Things ordinary people learn growing up in the neighborhood help to understand international relations. It’s obvious now that President Obama was bluffing when he warned Syria not to use chemical weapons, and the world knows it too. Syria called his bluff – crossed his red line. As the late Margaret Thatcher would put it – the president is going wobbly – and in doing so, making the world more dangerous. It would have been better if he’d kept his mouth shut, but talking is all he knows how to do.
Growing up we learned the toughest people didn’t talk much, whereas those who talked a lot tended to be the ones who wimped out at crunch time. Talkers lacked inner strength and were afraid others would detect that, so they chattered on about how tough they were. These are basic lessons men learn about other men. Those who come to power apply them.
Can you remember a president who talks as much as Obama does? When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail. Early in his presidency, Obama want on an apology tour of Europe and the Middle East making speeches about how he was different from other presidents. His foreign policy was to show Muslims how nice he was, that he wasn’t like those other guys. Then he really expected Muslim leaders would all want to make nice. It hasn’t worked out that way of course, and now our president doesn’t know what to do next. He has no other tools in his toolbox.
When a bully goes into a bar, he’s not going to pick on the toughest-looking guy in the place. But if he suspects the toughest-looking guy is really a wuss, the bully will definitely poke at him to see what reaction he gets. When he discovers the guy has a jelly spine he’ll pile on the humiliation. Just so, when the bullies and crazies of the world think superpower America has a wimp in command, they’ll keep pushing to see what they can get away with. It’s their nature. North Korea is doing it. Iran is doing it. The radicals in Benghazi were doing it. Now Syria is doing it.
It’s not going to stop.
A connection ties Benghazi, Syria and Iran and Obama together. First, Obama denied the Benghazi attack was terrorism, made up a story about it being caused by a mysterious movie few ever heard of, and ordered his officials to push the lie. His Mainstream Media lapdogs went with it and refused to look into it any further. Other sources offer explanations for what Ambassador Stevens was really doing in Benghazi: running weapons from radical Muslim rebels there to other radical Muslim rebels in Syria via Turkey. We know Iran has boots on the ground in Syria to support fellow dictator Bashir Assad and they knew what Ambassador Stevens was doing.
Now back to Obama’s bluffing: The day after the Benghazi attack Obama said: “And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.” On October 26th, he said: “[M]y biggest priority now is bringing those folks to justice and I think the American people have seen that’s a commitment I’ll always keep.”
Umm, no, Mr. President, we haven’t seen that. It’s been seven months and nobody has been arrested or captured or “brought to justice” as you keep promising. All we’ve seen are lies, cover-ups, and evasions by you and others in your administration.
Regarding Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapons he told the world: “Make no mistake . . .” the US will “do what we must” to prevent it, and “all options are on the table.” But was Iran dissuaded? Obviously not. They continue on their merry way with assistance from North Korea, China, and Russia – none of whom take Obama seriously either.
He’s commander-in-chief of the strongest military the world has ever seen, but he has little idea how to use it. It’s as if Obama is the remote control device for an awesome military machine but he has no batteries inside him – no courage – and now the world knows it.
And don’t tell me about how “brave” Obama was to authorize the hit on Osama Bin Laden. The SEALS who carried out the mission were the brave ones. Insider accounts describe the president as indecisive and dithering until then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta took control of the situation because the Obama and his closest confidant,Valerie Jarrett, kept postponing the decision.
And the “tough” drone strikes? To community organizer president, watching intelligence videos of al Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan or Yemen and then shooting them with Hellfire Missiles is like playing video games with the “Choom Gang” back in Hawaii.
The worst thing is, truly brave American soldiers under his command know all this too. Why can’t the president tell us what really happened in Benghazi? “The FBI is investigating,” he says. Of course, the FBI investigated Major Hasan the Fort Hood shooter and the Boston Marathon bombers too and cleared them both. Will Obama do something about Syrians using chemical weapons? Nope. Monday he told us he wants more investigation. As the LA Times put it: “Obama’s Red Line on Syria Grows Softer.”
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.