It was the hallmark of the Clinton administration’s approach toward hostile regimes: posturing. I would have loved to have said that Clinton’s foreign policy with regards to America’s threats amounted to saber rattling but before he could rattle the saber he hacked it down to a bayonet through BRAC so there was, in fact, no saber to rattle. We were far from helpless, but the world was shown that we were more willing to drop our guard in order to balance the budget than we were to drop social programs that ensured reelection. Where foot soldiers were needed, we sent diplomats. Where Special Ops was needed, we sent envoys. Where a battalion of battle ready Marines was needed, we sent a few cruise missiles. Where a rain of fire and steel the likes of which Hell itself has never seen was needed, we sent Hans Blix.
Diplomacy without the strength to back it up is useless at best, detrimental at worst. Trying to engage another country in rational discourse when that country is not rational is sheer folly. Britain learned this long ago through the folly of Neville Chamberlin trying to appease Adolf Hitler and we should have learned it through the impotent and laughable arms control “inspections” conducted in North Korea and Iraq and their consequential, yet equally laughable, “sanctions”. Despite all of the world’s combined diplomatic efforts to keep the despots in charge of those two countries in check, they continued to snub their collective nose at the world community and its milquetoast response to their weapons programs and even after we invaded Afghanistan they resisted… that is until we invaded Iraq.
Had we gone full bore and carried the momentum of the initial invasion throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom we could have cowed Kim Jong-Il into compliance but as we all know that didn’t happen. We got bogged down a little and when the opportunity presented itself the liberal faction of Congress took it upon themselves to start pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory. We hadn’t lost, but we would have if funding for the Surge had not gone through. Those that initially voted for the war turned their backs on the US military and our allies. They tried to hamstring our troops and serve as de facto commander in chief… all in order to lose militarily abroad in order to win politically at home. Thankfully they failed and the Surge did not. What followed was the clamoring of non participants and outright opponents of the Surge to try to take credit for our victories. Success has a thousand fathers, failure is always a bastard. Despite our hard won victories in Iraq during the Surge and thereafter our enemies watched the infighting from afar and they took note of how to tear us down from the inside. They set in motion a plan to capitalize on America’s short memory, her liberal media, and her distaste for war to further their own designs. They were banking on the current president to institute a myopic foreign policy based on wishful thinking, appeasement, and sycophancy and they got their wish.
When Georgia stood up against an aggressive Russia, we turned our backs on them and from that point on it went downhill. We have reneged on our promises to Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile shields. We’ve stood by murmuring about democracy with our hands in our pockets as watched protestors get gunned down in the streets of Tehran. We’ve let Kim Jong-Il take hostages and then sent a former president to negotiate their release. And now when we present evidence to the world that Iran has a hardened uranium enrichment site, they not only don’t deny it, they flaunt it and then flip us the diplomatic bird by test launching missiles. Iran is not afraid of us anymore. Maybe they never were, but at least they respected our strength at one time. Now, they mock us because our foreign policy is based on threats as empty as the suit that makes them.
Today Iran is firing off missiles capable of striking targets 1200 miles away. Left to their own devices, tomorrow they’ll be capping those missiles with nuclear warheads. That may not seem so terrifying to the peace mongers back in the United States because, although they can’t seem to comprehend a history book, they can read a map and realize that Iran is much farther away from their homes than 1200 miles. What they’re not picking up on is the fact that their socialist buddy Chavez in Venezuela is also buddy buddy with Ahmadinejad… buddy buddy enough that Iran might not have a problem with basing those missiles in Venezuela or even selling them outright. 1200 miles isn’t enough to hit DC from Tehran, but it is plenty to hit Miami from Venezuela. I know that a lot of folks are thinking that we would never let that happen, but then again we thought we would never let Iran develop nukes either.
Teddy Roosevelt once said something to the tune of “speak softly, but carry a big stick”… at this point I think I would be satisfied if we carried any stick at all.
I had a quick e-mail banter back and forthwith a friend of mine (who happens to be the most conservative Democrat alive today) about the content of the above post. He was concerned that my message might have gotten lost because my wording swayed in a partisan fashion. My response to him was as follows:
The whole “let’s blame the past thing” instead of “let’s fix the present” is crap. We don’t have a time machine… we do have a State Department and a Department of Defense and both of them are being poorly handled right now. My point is that diplomacy without force backing it is useless.When we speak softly without our big stick, planes crash, towers fall, and people here die. We need our big stick now. I want to see Obama stand on the lawn of the White House, face east, grab his junk, and flip the bird while a flight of B-52′s drops bunker busters all over that nuke site in Iran. Then I want to see him walk into a press conference and say “America has made an historic decision by electing an African-American as President… Iran pissed me off. Don’t piss off the black man”. Diplomacy problems over. Any radical racists left in America sit back and think a few minutes before they tell their next “colored joke”. Any bill he wants gets passed.
O doesn’t seem to have a problem showing his ire toward Americans that piss him off… I just want him to show that same angry face to our enemies. Obama got elected at least in part because he was an ”elegant black man”. Bill Cosby is eloquent. Nobody fears Bill Cosby… they do fear Mike Tyson. I want less Cosby, more Tyson.
He agreed with me. We’re both fairly middle-of-the-road so finding detente isn’t too hard. To the aforementioned response I’ll add this analogy in summary:
The President is the head of the country like a father is the head of a household (yes, I know mom calls the shots but bear with me here). If the neighbor pisses off dad and threatens him and dad does nothing, the neighbor won’t respect him and will continue to do as he pleases. If dad then comes home and yells at his kids after not taking the neighbor to task, then nobody will respect him and eventually his kids will give him the same treatment that the neighbor did. When my step-dad got pissed at the neighbors he let then know it and whatever pissed him off usually stopped. Anytime he told me to do something, it got done… fast. I didn’t like him. In fact, I never did… but I did respect his authority and respect gets things done.