Tag archives: Foreign Policy

Human Rights Must Not Be Twisted to Include Abortion

by Arielle Del Turco

March 29, 2022

Senate Republicans are beginning to sound the alarm about a dangerous provision being slipped into U.S. sanction bills. Instead of simply reauthorizing the Global Magnitsky Act—an important mechanism for the U.S. government to sanction human rights violators—Democrats have made dangerous modifications to the language now waiting to be voted on in the Senate. The new changes would make a tool meant to punish foreign individuals for “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” (a term defined in U.S. law) to simply “serious human rights abuse” (a legally undefined concept).

Some conservative legislators have recognized how this bill might be abused. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Politico, “If you don’t define what human rights abuses are, you set up something so wide open that you could have abuse of a president who’s allowed to sanction anyone in the world for anything they feel like.”

This begs the question: just how might an untethered definition of human rights be abused by a far-Left administration that promotes an ever-expanding list of what they consider to be human rights? Sadly, the World Health Organization (WHO) offered a shameless example earlier this month of what twisting human rights to fit a radical agenda looks like.

In a massive report on “Abortion care guidelines,” the WHO made a series of bold recommendations meant to guide the policies of all countries. Among the many policy recommendations were the removal of laws and regulations that “restrict abortion by grounds” and the insistence that “abortion be available on the request of the woman, girl or other pregnant person.” Make no mistake—the WHO is urging countries to drop any protections for life in the womb.

To justify this radical push, the report points to several rights listed in international human rights treaties (some of which the United States has chosen not to ratify). Yet, it twists each of these rights to read a supposed “right” to abortion into it. This is a disingenuous interpretation of international human rights agreements; we shouldn’t let the WHO—and all the UN entities that have contributed to this corrupt understanding of human rights—set the standard. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saw this dangerous trend and commissioned a report from the Unalienable Rights Commission to ground the U.S. government’s understanding of human rights in American tradition and our commitment to international human rights principles.

It’s worth noting that both the right to life and the right to be recognized as a person before the law are widely-recognized in human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the United States ratified in 1992. While activists try to make human rights about expanding abortion, it’s up to us to uphold the integrity of the human rights movement.

Writing in National Review, Wesley Smith hinted at the dangers this WHO report poses for countries that want to protect life. “The WHO has forgotten that the entire world does not share the moral and policy perspectives of progressive Americans, Western European elites, and the odious CCP. In this sense, these so-called leaders are trying to impose policies on the world that I wager the majority of the people it supposedly serves do not find moral or right.”

In fact, the WHO’s guidelines are aligned with the abortion laws of China and North Korea—two of the greatest human rights violators of our time—and, sadly, the United States. However, they are completely out of step with all but six countries around the world that protect life in the womb after the second trimester. Rescinding the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, which prevented U.S. taxpayer money from funding abortions in other countries, was one of President Biden’s first acts in office, demonstrating his priorities and laying the groundwork for his administration to promote abortion around the world.

This is where the Democrat’s change of the Global Magnitsky Act’s language comes in. If the Biden administration is given the unlimited authority to sanction foreign individuals for “serious human rights violations” (again, a term not defined in U.S. law), there is a legitimate concern that administration officials will use the sanctions to target foreign officials for pro-life laws—something that the WHO would no doubt approve of. This would be a gross misuse of a human rights tool and waters down and confuses the profound meaning of human rights.

Congress should retain the Global Magnitsky Act’s original language. This will prevent opportunities for abuse by leftist administrations to punish countries with conservative values. The recent WHO report is a glaring example of why we must vigilantly protect against vague definitions of human rights that can be twisted to push radical policies.

Ukrainian Athletes Are Teaching the World a Lesson in Valor

by Mary Szoch

March 9, 2022

As Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin continues to wage war on Ukraine in the weeks immediately following the Olympics, sports stories continue to make international headlines. Ahead of and during the Beijing Winter Olympics, the terrible conditions for Olympic athletes dominated the news, while the Uyghur genocide was a second tier news story.  But now, it is the defense of Ukraine’s freedom that has placed athletics and athletes in the spotlight.

Last week, World Taekwondo pulled all future events from Russia. It also stripped Vladimir Putin of his honorary black belt in recognition that he is, as Ukrainian President Zelensky put it, behaving “like a beast.” Putin’s status as honorary president of the International Judo Federation (IJF) and the European Judo Union has been revoked, and he is no longer the recipient of the International Swimming Federation (FINA)’s highest honor.

In stunning displays of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the National Hockey League announced they would suspend business partnerships with Russia; the Union Cycliste Internationale has banned Russian and Belarusian teams from competing; the World Curling Federation has removed the 2022 European Curling Championships from Russia; FIFA has suspended Russia from the World Cup; and multiple Russian athletes have voiced their support for Ukraine at great risk to themselves. Even the International Olympic Committee, which did not pull the 2022 Olympics out of China despite the ongoing genocide in that country, issued a recommendation that international sports federations not invite or allow Russian or Belarusian athletes to participate in international competitions.

But the most inspiring stories of all have been the Ukrainian athletes who have joined the fight for their homeland. The Ukrainian men’s fencing team withdrew from a World Cup event in Egypt, where they were set to face Russia. Wearing their national colors, the team announced, “Today, Ukrainian fencing team refused to fence team event against Russian Federation. This is our protest against the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Thank you for all international fencers for supporting Ukrainians in the world. Russia, stop war in Ukraine.” Instead of fencing, the team planned to return home and defend their country.

Ukrainian tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky was vacationing with his wife and three children in Dubai when he heard the news of Russia’s invasion. He, too, decided to return home and defend his country. “I was born here, my grandparents are buried here, and I would like to have a history to tell to my kids,” he said. “Nobody here wants Russia to free them, they have freedom and democracy … and Russia wants to bring despair and poverty.” His three children, all under seven, believe he is at a tennis tournament.

Ukrainian soccer coach Yuriy Vernydub left at the height of his career to fight for his country. “My son called me at 4:30 am and he told me the Russians attacked us. I knew then that I would return to Ukraine to fight,” he said. “Football is my life. I hope this war won’t last for long. We will win, and I will go back to my beloved work.”

The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, and his brother, Wladimir, are former boxing champions who are ready to fend off Russian attacks. Waldimir commented, “I am Ukrainian, and I am a fighter…our strongest force is the will and desire to live in a free country.”

And the Klitschko brothers aren’t the only prizefighters bearing different arms. Champion boxers Vasily Lomachenko and Oleksander Usyki have returned to defend their homeland as well. When asked about his decision to fight, Ukrainian heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyki said, “My soul belongs to the Lord and my body and my honor belong to my country, to my family. So there is no fear, absolutely no fear. There’s just bafflement—how could this be in the 21st century?”

Across the country, Ukrainians—including three athletes, Vitalii Sapylo, Dmytro Martynenko, and Yevhen Malyshev—are willingly laying down their lives for their country to remain independent. These men and women are heroes—dying so that others may live free. 

One of the reasons sports are good is because they have the ability to teach life lessons. They teach men and women to work hard, be the best they can be, work as a team, be mentally tough and courageous, and die to self for a greater good.

As Ukraine continues to struggle to maintain its independence, Ukrainian athletes are proving they have learned much more from sports than how to win gold medals. It is time for the rest of the world to learn a few lessons from Ukrainians.

Courage on Display in Ukraine

by Arielle Del Turco

February 28, 2022

History is unfolding in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of the country is a voluntary war of aggression the likes of which Europe hasn’t seen since World War II, and the way the world chooses to respond is profoundly significant.

The heroes and villains of this story are already emerging. Tragic and impossible situations reveal one’s character. And Russia’s unprovoked—and to most Ukrainians, completely unexpected—attack on Ukraine’s very right to exist as a country has prompted Ukrainians to respond with remarkable strength and determination.

A survey of recent reporting offers a glimpse of the heroics on display from everyday people: Ukrainians in small rural communities are patrolling their villages and constructing checkpoints, trenches, and underground shelters. A Ukrainian woman named Julia cried as she waited to be deployed to fight Russian troops, telling The New York Times, “I just want to live in our country, and that’s all.” Julia is a teacher, not wanting and hardly expecting a fight, but she volunteered to take up arms for her country anyway. The government is arming anyone able to hold a gun and willing to fight. Many are taking them up on the offer, even a former Miss Ukraine.

Elsewhere, a Ukrainian woman was entrusted with bringing a stranger’s children across the border to safety while their father stayed to fight. A young boy demonstrating maturity beyond his years teared up while telling a journalist how his father stayed behind to support the fight against the Russian forces while he flees to the border. Although over 500,000 Ukrainians have fled to other European countries, some Ukrainians who were living in Poland are returning to Ukraine to join the fight.

The Russian leadership does not understand that it is at war not only with the armed forces of Ukraine, but with the entire Ukrainian people,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Sunday. This seems to be exactly the case. A senior defense official at the Pentagon stated openly over the weekend that Ukraine’s “resistance is greater than what the Russians expected.”

The courage of everyday Ukrainians is inspiring people around the world. Thousands throughout the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Japan, Brazil, the United States, and many other countries are rallying in support of Ukraine.

The world is also noticing the rise of a Churchill-like figure in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He first became famous as a comedic actor in a TV series in which he played an average character who almost accidentally became president. In real life, he campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, likely not suspecting to be targeted by a sophisticated full-scale Russian invasion. Zelenskyy’s presidency is now anything but comedic, yet he has risen to the challenge of being a “wartime president” with remarkable resolve and grace under fire.

Last Thursday, Zelenskyy addressed the Russian people in a heartfelt plea. He said:

It is not about peace at any cost. It is about peace and principles, of justice, of international law. It is about the right to self-determination, that every person might determine their own future. It is the right of every society, and of every person, to security, to a life without threats. I am certain that these rights are important to you, as well.

The truth is that this needs to end before it is too late. If Russia’s leadership does not want to meet us across the table for the sake of peace, perhaps it will sit at that table with you. Do you Russians want a war? I would very much like to know the answer, but that answer depends only on you, on the citizens of the Russian Federation.

Some Russians seem to have responded to Zelenskyy’s appeal, making it clear to Russian leaders they do not want to see an attack on Ukraine. It’s one thing to protest in a free country, but it’s quite another for Russians to protest the government they know might brutally crack down on them. By some estimates, Russian authorities have arrested more than 5,000 Russian protestors.

Experts believe that Russian forces want to assassinate Zelenskyy and replace him with a Russian-backed leader—and Zelenskyy believes it too. The United States offered to help Zelenskyy leave. Yet, his reply showed unwavering resolve: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”

This strength of will has earned admiration across the globe and fostered hope both inside and outside of Ukraine. One Ukrainian American journalist wrote on Sunday, “Can Ukraine withstand the third largest army in the world? If you asked me Thursday, I’d think the chances were low. Now I am sure they will.”

Images and videos of Ukrainians praying and singing hymns are stirring hearts around the world. Join them in praying for the preservation of their country and the sound defeat of Russia’s brutal attack on their freedom and independence. If Ukrainians manage to keep their land and freedom, it will be due in large part to the courage of the Ukrainian people and their gutsy leader. God bless them.

Praying for Ukraine

by Arielle Del Turco

February 24, 2022

Russia has “shattered peace in Europe” in one night.

In the early hours of the morning, billows of smoke could be seen rising above several major Ukrainian cities that were targets of Russian shelling and rocket attacks. The onslaught began only minutes after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he would be conducting a “special military operation” in the neighboring country. It quickly became clear that the operation was a full-scale invasion.

Thousands of Ukrainians are trying to leave the capital city of Kyiv, causing major traffic jams, while others are choosing to stay, ready to fight for the right to live in their own country with their own government. Casualties of the day-old war are already in the hundreds and still climbing.

As innocent civilians watch in terror as their country is invaded by one of the world’s most sophisticated militaries, here are five ways you can pray for Ukraine:

1. Pray for the people of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian people are tough, and they’re not surrendering without a fight. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukrainians have learned the value of having their own sovereign democratic country, and many don’t want to return to being ruled by yet another Russian autocrat, no matter what the cost.

Ukrainians don’t know what the future holds for their country. In a moving scene on live TV, CNN’s Clarissa Ward captured footage of a small group of Ukrainians kneeling to pray in a city square in Kharkiv in the freezing cold.

As these Ukrainians, and surely so many others like them, are driven to their knees in prayer, we should join them. Pray for safety for the people of Ukraine, that residential areas would not be targeted, and that God would comfort those who are afraid. Many Ukrainians are Christian; pray that their faith would be strengthened to withstand this trying time.

2. Pray for wisdom for world leaders as they respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring,” President Joe Biden rightly said in a tweet this week. However, world leaders bear the responsibility to respond, and the choices they make even in the next few days can shape the course of history.

Pray that they would have wisdom as they make decisions regarding sanctions, military support, and other means of deterring Russia and supporting Ukraine.

3. Pray that churches and Christian ministries in Ukraine would be equipped and ready to help in the event of a humanitarian emergency.

Ukrainian church leaders were already grappling with how to respond to an imminent invasion from Russia. Now that one is underway, they will need to lead their congregations with wisdom and courage.

The possibility of a refugee crisis becomes even more likely during a war, and churches and Christian ministries will inevitably be at the forefront, providing assistance and spiritual and material help to the displaced and hurting. Pray that God would prepare and equip ministries to aid those in need.

4. Pray for a change of heart for Russian leaders, that they would turn from war and aggression and choose peace.

Yesterday, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations sent an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, requesting that he end his invasion. On their behalf, Chairman Hryhorii Komendant wrote:

Today we pray to the Creator of the Universe with a special request for wisdom for those who are authorized to make decisions so significant for the whole world, in whose hands the fate of humanity has turned out to be. This applies primarily to you, Mr. President of the Russian Federation. This prayer of ours is filled with hope for the generosity of the Almighty God and the openness of the heart that accepts grace.

5. Pray for peace and the expansion of freedom.

Recent years have seen a decline in freedom around the world—the Chinese government choked Hong Kong, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, and military coups took over Sudan and Burma. This is a dangerous time for the free world and a devastating one for the people who now live under oppression.

As Putin attacks Ukraine, peace and freedom are once again under siege. This conflict benefits very few people, and even some people in Russia see that. Despite extensive government propaganda, some Russians have protested Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In response, Russian authorities have cracked down on their own citizens, arresting at least 1,700 protestors in 53 cities.

Pray for peace in Ukraine and throughout Europe. Pray that plans intended for evil would be thwarted. Pray for the expansion of freedom around the world.

Biden’s Cabinet (Part 1): Secretary of State Blinken Plans to Expand Abortion Worldwide

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

January 28, 2021

This is Part 1 of a blog series examining the records of President Biden’s Cabinet picks on abortion and family issues.

Many senators think newly-confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s decades of experience and foreign policy credentials make him a good fit to lead the State Department. Unfortunately, based on Blinken’s past statements and President Joe Biden’s stated foreign policy objectives, it seems likely that Secretary Blinken would support and promote abortion internationally through an aggressive pro-abortion agenda.

The Trump administration went to great lengths to advocate for pro-life policies abroad. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that abortion is not a human right and condemned any attempt to make a “new international right to abortion.” He and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar wrote a letter pushing back against the United Nations effort to expand abortions internationally. The Trump administration reinstated the Mexico City Policy and expanded it as the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy (PLGHA). PLGHA ensured that abortion providers and their subgrantees were unable to access taxpayer dollars abroad. These actions protected the world’s most vulnerable citizens, the unborn. Unfortunately, the Biden administration is expected to undo many of these policies and set a new bar for abortion advocacy abroad.

The Biden administration will differ drastically from the pro-life attitude of the Trump administration, especially in the international arena, where Biden has made several promises and commitments. Throughout his campaign, Biden pledged to expand abortion access and contraceptives and to fully rescind PLGHA. As secretary of state, Blinken will help Biden achieve this goal internationally. Planned Parenthood applauded Blinken’s nomination, writing that he will help achieve the goal of “[ending] the reproductive rights abuses … around the world.” The nominee himself has stated on Twitter that he believes Biden needs to protect women’s “reproductive rights” worldwide. 

With the World Health Organization, United Nations, and other international organizations pushing to make abortion an international right, pro-life leadership in top government positions is needed now more than ever. Unfortunately, judging by Blinken’s past comments and actions, he will not be providing that leadership. While he was deputy secretary of state under President Obama, the Office of Global Women’s Issues was used to push for a radical sexual and reproductive health agenda under his leadership.

Although Blinken has not been a torchbearer for the abortion industry, his statements and past actions show that he will advocate for expanding the cruel practice of abortion internationally. His confirmation means the current secretary of state is no longer a champion for the unborn. Instead, Blinken will surely fall in line with President Biden’s agenda to expand abortion.

Connor Semelsberger, MPP is the Director of Federal Affairs for Life and Human Dignity at Family Research Council.

Joseph Norris is a Policy and Government Affairs intern focusing on pro-life federal affairs.

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.

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