Whose side is Obama on?
At some point, after the questions keep piling up, one overriding and fundamental question begs to be answered: Whose side is Obama on?
Obama Ready to Slash Nuclear Arsenal:
Disturbing report, from The Guardian
Obama has rejected the Pentagon’s first draft of the “nuclear posture review” as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials…
Unilaterally cutting your own strategic arsenal isn’t just naive, it’s downright dangerous. Consider the implications here — Obama has just signaled to the Russians and Chinese that we’ll drastically reduce our nuclear forces without a quid pro quo. That means that both nations are free continue the aggressive upgrades to their strategic nuclear forces (particularly so in Putin’s Russia), without having to worry about what the U.S. or international community thinks.
The START Treaty, a valuable agreement that downsized the US and Russia’s deployed nukes in a pragmatic, safe way, is set to expire in December. Thanks to Obama’s baffling impatience with diplomatic process, he’s now completely compromised our two most important bargaining chips — the European Missile Shield and our nuclear inventory — without even sitting down to the table. And when it does come time to negotiate a new arms reduction treaty, we will have absolutely zero leverage.
…Does he not understand stabilization through the balance of power, projection of strength, and goal-orientated (not ideologically orientated) foreign policy — otherwise known as freshman grade realpolitik? During the short history of nuclear arms, there has never been a more dangerous epoch than the early 21st century, where non-proliferation efforts have widely failed. By surrendering the only two negotiating tools with muscle behind them, Obama has just flashed a green light to every aspiring nuclear power and every potential strategic competitor: build your bombs…
Related earlier stories:
And these are responses from our international friends!
Obama punishes international democrats and rewards international tyrants
9/11: Never forgetting means never forgetting
Mary Anastasia O’Grady on Hillary’s Honduras Obsession: The U.S. is trying to force the country to violate its constitution.
John Steele Gordon on This Could Be Interesting
The [United States] Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress, issued a report recently that the Honduran government did nothing illegal under Honduran law…It seems that the definition of coup d’état at Foggy Bottom and the White House is not just an “extra-constitutional change of government” but also a constitutional one—if the Obama administration doesn’t approve of it.
Russia just announced that it will not shelve its plans to deploy tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave. Obama’s reset policy is beginning to work…for Russia!
The Washington Post’s editors are understandably nervous—Obama is wavering, perhaps crumbling before their eyes, on Afghanistan. They note that, not so long ago, he was sounding George W. Bush–like in his determination to prevail. But no more…
While Obama “appears to be distancing himself from his commanders”—whom he installed and presented with his mission of ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban—there is little reason, they note, for him to back away from his own analysis offered just months ago that a return of the Taliban would be a disaster for Afghanistan and hugely destabilizing to its neighbor Pakistan.
There is something bizarre about the president’s disassociating himself from his generals and his own stated goals–within a span of just months. He gives the appearance of an errant teenager who one month ago simply had to do X and now can’t bring himself to even defend X. But we can’t say it’s without precedent…
In April, Obama defended missile defense in Europe…
In September, he pulled the rug out from under the Poles and Czechs. But April was April. It’s, like, you know, a whole different thing now.
In both cases, the only factor that “changed” was that objections arose to the president’s previously stated course of action. Russia made a fuss over missile defense, and the entire liberal wing of the Democratic party threw a fit over the idea that we’d have to devote time and money to winning the “good” war. So the president balked, giving way to those who screamed the loudest…
…someone in his administration must surely realize that a second reversal of this magnitude will only cement his image as a Jimmy Carter–esque figure–weak, irresolute, and easily manipulated–and invite endless challenges to the U.S. After all, if he’s going to back down whenever someone screams loudly, there will be a lot of very loud screaming.
The agreement by the United States and other world powers to launch negotiations with Iran on October 1–despite the regime’s refusal to discuss ending its uranium enrichment program–makes clear that there will be no meaningful progress to stop Iran’s drive for the bomb when world leaders, led by President Obama, gather this week at the United Nations General Assembly. All the more reason, then, that the president should use the occasion, and his considerable political skills, to at long last rally the international community on behalf of the beleaguered Iranian people–who last Friday took to the country’s streets yet again by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to voice their contempt for the regime of supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The facts of the past three and a half months are well known but bear repeating: A stolen presidential election on June 12. A brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters demanding their votes be counted. Young women murdered in broad daylight by rooftop snipers. Old men beaten bloody by plain-clothed thugs. University students terrorized in their dormitories in the middle of the night by axe-wielding vigilantes. Detainees, male and female alike, repeatedly sodomized and raped. Others tortured to death. Weekly Stalinist show trials. Threats from the regime’s highest levels of large-scale purges to come, including the forceful targeting of top opposition figures.
Making matters infinitely worse is the fact that the Iranian people have had to endure this systematic assault on their human rights largely alone–to the great shame of the United States, Europe’s major democracies, and the rest of the free world. Millions of Iranians have heroically sought to secure through peaceful means their most basic democratic rights. Untold numbers have been subjected to violence, illegal detention, torture, and even murder at the hands of a tyrannical regime that also happens to be the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism. They deserve far better from America and the democratic community of nations than deafening silence.
…The fact is that since the disputed June 12 elections, the Iranian opposition has consistently requested that the rest of the world refrain from recognizing the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At Friday’s demonstrations in Tehran, protesters chanted “Obama, Obama, your talks should be with us [not the regime].” Leading Iranian human rights activists have pleaded for other states to avoid steps that would confer legitimacy on the regime and grant it psychological succor–while demoralizing its democratic opponents.
…There’s no doubt that Ahmadinejad and his henchmen will seek to portray such talks as a major triumph, a sign that no matter what horrors the regime inflicts on its own citizens, the world is prepared to look the other way in a desperate effort to accommodate the Islamic Republic’s rising power. The message conveyed to the Iranian people will be clear: You are alone and forgotten. Further resistance is futile.
The United States should not allow itself to become an accomplice in Ahmadinejad’s power play. That is why even as engagement with the regime proceeds next week, Obama needs to make the plight of the Iranian people a top priority. Doing so, of course, has the virtue of keeping faith with America’s highest ideals. But more importantly it also serves U.S. strategic interests.
Through their popular uprising, the Iranian people have mounted the most serious challenge to the Islamic Republic in its 30-year history. The regime is frightened and confused, on the defensive, never closer to unraveling. The United States should do nothing that needlessly risks relieving that pressure and giving comfort to Iran’s rulers…
Beggar thy neighbor, bankrupt thy country, appease thy foe. As slogans (or counter-slogans) go, it isn’t quite in a class with Amnesty, Acid and Abortion. But it pretty much sums up President Obama’s global agenda—and that’s just for the month of September.
In 1943, Walter Lippmann observed that the disarmament movement had been “tragically successful in disarming the nations that believed in disarmament.” That ought to have been the final word on the subject.
So what should Mr. Obama, who this week becomes the first American president to chair a session of the U.N. Security Council, choose to make the centerpiece of the Council’s agenda? What else but nonproliferation and disarmament. And lest anyone suspect that this has something to do with North Korea and Iran, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice insists otherwise: The meeting, she says, “will focus on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament broadly, and not on any particular countries.”
But the problem with this euphemistic approach to disarmament, as Lippmann noticed, is that it shifts the onus from the countries that can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons to those that can…
…But what’s really historical is the explosion in the debt-to-GDP ratios of the G-20 countries, which the IMF predicts will rise to 81.6% next year from 65.9% in 2008. For the U.S. the jump is especially pronounced—to 97.5% next year from 70.5% last. Only Japan and Italy will be deeper in the red; even Argentina looks good by comparison. This is before the first baby boomer hits retirement age next summer, to say nothing of the liabilities coming from ObamaCare.
What happens to countries with these kinds of fiscal burdens? They decline. In 1983, Japan’s gross government debt stood at 67% of GDP. It has since tripled. West Germany’s was a little under 40%. It is twice that today. These used to be the economies of the future. They are, or ought to be, the cautionary tales of the present.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama is earning kudos from the Russian government for his decision to pull missile defense from central Europe, even as Poland marked the 70th anniversary of its invasion by the Soviet Union. Moscow is still offering no concessions on sanctioning Iran in the event negotiations fail, but might graciously agree to an arms-control deal that cements its four-to-one advantages in tactical nuclear weapons…
And all of this in a single month. Just imagine what October will bring.
ADDENDUM #2 (continued):
Brian Kennedy on Obama’s Strategic Confusion: His move on missile defense raises troubling questions
…That is only one aspect of Mr. Obama’s mistake, however, because the Third Site was only partly about missile defense. No one ever believed that the basing of radars in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptors in Poland was a masterstroke of defensive strategic geometry. The interceptors could indeed stop a handful of Iranian long-range ballistic missiles, but sea- or space-based technologies remained the ultimate goal.
Rather, a central purpose of missile defense in Europe, on the doorstep of Russia, was alliance building. Its virtue was that it persuaded America’s allies that our common defense included a global ballistic missile defense system. In the near term it was to demonstrate that when it came to the threat posed by Iran, the U.S. and its NATO allies would stand together: Iran—aided and abetted by Russia—would not hold Europe hostage and the NATO powers would confront the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical Islamic regime. Mr. Obama’s biggest mistake is that, just as the Third Site was meant to build alliances, its cancellation will undermine them.
This will set America’s allies in Asia to worrying…
The simple reality is that, absent a missile defense that can stop Chinese ballistic missiles, the U.S. will be hard pressed to maintain security commitments in Asia given the advances China has made to its offensive nuclear forces…
The cancellation of the Third Site demonstrates the Obama administration’s complete confusion over strategic defense. Any real system would include the defense of the U.S. homeland and allies around the world. Such a system would be prepared to stop any ballistic missile that could cause the U.S. or its allies harm. With Mr. Obama’s Third Site move, the U.S. is not merely abandoning a system to stop long-range Iranian ballistic missiles from hitting Europe but are also foregoing a system to stop Russian or Chinese ballistic missiles from destroying the U.S. Is it any wonder we can abandon Europe or Asian allies when we do not believe the American homeland worthy of defense?
This strategic vulnerability cannot last forever. Either the U.S. and its allies will realize the folly of their ways and build strategic defenses or a day will come when they will pay a heavy price.
Europeans Ambivalent About Obama’s Missile Defense U-Turn: Obama’s diplomatic clumsiness may boost anti-Americanism in Eastern Europe, the only region in Europe where the United States is actually liked
Giving Honduras the Cold Shoulder
Late Sunday night, the United Nations issued its Monday Journal, which lists the heads of state who are addressing the opening of the 64th U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday. Tucked in between Colombia and Russia is Honduras — but the legitimate president of Honduras will not be speaking. The U.N., a majority of whose member states are not “fully free” (according to Freedom House), has invited the ousted would-be dictator of Honduras, disgraced former president Manuel Zelaya, to deliver the address.
This is an outrageous decision, but don’t expect President Obama to stand up for justice and the rule of law…Obama has decided to revoke the visa of Honduran president Roberto Micheletti, preventing his entry into the United States. Obama apparently feels more comfortable sharing a cappuccino in the U.N. Delegates Lounge with a deposed Chávez acolyte than with its authentic, constitutionally legitimate president.
Why is the leader of the free world choosing to “take a stand” against the democratic, pro-American Honduran government? And why doesn’t he have the moral courage to take stands against the world’s most oppressive regimes, such as those in Iran, North Korea, and Burma? Shouldn’t Obama be denying visas to the real enemies of Lady Liberty?
In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly today, President Obama said that the U.S. and other “developed nations” were responsible for causing “much of the damage to our climate over the last century.”…
This is a dangerous game. We blame ourselves for a crisis that may or may not exist: Are we really certain that the world is warming up dangerously, that industrial development is causing it, and that we can “fix the problem” without returning to a 19th-century economy?
Then, we grin as we are criticized by all and sundry.
Meanwhile, those gathered at the U.N. and the media covering them avoid talking about Islamist terrorism, genocide in Darfur, brutal suppression in Iran by a regime that is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, and similar unfashionable topics.
It’s unreal. Or maybe it’s surreal.
…But on his Sunday-show marathon, Obama questioned the premises of the war. He complained of “mission creep” in Afghanistan and claimed, “I wanted to narrow it.”
If so, this is the only news from his mind-numbing round of interviews. In August, he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Afghanistan is “a war of necessity,” because “if left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.” In March, he announced “a comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.” He called for reversing the Taliban’s gains by taking the fight to the insurgents, training the Afghan security forces and promoting a better Afghan government. If the mission “creeped,” Obama did it.
If Obama never meant what he said about Afghanistan — or has changed his mind — this is the time to say it. Someone in the Pentagon, clearly irked by Obama’s indecisiveness, leaked commanding Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s new 66-page assessment of the war to Bob Woodward. The memo says that without a rapid injection of more troops to execute a counterinsurgency mission focused on population security, the war “will likely result in failure.”
Obama has had only one meeting of his national-security advisers to discuss the memo, even though it was sent on August 30. But, hey, he has a busy media schedule. The White House has kept a lid on General McChrystal, lest he make a nuisance of himself by arguing the case for winning the war publicly. There are even signs that McChrystal — Obama’s handpicked general — could yet experience the underside of a bus…
Stephen Hayes on Obama Caves to Iran, Again
Jamie Flynn on A Stab in the Back: Canceling the missile shield betrays our allies
Hot Air on Wonderful: Obama grants visa to Burmese junta member — but not to Honduran leaders
It figures that the one campaign promise he’s been diligent about keeping isn’t winning in Afghanistan but improving diplomatic relations with the world’s biggest degenerates…
Granting a waiver for Nyan Win to visit Washington is a diplomatic coup for a regime that is continuing, as this is being written, a military offensive against ethnic groups that has already resulted in more than one million internally displaced refugees and tens of thousands more pouring over the border into China, Thailand, India and Bangladesh; more than 3,200 villages burned, and most heinous — the use of rape as an instrument of war against women. The regime is actively engaged in war crimes. This is in addition to the oppression of Burma’s democratic freedom fighters and the everyday killings and murders that are standard regime fare. If a Burmese official of comparable rank has visited Washington in the last 20 years, no one I talked to can remember it…
What is he doing here and with whom is he meeting?
Look to Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) for the answer to those questions…
…Why is it that this monster gets to pal around with Jim Webb in Washington while Ahmadinejad and Qaddafi are looking for places to stay in NYC, and yet the leaders of the Honduras non-coup — whose next free election is on schedule for November 29 — can’t get visas to come here? You’re a disgrace, Barry.
…When Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich at least he thought he had obtained something in return for his appeasement. The new American diplomacy is nothing more than a sentimental flood of unilateral concessions…Stalin tested Truman with the Berlin Blockade, and Truman held fast. Khrushchev tested Kennedy, and in the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy refused to blink. In 1983, Andropov took the measure of Reagan, and, defying millions in the street (who are now the Obama base), Reagan did not blink. Last week, the Iranian president and the Russian prime minister put Mr. Obama to the test, and he blinked not once but twice. The price of such infirmity has always proven immensely high, even if, as is the custom these days, the bill has yet to come.
Washington Times editorial on Worst Foreign Policy Ever: Obama is tripping all over the world stage
Frank Gaffney, Jr. on The Obama Doctrine: Capitulation sugarcoated with smart words
Michael Barone on Obama’s Time Warp: The U.S. is still the bad guy
WSJ on The Honduras Mess: A dangerous standoff that the U.S. helped to create
Michael Gerson on A Cold Shoulder to Liberty
…What is left of foreign policy liberalism when a belief in liberty is removed?
…He concludes by asking: “What is left of foreign policy liberalism when a belief in liberty is removed?” Well, we are finding out. It is a mixture of avoidance (let’s talk about health care, not Afghanistan), appeasement (Russian sensibilities take precedence over loyal allies), misplaced idealism (rid the world of nukes—everywhere but Tehran), elevation of domestic constituencies over long-term economic and diplomatic interests (Big Labor gets its tire tariff), and brutal indifference to the suppression of human rights.
That’s how we get to the point where a “serious” Democratic foreign-policy guru is advising that we shoot down Israeli planes traveling over Iraqi airspace to knock out Iranian nuclear facilities. That’s how we get to the head-spinning reversal on missile defense—cloaked in mumbo-jumbo, new-and-improved intelligence estimates. It turns out that a liberal foreign policy without the liberty (or the will to defend liberty) is neither principled nor realistic. And without a guiding vision—say, defense of America interests and values—it devolves into a series of haphazard and inconsistent moves.
From Manuel Zelaya to the Iranian regime to Vladimir Putin the notion is taking hold that the harder America’s foes push, the more they can get away with. If events seem to be spinning out of control, they are. And the reason is directly traceable to the absence of a defined and defensible vision of American foreign policy. It turns out that, Hillary Clinton notwithstanding, America needs some ideology after all.
Cliff May on Pipedream
President Obama: “The yearning for peace is universal.”
Unfortunately, it is not and has never been. Genghis Khan did not yearn for peace. Napoleon did not yearn for peace. Hitler did not yearn for peace. People who call themselves “jihadis” — by definition — do not yearn for peace except the peace that follows the defeat of all infidels who are — by definition — their enemies.
In the end, these issues come down to some fundamental differences in beliefs about human nature and the existence of evil in the world as well as about the Founding Principles that animate American politics and incorporate a realistic view of human nature. And, for America, the adverse consequences of acting on such unrealistic beliefs about human nature and evil, disconnected from our Founding Principles, have the potential to be very, very significant.