Obama, You’re No Harry Truman

truman1President Obama congratulated Israel on its 66th year of independence, referring to the Jewish State as a “diverse and vibrant democracy” and stressed the fact that the United States was the first country to recognize Israel after it declared its independence. Obama is a master of sound bites and his oratory on the subject strikes the right chord but it also raises the question: how would the United States have acted had Obama been president in 1948? Would he have had the fortitude and conviction of President Truman? Sadly, the answer is almost certainly no. His statements as well as choice of advisors, from John “poof” Kerry to CIA director John “al-Quds” Brennan, leave no doubt that any attempt to recognize or assist Israel would have been met with an avalanche of overt hostility and promptly quashed.

No doubt the administration would have cautioned Israel to refrain from declaring statehood and would have termed any such declaration as a “provocation.” It would have urged Israel to “exercise restraint” when dealing with roadside ambushes and relentless onslaughts by Arab gangs. Kerry, who once infamously referred to Bashar Assad as “a man who wants change,” would have characterized Palestinian leader and Nazi collaborator Haj Amin el-Husseini in similar fashion. And of course, oil would have figured prominently into the equation.

Thankfully, it was a resolute, principled Truman who sat in the Oval Office on that fateful day and not a feckless Obama. Undoubtedly, Obama’s foreign policy would have mimicked the disastrous policies being pursued today, which have left American credibility in tatters and succeeded only in alienating allies.

Israel is a strong country and will weather the Obama storm. Relations with the next 2016 administration – Democrat or Republican – will pick up where they left off in 2008 and will remain excellent. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our relations with the remaining countries in the region.

Before Obama, Egypt was firmly in the American camp and this had been the case since 1978 after it had inked a peace deal with Israel. But Obama then decided to betray longtime American ally Hosni Mubarak and hastened his ignominious downfall. Mubarak was without question a tyrant but his replacement, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was even more so. And while Mubarak limited his tyranny to Egypt, Morsi exported it by cozying up to the various terrorist entities in the region including Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran, further threatening regional stability.

Obama had the opportunity to redeem himself when Egyptian discontent with Morsi prompted the autocrat’s ouster and the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood. But instead, the administration criticized the Egyptian military for facilitating the removal of a radical Islamist despot and canceled promised military aid desperately needed to combat Islamists in Sinai. This outrage pushed Egypt right into the hands of Putin who waited patiently on the sidelines while the administration’s foreign policy fiasco took its natural course.

Iran is arguably today’s foremost cause of world instability. It is responsible for committing or attempting to commit acts of terror on 6 continents, actively supports anti-American terrorist groups, is knee-deep in the drug trade, subverts its neighbors and is on the cusp of obtaining nuclear weapons. Yet this need not have been the case.

In 2009, the Obama administration folded its hands and passively watched as Iranians took to the streets and bravely demonstrated against their country’s rigged elections. In the absence of American support, the unarmed demonstrators stood no chance against their government’s para-military thugs who brutally quelled the riots in short order through mass arrests, torture and cold-blooded murder. The administration, paralyzed by indecision, passed on a remarkable opportunity to rid the world of its number one menace.

The converse occurred in Libya where the United States played a pivotal role in toppling Kaddafi – an easy target – but did nothing to facilitate a smooth transition following his downfall. The administration, quick to criticize others for acting without an exit strategy, themselves had none. As consequence, Libya has turned into a haven for arm smugglers, al-Qaida, Ansar al-Sharia and a host of other Islamist groups and it was precisely this chaotic environment that ultimately led to the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

And of course there is Syria, where the President comically boxed himself into a corner with an imaginary red line only to sheepishly backtrack and defer to none other than Russia’s ex-KGB man. In the meantime, the plan to remove Syria’s deadly chemical weapons stockpile has been marked by missed deadlines and extensions and notably, more chemical weapons attacks. Obama’s vacillation in the face of a crime against humanity and his failure to provide weapons, early on, to more moderate elements of the Syrian resistance has strengthened the hand of Islamists and largely marginalized a once eclectic and inclusive opposition.

Thus in Libya, Syria, Egypt and Iran, the administration was presented with opportunities which it squandered. As a consequence, allies were alienated, credibility was shattered, influence was lost and most importantly, a chance to strengthen the hand of genuine reformers was wasted. Democracy in the Mideast is as distant as ever. Only in Israel does democracy thrive, but strangely, it is here where the administration has chosen to focus its misguided energies and hostility.

Harry Truman was a visionary who took bold steps when needed and led when others followed. His resolute decision to use atomic weapons against an aggressor nation was a painful one but recognized as necessary to maintain the peace. Similarly, Truman demonstrated true statesmanship when, against the advice of some of the naysayers, opted to recognize the nascent state of Israel because he correctly identified the creation of Israel as one of the few hopeful and positive developments of that era. Regrettably, Obama presents himself as the exact opposite of Truman and his salutations to Israel on its 66th anniversary of statehood ring hollow.

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  • semus

    This is from someone who can’t even stand listening to Obama’s voice any longer. The more I’ve learned about the myth of Truman compared to who he really was, I have to say Harry Truman was no Harry Truman.

    • Bibliophilist

      The myth of Truman? What does that mean? Please explain….in detail.

      • Gee

        President Truman was not pro-Israel and had little like of Jews

        • TheOrdinaryMan

          Truman’s wife and mother were very cold towards Jews, but Truman himself wasn’t anti-Semitic. Example, he invested in a Kansas City haberdashery with a Jewish partner, Eddie Jacobson. He wasn’t especially warm towards Jews or Israel, but he wasn’t anti-Semitic.

          • American Patriot

            Truman had the option of not extending Israel diplomatic recognition and there were some within his administration, especially in the State Department, who advocated for the Arab side. Truman defied them and went with his gut instinct, which was usually of sound judgement. He also placed enormous pressure on the Brits to allow unfettered Jewish immigration to Israel. Yes, he may have harbored some prejudice but on the whole, he was an honest, decent man and a strong ally of Israel.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Truman was a flawed man like all other men, but he understood that he was flawed and was able to compensate some or perhaps even most of the time.

      • semus

        Try doing a little reading and make up your own mind. For starters see my above response. Believe me I wasn’t happy to find it out.

    • TheOrdinaryMan

      Harry Truman was an honest man, who was patriotic and understood the needs of the US military, and how to lead the country.(from upfront, I might add) He recognized honesty, integrity, and the work ethic in others, and supported these qualities. And he also believed in supporting allies, while ignoring, and if necessary, showing hostility to enemies. Obama doesn’t understand any of the above.

      • semus

        He wasn’t so honest. He was a politician first and formost on many issues.One of those issues was Communism and the internal threat that we faced.

  • Johnny

    Na, none of that stuff. Obama would have waffled indecisively until events took their course, and then either assigned blame to someone else if things went badly, or taken credit if things went well.

    And oh yeah, he would have switched sides a couple of times, until either Israel was destroyed or the Arab states beaten militarily.

    • Gee

      Yes it would been Herbert Hoover’s fault

  • Harry Black

    It’s always fun to use the counterfactual to support your political agenda–in this case another round of paranoid Obama bashing–but the fact is that (wait for it) the Soviet Union was the first country to recognise Israel de jure on 17 May 1948, followed by Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ireland, and South Africa. (Information from Wikipedia.) The United States extended de jure recognition after the first Israeli election on 31 January 1949. As for Harry Truman’s “resolute decision to use atomic weapons against an aggressor nation”–sheer hogwash! By August 1945 Japan was already defeated and prepared to surrender. The US’s bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was intended to intimidate the Russians. It was also a war crime. Truman’s use of atomic weapons initiated the Cold War, which is what he and his advisers in fact intended.

    • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

      If Japan was “prepared to surrender” before Hiroshima why did they wait till after Nagasaki to do so?

      • Harry Black

        Japan was moving toward surrender long before August 1945, as the US leadership, including Truman, very well knew. See http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v16/v16n3p-4_Weber.html

        • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

          There is zero evidence before Nagasaki that Japan’s will to fight on to the bitter end was broken. In the end the Japanese surrendered from fear of the US having more than two atomic bombs.

          • Harry Black

            Once again Hogwash! Not to mention an apologia for the US’s war crimes. (In a just world, the US and Britain as well as Germany, Italy, and Japan would have been called to account for murdering millions of civilians. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the US’s war crimes.) If you bother to examine the historical record, you’ll discover a faction in the Japanese leadership had been looking for a way to end the war as early as January 1945. Before you post again with another apologia for the unspeakable, see http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v16/v16n3p-4_Weber.html.

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            “War crimes” according to your subjective, emotional notion of right and wrong in the chaos and bloodshed of world war? Thank God for Western Civilization and Freedom that FDR, Churchill nad Truman were of a different mentality, and understood with uncomplicated morality how great power wars are fought and won; and lawless, savage, power mad evil is defeated in the world.

            Eat your heart out uselessly trying these great, good, glorious men over and over again in your mind for “war crimes.” Our magnanimous victory (so different from WWI) civilized the savage German and Japanese races and made productive, law abiding, democratic peoples out of them-which justified the means of defeating them.

            The “Japanese faction” you refer to didn’t prevail until the Samurai Will was utterly crushed and destroyed; and what achieved that moral victory, and brought the Japanese to reason, was the fear of a third and forth and fifth Hiroshima.

          • Harry Black

            I love how, like so many conservatives who never exited adolescence, you yell “subjective, emotional notion” when someone takes issue with your (prejudiced) assumptions. Murdering millions of civilians did nothing to shorten World War II. FDR, Truman, and Churchill were all for flattening Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, etc. as well as fire bombing Tokyo, but they ignored the Holocaust and refused to authorize the destruction of the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Indeed they little better than their fascist enemies or their Soviet “ally.” I note as well that your reference to “the savage German and “Japanese races” suggests you think like a Nazi–everything is “race” (as if such a thing existed). And your “history” seems to be all comic book caricature and video game myth: the Japanese “Samurai Will”? Puhleeze!

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            What you subjectively call “mass murder” I call justifiable collective punishment against two barbaric peoples that supported evil, totalitarian regimes with unlimited aims and ambitions.The martial German and Japanese peoples, intoxicated by their race-supremacist leaders with dreams of universal racial conquest, were no better or more innocent than their deranged and wicked leaders.

            Both defeated peoples in fact came to realize that what they suffered was the moral consequence of the evil path they chose, and was necessary for their transformational evolution into peace-loving, democratic nations. In fact not one post-war German or Japanese government ever denounced the US and Britain for Dresden, Tokyo or Hiroshima. Not one claiming victimhood ever demanded reparations from Britain and the US for the crimes of “mass murder.” Not one ever denounced FDR, Churchill and Truman as “war criminals.” Both peoples accept the fact that it was they who were the mass murderers and criminals; it was they who were the evil ones and justly suffered for their world war causing aggression and crimes. Your notion about FDR, Churchill and Truman is a childish, ridiculous, leftwing fringe view unsupported by the Germans and Japanese. BTW I love the Germans and Japanese of today; hate what they were love what they now are-what the war and peace policies of FDR, Churchil and Truman made them into.

          • Harry Black

            More hogwash! The idea of collective punishment, which you espouse, is barbaric. The Nazis overtly used the term to describe their attempts to retaliate against partisans and intimidate the populations they subjugated. And just because the postwar Germans don’t dare call the bombing of Dresden a war crime doesn’t mean it isn’t. The mass killing of innocent populations is never justified. In WW II children, old people, non-combatants, suffered, died just because they were German or Japanese. Which exactly parallels what happened to the Jews who dies simply because they were Jewish. Your fantasy version of WW II and Roosevelt, Churchill, and Truman’s heroism is nauseating. We should worship them because “they saved the Jewish people from total extinction”? In fact they didn’t give a damn about “the Jewish people,” or the other civilian populations they bombed into oblivion.

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            Let me understand this: today’s Germans and Japanese are BARBARIC for believing (as I do) that they deserved the devastating COLLECTIVE consequences of supporting evil regimes that plunged the world into the worst war in history?

            Yes, I agree, “The mass killing of INNOCENT populations is never justified.” But the German and Japanese masses of the 1930s and 40s WEREN’T INNOCENT-as today’s more enlightened Germans and Japanese rightly believe.

            Germans and Japanese weren’t fire bombed and A-bombed because of their race, but because they (the vast majority) supported the imperial aspirations of their murderous, power mad, expansionist leaders.

            FDR and Churchill didn’t go to war with Hitler to save the Jewish people from his genocidal dreams, but to defend America, Britain and Western Civilization from a deadly freedom-hating foe with global designs.The saving of Jews from extinction was an unintended consequence of Germany’s total defeat. BTW, I am a Jew and thank God for giving us FDR, Churchill and Truman-despite the fact they could have saved more Jews if they had done this or that.

          • Harry Black

            In other words, 100,000s children aged 0-18 in Dresden, Tokyo, Nagasaki, etc. deserved to die because they belonged to the wrong “race.” You may be Jewish (so am I), but you betray your heritage when you applaud the wholesale slaughter of innocent human beings and thus betray the great Jewish tradition of law and justice.

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            For all of your ranting about “war crimes” you’ve yet to cite so much as a single, specific contemporaneous law violated by FDR, Churchill or Truman when they ordered the bombings of German and Japanese cities.

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            For all of your ranting about “war crimes” you’ve yet to cite so much as a single, specific contemporaneous law of warfare violated by FDR, Churchill or Truman when they ordered the bombings of German and Japanese cities

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The idea of collective punishment, which you espouse, is barbaric. The Nazis overtly used the term to describe their attempts to retaliate against partisans and intimidate the populations they subjugated. And just because the postwar Germans don’t dare call the bombing of Dresden a war crime doesn’t mean it isn’t. The mass killing of innocent populations is never justified. In WW II children, old people, non-combatants, suffered, died just because they were German or Japanese. Which exactly parallels what happened to the Jews who were murdered simply because they were Jewish.”

            Some of your underlying points could be valid if you’d organize them better and handle the controversies with a little more objectivity.

            Think about the American response to WWII. Once we were confident in military parity with the Soviets, rather than simply trying to build even more powerful weapons, we built far more precise weapons that allow us to use smaller rather than larger warheads to avoid precisely the kind of collateral damage that all civilized people object to.

            Now tell me what other civilizations spends as much of their wealth on a constant basis just to minimize collateral damage? It would have been cheaper and more practical to simply destroy any regimes that threatened us.

            The USA saved the world. You just don’t have any ability to look at the evidence objectively to see any good in things that you already hate.

          • Harry Black

            Nothing like a demonstration of objectivity. I take it that the thousands of innocents who died in Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, etc. were happy to know that they weren’t collateral damage but valid military targets.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I take it that the thousands of innocents who died in Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, etc. were happy to know that they weren’t collateral damage but valid military targets.”

            I see you’re still in to reading minds and speaking for others.

          • Harry Black

            A hint: we weren’t fighting the Soviets in WW II.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “A hint: we weren’t fighting the Soviets in WW II.”

            Really?

          • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

            What you need do is school youself in the warrior ideology of Bashido that was instilled into every Japanese school kid in the 1930s and 40s. A good place to start is to read “Hagakure” the bible of Bashido. This book begins with the words, “Bushido is a way of dying.”

            Hagakure was used by Japan’s fascist gov’t to create an army of fearless killers perfering death to surrender; and to turn Japanese men, women and children into self-sacrificing citizen soldiers trained to fight to the death against enemy invaders. It was the nuking of Japan that broke its Bashido will.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “If you bother to examine the historical record, you’ll discover a faction in the Japanese leadership had been looking for a way to end the war as early as January 1945.”

            We found a way first. Obviously the pro-peace faction in Japan needed our assistance. Funny thing is that most of them are thankful towards us. But not you.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “Japan was moving toward surrender long before August 1945, as the US leadership, including Truman, very well knew.”

          Moving towards surrender? What color is the flag of “moving towards surrender?” Light gray? Calls for use of rubber bullets?

          People were dying. More would have died. The big mistake we made during WWII was compromising too much with the communists. You heard about the Cold War?

          You people really are nuts.

          • Harry Black

            Compromising too much with the communists. The “communists” did most of the fighting and dying. With perhaps as many as 24 million war dead, the “communists,” not the western allies, saved civilization.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The “communists” did most of the fighting and dying. With perhaps as many as 24 million war dead, the “communists,” not the western allies, saved civilization.”

            And therefore it’s impossible that they used plans and resources against our interests? Is that what you’re saying?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “With perhaps as many as 24 million war dead, the “communists,” not the western allies, saved civilization.”

            Naturally experts like forensic historian Oliver Stone agree with you. However, it’s clear that the Soviets were only able to get anything done with our help. And they deceived us in to not only providing resources for saving Europe but for saving international communism on the continent and setting the stage for further expansion.

            To a communist, that harmonizes with the statement that the Soviets “saved” whoever. But to those that understand the idiocy of communism and have enough of the facts about what has actually happened in the last century or so, it’s easy to see that communism never once saved a thing.

  • Crassus

    Truman–”The buck stops here.”

    Obamao–”The buck never got here and if it did it would still be all Bush’s fault.”

  • http://www.apollospeaks.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    ISRAEL ASIDE IF OUR 44TH PRESIDENT WAS THE 33RD

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki wouldn’t have been nuked resulting in a ground invasion of Japan and up to one million deaths. And all of Korea would be under totalitarian Communist rule.

    Click http://www.apollospeaks.com to read my piece “What Would Have Happened If Obama Had Been President Instead of FDR, Truman, JFK, Reagan or George H. W. Bush?”

  • objectivefactsmatter

    The thing is that America had no tolerance for blatant socialists at the time. He would have had to hide his thoughts a lot better and probably just operate as a spy for the Soviets.