With Hillary Clinton trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. “Clinton cleaning up after Obama’s Middle East policy,” by Neil Munro in the Daily Caller, December 21:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is taking on a new role “” patching fractures in President Barack Obama’s Muslim outreach policy.
Clinton’s role is highlighted by a new White House policy announced Dec. 19, which makes the roles and rights of women a central element of U.S. foreign policy. The policy is titled “The United States National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.”…
Her new role comes as she and other feminists increasingly voice their worries about the impact on Arab women of the burgeoning Islamist political movements that are religiously committed to the subordination of women.
“We”ve seen this already happening in countries where proposed legislation rolls back women’s rights,” said Jolynn Shoemaker, director of the Women in International Security organization. In Egypt and Libya, “it is a very critical time,” said Shoemaker, who is based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies….
But Obama’s initial outreach policy in 2009 invited the Islamist parties to pay a large role in the region’s politics. For example, he insisted that several members of the Muslim Brotherhood be allowed to attend his much-lauded 2009 speech in Cairo….
This year, however, Obama reacted to the growing role of the Islamists by offering some support for Western ideas. On May 19, for example, Obama declared that peoples” rights “include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, equality for men and women under the rule of law, and the right to choose your own leaders “” whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus, Sanaa or Tehran.”
However, in that speech and since then, Obama has focused on pressuring Israel to make further concessions prior to hoped-for talks with Arab and Islamic advocates.
Also, Obama and White House officials have refused to condemn the Islamist parties” political gains, or their advocacy of policies that subordinate women in the workplace, in politics and in family life….
“The White House warmly applauded the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, and actively aided the one in Libya, while brushing aside abundant indications that each was powered largely by Islamic supremacists who would deny rights to women,” said Robert Spencer, an expert on Islam and a best-selling author. “By helping pave the way for pro-Sharia regimes in the “˜Arab Spring” countries, they”ve become women’s worst enemy,” he said.
Clinton is now stepping into this gap, partly because Obama is focused on his 2012 election, and partly because U.S. policymakers need to influence the newly empowered Islamist governments and movements.
On Dec. 14, for example, Clinton subtly challenged Obama’s conciliatory approach to the Islamist parties.
She used a speech at a department-hosted conference on religious freedom to taunt Islamist advocates and governments about the possible weakness of their religious faith. “Everyone one of us who is a religious person knows there are some who may not support or approve of our religion, but is our religion so weak that statements of disapproval cause us to lose our faith?” she said to attendees, which included numerous officials from Islamic countries in the 57-national Organization of Islamic Cooperation….