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Obama's Carter Moment

Cross-Posted at Pundit Press:

By now the comparison between President Barack Obama and former-President Jimmy Carter is well established.  Both Presidents came to power only after the overhyped "death" of the Republican Party in 1976 and 2008, both Presidents had promised renewed peace and talks with our chief (which both failed), and under both Presidents, the economy faltered.

Yet, with uprisings in Egypt sweeping their nation, another similarity comes into focus: the fall of Iran under Carter and President Obama's handling of Egypt.  This is Obama's Carter moment.

In 1978, Iran was one of the biggest allies of the United States in the Middle East.  It was run by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had run the country for over thirty years.  Oil rich and strategically important, the United States had protected Iranian interests for years.  However, by 1978, revolution was foaming.

Yet the Carter Administration sat on its hands and did nothing.  According to historian Nikki Keddie, they followed "no clear path" to help Iran.  In fact, Carter believed that Iran was "not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation."  He was wrong. The CIA stated right before the Shah was overthrown that Iran represented an "island of stability" in the otherwise chaotic Middle East.

Carter's policies did more to encourage the Iranian fundamentalists than to stop them. They did nothing to prevent Ayatollah Ruollah Khomeinei to return to the country and when Islamist Shias forced moderates and democrats from the interim government.

Revolts began in that very year, and by January of 1979 the Shah had left the country.  In February, the country fell to Islamic extremists, and has yet to return.  In late 1979, 52 Americans were captured in Iran and held as captives until the day President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in 1981.

In the chaos, oil production in Iran greatly declined.  This led to what is known as the "Second Oil Crisis." Cars lined up across Americans streets, while Carter delivered his Malaise Speech.  Come 1980, the United States had had enough of Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan was elected President.

Now, let's come back to the present.  In 2010, Egypt was one of the biggest allies in the Middle East.  It was run by Hosni Mubarak, who has run the country for thirty years.  Strategically important, the United States had protected Egyptian interests for years.  However, by 2010, revolution was foaming.

Yet the Obama Administration sat on its hands and did nothing.  To average Americans, they are following no clear path to help Egypt.  In fact, Obama believed that Egypt was "stable" as recently as... January 27.  He was wrong. Even Vice President Biden now infamously said that Mubarak, one of the most autocratic leaders of the regions, was not a dictator.

Revolts began in early 2011, with protesters calling for Mubarak to leave.  Analysts fear that the country will fall as soon as February, and worse, that the country could fall to Islamic extremists, and never return.

All Obama has done is delivered a speech in which he said almost nothing, calling on both sides to behave.   In fact, Obama supported both sides at once (in effect voting "present") in his final paragraph:  "the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government."

With Egypt under the rule of anti-American religious extremists, the Suez Canal, which transports one-third of the world's oil, could be hijacked.  This could easily lead to an explosion in gas prices and supplies, not dissimilar to the Second Oil Crisis.  Under the Obama Administration, a Third Oil Crisis could plausibly be coming. In fact, tribes are already openly threatening to attack the Canal.

Carter lost the crown jewel of the non-Arab Middle East, Iran. Obama may well lose Egypt, the leader of the entire Arab world.
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Comments (18)

and talks with our chief... (Below threshold)

and talks with our chief


I think Obama and his very ... (Below threshold)

I think Obama and his very liberal ideological belief's are kicking in. He wants the Suez shut down so all his "green" cronies and business can reap the profits. I am not normally this skeptical, but Obama cannot be trusted.

The most disgusting thing that is coming out of the MSM is how Obama, the empty, inexperienced suit, is Reaganesque. These people have a severe mental disability. ww

I tend to agree, WW, that h... (Below threshold)

I tend to agree, WW, that his ideology is kicking in... but there's also a practical component that's going "Look, you do (this) and you'll be remembered as the President who cratered the US economy. It won't matter how 'well intentioned' you are - it's RESULTS that you'll be known by." and it's causing him to hesitate.

He KNOWS that green energy's a crock. He KNOWS the US is starving for cheap energy. He KNOWS that the MB is a pack of jackals that'll grab for the whole package.

But he doesn't dare change his tune. He's riding a tiger and it's going to tear him to shreds if he tries to get off.

I think he's going to waffle as long as he can on the situation in Egypt. I think he's going to do everything possible to stall off any hard energy or fiscal decisions - and any he DOES manage to make will have their activation dates past 2012.

And I don't think he's going to run for office again.

"The most disgusting thi... (Below threshold)

"The most disgusting thing that is coming out of the MSM is how Obama, the empty, inexperienced suit, is Reaganesque."

In doing this they're attempting to jump past Carter, lest people begin to see all the similarites noted above, and jump straight to comparing him to Reagan who lead us out of the Carter malaise - as if Barak Reagan of 2011-2012 will save us from Barak Carter of 2009-2010.

I fully expect to see Obama further emulate Carter after his presidency, interjecting himself into every Middle East issue from Pakistan to Lebanon and blaming America for all of it. All as he preps himself for his next gig - Secretary-General of the United Nations.

I'm just sayin'

People are forgetting that ... (Below threshold)
John S:

People are forgetting that Bill and Hillary Clinton run foreign policy in this country. Obama's only contribution to the Egyptian crisis has been to read someone else's words off a teleprompter. But Bill and Hillary have experience running foreign policy, remember 9/11?

What's really scary is that... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

What's really scary is that comparing Obama to Carter actually is an insult to Carter...

Good points JLawson. ww</p... (Below threshold)

Good points JLawson. ww

"What's really scary is tha... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"What's really scary is that comparing Obama to Carter actually is an insult to Carter..."


Carter was horrible, but well intentioned. I'm not convinced Obama has the best intentions for America and Western Civ.

Does Hillary really run For... (Below threshold)
hcddbz :

Does Hillary really run Foreign Policy? I mean there all these special envoys to this that and Bumble F***. I would be surprise if there a Czar to the middle east.

JohnS, I'm not quite sure w... (Below threshold)

JohnS, I'm not quite sure where you mean to go with that, but regardless of the Clintons' foreign policy expertise (or lack therof) Obama sets policy. Hillary's job is simply to carry it out.

Michael Avitablile,<p... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Michael Avitablile,

Although you criticize Obama for not doing enough, you do not provide any specifics on what Obama should do differently. Can you provide any details on what precisely Obama should say and do?

He should resign and return... (Below threshold)

He should resign and return to kenya.

Here is the typical left wi... (Below threshold)

Here is the typical left wing liberal voting base and their knowledge of what is happening around them.

Do you want to know why the United States is in trouble and Barack Obama is the President of the United States? Look right here:


914, that was a good one.</... (Below threshold)

914, that was a good one.

What Obama should do Tina is firmly state that we will not allow anything that will have a severe financial impact on America. We have proven our friendship to the people of Egypt over the decades and have financially helped you as a society. We have proven our committment to you, now you prove your committment to us.

That is what he should say. ww

Michael Avitablile,<p... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Michael Avitablile,

You criticize Obama for not saying or doing enough. Yet Obama has said far more about his position than you have. So what exactly do you think Obama should say and do? Come on and tell us what more you want Obama to do and say and please provide specifics.

Boy there sure is a ... (Below threshold)
gnossoss papadopoulis:

Boy there sure is a WHOLE LOT OF HISTORY left out of that grade school level history of Iran/America relations. It's what I love most about the Wizbang crew. It's like living in the era of the John Birch Society or something directly culled from "The Paranoid Style of American Politics"....but you guys just don't get the joke. Be afraid, be very afraid.

"Come on and tell us what m... (Below threshold)

"Come on and tell us what more you want Obama to do and say and please provide specifics."

He should return to kenya. Did I stutter?

Tina,What he should ... (Below threshold)
Ken Hahn:

What he should have done is appointed a Secretary of State who understood something about foreign policy, a DNI who understood that the Muslim Brotherhood was not a secular organization, a CIA Director who wasn't a professional politician and maybe he should have cared more about the security of the country than about buying votes with taxpayer money. As to what he should do now, it may be too late. He's got no idea what he's doing and he still hasn't learned that the Presidency is a full time job.

I will admit he has boxed himself in so that all his choices are bad ones. But he weakened himself and the country on the way to those bad choices. It will take a long time to recover from the last two years. I hope that he doesn't make it worse in the next two.






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