Juan Cole: Is Paul Ryan Right that Obama’s Foreign Policy is Blowing Up in Our Faces?





Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History and the director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan.  His latest book, "Engaging the Muslim World," is just out in a revised paperback edition from Palgrave Macmillan. He runs the Informed Comment website

Paul Ryan knows nothing about the world or foreign affairs. I presume he may have been abroad at some point somewhere. I don’t know. As is usual in American politics, however, cavernous ignorance is no bar to holding forth, if it is not in fact a qualification. After all, ignorance is compatible with untainted national chauvinism (he would say patriotism), whereas if you actually know something it is harder mindlessly to wave the flag.

Paul Ryan has been attacking President Obama’s foreign policy as weak and resembling that of Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis, and as ‘blowing up in our faces.’

But is it true that Obama’s foreign policy is ‘blowing up in our faces?’ And how could that have been prevented? Rembember, Ryan’s running mate, Mitt Romney, began calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down on Feb 1, 2011....

What could Obama have done to keep Mubarak in power, if that is what Ryan is advocating? Some honest journalist should ask Ryan if he believes the US government should have encouraged the Egyptian military to shoot down the Egyptian youth who were demonstrating, and how many exactly it would have been legitimate to massacre in that way....



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