Are We Safer Now?
Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign held the promise of making us safer by being friendlier. The President’s foreign policy, the “Obama Doctrine”, is naive, dangerous and non-productive. In a campaign speech in January of 2008, Obama stated, “It’s time to reject the counsel that says the American people would rather have someone who is strong and wrong than someone who is weak and right”. The White House’s discombobulation of our intelligence capabilities, contempt for the military, apologist attitude and distancing from allies have put the world in a tailspin only a radical could appreciate.
Due to the softening stance of the United States on Iran and Palestine, Israeli citizens feel more-threatened. A recent Smith Research poll done on behalf of The Jerusalem Post shows that less than 5% of Israelis feel that President Obama is supporting them. The Palestinian-friendly stance taken by the current administration is not only a cause for concern in Israel, it may actually incite the violence President Obama believes it would prevent. The Israeli government may now have no choice but to accomplish by force what the weakened U.S. negotiating position can no longer achieve – the dismantling of the Iranian nuclear arms program. Perhaps we never intended to achieve that anyway as may be evidenced by Obama’s unwillingness to even staff the chief nuclear nonproliferation position in his cabinet.
In a total reversal, the current Administration is now not only going after the intelligence agencies in America, they are systematically dismantling the ones they do not like. With the formation of the new HIG (High-value detainee Interrogation Group) the President has removed the separation of concerns that is implied in the responsibilities of the FBI, NSA, and CIA.
The CIA is intended to gather foreign intelligence of all types, perform covert actions, and exert foreign political influence. The NSA was specifically founded to provide foreign signals intelligence (not human intelligence) and protection of U.S. communications. The FBI is a domestic law enforcement agency.
The FBI and NSA are the only two groups allowed into this new HIG. The NSA will run it, it will be housed within the FBI (whatever that means), and all oversight is provided by the Oval Office. Foreign intelligence gathering fell under the oversight of Congress until last week. Now the consolidation of power that this represents is unprecedented. The Executive branch of the United States government can now interrogate high-value detainees (no limit to whether those are foreign or domestic) and the only oversight is the office that created the beast. Feel safer yet?
From a foreign-threat perspective, the administration’s recent change-of-heart around the investigation and incrimination of interrogators of foreign detainees is alarming. CIA operatives will not have the conviction necessary to gain the information needed to protect Americans. Government agents will be too concerned that any action (although legal at that time) may be made retroactively illegal by a future administration. This may very well paralyze their ability to protect us.
Even more recently, Hugo Chavez, an Obama administration hero, is using his new political capital to start an arms race in South America. The Russians seem all-to-eager to jump back to their pre-Reagan posture of arming anyone that dislikes the U.S.A. and they seem to feel that they have the right American leader in-place to make it work.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton both have shown that at this time, it is more important to support the Chinese government than it is to promote the human rights of Tibet, Taiwan or the Chinese people.
Secretary Clinton told South Korean reporters that we should continue to press China on human rights but, “..our pressing on those issues can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis.”. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of economy and security. Taiwan, Tibet and Chinese human rights activists can no longer look to the U.S. for support. Decades of democratic progress in Communist China has been erased.
President Carter tried Obama’s kind of foreign policy. Our leaders learned from his mistakes and have since promoted Democracy abroad, sometimes by doing more than just talking. This policy is based on the idea that by strengthening freedom and the rights of all people, we strengthen America in the world.
President Obama is reversing 30 years of progress (the fall of the Berlin Wall, unification of Germany, a drastically-improved human rights situation in Serbia, Democracies in the middle east, etc) in-trade for the possibility of a new Cold War with Russia, dictators as friends, Socialists as role-models, and terrorist nations as allies. If you liked the Carter era, it would seem we are due for a repeat – inflation, oil supply issues and conflict included.