Obama’s Receding Tide of War…
By Claudia Rosett
April 19, 2016
Years ago, looking out at the Pacific surf from a beach in
Chile, a friend -- alert to the ways of tsunamis -- gave me some advice about
what to do if suddenly the water all went away. "Run. Run for your life.
Because it's all coming back."
That advice has come to mind all too often since President
Obama made his 2012 reelection campaign proclamations about the receding tide of
war. Not that the tide of war has receded anywhere except perhaps in the
fantasies of Obama and his followers. But after more than seven years of U.S.
policy predicated on such propaganda, it's getting ever harder to read the daily
headlines without the sense that there's a deluge coming our way.
Just a modest sampling of some of the latest warning signs:
-- Russian warplanes have been demonstrating that they can
with impunity buzzour military
aircraft and ships.
Which is by now no surprise, because Russian President Vladimir Putin has
already learned -- in the flexible
era of the Obama "reset" -- that the U.S. is no serious
obstacle to such stunts as Russia swiping the entire territory of Crimea from
Ukraine, moving back into the Middle East, propping up Syrian dictator Bashar
Assad, and offering fugitive Edward Snowden a home after the grand hack of the
National Security Agency.
-- China, while brushing off U.S. protests, keeps pushing
its power plays and territorial grabs in East Asia -- and has just landed a
military jet on an island it has built, complete
with runway, in the South China Sea.
-- Iran, having pocketed the Obama-legacy rotten nuclear
deal, has continued testing ballistic missiles, with Iran's Fars News Agency
advertising that two of the missiles launched just last month were emblazoned in
Hebrew with the phrase "Israel must be wiped out." Presumably these
missiles are being developed just in case Iran feels a need to propel toward a
target some highly unpeaceful products of its "exclusively
peaceful" nuclear program? Meantime, Iran is wielding the nuclear
agreement itself as a threat. Just this past week, we had the head of Iran's
Central Bank in Washington threatening
that Iran will walk away from Obama's cherished nuclear deal unless the
Obama administration provides yet more concessions -- in this instance, a U.S.
welcome mat for Iran's banking transactions, so Iran, the world's leading state
sponsor of terrorism, can avail itself of easy access to dollars.
-- Saudi authorities have
been threatening that if Congress passes a bill allowing the Saudi
government to be held responsible for any part in the terrorist attacks of Sept.
11, 2001, they will dump hundreds of billions worth of U.S. assets. (What's most
arresting here is less the prospect of a self-defeating Saudi fire sale on U.S.
assets than the reality that the Saudis -- beset by everything from relatively
low oil prices to regional tumult, including an aggressively expansionist Iran
-- feel free to try to bully the U.S.).
-- And oh, by the way, North Korea, has been visibly
preparing for a fifth nuclear test. If they carry it out during the grand window
of opportunity provided by Obama's final nine months in office, this would be
the fourth North Korean nuclear test on Obama's watch. That's not a good trend,
especially given North Korea's history of marketing its weapons and nuclear
know-how to places such as the Middle East.
That's before we even get to the carnage and refugee flows
spilling out of such places as Syria and Libya; such terrorist outfits and
networks as ISIS, the Taliban, Hezbollah, al Qaeda...and the mix-and-match
extent to which various states not entirely friendly to the U.S. tend to
officially deplore terrorism while also sponsoring or abetting it, as
Obama likes to lecture us that all these things are
transient problems, speed bumps on the road to wherever that utopian arc of
history finally bends toward some great big pot of justice at the end of the
rainbow. In his view, as he told NBC's Matt Lauer this past January, "there
are no existential threats" confronting the U.S. today. Thus, as Fox
News reported earlier this month in a superb documentary on "Rising
Threats, Shrinking Military," Obama is both gutting the U.S. military
and reshaping it, the priorities here being not to win wars, but to be, above
all, eco-aware and gender malleable.
In a televised inteview April 10, with Fox News host Chris
opinedthat if you just step back and look at the big picture, there's not
much to worry about: "America's got the best cards. We are the envy of the
world. We have the most powerful military on earth, by a mile."
That's true, but it's not a product of Obama's brand of
leadership, and it's not enough to have the best cards if your leaders are busy
throwing them away. America's greatness is the incredible legacy of many
generations of work and sacrifice under a system of capitalism and freedom, and
of leaders willing at crucial moments to stand up for this country. It takes a
lot of effort to run that down, but this is what Obama has been doing, with the
apology tours, the terrible deals, the fading red lines, the hollow speeches,
the inert declarations about standing "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the
"international community," the insults to America's allies and the
come-hither courting of America's enemies.
None of the nations now defying, threatening or bullying
America is likely, individually, to win a war with the United States. But
collectively, they keep pushing the envelope, and finding no serious resistance.
There is every sign that they are learning from each other, emboldening each
other, and in some disturbing matters willing to work together. This is how wars
On April 17, novelist and political writer Mark Helprin
published an important op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, under the
headline "The Candidates Ignore Rising Military Dangers," with the
subhed: "Obama is weakening U.S. defenses and credibility, but there's
little debate about the growing risk of war." The entire
article is worth reading. But if you want a quick summary of what's out
there, it's in the caption to a photo than ran with the piece: "War
games last year in southern Russia involved troops from countries including
Russia, China, Pakistan and Venezuela." You can bet, whatever they are
preparing for, it is not a receding tide of war.