Who would have thought that two years after George W Bush’s departure from the White House we could look back and say: there was a man with greater integrity and moral stature than the current occupant.
Believe me, that is not a compliment to Bush. It is an expression of utter contempt for Barack Obama and his inability to take a stand and speak unequivocally with moral clarity (a virtue the neocons insisted they owned yet never convincingly displayed).
This is what happened today in Bahrain on one of the streets approaching Pearl Roundabout. No commentary or explanation is required.
This is how the Al Khalifa royal family handles non-violent political dissent.
And this is Obama’s response:
I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen.
The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur. We express our condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the demonstrations.
Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly.
The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people.
The United States is deeply indebted to the Al Khalifa family for being so gracious as to host the US Fifth Fleet. It would be impolite to do anything more than urge them to show restraint. After all, if — God forbid — in the near future they were all to end strung up through a swift application of justice as Bahrain came under Shia majority rule, then the strategic implications for the United States would be unthinkable.
So, a strong but carefully tempered presidential condemnation was in order. But note that America’s “model partner” did not get singled out. The rebuke was dished out collectively and universally as an observation about behavior that the United States condemns without consequence.
And this is what the world has come to see as Obama’s signature: empty words from a hollow man.