Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Middle East election goes our way

The New York Times speculates that the favorable election outcome in Lebanon may be the first tangible benefit from President Obama's outreach to Muslims.
There were many domestic reasons voters handed an American-backed coalition a victory in Lebanese parliamentary elections on Sunday — but political analysts also attribute it in part to President Obama’s campaign of outreach to the Arab and Muslim world.

...It is hard to draw firm conclusions from one election. But for the first time in a long time, being aligned with the United States did not lead to defeat in the Middle East. And since Lebanon has always been a critical testing ground, that could mark a possibly significant shift in regional dynamics with another major election, in Iran, on Friday.

With Mr. Obama’s speech on relations with Muslims still fresh in Lebanese minds, analysts point to steps the administration has taken since assuming office.
Before anyone gets too excited, it's useful to recall that there have been previous "harbingers" of changing Middle East dynamics, such as Libya's dismantling of its nuclear program following the start of the Iraq war.

A bigger and vastly more important test of President Obama's approach will be the Iranian elections later this week. There are lots of internal reasons why the Iranian hard-liners should lose the election. President Obama's conciliatory, yet challenging speech last week may also deprive the hard-liners of an external rallying point.

2 comments:

Pino said...

Dave,

To be able to attribute this to Obama, there ought be a trend. For example, if there was another population of elections that were held at the same time or near to the same time.....

For example, we could look to the European elections to see if they trend toward Obama. And they don't.

I suspect that the people of Lebanon were more fed up with Terror than than they were wooed by Obama. If anything, the recent elections around the globe could be seen to be a rebuttal of the Obama policy:

Conservative Economic Policy
Harsher Stance vs Terror

Dave Ribar said...

Pino:

One is tempted to say that words like "speculates" and "may" along with the admonitions that "it is hard to draw firm conclusions," not to get "too excited," and "a bigger and vastly more important test" awaits would cover this point.

Aw what the heck, one will say it :)