrats are very, very far from perfect in their regional policy prescriptions, conservatives also have their issues. For a start, far too few conservatives are willing to accept the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in perpetuating anti-US sentiments around the Islamic world. More than that, they associate anti-Israeli sentiments with arguments that the peace process is valuable. In reality, both the peace process and pro-Israel sentiments exist together. Second, too many conservatives are willing to tolerate a virulent strain of anti-Muslim sentiment in conservative dialogue. This is an unacceptable dynamic and it has to change. Third, a good number of conservatives are willing to allow their personal antipathy towards the President to cloud their judgments on the virtue of his respective policies. The conservative rejection of Obama's admittedly absurd authorization of force request on Syria is a case in point. Some of the conservative reaction to the Iran deal is also a good example.

There are many areas where President Obama/Democrats should be criticized regarding US foreign policy towards the Middle East and North Africa. Still, conservatives must be willing to accept that the MENA region deserves steady and objective scrutiny. Partisan rancor serves no one.

1 comment:

  1. You might want to inform the World Health Organization to remove Libya from their Middle East statistics.