Obama and me—in tune with each other

In conversation with a friend this afternoon as we were walking on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, I said that the secular modernizing despots in the Muslim Mideast are actually the ones who keep down jihadism in their population, while democracy leads directly to the rule of jihadism, which is much worse.

My friend replied that the man who committed suicide in Tunisia in despair over ruinous government taxes, setting off the anti-government protests, showed that some secular regimes are just crushing their people.

I replied, “Well, then, what overly despotic regimes should do is make needed reforms and be more decent to their people, NOT give up their power and turn their countries into democracies.”

I said that at about 4 p.m. this afternoon.

Now I read this, posted at 6:36 p.m. today at Politico:

Reform vs. regime change
Obama says Qadhafi could stay

President Obama indicated on Tuesday that Muammar Qadhafi may still have an opportunity to “change his approach” and put in place “significant reforms” in the Libyan government.

Asked by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie what the U.S. commitment is in Libya if Qadhafi remains in power but continues to pose a threat to his people, Obama appeared to leave the door open for political reforms.

“You are absolutely right that as long as Qadhafi remains in power, and unless he changes his approach and there are significant reforms in the Libyan government that allow the Libyan people to express themselves, there are still going be potential threats against Libyan people—unless he is going to step down,” Obama said.

His quick shift back to what he had earlier stated—that Qadhafi must step down—is more in line with the conclusion that he and his administration officials had come to weeks ago. But a return to the call for “political reforms” is reminiscent of the White House position on Egypt during its upheaval.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 22, 2011 11:32 PM | Send

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