Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Obama hands out fliers to amateur hour on an international stage
On Your Right
“The president told Netanyahu that the United States would ‘reassess our options with Israel in light of the prime minister’s statements during his recent campaign’ …” — White House official, March 20, 2015
So now the United States is going to teach that pipsqueak Israeli prime minister to speak out of turn. How dare he question the mastery of that renowned Middle East scholar Barack “Not My Red Line” Obama? First, we’ll sic the U.N. on him. Then we’ll threaten to cut off aid. That’ll show him what’s what.
It’s embarrassing to watch. The president of the United States acting like a petulant pre-teenager who, miffed about some slight at a princess party, takes her dishes and dolly and pouts off home. It’s yet another episode in the frighteningly erratic and loopy foreign policy of this administration; a series of disjointed pronouncements and actions that have left our allies and associates confused and doubtful, and our enemies delirious with joy. Regarding this nation’s standing in the world, Barack Obama’s presidency has indeed wrought the transformation he promised. But the changes have not been for the better, and we are less safe as a result.
Consider the case at hand, which did not begin with the Israeli election. As foul as the relationship between the president and the prime minister of one of our few remaining friends in the Middle East was, we would not have arrived at this point had it not been for amateurish bumbling on another front: negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
Chances for success in this were never good. It was preceded by a cavalcade of dramatic failures: failure to oust a red-handed tyrant in Syria when he was on the ropes. Failure to forge a coalition against naked aggression by a violent and covetous Vladimir Putin — a man whose neighbors both hate and fear him. Failure to maintain modest ability to keep the dearly-bought peace in Iraq; Iranians now lead there. Failure to capitalize on the “Arab Spring” in a way that might partially compensate for throwing long-time associates under the bus. Failure to support a “valued ally” in Yemen. Failure to save U.S. diplomats from a mob. Among others.
Also, negotiations are occurring between a duplicitous and brutal regime and a divided coalition led by a credulous secretary of state serving a president hungry for a deal — any deal. In this, it echoes many past negotiations with unfavorable outcomes, from Chamberlain at Munich to Kissinger in Paris to Gallucci in Pyongyang. The last is particularly telling. Not only was President Clinton’s agreement on North Korea’s nuclear program not a treaty, designed as such to avoid the Congress; not only did North Korea find a way around the agreement, through enrichment of uranium; but Wendy Sherman, key Clinton policymaker for North Korea, is now one of those negotiating with Tehran.
Nevertheless, the Administration pressed ahead, eager to secure its place in history. It refused to take members of the Congress into its confidence, which did nothing for trust on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And its pronouncements raised serious questions about its willingness to press strict limits or walk away from the table — not rhetorically, but in deed. This created profound concern in Israel.
For Israel, the question of a nuclear Iran is not an intellectual exercise. It is existential, since the leaders of the Islamic Republic, including the current Caudillo, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have repeatedly and publicly called for the elimination of “the Zionist Entity.” On Nov. 8 of last year, Ali K put it this way: “This barbaric, wolflike and infanticidal regime of Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated.” Remember that Hamas, currently in control of Gaza, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran. Bashir Assad is Tehran’s ally. Hezbollah in Lebanon is, too. Benjamin Netanyahu is right to be concerned, given the Obama Administration’s failures in identifying and eliminating threats.
His concerns echo those of a Republican Congress, with whom our “pen and phone” president has stopped interacting, even on matters of national security. The result was a galvanizing Netanyahu speech to Congress followed by an electoral victory in Israel, despite efforts by Obamaniacs.
Which brought about tantrums by the 53-year-old adolescent in the White House, something bound to concern allies. What if they, too, thwart the whims of our egotistical leader? What if he trusts their enemies, and threatens them if they do not do likewise? What if he demands they sacrifice themselves on the altar of his vainglory? It is a grim time to be this nation’s friend.
In Tehran, Pyongyang, Moscow and elsewhere, however — cartwheels and whoops of joy. They may be thugs, but they know a gift when they see it.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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