by Apo Sahagian
The recent remarks by Mitt Romney have caused quite the ruckus. I’m not talking about the 47% of the American population that he singlehandedly degraded. That’s America’s problem. No, I’m talking about his statements on the Middle East. That’s where we have a problem.
But before I go into my humble criticism, it’s important that we first back off of Romney- at least about his remarks on the Middle East. Question is: did you expect anything different? Did you really think he would for once- just once- take a step back from his campaign rhetoric and think to himself Hey, they’re not all that bad?
Why are people fumed at his comments about Palestinians not wanting peace, or the West Bank bordering Syria?( In his defense, he did use the word ‘probably’ when speaking about the border with Syria, and so I will cut him some slack on that geographical negligence. ) I mean, this same guy said that the Palestinian economy was not developed enough because Palestinian culture is inferior. He completely overlooked the occupation and Israel’s hold on Palestinian economy, and yet you expect him to murmur a word of confidence in the Palestinians?
A guy who arrogantly spoke of the Palestinians as customarily backward will most probably persist with saying that Palestinians are not interested in peace; they only want to destroy Israel. Add in an audience of wealthy donors with mutual views, and its certain that he will keep firm on that vocal line. Yet, I think even the donors this time around exchanged comical looks when the words came out of Romney. But that’s his problem.
People concerned with the Middle East should not be shocked by Romney’s ignorance. I’m not. But I am worried about his total lack of determination. He did pretty much assert that the U.S., under his presidency, will hope for the best in the Middle East but will not contribute or attempt to make things better. Not even attempt. That worries me. Somebody must remind Romney that the United States of America is the world’s superpower, and whether he likes it or nor- or whether the world likes it or not- he has to appreciate that powerful position and the obligations that come with it. Waving off the Middle East as insolvable is not a good start; its only a tacit surrender. That’s my problem.