In a major foreign policy address in Cairo in June of 2009, President Barack Obama laid down his marker for America’s role in the world under his leadership. He abjured our role as a superpower and apologized for our behavior in the past. It was as close as he could get to withdrawing America’s influence in the world without just abandoning Iraq and Afghanistan. That was yet to come.
Two years later, in Egypt, we supported forces committed to overthrowing a long time leader with whom we had good relations. If our government knew what animated these new allies they did not inform us. We only learned after the fact that they were not our friends. We continued to send them foreign aid.
The newly elected Morsi government moved quickly to impose Sharia law and mock our ally, Israel. That was more than Egypt had bargained for and the military stepped in. They are looking to Russia for aid. An alliance between the United States and Egypt that had been improving since Camp David in 1979 is down the drain.
In this June 17, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP
Also in 2011, radical groups began protests against the oppressive government in Syria, a client state of Iran. At the time, Sen. John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both insisted that President Assad was a “reformer.” President Obama reestablished diplomatic relations with Syria while Assad continued killing his own citizens. After 100,000 Syrians were murdered with conventional weapons, 1429 were killed with chemicals. That crossed President Obama’s red line so he promised a limited bombing mission in the fall of 2013.
We were told how many missiles would be spent, what targets would be hit and when to expect the attack. It would be “muscular enough not to be mocked.” Secretary of State John Kerry assured the world that our effort to cure this affront to the international community would be “unbelievably small.”
This incredibly naïve explication of our policy created a showdown with the Congress and precipitated international alarm.
Russia stepped into the breach saving President Obama who was happy to walk away. Russia now has 12 warships in Syrian waters dramatically increasing its presence in the Mediterranean.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks on September 13, 2013 during a press conference with United Nations-Arab League special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (C) and Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov after their high-stakes talks on Syria's chemical weapons at the UN headquarters in Geneva. Kerry said on September 13 he would meet again with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in New York later this month to try to set a date for a long-delayed peace conference for Syria. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Iran is within months of having weapons grade nuclear capacity. After negotiations in Vienna, an agreement was reached with Iran and we released $4.2 billion in frozen assets to the Mullahs. President Obama assured us that Iran’s nuclear enrichment would be stopped. Iran loudly proclaims that they have no intention of doing so. They now have an $18 billion a year deal with Russia for military gear and energy technology.
All of these areas of the world, where Russia has replaced the influence of the United States, share a common goal. They are committed to the destruction of Israel, which sits vulnerable and bereft.
The Iraqi government, that we sacrificed lives and treasure building, has been abandoned to radical Islamic forces. They are buying fighter jets from South Korea and have signed a $4.3 billion deal with Russia for arms.
Afghanistan will soon be abandoned with no agreement for keeping American forces on the ground. We are leaving behind over $6 billion in military equipment. Russia has signed an agreement with Tajikistan to maintain a base on the Afghan border.
A Soviet-made Lada limousine passes by Russian Vishnya (also known as Meridian) class warship CCB-175 Viktor Leonov, docked, on February 26, 2014, at Havana harbor (AFP Photo/Adalberto Roque)
Russia is in negotiations with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cypress, Viet Nam, Singapore and the Seychelles for access to their facilities to be used by Russia’s navy and strategic bombers. Her ventures into Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua represent Russia’s largest presence in our hemisphere in history.
When the Ukrainian government rejected aid from the European Union and agreed to accept aid from Russia, the people rose up and drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power. He turned tail for Moscow and blamed the United States for causing the violence. The Russian Duma unanimously passed a resolution approving of the use of troops to “protect Russian speaking peoples” in Ukraine. Now, 20,000 Russian troops have crossed the border into Crimea.
President Obama telephoned President Vladimir Putin on Saturday and expressed our serious concern about Russia’s action. Putin was informed that the U.S. is suspending preparations for the upcoming Group of Eight summit in June in Sochi, Russia in response to their invasion. Take that!
Meanwhile, having abandoned our superpower responsibilities, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that we will be cutting our military force levels to pre World War II levels. Half of our cruiser fleet will be mothballed. An entire fighter wing will be grounded. The Army will cancel the Ground Combat Vehicle.
When Whittaker Chambers left communism for freedom he believed that he was leaving the winning side for the losing side. He did not believe that the West could stand up to the purposefulness of the Soviet Union.
In a letter to William F. Buckley Jr., Chambers wrote:
"…it is idle to talk about preventing the wreck of Western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to little more than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots and bury them secretly in a flowerpot until that day ages hence when a few men begin again to dare to believe that there once was something else, that something else is thinkable and need some evidence of what it was and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of hope and truth."
When the little platoons rise up let us pray there are tokens left to preserve.
John Linder can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @linderje
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