In his book The 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene notes that in order to defeat an enemy, that enemy first needs to be clearly identified and defined. The more clearly we recognize who we do not want to be, then the clearer our sense of identity and purpose will be. Without that sense of polarity, without a clearly defined enemy, we stumble, hesitate and become infected with vagueness and consequently, severely undermine the chances of victory from the start.
The great statesman Winston Churchill understood this concept quite well. In World War II, he recognized the inherent evil of Hitler and fascism and despite the fall of France and lack of credible allies, waged unrelenting war on a clearly defined enemy.
Following the fall of France, and Vichy’s capitulation to Germany, Churchill understood that his once former allies were now collaborating with the Germans and worried that the powerful French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir would fall into German hands. He dispatched his warships to Algeria where he gave the French an ultimatum; set sail for the US or Britain or scuttle your ships. When the French refused, Churchill dealt with them ruthlessly and ordered his ships to open fire, sinking 3 French battleships, damaging others and killing 1,297 French sailors. Despite the fact that they were former allies, Churchill did not hesitate for a second. The attack made its intended impression on both friend and foe alike and demonstrated Britain’s resoluteness. It was precisely that lucid frame of mind that enabled the British to hold on against a vastly superior army for two long and lonely years before the United States came to the rescue.
It would not be an exaggeration to state that Barack Obama represents the antithesis of Winston Churchill. The Obama administration seems unwilling or unable to define who the enemy is. It is unable to define and classify who is or is not a terrorist and is unable to distinguish friend from foe and this convoluted approach is taking its toll on America’s ability to wage war on its enemies and maintain the confidence of allies.
In January, State Department officials, including the deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor met with members of Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki described the meeting as “routine.” The Egyptians, already reeling from a series of devastating terrorist attacks in northern Sinai, were both incensed and bewildered by the meeting and Psaki’s description of it. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry noted that official communication with groups affiliated with terror “is not understandable.”
Sameh’s characterization of the meeting is accurate. It is indeed perplexing why the administration would go out of its way to needle an ally by meeting with members of a neo-fascist, anti-secularist group that calls for the violent overthrow of the Egyptian government. But for anyone following the administration’s tortured and convoluted path to dealing with terror, the State Department’s meeting with Muslim Brotherhood officials was anything but surprising. In fact, the administration has proven itself to be adept at muddying the waters and failing to differentiate between friend and foe.
Following the Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket outrages that claimed the lives of 17 civilians, Obama – who was conspicuously absent from the post-attack solidarity march – took pains to distance the attacks from Islam or radical Islam, preferring instead to employ politically correct terminology while avoiding any use of buzzwords like Jihad, Islamist or radical Islam. And just last week, White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, stumbled and fumbled while desperately trying to differentiate between acts of terror committed by the Taliban and ISIS.
On Iran, the Obama administration appears hell-bent on pursuing détente with apocalyptic mullahs rather than seeking ways to thwart their nuclear ambitions. Obama appears willfully oblivious to the fact that the Islamic Republic is stalling for time, using the P5 + 1 negotiations as a means to obtain sanctions relief while covertly moving ahead with critical elements of its nuclear program, including ballistic missile design and nuclear bomb experiments at Parchin. It is also turning a blind eye to Iran’s troubling regional activities and acts of international terrorism that span five continents.
But while Obama makes nice with the Iranians, the same folks who recently sponsored a Holocaust-denying cartoon contest, he relentlessly launches attack after attack on one of America’s closest allies Israel, calling the leader of the region’s only democracy, “chicken sh*t” and issuing ominous threats against the Jewish State.
On March 3, Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before a special joint-session of congress where he will address pressing regional concerns, including the growing Iranian nuclear threat and the Islamic Republic’s attempts to dominate the region. He will also discuss the threat posed by ISIS both regionally and internationally. The savage murder of a captured Jordanian pilot at the hands of this barbaric group as well as other recent regional developments including an Iranian inspired coup in Yemen as well as the confirmed presence of ranking Iranian generals near the Israeli border, give impetus to the importance of the prime minister’s speech.
One would think that in light of these serious and troubling developments, Obama would welcome input from someone possessing a unique expertise on the matter. The sad truth however, is quite different. The president detests Netanyahu’s moral clarity and would rather curry favor with the likes of the radical Muslim Brotherhood and the medieval mullahs of Iran. Hence, his State Department schedules meetings with Egypt’s outlawed Freedom and Justice party and his secretary of state is all smiles when in the company of Iranian officials but when it comes to Israel, its leaders are deemed persona non grata and are subjected to a continuous flurry of invective from anonymous administration officials.
Following his inauguration, Obama sparked controversy by removing a bust of Winston Churchill on loan from the British embassy. Perhaps he harbored disdain for the British leader or perhaps it was simply a matter of redecorating. Either way, the great and fearless British leader who led Britain during its darkest hour serves as a constant reminder of what Obama is not and never will be.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.