What Difference Does It Make? Telling Friends from Foes

September 4, 2013

Foreign affairs are difficult.  As history has demonstrated, good friends in the international community are hard to find and keep.  Our leaders need to have the wisdom and good judgment to discern who shares our values and goals, thereby supporting our mutual national interests, and who is merely a convenient ally.  Temporary allies are useful, but cannot be trusted to the same level as true partners and friends.  The current administration lacks that judgment.

Nearly everyone in the Obama administration now calling for military action in Syria was at one time a strong Assad supporter.  President Obama, Secretary of State John F.  Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and  Vice President Joseph R. Biden all served on the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations during the Bush administration.  These senators pushed back against evidence that the Assad regime directly supported terrorists including Hezbollah, Hamas AND al Qaeda, insisting that the administration engage in open diplomacy with the regime.  Later, under the Obama administration, diplomacy with Assad became a priority.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referenced Assad as a “reformer” and denied the administration needed to consider military action against the regime.  (Read more here and here.)

Of course, actions over time may require a reconsideration of relations.  (People and regimes change.) But the Assad government has been actively supporting violent terrorist groups for more than a decade.  Assad has been killing his own people since early 2011, with over 100,000 dead so far.  His use of chemical weapons seems to follow naturally from his use of ground and air forces in the civil war.

The Obama administration misjudged Assad, as they have misjudged the players in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iran, Russia and China.  The President and his team seem unable to grasp that diplomacy is useless without clear goals, good sense, and the willingness to protect our national interests from a position of strength.  President Obama has weakened the United States to the point that our true friends, such as Great Britain and Israel, can no longer trust us when it comes to “red lines.”  Much worse, our enemies no longer fear to cross those lines.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: