Obama's Perplexing Double Standard
Why is the U.S. hellbent on getting rid of one murderous, despicable Arab tyrant (the one in Libya) but treating another one who is as bad if not worse (the one in Syria) with kid gloves? From the L.A. Times (with its links):
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared last week that Assad's government had "lost legitimacy," diplomatic language that implied a break with the government in Damascus. Analysts said they expected the White House to demand Assad's ouster, as it did earlier this year with Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
But Clinton backed off on Saturday, saying the administration still hopes that Assad's regime will stop the violence and work with protesters to carry out political reforms. On Monday, European Union ministers also called on Assad to implement reforms and made it clear they still hoped he would do so.I have a hard time believing that anyone could really believe Assad will change. The cynic in me says they don't want to confront the Syrian tyrant, who has unleashed death squads on the populace, because A) he's aligned with Iran, whose reaction they fear should they tackle him and B) Syria has no oil to speak of while Libya has oodles of it.
I agree with Scaramouche that Obama does not wish to confront the Assad government in Syria, despite its patently greater brutality toward its own people than the Kadhafy government in Libya, but I am not sure that reasons A & B explain why. My own interpretation of Obama's "geopsychology," if you will pardon the neologism, is that he feels well- or badly-disposed toward a particular foreign government based on whether or not it has "street cred."
In the black American 'hood--where Obama did not grow up, but for which he feels a certain racial affinity, having chosen to "hang with the 'bros" (metaphorically, not physically, of course)--one establishes street cred by sticking it to the (white) Man (which, operationally, generally means living at least partially outside the bounds of the law and bourgeois norms of behavior; the more "in-your-face" the display of this behavior is, the greater the street cred it earns for you).
Assad has street cred because he stuck it to the Man, meaning George Bush's U. S. in this particular context, by hanging with the Iranians and supporting terrorist activity in the Middle East, including guerrilla attacks against U. S. troops, and pursuing WMDs; as a bonus, he is rabidly anti-Israel. Kadhafy, who for a long time earned street cred by backing numerous terrorist plots and generally being a murderous nuisance to the West, lost it when he "punked out" by submitting to Bush's demands that he renounce his support for terrorism and his pursuit of WMDs. In the 'hood, punking out to the Man is just about the most contemptible thing a 'bro can do. So, Obama respects Assad, but he disdains Khadafy.
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