Don’t Forget Bush, Barack

I want to start this article by praising our good President, Barack Obama. As a loyal Republican, I voted for Senator McCain in 2008 – a vote that I do not regret. However, President Obama’s outreach to Muslims, should he fulfill all promises, is a move that will eventually place him as one of America’s best Presidents. However, for the same reasons of outreaching to the Muslim World, I also believe that George W Bush will be celebrated as one of our best American Presidents.

George W Bush? Great American President? Allow one to explain –

There are 57 Muslim countries in the world. On September 10th of 2001, America claimed a very small handful of those countries as allies. Many countries, like Syria, Iran, and Iraq, suffered from the devastating sanctions imposed upon them by the Clinton Administration, which deprived millions from receiving humanitarian aid, medical supplies, food, and of course, any kind of economic trade and investment. I particularly recall President Clinton sending American Ambassadors to the United Nations, with the specific purpose of convincing the rest of the world to alienate various Muslim countries with multilateral sanctions, which, unfortunately, were adopted globally.

Such sanctions crippled economies in the Muslim World, empowered dictators, and most terribly, eroded middle-class populations to the point that dictators like Saddam Hussein would never face an internal opposition or force – like Fidel Castro, their dictatorship would become an eternal fiefdom.

Sadly, the Senior Bush Administration was also pivotal in reducing our Muslim World allies. Taking over as President in January of 1989, on the heels of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was Bush Senior’s duty to play custodian over nations like Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the newly formed Muslim countries that had broken off the Soviet Union, like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan to name a few, all of which played major roles in destabilizing the Soviet Union.

Although supplied by America, it was Afghani and Pakistani forces that waged a bloody war against the Soviets, sacrificing greatly for the world’s good. Muslims territories within the Soviet Union also roused the Communist government, causing a cataclysmic collapse of a nation that too many in the world were afraid to confront, with the noted exceptions of America, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and oppressed Muslims in Central Asia that hungered for religious freedom. Tragically, rather than shepherding these countries into a state of modernity, the Senior Bush Administration refrained from active involvement in the region, likely hoping that civility would naturally arise from Central to South Asia. Instead of heralding new economies, the region is fully invested in defending itself against in-grown Talibanization.

And of course, there is the case of Saddam Hussein, the goon who ruthlessly killed the innocent, invaded neighboring countries, and bore new holocausts against entire cultures. Yes, while Senior Bush temporarily stood up to Hussein, he still left him in power, sending a dangerous message to all Muslims around the world – in times of major stress, America might take on your dictators, but otherwise, you’re on your own.

As our Twin Towers tragically fell, claiming the lives of over 3,000 American brothers and sisters, we were left with a terrible problem – working against us was a global terrorist network, hiding throughout Muslim countries, and actively recruiting more suicide bombers. Now fast forward – as of January of 2009, the last days of W Bush’s service, America claimed 53 allies in the Muslim World out of total of 57. Those 53 countries have supplied us with information against Al-Quaeda and/or all-out arrests against Al-Quaeda operatives.

And unlike Bush Senior and Clinton, W Bush has fostered these allies with tremendous care. The Clinton sanctions imposed on so many Muslim countries were mostly removed by W Bush, including the removal of sanctions that blocked humanitarian aid, medicine, and food to Syria, Iran, and Sudan. With the creation of the Millennium Challenge Institute, as well as free trade agreements with South Asia and the Middle East, free trade is flourishing between many Muslim countries and America, creating middle-classes all over the Muslim World that will carry greater power than any single dictator, properly shepherding the Muslim World into modernity. The Millennium Challenge Institute has also confirmed that many Muslim countries are seeing large rises in literacy, wealth, upward mobility, and civil liberties, mostly attributed to the rise in free trade and global investment in Muslim countries.

I am not biased in my review – I agree that the war in Iraq saw too many mistakes, ultimately leading to Republican defeats and low approval ratings for W Bush in both America and the entire world. However, it is unfair to not catalogue the successes – W Bush’s handling of the Muslim World, outside of the Iraq War, is excellent. With middle-class populations rising throughout the Muslim World, mostly due to a removal of sanctions and opening of free trade, history will eventually note W Bush as one of our greatest Presidents for his role in serving as the one catalyst that started the modern renewal of the Muslim World.

Obama’s words bring light to one’s heart and I hope his policies echo those of W Bush’s successes, in lifting sanctions against the Muslim World and promoting greater economic activity.

However, Obama will pay a price, just as W Bush did, in having uninformed criticisms thrown at policies that will prove to be beneficial. Some would even say that Obama’s Cairo speech could cost him a reelection in 2012, as his approval ratings are already suffering fatigue.

But unlike the usual politicians, what Obama and W Bush share is a belief that, someday, the Muslim World will enjoy sustained freedom and modernity – and the politicians who believe in such ideal and ratify policy to reflect it, will be remembered as our greatest, because rather than politicizing the situation for their short-term survival, they confronted the tragedy of the Muslim World, delivering peace to an entire world.

Now this is change – this is hope. And it will happen.

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About Muhammad Ali Hasan

Muhammad Ali Hasan is a political commentator/writer, filmmaker, and activist. Hasan is the Co-Founder of Muslims For America, a think-tank organization that specializes in policy proposals that address solutions towards building peace between America and the Muslim World, with the help of a nationwide membership that welcomes Muslims and Non-Muslims. Muslims For America evolved from Muslims For Bush, an organization that Hasan co-founded in 2004. Hasan currently serves as a guest political commentator for Fox News, MSNBC, GEO-TV, and BBC Radio of England, in addition to being a former regular guest on CNBC’s The Dennis Miller Show and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Hasan’s political writings have been published in BeliefNet and the Washington Review of Middle Eastern Affairs, in addition to writing regularly for and As a filmmaker, Hasan was recognized as an Emerging Filmmaker of 2007 by Panavision for his directing work on short film, Rabia. Hasan was also named a Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Finalist of 2006, part of Coca Cola’s nationwide filmmaking competition. In 2006, Hasan opened his short film production company, Rabia LLC, boasting sponsorships from Eastman-Kodak, Color By Deluxe, and Panavision. Hasan is proud of his work as a political activist, especially in building bridges between American Muslims and the Republican Party. Through filmmaking and writing, Hasan hopes to create greater peace between all, as the War On Terror continues. Past activities for Hasan also include serving as a tyro teacher public school teacher in Los Angeles, where he was a candidate for a Masters in Teaching. Hasan worked extensively as an environmental scientist, in college, under the direction of Dr Jim Sadd, where the group used Geographic Information Systems analysis to study social justice issues within environmental science. Hasan will soon be basing himself in Colorado, where he has opened Sangre De Cristo Capital LLC, a land development company. Hasan is looking to get more involved, politically, from his base in Colorado as he continues his efforts in political commentating and filmmaking.

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