奧巴馬政府2011年十大愚蠢言論

英國《每日電訊報》



英國《每日電訊報》在美國華盛頓的國際事務分析員加德納(Nile Gardiner):2011年接近尾聲,值得回顧一下奧巴馬政府成員這一年有過的愚蠢言論。如果設有蠢言“奧斯卡”,奧巴馬團隊一定橫掃全部大獎。其實選出“十大愚蠢”是不容易的,因為奧巴馬政府有“二十大”、甚至“三十大”愚蠢言論。現在精選出的前十名如下:

1 奧巴馬自稱美國歷史上第四偉大總統

奧巴馬向來不謙虛,他12月份接受採訪時說,他的成就可以和林肯這樣的人物媲美。從他執政以來的記錄來看,也许他想說的是第44名,而不是第4名。

2 拜登把茶黨與恐怖分子相比

美國副總統拜登指責共和黨中的茶黨人士在提高債務上限爭論中“行為像恐怖分子”。這番評論是奧巴馬政府衰弱的象徵。

3 奧巴馬稱法國是美國最堅定的盟友

今年1月,奧巴馬在白宮的一次記者招待會上宣稱,法國是美國最堅定的盟友。他再次拋棄了英國。而法國卻在伊拉克戰爭中背後中傷美國。奧巴馬原話是:“我們沒有比法國總統薩科齊和法國人民更堅定的朋友和盟友了。”

4 拜登稱塔利班“不是我們的敵人”

今年12月,拜登在一次採訪中說:“塔利班不是美國的敵人。這點很重要。奧巴馬從未在任何政策宣傳中發表過聲明稱’塔利班是我們的敵人,因為它威脅到美國的利益’。”

這又是一個來自拜登的荒誕言論。美軍在與阿富汗的塔利班鬥爭的同時,拜登卻以這番極度愚蠢的言論和美軍“搶生意”。

5 白宮顧問誇奧巴馬在“後面領導”(leading from behind)

只有奧巴馬的白宮才可能想出像“後面領導”這樣的詞,並視其為褒義詞。白宮一名顧問用該詞來評估奧巴馬在利比亞和阿拉伯之春所採取的行動。奧巴馬在利比亞行動中落後於法國。自此那以後,該詞就被拿來嘲諷奧巴馬軟弱的外交政策。

6 奧巴馬的國家情報主管克萊佩說穆斯林兄弟會是世俗組織

奧巴馬政府通過此番言論為這個令人討厭的組織了做了免費的正面宣傳。克萊佩(James Clapper)在一次聽證會上說,穆斯林兄弟會是個和平的、“基本世俗的”組織,並“避免使用暴力”。美國前駐聯合國大使波頓(John Bolton)評價這番言論可能是“美國政府在國際歷史上做過的最愚蠢的聲明”。

7 美國駐比利時大使指責以色列存在反猶太主義

為了不被克萊佩的可笑言論比下去,美國駐比利時大使古特曼(Howard Gutman)12月份時憤怒地說,以色列應該為一些形式的反猶太主義而遭譴責,甚至奧巴馬政府都試圖與這番話脫離關係。

8 希拉里稱穆巴拉克政權“很穩固”

就在穆巴拉克倒台的兩周前,國務卿希拉里在會見西班牙外交部長希梅內斯(Trinidad Jimenez)時說:“我們的判斷是,埃及政府很穩定。我們正在尋求回應埃及人民合法需求和滿足埃及人民利益的方法。”可以說,這番言論反映了奧巴馬政府在中東問題上應對的無能,其程度只能用天真來形容。

9 希拉里稱敘利亞獨裁者阿薩德為“改革家”

今年3月,希拉里接受採訪時表示,阿薩德與卡扎菲不同,去過敘利亞的國會兩黨成員都說阿薩德是個改革家。希拉里那時一直猶豫是否要強烈譴責敘利亞政權對抗議者的鎮壓,而後來,阿薩德陸續屠殺了3千多人。

10 奧巴馬稱英國駐伊朗使館為“英格蘭大使館”

奧巴馬知道英格蘭和英國的區別嗎?顯然不知道,從他上個月的這番評論就可看出。奧巴馬表示,每個人都對衝擊英格蘭大使館事件感到深深不安。

以下是該報導的原文:

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 – 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 – with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR, and Lincoln – 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 – 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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