Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chapter 2. American Blinkmanship in 2009

Forty seven years ago, in October 1962, the United States was in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  In 2009 we face a growingly defiant near-nuclear Iran; an uncertain strategy for victory in Afghanistan; enemy combatants sitting down in Gitmo; and the ever-apparent risk of terrorists embedded within our midst.  The difference in approach to these situations, so far at least, is striking and alarming.

The Soviets had begun putting nuclear-equipped missiles into Cuba in 1962, as a show of strength and Communist moxie.  The Cold War was on the verge of heating up, rapidly, and the crisis became the model for modern day brinkmanship.  Invoking the Monroe Doctrine in which foreign powers should be actively opposed from political influence in any part of the Americas, President Kennedy boldly declared in a public speech on October 22, 1962: 

"It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union."

This was principle; motivated by American power and security, to be sure, but principal nonetheless.  Having the Soviets putting devastating armament at our doorstep was simply unacceptable, even if it dramatically increased the chances for nuclear war.  Fortunately, through tough and shrewd action, rhetoric and negotiation, war was averted.  Kennedy ordered a quarantine that directed the American Navy to detain and inspect any suspicious ship headed for Cuba.  At the same time, communications between Washington and Moscow led the way for an agreement between the leaders.  The end effect:  the Soviets packed up their missiles and went home.  Although later it was revealed that Kennedy secretly agreed to remove missiles from Turkey, the general public consensus was that America won and the Soviet Union lost.  In Dean Rusk's famous phrase, "We were eyeball to eyeball, and the other fellow just blinked."

Consider now the various words, postures, and actions (or lack thereof) of the current American President in formulating our security paradigm.  Gone are the days when protection of American sovereignty (some might say hegemony) within our own hemisphere, was worth risking it all.  It must not be worth it anymore.  So, for what principal does President Obama stand?

In the midst of a two-front Middle East war, and what might be called the "state of tension" between America and Iran, not to mention South America and North Korea, President Obama wasted the first critical months of his "historic" administration by apologizing for American mistakes, and its success.

Just today we hear of yet another hatched plan to allow the defiant Iran to continue building its nuclear capability, while giving fissionable material to (sit down) the Russians to take care of for them.  There is no plan for Afghanistan, despite the request submitted by General Stanley McCrystal nearly eight weeks ago, for a counterinsurgency strategy similar to the one successfully employed in Iraq.

Other gems of policy include the pledge to empty Gitmo in the next few months (and send those enemies of the U.S. where, exactly?), and the harassment of former CIA agents for being very mean-spirited.  All of this really does, to use the hackneyed phrase, embolden our enemies.  They see the President's indecision and lack of resolve, as weakness and confusion.  And they are right.

And of course, what examination of President Obama's disappointing performance concerning foreign policy would be complete without noting the very pinnacle of the airy nothingness of endless rhetoric and appeasement:  the Nobel Peace Prize.  The NPP was given to Obama apparently due to his potential to make the world more peaceful, since it was decided on just a few days after the President took office.  In reality, it was simply a meaningful gesture utilizing a meaningless prize.  The rest of the world wants the United States weak, or at least think they want us weak. 

What better way to encourage the global-socialist inclinations of a man such as Barack Obama than by putting a lightweight PARTICIPANT medal around his neck, when the official score sheet reads DNF?

Somewhere in the world, one of our many enemies just stated that, "We were eyeball to eyeball, and the other fellow just ran off to another Letterman appearance."

Quotient out.

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