theory - and practice by Monica Crowley
Presidential leadership needed to advance freedom's cause
The Washington Times Wednesday July 8, 2009
Reprinted by permission
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It must be comfortable over there on the wrong side of history, because President Obama seems to have settled in quite easily.
Whenever he must decide between democratic forces and those of dictatorship, he invariably sides with the world’s collection of “supreme leaders,” whose iron-fisted, brutally oppressive, leadership-for-life approach an American president should find uncool. But Mr. Obama doesn’t just find it cool. He finds it worth affirming.
From 2002 to the end of his presidency, George W. Bush routinely was accused by the left of “creating chaos”: chaos in Iraq, chaos in Afghanistan, chaos in the Muslim world, chaos among our allies.
It was a grossly unfair charge because Mr. Bush applied American strength to removing or neutralizing some of the world’s worst tyrannies in order to encourage greater freedom, justice and stability. It’s also an ironic charge, given that increasing chaos has been unleashed because of perceived American weakness since Mr. Obama took office.
When he’s not overtly apologizing for the United States for past injustices, mistakes or evils, he’s busy finding a new dictatorial maniac he can embrace in symbolic “America needs to be humbled” fraternity.
This week, Mr. Obama is in Moscow agreeing to unverifiable reductions in our nuclear arsenal. Russia’s supreme leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, took time out of his busy schedule of conducting ominous war games in the Caucasus to wind up his toy president, Dmitry Medvedev, to meet with Mr. Obama. Mr. Putin can’t believe his good luck” He is dealing with an American president who, as a college student, wrote a laughingly starry-eyed piece about ridding the world of nuclear weapons and still believes in that gauzy, naïve and dangerous idea.
Having no problem looking into Mr. Obama’s soul, Mr. Putin saw him coming from a mile away” the wide-eyed ‘60s radical with dreams of complete nuclear disarmament. Only one problem: Because the Russians have never had any intention of abiding by arms-control agreements, the disarmament will be unilateral. There goes your nuclear deterrent, America. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted.
Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, continues to brutalize, torture and slaughter his own people, who still take to the streets demanding greater freedoms. After much lollygagging and moral equivocation, Mr. Obama gave a barely-there and monotonic statement about how “appalled and outraged” he was at the massacre of the Iranian people. This weekend, he and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. reaffirmed their love affair with the idea of “engagement” with these terrorists.
In North Korea, Dear Leader (who’s also supreme) Kim Jongil fired off seven ballistic missiles this weekend in direct defiance of three specific U.S. resolutions barring any kind of ballistic missile activity, leaving Japan and South Korea vulnerable to the North Korean madness flying overhead. The White House responded with more pabulum about its dedication to multilateral conflict resolution.
In Honduras, President Manuel Zelaya tried to pull a Hugo Chaves (with the help of Mr. Chaves) by setting up an illegal referendum to extend his stay in office. The country’s Supreme Court and Congress both deemed his move unconstitutional, and the army was ordered to remove him. He was replaced legally by the head of the Congress, a member of his own party, who agreed that Mr. Zelaya was upending the rule of law and even offered to call for early elections to restore full-blown democracy there.
Mr. Obama along with amigos Fidel Castro and Mr. Chavez, is still calling for Mr. Zelaya’s restoration thereby supporting Mr. Zelaya’s ambitions to become a Chavez-like supreme leader at the expense of Honduran democracy.
In Niger, President Mamadou Tandja took a page out of Mr. Chavez’s and Mr. Zelaya’s playbook and made his own stab at “president-for-life” status last week. He dissolved the national assembly and the Constitutional Court in order to rule by decree for an indefinite amount of time. The White House trotted out its now-familiar troupe of “concern” while turning its back on democracy under assault.
Meanwhile, the Chinese, Indians and Russians openly question the dominance of the U.S. dollar while kicking around ideas for replacement reserve currencies, and the president and his Treasury secretary are as quiet as mimes.
On a good day, when the United States has strong, morally clear leadership, the world is Hobbesian: “nasty, brutish, and short.” When the world lacks muscular and wise American leadership, it devolves into total chaos, which, in turn, produces unspeakable evils.
The world’s villains are acting out now because they know Mr. Obama feels a need to repent for America by not “meddling” anywhere it matters (except, of course, in the business of Israel and other democratic U.S. allies). Mr. Obama believes these supreme leaders (and wannabes) must have legitimate gripes against us, and therefore, he’ll support their quests, even if that means stiffing democracy, human rights and individual liberty.
America is the indispensable power in the world, but if the president is AWOL for freedom and is actively cheerleading anti-democratic forces, chaos will beget more chaos – and worse. Being on the wrong side of history may feel easy and convenient to him now, but it won’t stay comfy for long.
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