Tag archives: Foreign Policy

Attacking Canada’s Parliament: “This Changes Everything”

by Robert Morrison

October 23, 2014

John McKay is a Member of Parliament in Canada. Of yesterday’s attack by a recent Muslim convert on the House of Commons, Mr. McKay said “This changes everything.” Just before he entered the Parliament building, the killer had murdered a Canadian Forces soldier at the Ottawa war memorial.

Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, is being hailed as a hero. On a normal day, Vickers’ largely ceremonial role would pass outside the view of Canada and the world. On special occasions, Vickers, a 28-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), could be seen bearing the great mace, a symbol of the authority of the people’s elected representatives in North America’s second oldest democracy.

That war memorial is a tribute to Canada’s outstanding contribution to the Allies’strength in the First World War. Just one hundred years ago—while President Woodrow Wilson urged Americans to remain “neutral in thought as well as deed— Canadian soldiers rushed into action Over There. They helped to stave off the brutal German invasion of France. Canada had rallied to the Allied cause within just days of Britain’s declaration of war against Kaiser Germany in August 1914.

When at last President Wilson led America into World War I, he said our effort was “to make the world safe for democracy.” One hundred years later, Sergeant-at-Arms Vickers risked his life to make Canada safe for democracy—Canada and the United States.

What these Islamist killers are seeking is nothing less than an end to freedom in the world. They must be resisted—wherever and whenever necessary. The symbolism of a Sergeant-at-Arms actually using his weapon to take down a determined murderer should not be lost in the media buzz. Freedom must be defended not with words alone, but with deadly force.

That a determined killer could get into the halls of Parliament should force Canadians to consider how better to secure the seat of government. Congress was attacked in July, 1998, by a crazed gunman who shot and killed two Capitol policemen. That attack and the subsequent 9/11 terrorist attacks led to the building of a vast Capitol Visitors Center complex to restrict access to Congress.

But we need to remember that security barriers and guards alone cannot make us safe. There is probably no more heavily guarded place in America than the White House, and yet an intruder got inside the Executive Mansion several weeks ago when someone failed to lock the front door!

This administration has had an appalling record on national security. President Obama told the world we have 5,113 nuclear weapons. Many of us with military experience were prepared to lay down our lives to keep hostile powers from getting that kind of sensitive information.

As former Sec. of Defense Robert Gates has written, Mr. Obama only seemed interested in the military when he could use it to advance his agenda of radical social experimentation. Sec. Gates cited our Commander-in-Chief’s “absence of passion” about the armed services except when he pressed the Pentagon to recruit gays and persons seeking sex changes.

That “absence of passion” was surely on display yesterday when President Obama coolly and dispassionately spoke of the attack on Canada’s Parliament. He repeated only his time-worn bromides in a world-weary way. His deadpan expression and monotone remarks suggested he didn’t want to do anything that might dampen the ardor of his pacifist base two weeks before a critical mid-term election.

Let us remember: He won the crucial opening chapter in the race for the Democratic nomination for President by appealing to Iowa’s Peace Caucus delegates. Afterward, in state after state, candidate Obama beat Sen. Hillary Clinton by outbidding her in pledges to weaken the U.S. military and to soften the image of the U.S. in the world.

Once elected, he promised to approach the Mullahs of Iran “with an open hand, not a clenched fist.” These Mullahs—whom our own State Department have labeled the Number One state sponsors of terrorism in the world—spurned President Obama’s outstretched hand.

But that hardly seemed to matter. He already had his Nobel Peace Prize.

Let us hope that John McKay, the Canadian Member of Parliament, was correct: This attack in Ottawa should change everything.

The Savagery and Horror of ISIS

by FRC Media Office

September 18, 2014

With the continued savagery of ISIS in the news, FRC’s Bob Morrison and Ken Blackwell have two op-eds in American Thinker that examines the stance that the U.S. has taken on this group.   Both Blackwell and Morrison’s recent article looks at how President Obama has dealt with ISIS and the growing threat that this group poses on global security.

President Obama is locked in a Westphalian mindset. That seminal 1648 Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War in Europe and gave us the nation-state system we see today. Or most of it. What ISIS shows, however, is that the Westphalian definitions really don’t apply in the Mideast. It was an Egyptian diplomat who famously said: “There is only one nation over here; the rest are tribes with flags.”

Fortunately, President Obama realizes that you cannot give credence to a border between Iraq and Syria. He says he will hammer ISIS in Syria. Go to it. (Unfortunately, this president seems not to recognize a border between the Mexico and the U.S., either.)

You can read more from their op-ed here.

Thirty years ago, FRC’s Bob Morrison watched a beheading video. And he has never forgotten the horror of it. Here’s his column that ran in American Thinker on August 30, 2014

America’s Uncertain International Trumpet

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 8, 2014

A couple of days ago, President Obama commented to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that “There are days when I’m not getting enough sleep, because we’ve got a lot on our plate.” According to Jennifer Epstein of Politico, the President went on to say that “You know, when you’re … President of the United States, you’re not just dealing with the United States.” Citing various international military, political, and medical crises, he said, “You know, the inbox gets pretty high.”

Every President says such equally banal things, be he a Republican or a Democrat. What’s troubling is that throughout his presidency, Mr. Obama has repetitively emphasized the value of “partnerships” and international coalitions, as in comments he made during his first presidential trip overseas in 2009: “(America’s) leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can’t solve these problems alone.”

Aside from the rather baffling syntax of that sentence, Mr. Obama seems to miss a single, determinative point. America is unique not just because of our moral example or ability to marshal other nations into what President Bush called a “coalition of the willing.” Alliances, partnerships, coalitions, pacts, etc. can be important, even essential, in a number of contexts. Rather, America’s uniqueness is defined not by our being, as it were, first among equals, but the unique coalescence of our values, our power, and our resolve in a violent, unsteady world.

The President is a man of nuance. Nuance can be a valuable trait, insofar as it prevents one from making impulsive, reactive, or excessive decisions. But the presidency is not a graduate seminar in which to express ambivalent opinions in front of a closely-listening world, one that hungers for clear, confident American leadership. When he speaks almost simultaneously of destroying ISIS and “managing” it, the uncertainty of the trumpet Mr. Obama blows reverberates with a chilling echo around the world.

National security and vital interests should determine America’s engagement in given wars, hot-spots, and places of need. Historically, when our security has been jeopardized and our critical interests threatened, we have acted, often in tandem with friends and allies, to defend and secure them. But we have not failed to act alone when singular, bracing action has been needed. Consider Reagan at Reykjavik or Nixon’s unequivocal stand with Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War: These things inspire those who long for our leadership and give great caution to those who wish to diminish it.

One of the paradoxes of American power is that to sustain our position of unique international leadership, our country must be prepared, always, to act promptly, wisely, forcefully, and alone. We are appealing to our friends precisely because we historically have been ready to stand by ourselves, bravely and powerfully. The very independence of our resolve is what has made other countries want to ally with us. When we make partnerships a precondition of bold action, we hem ourselves into a seam of international approval and mincing diplomatic etiquette from which it is hard to disentangle ourselves.

The stance our nation takes on the world stage is not developed to win friends and be well-loved. Of course, many of our actions, such as the Berlin Airlift and the Marshall Plan and our gifts of food and medicine to the developing world have wedded our interests and our moral convictions, which have won us friends and created loyalties from which we have benefitted greatly.

Instead, our objectives should be clear and never in doubt: We want to be respected by our friends and feared by our adversaries. Such respect is the foundation of the international affection for which some politicians seem to long as the chief end of America’s global involvement. Pursuit of “being liked” as an end in itself invites disdain from our enemies and doubt from our allies. As a result, such a pursuit creates the very acrimony and upheaval its proponents say they wish to avoid.

After the Bay of Pigs disaster, young President John F. Kennedy met with Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev in Vienna. Kennedy was candid about Kruschev’s behavior: the latter “thought that anyone who was so young and inexperienced as to get into that mess could be taken. And anyone who got into it and didn’t see it through had no guts. So he just beat the h**l out of me … I’ve got a real problem.” The Cuban missile crisis was not long to follow, as Kruschev had determined Kennedy was weak.

Would Vladimir Putin have dared to venture into the Ukraine, or would Hamas dared to launch its missile assaults on Israel, if they feared the reaction of the United States? Would ISIS have become so voraciously predatory if its leaders worried about anything but a tepid, slow response from America? Would China have hacked American corporations so assiduously if it feared truly tough retaliation from Washington?

Maybe. But maybe not. Whether a conservative or a liberal, the American president must be someone who realizes that the surest way to avoid having to use our power is a willingness to use it, prudently but decisively, when and where it is needed for the sake of our security and crucial interests.

John Kerry, Teddy Roosevelt and “Manning-Up”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 4, 2014

In an interview on NBC, Secretary of State John Kerry told American turn-coat Edward Snowden to “man-up” and come back to the U.S. and face the consequences of his actions.

Mr. Kerry’s extemporaneous use of this term has ignited controversy. MarketWatch called it a “dated phrase.” The commentariat of the Left is near-apoplectic: Liberal blogger Kevin Gosztola calls the term “jingoistic” (does Kevin, a college student, know what “jingoistic” means?). The Los Angeles Times‘ Robin Abcarian is also upset: “We need to move away from the idea that masculinity and courage are synonymous terms.” Salon‘s Natasha Lennard called Kerry “moronic” for using what she called a “misogyny-soaked” phrase.

Yikes; for once I feel (somewhat) sorry for Secretary Kerry. Having and displaying physical and moral courage – “manning-up” - traditionally has been a masculine trait. This is part of the biblical narrative, to be sure (King David and the Apostle “endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” Paul come to mind). Yet do not both biology and innate intuition tell us that men and women, while equal, are different? Is it not reasonable, then, to ask if they are – in their essence as humans – distinct in some observable ways and that, therefore, they should have at least some different roles?

Theodore Roosevelt was a man of indisputable manliness. He personified the toughness and tenderness of what manhood should be about. The Rough Rider who charged up San Juan Hill also once remarked that a baby’s hand is the most beautiful of God’s creations. He loved wistful poetry as much as he liked Viking sagas. He identified fox-sparrow feathers on the White House lawn and killed a rhinoceros still on display in the Smithsonian. I’ll close with a quote from him:

“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood,” said TR in a 1901 speech in Colorado. “We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done.”

Amen.

America’s Amateur Hour on Foreign Policy

by Chris Gacek

March 31, 2014

The disaster that is the Obama foreign policy continues to unfold week by week. While engaging in unilateral military disarmament, our president imitates a wrecking ball destroying decades of American alliances, relationships, and strengths. It is difficult to recall any significant Obama accomplishments, but, at the least, one could hope that he might have a “minimize the harm” operational code. Not a chance.

On March 25th in a speech at the Hague (Netherlands), President Obama made this statement: “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors — not out of strength but out of weakness.” What a ludicrously provocative statement.

Right, Mr.President, Russiais a regional power. Unfortunately, it is a region that extends from the Bering Strait to the Baltic Sea while bordering on the Arctic Ocean, Mongolia, China, and many numerous Eurasian nations. It has a population of 142 million. Finally, thanks to you, Russia has 500 more nuclear warheads than the United States — at about 8,500. Russia is an ancient civilization noted for great scientific and artistic achievement that is anchored by a state church that traces its roots to the Byzantine Empire. Russia is no run-of-the-mill “regional power” under any serious analysis. Russia has been a major world actor for centuries, and it remains so even after 1990.

I have no sympathy for a crypto-communist sociopath like Putin, but Obama’s statement was needlessly insulting and demeaning to Putin and Russia itself. If we were trying to alienate the Russian people, could this statement have been any more effective? Probably not. It is the mark of an amateur — someone who is not a serious analyst of history and foreign policy. Underestimating an enemy is never wise.

And, this leads to Obama’s comically liberal and obtuse crack about the conquest of Crimea being the accomplishment of a weak power. The president appears to be patterning his opposition to Russia on the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. As the Black Knight has his limbs hacked off by King Arthur, he refuses to admit that he is being seriously injured. However, the Black Knight talks a good game, and in Obama’s world that’s all that really matters, isn’t it.

Iran: Facing the Hard Truth

by Robert Morrison

September 12, 2013

While the world’s attention has been focused on Syria this week, the centrifuges of Iran’s nuclear program quietly continue spinning. And the determination of Iran’s mullahs to see a world without America, without Israel, cannot be wished away.

Today, Iran is poised to break through to the nuclear bomb. Iranians are working on Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. They don’t need those ICBMs for Israel. The ayatollahs have said Israel is only “a two-bomb country.”They need the ICBMs for America.

At the Washington Summit of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) organization earlier this summer, former Reagan adviser Gary Bauer appeared on a panel with CBN’s terrorism expert Eric Stackelbcck and Dr. Patrick Clauson, the director of research for the Washington Institute for Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy. Dr. Clauson, the author of many books and monographs about Iran, spoke authoritatively about the hostile nature of the Mullahs’ regime in Tehran. He holds no illusions about Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or about the newly installed president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, whom Western media reports term a “moderate cleric.”

Dr. Clauson believes that sanctions can help to increase pressure on the regime and that our best prospects for dealing with Iran would come from the successors to the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Of course, Rouhani has boasted that when he was Iran’s negotiator in nuclear talks with the West, Iran was able to make major gains surreptitiously. And so, it may be helpful to us now to know that Iran has officially installed as its puppet president their Dissembler-in-Chief.

The idea that economic sanctions could obviate the need for military action against Iran’s nuclear program has great appeal in Washington, in London, in EU headquarters and NATO offices in Brussels. Anything but having to fight Iran has appeal to war-weary Western publics.

FRC’s former president, Gary Bauer, did not go into detail about the nature of the Iranian regime. Instead, he spoke of our nature. Gary offered his version of the last minutes of Americans on board United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania on 9/11. Once the passengers became aware that their pilot, co-pilot, and flight attendant had been murdered by hijackers with box cutters, some of them assembled in the aft galley to decide what to do.

Gary envisioned the conversation aboard that jet. One of the passengers said: “This plane has to land somewhere. When they run out of fuel, they’ll have to land. That’s when a SWAT team can storm the jet and kill the hijackers. It’s our only hope for survival. Let’s just sit here and wait them out.” It was compelling advice, not unlike the counsel for tightening economic sanctions on Iran. Reasoned, moderate, and hopeful.

No,” said one of the passengers. “I’ve talked to my wife.They are taking these jets and crashing them into buildings. These are no longer aircraft. They’re weapons now.”

For those who heard those fateful words, they knew it was their own death sentence. And so, as a flight attendant boiled the water she would throw on the terrorist blocking the pilot door, other passengers readied the drink cart to ram into that door. Brave Todd Beamer said “Let’s roll.”

Those hijacked Americans responded with courage and honor to the challenge of their lives. They brought that jet down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, sacrificing themselves to save our White House or our Capitol; they were not really sure what the terror target would be; they only knew it was America herself that was being attacked.

Gary Bauer’s presentation focused not on what the Iranians are, but on who we are. In that, he was like Winston Churchill, who tried valiantly to rally the British people at the time of Munich. Churchill wanted them to remember who they were.

Gary’s and my great chief, Ronald Reagan, endured many briefings on Soviet affairs. His advisers, too, were deeply learned men. They came to him armed with massive three-ring binders, ready to impart their vast knowledge of the Soviets to Ronald Reagan.

Before we start, let’s get this straight” Reagan famously told his briefer in 1977, four years before entering the White House, “my idea of U.S.-Soviet relations is this: We win; they lose.”

Economic sanctions have always had an appeal. Churchill’s predecessor, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, was dragged reluctantly intoWorld War II. For the first winter of “the phony war,” (1939-40) Chamberlain ordered the Royal Air Force to drop leaflets on Germany, urging the people tooverthrow the Nazis. Chamberlain’s advisers had convinced him that Germany would collapse economically as a result of the British blockade and the isolation of the continent.

Reagan was not averse to using economic warfare against the USSR. But he also invaded Grenada and put pressure on the Communists militarily, politically, and diplomatically. He openly called for regime change—and got it.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the CUFI gathering via satellite. With the greatest resolution, he said: “Iran will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” If the Obama administration will not act to stop Iran now, then we can only pray that the Israelis will do it. We should thank God when they do.

[Full disclosure: Robert Morrison attended the CUFI Summit as a guest of Gary Bauer’s group, American Values.]

President Obama: Haunted by Sir Winstons Ghost?

by Robert Morrison

September 6, 2011

Its safe to say our relations with the British have probably never been worse in our lifetimes. Recall that just before he went to London and bowed to beheaders, the newly inaugurated President Obama let it be known he had returned the bust of Winston Churchill to the British Embassy. He might as well have tossed it out of the Oval Office into the snow.

Then, he gifted Her Majesty with, what else, recordings of all his speeches. He followed that up with the amazingly thoughtful gesture of bestowing on Prime Minister Gordon Brown a $29.95 collection of DVDs of Hollywoods greatest films. Mr. Brown is doubtless enjoying them now, in his retirement, if he can get an adapter.

The Special Relationship fostered so carefully by the World War II alliance of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt is in tatters. The Obama State Department is happy to tell us that Britain is no more special to us than any of the other 192 countries in the UN. (Of course, President Obama is known to think the U.S. itself is no more exceptional than Britain, or even Greece.)

It was fairly easy to be the new broom sweeping clean back in 2009. Now, however, as Rev. Wright might say, Obamas chickens are coming home to roost. Along with his sagging approval numbers is coming increasing disrespect. Rep. Maxine Waters is asking permission from her constituents to take the president to the woodshed. Former backer Peggy Noonan briskly calls him a loser on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal and asks aloud if he might just be snakebit.

The worst example of dissing the commander-in-chief, doubtless came from leftist Bill Maher. He told a nationwide audience, in an obscenity-laced routine, that he had been hoping for a president who would shoot the BP executives after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A short review of our Special Relationship might be in order. When Churchill crossed the U-boat infested North Atlantic seventy summers ago in the HMS Prince of Wales, he forged an alliance that lasted through World War II, the Cold War, all the way into the hills of Tora Bora, in Afghanistan and the oilfields of Basra in Iraq. Churchill, it was said in that 1941 First Summit, felt as if he was going to meet God Almighty. FDRs son told the British Prime Minister his father thought him the greatest man in the world.

Following Roosevelts death and V-E Day in 1945, Churchill nimbly befriended Harry Truman. In fact, it was President Truman who invited the defeated ex-Prime Minister to Fulton, Missouri, the next year. Churchills Iron Curtain speech at Westminster College on March 5, 1946, made headlines around the world.

Returning to Number 10 Downing Street, Churchill welcomed in 1952 the election of his old wartime comrade Dwight D. Eisenhower as president. True, Britains Prime Minister was less entranced with Ikes Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles. Hes the only bull I know who carries his china shop with him, Winston said bitterly. But he took care not to break ranks with President Eisenhower, a man who was revered on five continents.

Ikes successor, John F. Kennedy, might have had reason to shun Sir Winston, now in retirement. After all, his father, Joe Kennedy, bitterly attacked Churchill as the man responsible for World War II and blamed Winston personally for the death of his eldest son, Joe, Jr.

As president, John F. Kennedy rose above all that. In the last months of his life, in June, 1963, he named Churchill an honorary American citizen, the first such distinction granted since Lafayette. He marshaled the English language, said JFK at the Rose Garden ceremony, and sent it into battle. During the Berlin Crises and the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy had no stronger supporters than the British.

With Lyndon Johnson, we have the first tear in the fabric of friendship. When Sir Winston died in 1965, LBJ let it be known that he would decline to attend the state funeral in London. Instead, he sent Chief Justice Earl Warren. Johnson reacted with bitter sarcasm to press inquiries as to why, if he declined to go himself, he would not at least send Vice President Humphrey:

I may have made a mistake by asking a Chief Justice to go and not asking the Vice President. I will bear in mind in connection with any future funerals your very strong feelings in the matter and try to act in accordance with our national interest.

Of a previous death in London, that of King Charles I, it was said: He nothing common did or mean upon that memorable scene. Lyndon Johnson did nothing common or mean, either, but only because he stayed home. Queen Elizabeth saved our honor then by inviting former President Eisenhower to be her personal guest.

Ronald Reagan revived the Grand Alliance. He and Margaret Thatcher were fast friends.

When Ronald Reagan became the first U.S. President to address the British House of Commons in 1982, he took care to wear a Royal Air Force tie. It was a visual reminder of Churchills tribute to the brave young fliers of the RAF: Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.

As we look back on the years of our lives, its interesting to note that all of Churchills greatest American friends FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK and Ronald Reagan died honored and loved by the people of this Great Republic, as well.

Just four years after he was hailed as a Caesar at his 1964 nominating convention, LBJ found he dare not show his face at his partys convention in Chicago. Even his chosen successor, the hapless Hubert Humphrey, was hit by human excrement thrown by protesters and tear-gassed in his hotel by responding police as he claimed the mantle of party leadership. And who remembers Lyndon Johnsons funeral?

I do not predict and certainly do not hope for such a fate for President Obama, or even believe he is snakebitten. I dont think he has had just a run of bad luck. Nor do I think in my soul that hes being haunted by Sir Winstons ghost. Just dont tell Bill Maher who founded BP—British Petroleum: It was Winston Churchill.

Applying the Gary Hart PrincipleTo Pakistan

by Robert Morrison

May 16, 2011

In order to avoid become a cynic in my old age, I try to apply what I call the Gary Hart Principle to public statements of public figures. That principle is this: Lets suppose they are telling the truth.

The principle derives from Sen. Gary Harts experience back in 1987. He was running for president, youll recall, and he dared the reporters to tail him if they doubted his fidelity to his marital vows. They did. Uh-oh. Soon, poor Hart was seen coming out of his Capitol Hill townhouse in the presence of a fetching young lady not his wife.

Not to worry, said the embarrassed senator. He had been up all night discussing U.S.-Soviet relations with this bright young college student. In those days, before Bill Clinton, actually getting caught in such circumstances was not considered job-enhancing.

OK. Lets assume Gary Hart was telling the truth. Here was a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee who had access to Top Secret U.S. intelligence material. By his own account, he spends the night discussing our relations with the USSR with a young lady he had met some 48 hours earlier.

Had anyone done a background check on this eager foreign affairs major? Had anyone thought to caution the senator about the need to be somewhat circumspect about discussing sensitive national security matters with someone youd just met?

Just before his campaign collapsed, Sen. Hart appeared before the hungry pack of jumping journalists. Whew, he said. After what Ive been through in the past week,

Ill look forward to negotiating with Gorbachev.

Gary Hart never got that opportunity, thank God. But I wondered from that day to this: What makes you think you havent already been negotiating with the Communists?

Supplying compliant western politicians with female companionship is one of the oldest ploys in their bag of tricks. Succumbing to the charms of warm friends in the Cold War even sent West German Chancellor Willy Brandt packing, Nobel Peace Prize and all.

There are some things even Socialists cant swallow.

Back to Pakistan. Suppose they are telling us the truth. Suppose they are not, as one American cartoonist waspishly put it, Stab-you-in-the-Back-istan. Suppose they did not harbor Osama bin Laden for the past six years.

Lets suppose that Pakistans version of West Point could march and drill happily while the most wanted terrorist in the world was building a two-story compound just a few hundred yards from the main gate. And lets suppose further that the famous ISIPakistans intelligence servicehad no idea that bin Laden was so happily ensconced.

If they really had no idea bin Laden was in the neighborhood, how valuable an ally in the war on terror would that make Pakistan? Does anyone think such a trusted ally with such priceless intelligence to give us would be worth, say, $20 billion over a decade? Does anyone seriously think President Obama should have alerted the Pakistanis that we had located Osama bin Laden?

I remember a day in New York City in the fall of 1974. I was desperate to find a full-time job and feeling rather low as I stood on a Manhattan street corner. A huge black limo came careening around the corner. I recognized the occupants from their photos in the New York Times. They were Zulfiqar ali Bhutto, then the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Sitting next to him was his attractive young daughter, Benazir. They made eye contact with me and waved. Surprised, I waved back. The senior Bhutto was on his way to address the UN.

Soon, however, he would be hanged back home by the Pakistani general who had ousted him in a coup. And his daughter would go on to become Prime Minister herself, get overthrown, and then be blown up as she campaigned for a second term as Pakistans civilian leader. The coup leader, Muhammad Zia-ul-Huq, went on to be killed a decade later in a suspicious plane crash in the Punjab that claimed his life, those of several of his top generals, and that of the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

Thats pretty much what passes for government in Pakistan. If you are Pakistans leader, you are lucky if you only get overthrown and not murdered. It reminds me that even the young and unemployed in America have better prospects for a peaceful and prosperous life in this Great Republic than the richest and most and powerful in that failed country. And it reminds me why we cannot rely on anything being said by the Pakistani leadership. Even if they are telling us the truth, they cannot commit themselves or their government to anything.

International Disorder and the Security of the United States: A Response to the Presidents Speech

by Family Research Council

May 28, 2010

President Obamas just-issued National Security Strategy has, like most heavily nuanced Obama documents, something for everyone. What is given with one hand is seized by the other, in near-predictable cyclical fashion.

There are stout affirmations of Americas need for a strong defense extensively qualified by even more dogmatic commitments to a new international order. According to the President, we must (renew) American leadership so that we can more effectively advance our interests in the 21st century while shaping an international order that can meet the challenges of our time.

So … is there ever a time when American leadership means standing alone? Is that not, by definition, what leadership sometimes is?

Mr. Obama says, within two paragraphs, that military force, at times may be necessary to defend our country and that the use of force is sometimes necessary (emphasis mine). Maybe, is, could be, sometimes there might be a certain trumpet in there somewhere, but I have yet to find it.

Mr. Obama then lurches into Wilsonian utopianism: His new strategy reaffirms Americas commitment to pursue our interests through an international system in which all nations have certain rights and responsibilities. This rings of Wilsons infantile Fourteen Points, through which an arrogant American president tried to impose a new international order on a world that didnt want one.

Then: When force is necessary, we will continue to do so in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, and we will seek broad international support, working with such institutions as NATO and the U.N. Security Council.

You tell em, Mr. President. Im sure the worlds dictators are trembling with terror. No doubt Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have by now jettisoned their nuclear arms programs, Vladimir Putin is relaxing his authoritarian grip on Russia, and China will allow representative democracy - all in light of your vacuous commitment to international bloviation.

Just to be sure theres no confusion, the President then says: The United States must reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend our nation and our interests, yet we will also seek to adhere to standards that govern the use of force.

Got that? First, he has so qualified this assurance through the repetitive emphasis on international order, cooperation and making nice with friends and enemies alike that it is little more than a throw-away line. Still, one inference is clear that at times, we have violated our own principles.

In a fallen world and yes, Mr. President, it really is imperfectable no nation constantly lives up to every one of its principles all the time. America has done so better than any other, and rather than continuously if tacitly admitting our failures, perhaps a word about all we have done to better the life of the world, at great sacrifice of blood and treasure, might be advised. But thats just me.

In a preview of todays statement, the President spoke at West Point this past weekend. There, he said:

So we have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation. We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by your side in Afghanistan and around the globe. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we also have to build new partnerships, and shape stronger international standards and institutions.

Insulting Israel and her Prime Minister, treating Poland and the Czech Republic with contempt by suddenly canceling long-negotiated anti-missile system agreements, giving the Queen of England recordings of ones own speeches is this what Mr. Obama means by strengthening old alliances? Playing-up to the autocratic (and ruthless) bully Vladimir Putin, apologizing to China CHINA! - for Arizonas new immigration law, failing to approve the Columbia free trade agreement: Are these and similar misadventures what Mr. Obama would call shaping stronger international standards and institutions?

This engagement is not an end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times - countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing wounds.

Well might Mr. Obama seek this kind of international order, but he will never find it. Such an order implies an overarching international governmental regime to which to belong intrinsically would compromise the independence and security of the United States. And an informal order of this type will never work, because it presupposes that regulatory constraints (e.g., economic sanctions) and enlightened self-interest will drive policy. Consider the United Nations, which has been such a roaring success. Just ask the victims of Pol Pot, the residents of Darfur and the brutalized people of the Congo.

These assumptions are so naive as to evoke visions of sugar-plums. Dictators, totalitarians, oligarchs, and corrupt, venal and creatively evil leaders of all types understand consistency and force, nothing more. The threat of military intervention must always lurk behind any effort to negotiate agreements favorable to the vital security interests of the United States. For such a veiled threat to be realistic, it must also be understood that America will act alone, for its own sake, whenever necessary.

Mr. Obama has taken this option substantially off the table and thereby hobbled the United States with the imponderable burden of international approval for future military engagement.

During his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Mr. Obama said, As a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation … I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people … To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism - it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

Amen. But to this should be added, Thus, while we will never act cavalierly, when necessary America will act unilaterally to protect itself from any form of aggression against its people and vital interests.

Mr. Obama has now subsumed Americas compelling and sometimes urgent need for solitary action under the broad umbrella of an amorphous international order composed of who knows what and whom. While he professes to understand the need for force and the intransigence of evil, he fails to grasp something unique and essential: He is the President of the United States, the sole exceptional nation that alone can animate just alliances and confront regional and international evil.

The irony is that for any sustained and honorable order to exist, America must always be willing to stand apart and act alone. Without this underlying commitment, our enemies will not tremble nor our friends be at rest. In denying this principle, Mr. Obama has set in motion the very disorder of which he warns.

George Washington wrote that “There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness.

A reputation for exactly that is being hard-won by a President and Administration that disregard our allies, caustically attack our friends and obsequiously fawns over our adversaries.

The rank of which President Washington spoke is diminished. We are at risk of losing it altogether.

Obama’s Dangerous Irony

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 13, 2010

Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a cruel irony of history,” said President Obama today in a major foreign policy address. “The risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up.

The President was speaking to the assembled leaders of 47 countries, gathered in Washington, DC to discuss ways of averting nuclear terrorism. His point is a good one: There’s a lot of nuclear material floating around, and it’s imperative that for the security of the United States and our allies America take the lead in preventing it from falling into the hands of terrorists and evildoers generally.

Yet the President, who said last year in Prague and reaffirmed today that he wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons, seems unmindful of two salient facts:

(1) We cannot dis-invent nuclear weapons. The technology exists. It is fairly simple to obtain. Thus, we will never rid the world of nuclear weapons any more than we will rid the world of sin. We must therefore remain vigilant, never - ever - relaxing the exhausting, expensive and intensive efforts of our intelligence agencies and armed forces to prevent the spread and use of nuclear devices.

(2) By cutting too deeply into our nuclear arsenal, we invite the very thing we wish to avoid: Nuclear confrontation. As former UN Ambassador and distinguished security policy expert John Bolton has noted, “President Obama has to date failed to articulate any coherent strategic rationale for the substantial cuts in nuclear weapons and delivery systems he agreed to … with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Instead, Mr. Obama has eliminated the leading-edge F-22 aircraft, limited funds to test our existing nuclear weapons and eliminated the missile defenses both Poland and Czechoslovakia had agreed to host on their soil.

Wishful thinking is no substitute for sound policy. Although Mr. Obamas efforts at this weeks conference might be noble, the extent to which they are uninformed by wisdom makes them all the more dangerous for the security and vital interests of the United States.

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