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.