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Will Obama do the Right Thing for the Middle East?

3:09 PM, Feb 22, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Bill Kristol, writing in the Washington Post, urges President Obama to seize the moment – and to act:

This is a time when one looks, necessarily, to the president. So far, one looks in vain. What has been strikingly lacking in the Obama administration's response is a sense of the possibility of the moment, a commitment to doing our best to bring that possibility to fruition, a realization that this may be an important inflection point in world history that should shake us out of business as usual.

This means more than speeches. It means aggressive efforts, covert and overt, direct and indirect, to help the liberals - in the old sense of the word - in the Middle East. It means considering the use of force when force is used to kill innocent civilians. It means a full-scale engagement of the U.S. government, an across-the-board effort with allies and international organizations, a real focus on the challenge these times present.

This can be President Obama's moment. It's not quite the one he expected or perhaps the one he wanted. He's not the president that some of us would have preferred to have to deal with this situation. But there he is, and his moment is our moment.

History is full of ironies. But a sense of irony needn't imply an embrace of passivity. If Obama rises to this moment, if he can help the Arab Spring come even partly to fruition, we critics of his administration here at home will be glad to salute him - as will, just as surely and more importantly, hundreds of millions of lovers of freedom around the world.

Whole thing here.

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