Just last week I applauded President Obama for taking action against three Somali pirates. I even mentioned that my confidence in his foreign policy was strengthened a bit. Well, now I have to take that back.
To be honest, I don’t get what he’s doing. The Obama Doctrine is slowly becoming known as one of apology. Which begs the question: What do we as Americans have to apologize for?
This nation – through the sacrifice of blood and treasure – is responsible for advancing human-kind more than any nation in world history. Every human being that lives free does so in one way or another because of American sacrifice and support. Granted, there will be times when other nations disagree with our actions, but that does not warrant an apology nor should one be given.
First, our alleged ill-attitude towards Muslims. Instead of apologizing to the Muslim world, I think Obama should have given them all a brief history lesson. The US has supported Muslim efforts in Chechnya, Serbia, and Kuwait. We have supported the Kurds in northern Iraq and, oh yeah, freed an entire nation of Muslims in Iraq. These are examples of Americans fighting for Muslims, examples of American sacrifice to liberate Muslim people from tyranny. So if a few Muslims world-wide are angry at us for whatever reason – it’s not our fault. The record speaks for itself. We stand for freedom for all mankind and don’t discriminate based on religion. We have supported Muslims in this quest as well as Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. And if some Muslims are angry because we’ve targeted a few tyrannical extremists who happen to be Muslim extremists, then that’s not our problem. Instead of apologizing to these people, Obama should have defended us a bit. I think this would have been appropriate:
“I realize that many Muslims are angry at America because of perceptions that we are somehow anti-Muslim. Those perceptions are unfortunate and inaccurate and I think it is appropriate to remind those people that many Muslims live in freedom because of American sacrifice; and if we fight some extremists it’s because we want more Muslims to live in freedom.” How simple would that have been?
Then there’s the banana republic dictators of Latin America. You know, I understand that a President must be diplomatic to a certain point. This means that you may have to shake hands with nasty people. So I don’t necessarily mind the handshake with Chavez. And I don’t mind that Obama took the anti-American propagandist book that Chavez offered him. To be fair, Obama was clearly taken off-guard by Chavez’s action and likely didn’t realize what he’d just been given. But afterward, Obama should have said:
“I appreciate the gesture from President Chavez. I enjoy reading. However, it has come to my attention that this book is a distortion of the facts, and somehow places the blame for the failures of Latin American leaders at the feet of the United States. I don’t believe such dialogue is accurate, nor do I believe that it is constructive. So I will respectfully return the gift in the hopes that President Chavez will understand that America seeks peace and prosperity for all people in this hemisphere, and that antagonistic accusations have no role in achieving such objectives. I am not going to waste my time with such language and neither should he.”
Finally, Daniel Ortega. This guy is quite a character and really epitomizes the stereotypical banana republic dictator. Obama sat there while Ortega ripped the US during a diatribe that lasted over 50 minutes. Afterward, Obama said that he was “glad that [Ortega] didn’t blame me for things that occurred when I was three months old.” Hillary Clinton said the “cultural performance was fascinating.”
That’s it? That’s all you too have to say? This man consumes an hour eviscerating the US and you have no more to say? Unbelievable.
Now, I don’t think Obama should have gotten up and left the room. He still has to appear presidential and such action would not be appropriate. However, afterward he should have hit back hard:
“Mr. Ortega has failed his citizens. The people of Nicaragua have endured nothing but poverty and hunger under his regime and yet he refuses to accept any responsibility for that. Instead, he consumes 50 minutes with a delusional attack on America, somehow blaming the United States for his failures. That is an unfortunate thing and it makes me sad for the people of Nicaragua who most definitely deserve better.”
Why wouldn’t Obama say these things? I think it’s reasonable for Americans to expect their President to defend our country whenever it is unfairly attacked. Obama has failed at that so far and it’s quite disappointing.
Obama is naïve. There is simply no other way to put it. I appreciate that he wants to be respectful and “change the tone” from America, but that’s not how these people are interpreting it. They see it as weakness and nothing more. They see him as a man who will be VERY hesitant to use any force to stop their ambitions. And that perception – real or not – in the head of a madman is a dangerous thing.
Brutal tyrants respect only one thing…power. They don’t respect polite politicking. They don’t respect cordial demeanor. And they certainly don’t respect apologies. Instead, they view apologies as an opportunity for aggression, an opportunity to take, an opportunity to demand concessions. They only respect power and I’m afraid this may be a difficult lesson for Obama to learn.