Freedom Watch

America Invites Calamity Through Weakness

Putin learns who he can push around.

By 7.22.14

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Witness the latest fruits of modern leftist foreign policy, as embodied in this instance by the much ballyhooed Obama/Hillary Clinton “Russian Reset”: 298 people who booked a flight on Malaysian Air’s Flight 17, now dead. Brutally slaughtered by those thugs supplied and inspired by Vladimir Putin — the ex-KGB agent who has come to view the president of the United States and his secretary of state (make that secretaries of state, in the plural) as, in the vernacular, wimps. Leaving him free to do anything and everything from invading Crimea to supplying anti-aircraft missiles to his favored thugs prowling the Ukrainian countryside.

There is serious, understandable grief for the deaths of those associated with AIDS research. Here, for example, is the Gay Star News:

The AIDS research community and activists were stunned and horrified to learn that prominent AIDS expert Dr Joep Lange was among those killed aboard a Malaysian Airlines flight which was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday.

Few, however, seem to grasp that the president they revere might have invited such lawlessness. Did Putin not understand that those who voted for President Obama in two elections were sending a message of peace — of Hope and Change — to the world? Once upon a time, as the newly inaugurated Obama roamed the world on what critics came to call his “apology tour,” liberals swooned. There was the bowing gambit — twice to the King of Saudi Arabia, along with a bow each to the Emperor of Japan, the Queen of England and even — yes! — to a Japanese robot. Then there were the speeches.:

• In Strasbourg, France on April 3, 2009, the new president said: “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America’s shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

• In Mexico, April 17, 2009, he said: “I will not pretend that this is Mexico’s responsibility alone. A demand for these drugs in the United States is what is helping to keep these cartels in business. This war is being waged with guns purchased not here, but in the United States. More than 90% of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that line our shared border. So we have responsibilities as well. We have to do our part.”

• In a BBC interview on June 2, 2009, he added: “Democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, those are not simply principles of the West to be hoisted on these countries, but rather, what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity. The danger, I think, is when the United States or any country thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture.”

• In Cairo, Egypt, on June 4, 2009, he said by way of apology for America: “Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year…. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that’s why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons…. There’s been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation on any other.”

And don't forget about the actual conduct of American foreign and national security policy under Obama, who gutted the defense budget, cut the Army back to pre-World War II levels, and scrapped a scheduled anti-ballistic missile shield in Eastern Europe. The latter move eliminated a radar facility set for the Czech Republic and, according to the New York Times, “10 ground-based interceptors in Poland.”

On and on this oldest of worst foreign policy approaches has gone for six years. The common sense counter — that abandoning “peace through strength” (as Ronald Reagan termed it) was not only foolish but an invitation to calamity — was ignored. Indeed, noting Roman defense policies at the height of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, writing in Volume One of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire all the way back in 1776, put it this way:

The terror of the Roman arms added weight and dignity to the moderation of the emperors. They preserved peace by a constant preparation for war; and, while justice regulated their conduct, they announced to the nations on their confines that they were as little disposed to endure as to offer an injury.

Because of the spectacular nature of the shootdown of Malaysian flight 17, suddenly the entire world is riveted to audio tapes capturing Russian “separatists” calmly killing — whether by accident or design — a plane load of civilians, a number of whom were some of the most important AIDS researchers in the world. The scenes of bodies strewn over Ukrainian fields could not more graphically or gruesomely — or tragically — display the results of weakness in foreign policy.

Vladimir Putin read those signals of weakness sent by Obama and Hillary and now John Kerry — and a plane load of AIDS researchers and others are dead. Will liberals get the message? Tragically, the odds are slim. 

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.