American Leadership (No Longer Based on Appeasement)

The 1980s are calling. They want their foreign policy back. These are the words of President Barrack Obama during one of the debates in the 2012 Presidential campaign. Leftists everywhere were in delight as their liberal champion dropped this powerful one liner that pierced right at the heart of Mr. Romney’s campaign, delivering a fatal blow to candidate Romney’s Presidential bid that had started out so promisingly. Mr. Romney was expressing his thought that Russia presented one of the bigger threats facing America. Of course, President Obama was completely wrong on that issue, but it did not matter. As we saw during his entire eight years as President, his actions mattered little to those who paid obeisance to him. His words above all were what mattered. His delivery of grandiloquent speeches, and his utterance of nice sounding platitudes covered for his lack of competence, and stunning inability to confront in a meaningful way the important issues of our day. Once again, his mastery of the spoken word-though lacking any substance whatsoever-was able to spring him over another huge obstacle, catapulting him once again to the highest office in the land, and the most powerful position in the world.

During the period of the campaign. He was caught on a hot mike telling the outgoing Russian President of Russia that “this is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility. The gleeful Mr. Medvedev could hardly believe his ears. He replied “I understand, I will transmit this information to Vladimir (Putin, the incoming President). Mr. Obama kept his word, and for the next few years, he showed us how flexible he could be. Unfettered by the constraints of having to run for another election, he embarked on a policy of appeasement, under the misguided and foolish notion that a less assertive America on the world stage would be a good thing. He somehow believed that this policy of appeasement would lead America’s enemies, and those who wish to do us harm to forsake their ways. Despite his many foreign policy blunders during his first stint as President, he never wavered on this misguided policy. Quite frankly, President Obama’s foreign policy seemed akin to giving the bully his lunch money. Confronting the bully would only make the bully more hostile in President Obama’s mind, appeasing the bully would cause him to go away over time. During his little chat with President Medvedev, President Obama said “on all of the issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space.” That was the President of the United States talking to his Russian counterpart, not from a position of strength, but signaling in no uncertain terms that America was willing to grant concessions in exchange for “space.” He was not demanding space, and telling the Russians to back up, but promising them more of his lunch money if they just leave him alone.

It is interesting to note that no one in the media accused him of colluding with the Russians, despite hearing him say that he is willing to grant unwarranted concessions to the Russians, based on the circumstance that this was his last election. As the Russians outmaneuvered and outplayed President Obama in every area, they took advantage of America’s lack of leadership, and unabashed display of weakness, to reassert itself on the world scene-and not in a positive way. The Russians flexed their muscles, and America’s enemies became more emboldened as America continued to give up more and more concessions to its enemies.

One of the things that Russia was supposed to do was ensure that Syria gave up its chemical weapons arsenal. Just a couple of months ago, the astute and trustworthy Susan Rice (President Obama’s former security advisor), assured us that Syria had given up their chemical weapons, thanks to the Obama Administration’s diplomacy. In the Nuclear deal with Iran, Russia is also supposed to play an important role in ensuring that Iran does not use its nuclear capabilities to develop nuclear weapons. One can be forgiven for not having a sense of assurance that that means a lot.

Today Russia is a major player again in the Middle East after almost two decades of their absence, and having no influence there. We have seen the deterioration of the middle east, the rise of Isis, the resurgence of the Taliban, Russian Aggression towards it neighbors, China making unprecedented claims to territory in the South China sea and threatening its neighbors, all as America stood idly by over the last eight years. In a world of bad actors, it is folly to think that constantly appealing to people’s “better angels” would trigger the response that we hope for from them. The history of the world shows that those whose ambition it is to destabilize the world in pursuit of their territorial goals, and to expand their sphere of influence only respond favorable to a show of strength. People would do well to look at the world, and see the nations that have the potential to dominate the world stage politically, militarily, economically and in other important areas, then ask themselves which country they would prefer at the helm.

America does not need to get involved in more foreign wars. We need only look at the way our last few efforts have turned out. Despite our noble and best efforts to spread democracy and freedom across the world, it is sometimes better to let people shape their own destiny. In addition to that, not one of our recent war efforts has been lost on the battlefield, but in the chambers of congress where politicians who gleefully send young men and women off to war, then begin to forsake them when it no longer suits them politically. To them winning at the ballot box becomes more important than winning on the battlefield. Many of them have no qualms about sabotaging the efforts of the men and women who answer their nations call to put their lives on the line.

It is reassuring to once more to see a strong and assertive America on the world stage. America’s enemies must know that we will not hesitate, nor will we be afraid to exert our power and respond forcefully to threats when necessary, but we must be careful how, and when we choose to use it. President Trump would do well to heed the words of Teddy Roosevelt when he said to “walk softly, but carry a big stick.”

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