Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Obama lost in a world of Bond villains
Special to the Daily
Kuwait City, Kuwait, 1990. Srebenica, Bosnia, 1995. Precaz, Albania, 1998. Tuol Sleng, Cambodia. Rwanda. The Holocaust.
Barack Obama ran on a platform of changing America — and now we know what he meant: a nation weaker; vacillating in the face of threats; detached from the world. He’s close to his goal of making the nation that won the Cold War irrelevant, endangering both our country and much of humanity in the bargain. For proof, study the list of places above. The first three mark interventions led by the United States which ended immense butchery; the latter, instances in which we did nothing, and millions died. Look however one will, there is one inescapable conclusion: our European associates have a much higher tolerance than we for mass slaughter and bitter tyranny, so long as their own people are untouched. If monstrosities are to be opposed, ours is an indispensable role.
This is not just a historical curiosity, as witness events unfolding in Eastern Ukraine, Northern Iraq and in the complex of nation-states and terrorist enclaves surrounding Israel. It’s instead a vital calculation of a foreign policy protecting our national interests, whether the myopic and self-centered John Kerry sees it or not.
Mr. Obama has not been shy about his belief that the United States is behind much of the world’s suffering: remember the “apology tour” at the beginning of his presidency? Remember “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed?” Remember “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism?” To him and others of his ilk, we have been a pox on mankind, not a protector or guide. At best, we are the equivalent of Greece, that crippled state on the eastern periphery of Europe.
These are the ridiculous ideas of men who are academic theorists, intellectual mountebanks or political wreckers — occasionally all three. Which doesn’t mean that this reduction of influence isn’t happening before our eyes under an administration of Leftist ideologues committed to shrinking our presence in world affairs in the name of abstract principles of “fairness.” That should be a concern not only to us, but to everyone around the world who holds freedom dear and who recognizes the rule of law as central to a modern state.
This is a world full of villains: Vladimir Putin, who regards his neighbors with covetous eyes and isn’t above using force to get what he wants, even the land of other European countries. History is clear about what he will do if he is not stopped, and about what it will take to stop him. The Hamas movement, whose attitude on Jewish people was summed up by Yunis al-Astal, one of their parliamentarians, in a recent television interview: “… we must massacre them.” The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, whose mass killings became so stomach-churning that even the Obama administration had to act, however pitifully and late. Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, who claims his state has only peaceful goals in mind while centrifuges churn out highly-enriched uranium and memoranda of understanding are signed with Iran’s patron, Russia. Add to this rogues’ gallery Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Kim Jong-un of North Korea and various nonstate actors from al-Shabab in East Africa to narcotraffickers along our southern borders, and one can get an inkling of the problems this country faces.
None of these respects the United States or its present leadership. Putin openly laughs at the president and his secretary of state, doing as he pleases despite their dire warnings about “consequences.” His laughter is echoed by tyrants and murderers from Damascus to Tehran, Pyongyang to Gaza; these hard men see our Administration as dithering, distracted parents, always threatening, never following through. “It’s not my red line” echoes loud in their consciousness, as it does for those who would be our friends, but are now uncertain if that friendship is really worth the risk.
Barack Obama promised “change,” and the American people said “yes,” without asking “what kind?” Now we, and those who follow us, will have to deal with the consequences of the change he wrought: a world more chaotic and much less safe; a world which will take a good deal of time and effort to re-stabilize.
Or perhaps worse will occur: history also shows us that wars spring from chaos and uncertainty, where bad actors are encouraged and those who could stop them do not. In that case, the Nobel Committee’s notorious award will have an ironic twist: the peace we will see will be the peace of the grave. And for once, the Left will be right: we will have only ourselves to blame.
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County.
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