This morning on Fox News Sunday, New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny suggested Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East, as articulated in his 2009 Cairo speech, was “naive” and “quaint.” He also speculated, without any substantiation, that the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya could be the result of “a major intelligence failure.” Transcript:
If it turns out a month from now that there was a major intelligence failure I think this is going to look pretty irresponsible and silly right now to say this is all because of a trailer for a video. I was at that speech in Cairo in 2009 and I’m struck how much has changed and how much it almost looks some of those comments sound — I don’t know if naive — but quaint given everything that happened with the Arab Spring and things and certainly not really relevant. I think there is time for a reset of that reset and we haven’t heard the president talk about his policy a lot since then.
Zeleny’s comments parroted the talking points of the Romney campaign and the Republican party. Two days ago, Rudy Giuliani — a prominent Romney surrogate — called Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East “naive” on CNBC. This week, Sarah Palin and Pat Buchannan offered the exact same critique, citing the Cairo speech.
You can read Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech here. It’s unclear why the Arab Spring — which liberated millions of people from dictatorship — invalidates Obama’s sentiments.