A Look At The Middle East
In Libya, a country filled with armed militants of every stripe (including former residents of Guantanamo Bay who may have a bone or two to pick with the U.S., and who are now on the lamb, in part, thanks to the politicization of the issue by a certain Senator from Illinois), with 9/11 approaching and the air thick with ominous rumors, we apparently saw no need to provide even basic protection for our consulate in Benghazi.
In Egypt, soldiers of the government of Muslim Brotherhood graduate, President Mohammed Morsi disappeared as “protesters” with military-level equipment, such as rocket launchers and grenade launchers, scaled the embassy wall in Cairo, destroyed the American flag, and replaced it with Al Qaeda’s.
Some would have you believe that these two events were the beginning of the mayhem. But, it would be more accurate to say that the attacks are a CONTINUATION of an ongoing campaign, as veterans of the attacks on the embassies in Tanzinia and Kenya in 1998, the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 and the World Trade Center would remind us.
Osama bin Laden: End of Story? Not Quite…
Osama bin Laden was still dead wasn’t he? End of story, right? Besides, hadn’t Obama, soon after taking office, gone to Cairo and apologized to the Muslim world (I would presume with the implicit exception of the half dozen countries where U.S. forces had saved many Muslim lives)?
The rise of radical Islam and the war on terror preceded President Obama and he is to be credited for not dismantling the anti-terror framework built by his predecessor. However, not every problem can be solved with a drone, and after four years of reckless and misguided leadership, Obama has clearly left our country in a worse place than we were four years ago. His policy has basically been to bring the troops home regardless of the facts on the ground and regardless of the sacrifice of hard won achievements.
In spite of all that we know from our past – the Carter years where our military defenses were allowed to quietly wither, and all that we have seen in the past ten days, we have a President who would then cut the military, making the mistake we have made before after tiring of conflict – mistakes that always cost lives later.
And is there really any doubt that, on our present course, Iran will be running Iraq, or that the Taliban and/or Al Qaeda will be in control of Afghanistan before long? Underlying this “strategy” is Obama’s driving principle: that he and he alone can reach the minds and melt the hearts of leaders of other nations and of those in the “street” around the world. Part of the manifest failure of this notion is playing out in the mean streets of the Middle East today and as far east as Indonesia and Pakistan. This strategy actually places us in greater danger: state actors, as well as terrorist groups, are watching, and because such a strategy projects the U.S. as weak, unsure of its vital interests and perhaps unwilling to protect them, it invites further conflict.
Our “Strategy” In Practice
Consider the Obama record BEFORE the Muslim country meltdown: Hillary Clinton clings to her “reset button” as Russia attacks Georgia, shoots down troublesome journalists in the streets and bullies the U.S. into dropping missile-defense plans, thus turning our backs on our allies Poland and the Czech Republic. Our President whispers sweet assurances of post-election flexibility in Medvedev’s ear, while Russia provides aid and U.N. cover for Iran and Syria. Incidentally, just to highlight the fact that our foreign policy is, apparently, in the hands of the supremely naïve, Secretary of State Clinton in March 2011 pronounced Syria’s Bashir Assad a “reformer” right before the slaughter began in Syria.
China, of course, is teaming with Russia in support of America’s worst enemies. Last week our traveling Secretary of State got a good dressing down from Chinese leadership because they detected that America might be siding with Japan and other East Asia allies against the Chinese takeover of islands off their coasts. From press reports it seems that Hillary promised to let the parties work it all out among themselves, despite our obvious and long-standing interests there. China is rapidly building its blue water navy, and still has hundreds of missiles pointed at Taiwan, a country we are pledged to defend. Considering the Administration’s weak-kneed approach regarding anything involving traditional American interest, and especially in light of what’s going on with Iran and Israel, do you suppose that China thinks the U.S. will ever draw any “red lines” with China? Add East Asia allies to the list of Middle East allies who are very nervous. On Sunday Congressman Mike Rodgers (R-Michigan), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said that in his travels to the Middle East our friends in the area are worried and are asking what the Administration’s policy is and whether we are withdrawing from the international scene.
After spending an embarrassing three years practically begging the Iranians to sit down with them, the Administration finally was able to have sanctions imposed on Iran. The good news is that they seem to be hurting the Iranian economy. The bad news is that they have not done one thing to slow down the Iranians who continue to add to their centrifuges that are enriching uranium and getting closer and closer to a weapons-grade product. They have played the U.S. like a fiddle in order to buy time, the same thing Obama is now doing with Israel to get past the election. Once again our, traveling-pants-suited Secretary of State was there to put the final touch on a disastrous “policy.” We will draw no red lines with Iran, she says.
Our Naiveté Emboldens Terrorist Enablers
So our problems go beyond the terrorists to those who enable them. Countries like Iran have not only more than ample financial resources, but analytical and intelligence capabilities that allow them to help the terrorists achieve their goals, while shielding the benefactors from responsibility. Having the U.S. on the run serves their purposes. And experiencing, first hand, our weakness and naiveté emboldens them.
Remember the predictions of Obama’s economic team of the job and economic growth numbers that Obama policies would bring? What about what Obama said about the effect his Obamaness would have on the Muslim world? Historian Nial Ferguson of Harvard reminded us recently that, according to reliable polls, the US is less popular in the Middle East today than when Obama took office.
The plain fact is that this Administration no more understands the nature of our current foreign-relations problems than they do our current economic problems. In both cases almost the exact opposite of their predictions came about. Their excuse on their flawed economic analysis is that “it was much worse than we thought.” Some day some candid member of the former Obama team will be saying the same thing about America’s position in the world. Unfortunately, this time it will be true.
– Fred Thompson