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奥巴马政府2011年十大愚蠢言论

英国《每日电讯报》



英国《每日电讯报》在美国华盛顿的国际事务分析员加德纳(Nile Gardiner)∶2011年接近尾声,值得回顾一下奥巴马政府成员这一年有过的愚蠢言论。如果设有蠢言“奥斯卡”,奥巴马团队一定横扫全部大奖。其实选出“十大愚蠢”是不容易的,因为奥巴马政府有“二十大”、甚至“三十大”愚蠢言论。现在精选出的前十名如下∶

1 奥巴马自称美国历史上第四伟大总统

奥巴马向来不谦虚,他12月份接受采访时说,他的成就可以和林肯这样的人物媲美。从他执政以来的记录来看,也许他想说的是第44名,而不是第4名。

2 拜登把茶党与恐怖分子相比

美国副总统拜登指责共和党中的茶党人士在提高债务上限争论中“行为像恐怖分子”。这番评论是奥巴马政府衰弱的象徵。

3 奥巴马称法国是美国最坚定的盟友

今年1月,奥巴马在白宫的一次记者招待会上宣称,法国是美国最坚定的盟友。他再次抛弃了英国。而法国却在伊拉克战争中背後中伤美国。奥巴马原话是∶“我们没有比法国总统萨科齐和法国人民更坚定的朋友和盟友了。”

4 拜登称塔利班“不是我们的敌人”

今年12月,拜登在一次采访中说∶“塔利班不是美国的敌人。这点很重要。奥巴马从未在任何政策宣传中发表过声明称’塔利班是我们的敌人,因为它威胁到美国的利益’。”

这又是一个来自拜登的荒诞言论。美军在与阿富汗的塔利班斗争的同时,拜登却以这番极度愚蠢的言论和美军“抢生意”。

5 白宫顾问夸奥巴马在“後面领导”(leading from behind)

只有奥巴马的白宫才可能想出像“後面领导”这样的词,并视其为褒义词。白宫一名顾问用该词来评估奥巴马在利比亚和阿拉伯之春所采取的行动。奥巴马在利比亚行动中落後於法国。自此那以後,该词就被拿来嘲讽奥巴马软弱的外交政策。

6 奥巴马的国家情报主管克莱佩说穆斯林兄弟会是世俗组织

奥巴马政府通过此番言论为这个令人讨厌的组织了做了免费的正面宣传。克莱佩(James Clapper)在一次听证会上说,穆斯林兄弟会是个和平的、“基本世俗的”组织,并“避免使用暴力”。美国前驻联合国大使波顿(John Bolton)评价这番言论可能是“美国政府在国际历史上做过的最愚蠢的声明”。

7 美国驻比利时大使指责以色列存在反犹太主义

为了不被克莱佩的可笑言论比下去,美国驻比利时大使古特曼(Howard Gutman)12月份时愤怒地说,以色列应该为一些形式的反犹太主义而遭谴责,甚至奥巴马政府都试图与这番话脱离关系。

8 希拉里称穆巴拉克政权“很稳固”

就在穆巴拉克倒台的两周前,国务卿希拉里在会见西班牙外交部长希梅内斯(Trinidad Jimenez)时说∶“我们的判断是,埃及政府很稳定。我们正在寻求回应埃及人民合法需求和满足埃及人民利益的方法。”可以说,这番言论反映了奥巴马政府在中东问题上应对的无能,其程度只能用天真来形容。

9 希拉里称叙利亚独裁者阿萨德为“改革家”

今年3月,希拉里接受采访时表示,阿萨德与卡扎菲不同,去过叙利亚的国会两党成员都说阿萨德是个改革家。希拉里那时一直犹豫是否要强烈谴责叙利亚政权对抗议者的镇压,而後来,阿萨德陆续屠杀了3千多人。

10 奥巴马称英国驻伊朗使馆为“英格兰大使馆”

奥巴马知道英格兰和英国的区别吗?显然不知道,从他上个月的这番评论就可看出。奥巴马表示,每个人都对冲击英格兰大使馆事件感到深深不安。

以下是该报导的原文∶

The Obama administration’s top 10 foolish quotes of 2011

By Nile Gardiner

(Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator. He appears frequently on American and British television and radio, including Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.)

As 2011 draws to a close, it’s worth looking back at some of the year’s most foolish comments from inside the Obama administration. If Academy Awards were handed out for political folly, the Obama team would be sweeping the board come Oscar time. It hasn’t been an easy task narrowing the list down to a mere ten ˉ it could easily have been a top 20 or 30. The list has a strong foreign policy bias (not least as this is a British-based blog): I’ve omitted many candidates on the domestic front that would certainly qualify for inclusion. But here goes:

1. Barack Obama calls himself the fourth best president in US history

Not a man known for his modesty, Barack Obama told "60 Minutes” in December that his accomplishments are up there with the likes of Abraham Lincoln, which is a stretch considering that even Jimmy Carter is looking good by comparison. Judging by his track record since taking office, perhaps he really meant 44th best rather than 4th? Here is what he declared in his interview with CBS:

(hat tip: RealClear Politics):

The issue here is not gonna be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president ˉ with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR, and Lincoln ˉ just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do. And we’re gonna keep on at it.

2. Joe Biden compares the Tea Party to terrorists

Even by the vice president’s standards, his comparison of the Tea Party to terrorists in August represented a new low. His hugely offensive remarks were symbolic of a presidency in decline, lashing out at political opponents in a show of crass desperation. According to a report by Politico, based on eyewitness accounts:

Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit. Biden was agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”
Biden, driven by his Democratic allies’ misgivings about the debt-limit deal, responded: “They have acted like terrorists,” according to several sources in the room.

3. Barack Obama calls France America’s strongest ally

In January, President Obama gave Britain the boot once again when he declared France to be America’s strongest ally during a White House press opportunity with Nicolas Sarkozy (view the C-Span video at 2:45 for the remark.) As I noted at the time, quite what the French have done to merit this kind of high praise from the US president is difficult to fathom, not least with France’s track record of knifing the United States in the back over the Iraq war. In the words of Barack Obama: “We don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy, and the French people.”

4. Joe Biden on the Taliban: “not our enemy”

Another surreal statement from Joe Biden, this time in a December interview with Leslie Gelb of Newsweek (hat tip: The Weekly Standard.) While US forces are fighting and killing the Taliban in Afghanistan, who provided safe haven for al-Qaeda when it launched the 9/11 attacks, Biden undercuts them with a statement of monumental stupidity in the midst of a major war:

Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens US interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.

5. White House adviser touts Obama’s “leading from behind”

Only the Obama White House could actually come up with a phrase like “leading from behind” and actually see it as a positive. It emerged in a major New Yorker piece published in May assessing the president’s approach on Libya and the Arab Spring, and has since been widely used to mock the Obama administration’s weak-kneed foreign policy:

Nonetheless, Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the President’s actions in Libya as “leading from behind.” That’s not a slogan designed for signs at the 2012 Democratic Convention, but it does accurately describe the balance that Obama now seems to be finding. It’s a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the US is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the US is reviled in many parts of the world. Pursuing our interests and spreading our ideals thus requires stealth and modesty as well as military strength. “It’s so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world,” the adviser said. “But it’s necessary for shepherding us through this phase.”

6. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper calls the Muslim Brotherhood "secular"

In February I wrote that “unsavoury organisations usually pay large amounts of money to glitzy PR firms to improve their public image. In the case of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood however, the Obama administration has offered its services for free.” I was referring to James Clapper’s extraordinary testimony before a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, where he described the Islamist group as a peaceful, “largely secular” organisation that “eschewed violence”. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton charitably described the remarks as “perhaps the stupidest statement made by any administration in US international history.” Here is what Clapper told Congress:

“The term ’Muslim Brotherhood’ ┅ is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam┅ there is no overarching agenda, particularly in the pursuit of violence┅”

7. The US Ambassador to Belgium blames Israel for some forms of anti-Semitism
Not to be outdone by James Clapper’s ridiculous testimony, US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman sparked outrage in December with his comments suggesting Israel should shoulder the blame for some forms of anti-Semitism, remarks that even the Obama administration itself tried to disown. According to a report by Haaretz, Gutman declared:

"A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned, and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Gutman reportedly told those gathered, going on to argue that “┅an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will significantly diminish Muslim anti-Semitism."

8. Hillary Clinton calls the Mubarak regime “stable”

It’s fair to say that the Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East has been one of incompetence matched only by naïveté. From extending the hand of friendship to the Iranian regime through to a complete misreading of the situation in both Egypt and Syria, the Obama team has been out of its depth, demonstrated by Hillary Clinton’s assessment of the situation in Egypt in the final days of the Mubarak regime, given here during remarks with Spanish foreign minister Trinidad Jimenez in Washington on January 25, two weeks before Mubarak fell on February 11:

But our assessment is that the Egyptian Government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.

9. Hillary Clinton refers to Syrian dictator Assad as a “reformer”

The Secretary of State was woefully caught out as well on Syria, hesitating to forcefully condemn the brutal repression meted out by the Syrian regime against democracy protestors. Asked in March on CBS’s "Face the Nation" why the US administration was adopting a far softer approach towards Bashar al-Assad compared to Colonel Gaddafi in Libya she explained that Syria was led by a “reformer”, albeit one who subsequently went on to butcher more than 3,000 people:

There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.

10. Barack Obama refers to the “English Embassy” in Tehran

Does the president of the United States actually know the difference between England and Great Britain? Apparently not, judging by his comments following the storming last month of the British Embassy in Tehran:

On that score, I think it’s important for me to just note that all of us, I think, are deeply disturbed by the crashing of the English embassy ˉ the embassy of the United Kingdom in Iran. That kind of behavior is not acceptable. And I strongly urge the Iranian government to hold those who are responsible to task.

——《The Telegraph》, December 22nd, 2011∶http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100125177/the-obama-administration%E2%80%99s-top-10-foolish-quotes-of-2011/

2011-12-23

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