Obama Talks Tough To Syria – Talk Or Election Ploy?
It seems that the closer it gets to election time, the more President Obama moves to the middle. He gets tough on terrorism (which he would never even call terrorism before), admits to using enhanced interrogation techniques (which he said he was abolishing), talks of attacking the high gas prices (which many say he has contributed to) and a slue of other tactics. Whether the American public is fooled by it is a different story.
WASHINGTON -- In his first comprehensive response to revolts across the Arab world, President Obama is doling out punishment and praise, targeting Syrian President Bashar Assad for attacking his people but also promising fresh U.S. aid to nations that support democracy. Obama is also trying to erase any doubt that the U.S. supports the call for change.
Obama was expected to use his Middle East speech Thursday to sharply defend new sanctions on Assad as the U.S. government toughens its message for the repressive leader: Embrace democracy or get out. In a primary thrust of his address, Obama also was announcing aid for Egypt and Tunisia, the two nations seen as models while protests for freedoms elsewhere have been crushed.
Collectively, Obama's economic proposals will account for much of what's new in a speech that, by design, is intended to look back and let him put his imprint on the massive change across the Middle East and North Africa over the last six months. The core of what Obama will argue is that the United States must help nations modernize their economies and give job opportunities to their young people so that democracy can take hold and thrive -- the kind of regional stability that is deeply in the political interests of his government.
The president plans to forgive roughly $1 billion in debt owed by Egypt to free up money for job-creation efforts there. And he will reveal other steps to bolster loans, trade and international support in Egypt and in Tunisia, where uprisings led to dictators being overturned. Protesters in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and other nations have endured brutal setbacks.
Senior administration officials offered some details of the speech in advance only on condition of anonymity. The president was speaking Thursday morning at the State Department.