During last week’s Vice Presidential debate the Vice President challenged Paul Ryan with the accusation that he wanted to place the United States into yet another war in the Middle East. This was one of Biden’s snarky interruptions but was also an opportunity missed by Mr. Ryan. Romney’s Vice Presidential candidate should have grabbed that challenge and backed Biden off making him pay a price for such a bare faced insult. Paul Ryan could have started by saying the obvious, “Mr. Biden, nobody who is in their right mind ever desires war and will do anything within reason to avoid a war and nobody who is being honest would insult another human being by falsely accusing them of desiring a war where some of the best young men and women and the finest from among their fellow citizens may lose their lives.” From there he could then lay out what is the real pack of troubles that now exist in the Middle East and point to the actions and inactions of both the Obama and Bush Administrations which led to this situation where such an accusation actually has any foundation in reality.
Paul Ryan could have pointed out the increased terrorism and suicide bombings that have spread throughout Iraq mostly due to President Obama’s inability to negotiate a withdrawal policy which allowed for the remaining American forces to be free to continue to assist in the fight against the terrorists instead of being isolated in one base in the middle of the dessert where their only function is as targets. He could have pointed to the fact that al-Qaeda has been resurgent within Iraq and that Iraqi President Hamid Karzai has not only been allowed but very likely pressured into the awaiting arms of Iran and is now working with Iran in supplying Bashir Assad in Syria with the weapons and munitions with which Syrians are being slaughtered. Mr. Ryan could press the fact that the majority of the arms, munitions, and other military hardware that President Obama’s Administration has sent either directly or through intermediary allies to both Libya and Syria have ended up in the hands of Salafists, Islamists and even al-Qaeda. He could have referred to the disaster that has swept across the Muslim World centered mostly in North Africa would be better called the Arab Winter as the results have definitely not been an Arab Spring. Mr. Ryan could point out the exodus from Egypt that has occurred by those Coptic Christian Egyptians who were fortunate enough to afford leaving and the riots aided by government forces of Egypt that have burned down Coptic communities, churches, schools, homes and businesses.
Ryan could also point to the new demands that have become front and center of the Palestinian demands as preconditions that Israel must be required to meet before Palestinian authority President will allow negotiations to continue. The first being President Obama calling for a building freeze in the settlements and Jerusalem which came out of nowhere and had never even been broached as an idea, let alone a demand on Israel. And his statement that the 1967 Lines, which were the 1949 Armistice Lines, be used as the starting point for borders with only land swaps which are approved by the Palestinian Authority would be allowed to redraw these lines. These are the lines of the front at the end of fighting as per United Nations agreement and which the Arabs themselves demanded never be utilized as borders during their negotiations in 1948-9. Now, every time Mahmoud Abbas speaks his first two demands out of his mouth are for a building freeze in all of the West Bank and Jerusalem and a return to the 1967 borders, he does not even use the milder terminology of Lines. He could then have asked Biden if this was how he and the President defined being the greatest friends Israel has ever had in the White House.
There is a laundry list of other missteps and outright disasters that preceded this past week’s explosion throughout the Middle East. Included in this explosion was an attack by al-Qaeda on our Consulate and the Safe House located miles away that took the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three Americans attached to our Embassy staff. This is the same al-Qaeda that the President and Joe Biden have been touting died with Osama bin Laden who the President ordered assassinated in the boldest move by any President. Then there was the rioting that broke through the perimeter of our Embassy in Cairo, Egypt in which the American Flag was torn down and replaced with the Black Flag of the Salafists and al-Qaeda. Why not ask Mr. Biden to explain whether we are fighting against the Taliban or seeking to return the Taliban to power in Afghanistan. If we are fighting the Taliban, then why are we negotiating with the Taliban about including them in the Afghan government? Ryan should impress before allowing Biden to sputter an answer, “And do not tell me about the existence of a peaceful branch of the Taliban. There is no such entity any more than there is a peaceful Muslim Brotherhood which we are finding out to our dismay ever since President Obama threw our somewhat less than perfect ally Mubarak to the Islamist wolves.”
Time permitting, which this obviously might have gone a tad long on Mr. Ryan’s two minute limit, Mr. Ryan could have pointed out that it was the President’s call not to aid the students and large sector of the Iranian people when they rose up to protest what they saw as fraudulent reelection of President Ahmadinejad and instead to back the Ayatollahs and the madman masquerading as the Iranian President. Paul Ryan could have pointed to the leaks from the Administration which undermined Israeli efforts to make available assets which would be vital if Iran were to cause a war with Israel either through their terror proxies in Lebanon, Gaza or the Sinai Peninsula or by making a direct strike with WMDs or conventional weapons tipping their ballistic missiles. Mr. Ryan could state the obvious truth that the sole reason that Vice President Biden could even make such an accusation that the Republican candidates might get the United States in a war in the Middle East was directly due to the complete inadequacy of the Obama Administration’s muddled, addled and utterly failed policies in the Middle East, which are reflective of their entire foreign policy, if one can call the directionless policies of comprehensive responsibility avoidance a foreign policy. Then again, perhaps being the more intellectual, even tempered, mild speaking, but familial rather than aloof, and rational candidate was the best path and the one with which Paul Ryan is obviously far more comfortable.
Beyond the Cusp