An open letter to Barack Obama

Published: October 22, 2010

Are the current administration's policies really fair-or even logical?

Dear President Obama,

Hope you’re doing well. America seems to be on its way to progress.

You took some bold steps in Afghanistan in the war on terror and supported Middle Eastern countries in their stance against Israel.

Although it may be surprising coming from a Pakistani, I write to you with reference to your favouritism towards Israel.

When you were elected I was told by many of my friends that you were not different from previous administrators, but I kept my faith in you. Now, I see that you continue to be a slave to US policy, just like previous presidents.

With the utmost respect, I have a few questions.

When you won the Nobel peace prize in 2009 you said the world was one family, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. If your intentions are really to bring peace, then you have to do justice to everyone. It’s observed that when Iran seeks nuclear technology and advancement, you are offended, as if it a matter of life and death for all of humanity. But when it comes to Israel, you start to defend them. This is illogical.

You are offended by Iran’s nuclear program and are doing your best to impose sanctions on them, as seen in the recent IAEA summit. But when it comes to Israel, you lobbied and gave Israel safe passage through your vote. You don’t want them to come under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel not only refuses to become a signatory of the NPT, it also aggressively maintains its determination to hold on to its Middle East nuclear arms monopoly. Israel’s IAEA envoy, Ehud Azoulay , said:

“Adopting this resolution will be a fatal blow to any hope for future co-operative efforts toward better regional security in the Middle East.”

If that is not a threat, what is?

Can you bring peace with this attitude? Your slogan says, “Yes, we can.”

Well, I say, “Hell, you can’t!”

In April 2009, you said in a speech that the international community should support your vision of a world free from nuclear weapons. But on the contrary, you also said:

“As long as these weapons exist, the US will remain safe, secure and an effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee that defence to our allies”

Are you really sure about what your agenda is? Stop playing diplomatic games with so many countries.

Sir, the NPT was founded on three pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and the right to civilian nuclear activity. I can’t see any one of these policies being followed – not by a long shot. You blindly praise Israel’s policies, but they weren’t even present at a recent summit of the UN.

Western and European countries are against Iran, a country that has signed the NPT. Their opposition can be seen for what it truly is – a smokescreen. Behind that smokescreen and the selective corporate news headlines, Israel can be expected to continue dumping its nuclear waste in occupied Palestinian territory.

Member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted against a draft resolution on Israel’s nuclear capabilities in Vienna. The resolution, which had been put forward for a vote at the agency’s annual General Conference by Arab nations, did not get the necessary majority with 51 countries voting against and 46 voting in favor.

The paper would have called on Israel to put all its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards and join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the 54th International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, your administration once again managed to persuade a small majority to vote against a resolution calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Astonishingly defying logic and common-sense, the US envoy to the IAEA, Glen Davis, actually greeted the outcome of the vote by saying, “The winner here is the peace process. The winner is the opportunity to move forward in a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.”

But Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, told reporters that the move was ‘‘counterproductive’’ to the establishment of peace in the region and would only ‘‘create obstacles for that goal.’’

Do you want to bring stabilisation and peace this way? By lobbying the whole committee and giving Israel safe passage? I don’t think it’s going to work out. Kindly try a different route.



Shoaib Ishaq

An electronics engineer and youth activist. He enjoys freelance writing, music and sports.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • aysha


    I think his stance on drone attacks is slightly more relevant to us, no?

    Maybe they would take us more seriously if we weren’t constantly railing against Israel and Jews and silent on everything else, including human rights violations within our own country. Recommend

  • samina ashfaque

    the muslim umah must get united to fight the jewish lobby. no one will listen to us when we ourself are not united.Recommend

  • Deen

    Obama’s silence is a product of some rather ugly realities on the ground, which most people fail to understand. When he became president, I am certain he was unaware of the strings, the American political institution would attach to his freedom to be a world leader. The American President is just one person, the American government as a whole is a democratically elected institution running the government. In the case of Israel, the real dilemma facing President Obama is the uncontrollable influence and economic power the Pro-Israeli Jewish lobby in the United States has, for many decades now, they have funded election campaigns, tried to influence the thoughts of mainstream Americans into believing ideas such as that Israel is the one true democracy in the entire middle east, while other countries are surrounded by barbaric dictators bound on destroying the jewish state and the right of the jewish people to have a homeland. Every politician, whether Republican or Democrat knows that it is political suicide if one chooses a path other than being Pro Israeli, due to of course the influence of the Pro Israeli Jewish lobby. Apart from that, there are two things we should look at, a sort of a dilemma we are stuck in, we live in a globalised world today, where it is regarded or treated as a criminal offence if your criticise a Jew, especially an Israeli Jew. In some countries it is illegal, and you can be persecuted on charges of being Anti-Semetic. Israel is essentially like a spoiled child in the international community, that demands special pampering but at the same time is unable to take criticism. Also one thing many Pakistanis in particular do not know about US foreign policy towards Israel and the Middle East is that, the US government is run by Senators and Congressman who are Evangalical Christians, and it is part of Evangelical Protestant Ethic to facilitate the sustainability and creation of a Jewish state or Jewish control in the land of Zion, which is modern day Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories, though the biblical Zion refers only to Jerusalem. Israel itself is in a dilemma in its position, infact the problem it is in, is similar to that of Pakistan, we both are countries plagued by religious extremism, and religious terrorism which is blindly overlooked. Majority of for example Israeli settlers living beyond the Pre 1967 Green line, are right wing religious fanatic jews, most of which arrived in the 1990’s during the massive exodus of Jews from the former Soviet Union.
    Its these very religious fanatics that also attack Palestinian Villagers, their army is also full of religious fanatics, who instead of maintaining law and order, show a blind eye when these right wing jews display barbaric behaviour to the indigenous population of Palestine.Recommend

  • maestro

    dude, worry about Pakistan. Don’t keep harping on an issue i.e., Israel, when first, we all know nothing will change in the US policy towards it. I have lived in the US for 18 yrs and I can tell you, no US politician can ever hope of getting elected to any office without the jewish lobby’s (AIPAC in particular) support. Ain’t gonna happen. Second, there is enough international focus on the Israel Palestine issue – let the immediate Arab neighbors of that country deal with it, impotent as they may be. Not our problem. Pakistan itself is in enough of a mess that we should be devoting all our energies on fixing OUR problems not others, regardless how altruistic it may seem. Just my 2 cents. Recommend

  • nudrat

    i think the writer should be more concerned about Obama’s decisions regarding Pakistan than any other country. Starting from NATO incursions to ‘the war on terror’ itself. The ‘ummah’ concept is equivalant to George Orwel’s ‘utopian’ world. Get over it and get your house in order first. Iran is doing just fine without our help.Recommend

  • parvez

    Rather pointless article.
    Obama and his team are looking after America’s interest.
    We should be doing the same in Pakistan . Are we ?????Recommend

  • KM

    If Obama would be any bothered with this letter, no matter how low you may think of him? Isnt saving the American Interest, his oath to his position? Why are we expecting him to care for ours? We should have our own policy and pledge to save our own interests … Amazingly, the Americans say “Dont mess with us or we bring democracy to your country”, knowingly that this country is incapable of adapting democracy due to corruption and voters incapability to chose from the right or wrong. Hence, we get democratic leaders subservient to the american rule and policy. We need to get our act straight without having to bother what they do, and then once we have started moving in correct direction, we will then look good commenting on what the other one is doing. We like to find our enemy in India, but have we learnt anything from them? They have now starting dictating in their form to the world, despite the fact that we dont like to accept their superiority now.Recommend

  • Mohammad Shoaib

    @all …… thanks for reading the blog and commenting on it. highly appreciated.

    Let me just clarify, this blog was just written in context with the latest summit of IAEA, i wrote it long back but it took some time to get published ….. i wrote it keeping in view the international news and what is going on globally, also this blog is also publish in the “WORLD” section not in the “Pakistan” section. My criticism is not on jews but on the jewish policy and america’s bias ism towards them. This recent issue is a point of concern for all the countries. A major group of Israelis are willing Israel to go under NPT, but their policy doesn’t allows them. Condemning them doesn’t mean we have forgotten about Pakistan or we are so much concerned about Iran and Palestine. …. hope u got my point……… once again thank you all for ur comments…. soon am also gonna write abt our issues as well….. Peace :DRecommend

  • faraz

    This is called bilateral relations. US-Isreal and US-Iran relations are not based on morals. US didnt apply much diplomatic or economic pressure on Pakistan when we were developing our nuclear program. Similarly we claim to be an ideological islamic state but have close relations with China which supresses all forms of religion; our rhetoric is mainly focussed on Kashmir. So its not about idelogies or principles; its just national interest.Recommend

  • Mohammad Yousuf Najar, Kashmir

    Highly thoughtful write up. Kudos ! We are always experiencing such western dual policy against islamic countries whenever anyone try to excel in crucial fields such as Nuclear Technology, Satelite missions, Power Oil and Gas energy etc. But we must raise to occasion now to destroy all open and hidden agendas of Western countries particularly of U.S. who are hell bent on our destruction, worldwide. America has never been our friend on any corner of the world surface. It is exaggeration to conclude that all tensions in all muslim lands are assisted and handled by America and her hand maid countries. They can do every thing to efface developing muslim countries and can’t do justice even to basic human principles while dealing with us. Recommend

  • sarosh mahdi

    Jews have a historical claim on Israel and muslims should respect that claim, without dwelling too much into the Arab-Israel conflict.Much of the frustration in the Islamic world regarding Israel has to do with the fact that the quran clearly states, that the Jews will never have a homeland,now that they have it ,muslims are having a hard time digesting this hard core reality.Recommend

  • John

    How about the Muslim Brotherhood’s plans (amply documented) to destroy the US from within via subversion and conversion of US legal system to sharia law (already underway)… we don’t want your 8th century legacy of amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, and 3rd class treatment for women (below dogs)… oh, i forgot- Mohamed hated dogs pnbuh…Recommend

  • Shiv kumr

    Please consider the economy of Jihad and Islamic terror. Please think how cheaply the
    Islamists run their terror operations, how inexpensively they buy the lives of young Jihadists to be sacrificed to commit un-imaginable terror and murder. It costs them virtually next to nothing, save for their training and the logistics, to recruit these live terrorists, and despatch
    them on terror missions. Please reflect on what motivates these terrorists to do what they do—it is none other than the Qur’an and ahadith. Islamic terrorism emanates from the
    teachings and practices of Muhammad. Whether it is against the JEWS ,HINDUS OR CHRISTINS episode after episode, and by pointing out many uncanny similarities between
    the Islamic terrorism of today and those of Muhammad’s time.

    The Jihadists of today are following the exact footsteps of Muhammad—make no mistake on this. While the world is spending billions of dollars to fight Islamic terrorism militarily, doesn’t it make more sense to spend a fraction of that billion to unmask the fascistic face of Islam and the doctrine of terrorism that is an integral part of it?

    Let the vast majority of innocent Muslims who are not terrorists and who do not have an iota of what Islam is all about get this shocking message that Islam is not what they always thought it to be—that is, a peaceful religion. The sooner they realize this appalling truth, the sooner they will become a part of the civilized world and be respected. So long as they are in denial, they will,for sure, be a community despised and looked upon with suspicion.

    Let the Muslims themselves start fighting Islamic terrorism by its root AND REFORM THEMSELVES BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE FOR THEM.Recommend