President Obama remains as sensitive to criticism as he remains immune to reality. Speaking at a news conference in the Hague, Obama addressed criticism directed at him by Mitt Romney, who insisted during the 2012 presidential campaign that Russia is America's foremost foreign policy concern. "With respect to Mr. Romney's assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges," said the president. So what is one of the president's primary concerns? "I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan," said Obama. That's a breathtaking assertion, one completely at odds with Obama's 's reckless foreign policy.
It was during the 2012 campaign that the president continually reminded Americans "al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead." Yet even then, inconvenient reality intruded in the form of four Americans killed in an unambiguous terrorist attack in Benghazi, less than two months before the election. That attack caused the president to temporarily drop references to al Qaeda from his stump speech. But soon he was back at it, undoubtedly buttressed by a media that not only remained calculatingly disinterested in the Benghazi incident itself, but the disinformation campaign that immediately followed it as well.
The president made other assertions during the campaign that undercut his concern regarding a nuclear attack on American soil. "I made some commitments four years ago," he said at several campaign stops. "I told you I would end the war in Iraq and we did it. I said we'd end the war in Afghanistan, we are."
Such euphemisms obscure reality. Obama didn't end the war in Iraq. He abandoned the war in Iraq. As a result, an ostensibly on-the-run al Qaeda has become resurgent in that nation to the point where the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was able to raise its flag in the city of Fallujah in January.
Is there any doubt the same fate awaits Afghanistan? War-weary Americans, made that way in large part by a Democrat party that determined they could win the 2004 presidential election with an anti-war platform based on a tissue of lies, are prone to forget that it was the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan that spawned 9/11. “The fact is that 9/11 represented the first foreign-based attack on the continental United States, with significant casualties, since the War of 1812,” said former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2009. “That attack emanated from Afghanistan under Taliban rule. The Taliban did not just provide a safe haven for al-Qaeda. They actively cooperated and collaborated with al-Qaeda. They provided a worldwide base of operations for al-Qaeda.”
On February 25, Obama formally ordered the Pentagon to make plans for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. Administration officials contended they would have preferred to keep a contingent of American forces there but, much like Iraq, they claim they were unable to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA) with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Council on Foreign Relations fellow Max Boot detailed the administration's half-hearted efforts to negotiate a deal with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that centered around Obama's disinterest in getting a deal done, coupled with his intention to leave far fewer numbers of troops in that nation than his military advisors suggested.
The same thing is occurring in Afghanistan, and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld believes that, once again, the fault lies with the Obama administration. "Our relationship with Karzai and with Afghanistan was absolutely first-rate in the Bush administration," Rumsfeld told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren on Monday. "It has gone down hill like a toboggan ever since the Obama administration came in." As for an SoFA, Rumsfeld noted the U.S. has them with more than a hundred nations, even as he further contended a "trained ape" could negotiate one. (There is little doubt our race-obsessed media will have a field day with that remark, even as the real point will be obscured in the process).
Gen. Ray Odierno, one of the architects of the 2007 troop surge that really had al Qaeda on the run in Iraq, spoke at a National Press Club luncheon in February. He illuminated the implications of such power vacuums. “The big threat to our national security is ungoverned territory, areas where we have terrorist organizations that become dominant and then try to export their terrorism outside the Middle East and into several other countries, including the United States,” he explained.
Add Libya to that list. As the Associated Press put it on March 22, Libya is a nation where "hundreds of militias hold sway and the central government is virtually powerless." Moreover, it is "awash in millions of weapons with no control over their trafficking."
Unsurprisingly, many of those militias maintain the hard-line Islamist and al-Qaeda-inspired ideologies in a nation where extra-national smuggling remains a big business. That smuggling includes sophisticated weapons such as portable ground-to-air missile systems, known as MANPADS that have been sent to conflicts in Mali, Chad, Egypt and Syria.
Many Americans, especially the antiwar left, would undoubtedly like to forget that Libya once had nuclear weapons. It was the war in Iraq that prompted Moammar Gaddafi’s decision to voluntarily surrender those weapons, lest he suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein. Is there any doubt that such weapons would have been an integral part of the current smuggling agenda if they were still there?
Unfortunately, the Obama administration may only be delaying the inevitable, due to its biggest foreign policy blunder of all: the latest deal with Iran.
The meeting that took place in Geneva in February between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, known as the P5+1 yielded nothing in the way of a breakthrough, despite two major--and foolish--concessions made earlier by the West. The first was the waiving of sanctions back in January, unlocking billions of dollar in oil revenue that allows Iran, among other things, to more easily aid their proxies in Syria.
But not just Syria, as the Israelis discovered when they intercepted a ship "stocked with weapons destined for terrorist groups” in an operation "organized by Iran” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized it. The shipment included Syrian-made M-302 surface-to-surface rockets. They had been flown to Tehran from Damascus and then transported overland to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf before setting sail for Gaza.
The second and far more onerous concession was allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium, as long as it did so below weapons-grade purity of 20 percent. Once again it was Netanyahu who pointed out the potential for disaster in such an arrangement, noting that the "Geneva Agreement cancelled the 20 percent stop but left the train on the track... so that one day, Iran will be able to rush forward to the final stop, on an express track, without slowing down for the interim stops," he warned. "In a permanent agreement, the international community must get the Iranian nuclear train off the track."
As of now, that's not going to happen. The latest talks resumed in Vienna on March 18 and, in an ironic sense, closed the circle around Obama's aforementioned sensitivity to criticism and his enduring naiveté. While an American Treasury Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity insisted that the Russians "have a shared interest in ensuring that Iran doesn’t obtain a nuclear weapon" and that the U.S. expects "that interest hasn’t changed and that they’re going to continue to be productive members of the P5-plus-1 process,” Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had other ideas. He contended Russia might revise its stance in the nuclear negotiations, due to the tensions surrounding Ukraine. "We wouldn't like to use these talks as an element of the game of raising the stakes taking into account the sentiments in some European capitals, Brussels and Washington," Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Interfax. "But if they force us into that, we will take retaliatory measures here as well. The historic importance of what happened in the last weeks and days regarding the restoration of historical justice and reunification of Crimea with Russia is incomparable to what we are dealing with in the Iranian issue."
It's bad enough Western powers would let Iran enrich uranium at any level. Russia's threat will more than likely harden Iran's position. In turn, that might be all that is necessary to push the Middle East into a full-fledged nuclear arms race, led by Saudi Arabia. More proliferation, more nukes. More nukes, the greater the chance they end up in the hands of terrorists like al Qaeda. The same al Qaeda recently urging its terrorist affiliates to detonate car bombs in cities like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles--and New York.
In a November appearance at the 92nd Y in Manhattan, Israeli politician Naftali Bennett minced no words when it came to Iran. “These are very fateful days,” Bennett told the audience. “If a decade from now, God forbid, a nuclear suitcase blows up in an American city, we will be able to trace it back to these days." Sadly, these are the days of an Obama administration with an unfathomable combination of arrogance and ignorance that makes such a possibility more real with each passing day.
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