Alexander's Column

Year Five of Obama's Foreign Policy Ineptitude

The Price of Appeasement and Tolerance in the Middle East

By Mark Alexander · Aug. 29, 2013
“A universal peace … is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts.” –James Madison (1792)

As the Middle East approaches a critical mass meltdown, it is instructive to take account of our political standing in the region, and why our “foreign policy” has become the laughing stock of the entire world – particularly in Tehran, Moscow, Beijing and Pyongyang.

History of the World 101: Tyranny does not leave vacant the void created by appeasement and tolerance.

In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain addressed his countrymen by infamously insisting that signing the Munich Agreement and adopting a policy of appeasement and tolerance toward Adolf Hitler would provide “peace for our time.”

Seventy years and some very hard lessons later, candidate Barack Hussein Obama promised another “peace for our time,” adopting Chamberlain’s foreign policy and insisting he could mollify our radical Islamist foes and “reset” our relationship with Middle Eastern states by resolving the conflict between Western democracy and Islamic fascism. Recall, too, that he did so to great applause from his legions of mesmerized supporters.

Regarding the post-9/11 Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and the larger War on Terror, Obama promised, “Let me be as clear as I can be. I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in and I will give them a new mission and that is to end this war – responsibly, deliberately, but decisively.”

Of course, the only way to end a just war “responsibly, deliberately, but decisively” is through victory.

Obama based his foreign policy expertise with Islamists on little more than a grossly naïve assertion: “I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries.”

At that time, it was abundantly clear to anyone who could think beyond the cadence of Obama’s rhetoric that he was a national security neophyte. Little has changed since then.

A few months after his first election, Obama departed on his now-infamous Middle East Apology Tour, with the objective of appeasing the world’s most dangerous fascist movement since the Third Reich – Islamists occupying the borderless nation of “Jihadistan” – one that is singularly devoted to the destruction of Western democracy, and one that seeks the imposition of a worldwide caliphate and Shariah law.

Obama’s National Security Adviser, Denis McDonough, insisted that Obama was uniquely qualified to satiate the threat of Islamist regimes, noting, “the president himself experienced Islam on three continents before … you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father – obviously Muslim Americans are a key part of Illinois and Chicago.”

Well, “community organizer” to the rescue!

Obama insisted that a key part of his policy toward Islamist states was a more worldly citizenry – one that better understood the “religion of peace.” “I think that in the United States and the West generally,” he said, “we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam. And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

There are indeed about 2.5 million Muslims in the U.S., but Obama’s “largest Muslim countries” calculus neglected the fact that there are 205 million Muslims in Indonesia, 180 million in Pakistan, 175 million in India, 80 million in Egypt, 74 million in Iran, 32 million in Iraq, 30 million in Afghanistan, 25 million in Yemen and 20 million in Syria, and a billion Muslims in other countries around the world.

On the first stop of his Apology Tour, Obama outlined his Middle Eastern policy, telling Islamic masses in Cairo: “[I have] unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things … confidence in the rule of law; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. … America and Islam share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. … Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace. … The fear and anger that [9/11] 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. … It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward. … America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own. … Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”

Thus saith Obama, but the lesson, tragically, did not endeth with the “Obama Doctrine.”

President George W. Bush’s Doctrine of Preemption toward Islamist terrorists was clear, and it was predicated on these tenets: Know our enemy; Take the fight to that enemy and keep it on their turf in order to prevent them from bringing it to ours; Don’t appease or tolerate this enemy, annihilate them.

I recall John McCain, in his 2008 campaign against Obama, being asked how long we should be in Iraq. He responded, “A hundred years,” meaning that our continued presence in the region was critical to stability. Of course McCain was pilloried by Obama’s Leftist NeoCom cadres, but the fact is, McCain understood the nature of the Long War commitment we would have to make in order to contain the Islamist threat. (For the record, virtually every terrorist act in the last five decades has been perpetrated by Islamists.)

Now, five years into Obama’s Middle East pretense of foreign policy, he has surrendered our hard-earned victory in Iraq (and with it, any hope we had of building a strong strategic relationship with that nation) and will soon abandon Afghanistan (and with it, any vestige of truth to his campaign slogan that Iraq was the bad war and Afghanistan the good one). Our military presence in the region, particularly in Iraq, was the only leverage we had to contain threats to our vital national interests. Obama has decimated our relationship with Israel, tolerated Iran’s nuclear ambitions, watched the disintegration of Libya and Egypt, and virtually ignored Syria. As a result, much of the Middle East is now in chaos.

In the aftermath of Benghazi, with Egypt on the verge of civil war and Syria fully engaged in civil war, and with clear indications that Islamic Jihadists are key players in conflicts throughout the region, it is abundantly clear that Obama’s foreign policy in the region has failed miserably. Now, his feckless administration is scrambling for solutions.

Clearly, we are in need of a real “reset” of our policy regarding Islamist states. Unfortunately, however, we can’t obtain a retroactive reset of the 2008 or 2012 presidential elections.

The cost of the War on Terror, both in terms of blood and treasure, has been enormous. But make no mistake: That cost will pale in comparison to the cost of our recovery from and response to a nuclear detonation in an East Coast urban center, which may well be the price we pay for years of Obama’s appeasement and tolerance of Islam, and his ignorance of Fourth Generation Warfare in this, the Second Nuclear Age.

The pendulum of politics and foreign policy has become well defined since World War II.

It is instructive to note that the bloodiest and most costly conflicts since then have begun under Democrat presidents and ended under Republican presidents. The Korean War began under the watch of Harry Truman and ended under the watch of Dwight Eisenhower. The Vietnam War began and escalated under Democrats Kennedy and Johnson and ended under Republican Richard Nixon. And, of course, the decades-long Cold War began under Harry Truman and ended under Ronald Reagan and his successor, George H.W. Bush.

In the Middle East, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Jimmy Carter’s appeasement and tolerance led to the rise of Islamist regimes, especially that which now controls Iran. Bill Clinton’s equivocal response to the Islamist threat led to the 9/11 attack on our country, resulting in the launch of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

There is a distinct pattern here, one that is characterized by increasing hostilities in the wake of the Left’s appeasement and tolerance, followed by decreasing hostilities when the Right takes corrective action.

Now, under the Nobel Peace Prize-winning neophyte, Obama, Islamist coalitions are thriving, expanding their influence rapidly and oppressing millions. And, once again, they are threatening our vital national interests in the region and posing an increasing threat to our homeland.

Again, may I repeat myself, “History of the World 101: Tyranny does not leave vacant the void created by appeasement and tolerance.”

Footnote: For those of us with family members who are active duty military personnel, Obama’s failings hit close to home.