When it comes to dealing with the thugs, terrorists, and tyrants of the world, direct talks without preconditions is naive, a betrayal of American values, and a threat to the security of the world. Just take the new administration’s approach to historical enemies of the United States, what the president calls “tough diplomacy” has, in 5 short months, increased the influence, strength, and belligerence of dictators and terrorists across the board. The amount of damage caused by the mere promise of holding direct talks with countries regardless of their human rights records, regardless of their complicity and participation in the deaths of Americans, regardless of their direct support of terrorism, and regardless of their nuclear aspirations has already been substantial. The examples are numerous and the effects of the administration’s new naive foreign policy have been felt on every continent.
To start off we have communist North Korea, a country that prior to Obama’s election was vilified as a member of the Axis of Evil and was in the process of suspending its nuclear program (at least in theory). During the election they favored the Democratic candidate because of his overt stance in favor of engaging with rogue states. Once the herald-of-change was elected, North Korea also changed. They threatened the destruction of South Korea, as they have in the past. They carried out illegal missile tests, as they have in the past. They pulled out of the six-party negotiations and resumed nuclear development. They conducted a new nuclear test. They launched medium-range missiles. They regarded the new United Nations resolution that tightened the arms embargo on North Korea as an act of war. They declared that they could not guarantee the safety of ships in disputed waters. They are currently preparing for the launch of a long-range missile, possibly towards Hawaii. The US response has been to urge them to return to the negotiation table. The State Department and the President have been repeating that North Korea’s actions will lead to further isolation and that the world will not tolerate these threats. In other words, the new administration has decided that the best course of action is diplomacy and each round of empty threats from the US have been met with new weapons tests and new provocations. Obama recently warned that North Korea “must respond to diplomacy” and warned that tougher actions would be taken otherwise. The reason that North Korea has not taken Obama seriously is that the president has made every indication that he would exhaust diplomatic venues before even considering a military response. While Obama waits for a response, North Korea will accelerate its weapons development programs and figure out how to best use their new weapons to blackmail the United States. While Obama waits for a response, Alaskans and Hawaiians worry a little more every day despite assurances from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that we are prepared for any potential missile attack from North Korea. While Obama waits for a response, the peoples of Japan and South Korea anxiously hope that the last bastion of freedom, the United States of America, will be able to solve this problem, which to them is an existential one. This is what the promise of negotiating with a madman like Kim Jong Il has brought us.
Which brings us to another nation that aspires to possess a nuclear capability: Iran. Run by a council of Islamic clerics and a hardline elected government headed by the Holocaust-denier, unstable Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. When Obama offered to extend a hand if they unclenched their fist, Iran’s leaders immediately seized upon this as an excuse to demand an apology for all of our past actions. Iran’s efforts to increase their influence and power in the region after 30 years have led them to support sophisticated and well-organized terrorist organizations, interfere with US forces by arming and training insurgents, and develop a nuclear capability. Recognition by the United States and the world has been one of its primary goals, one that Obama went far to help them reach by offering to talk to them. The problem with recognizing this rogue state as a regional or world power is that it legitimizes their actions. It incentivizes sponsoring terrorism. It incentivizes pursuing nuclear weapons. It incentivizes military action against the United States. As I wrote before, Iran-sponsored terrorist organization Hezbollah recently met with officials from the European Union. In the last election they garnered the support of 55% of the Lebanese population. Actions that lead to the legitimization of terrorist organizations or regimes that vow the destruction of other countries, like Ahmadinejad has vowed to do to Israel, only lead to the spread of their murderous ideologies and their success at gaining political power. If Obama’s overtures to Iran did anything, it was to show the Iranian people that taking a hard stance against the United States will eventually cause us to back down and sue for peace. Even now, with demonstrations against Ahmadinejad, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spoke about accepting the election results as people chanted “Death to America”. The message that the US will respond to threats and attacks only helps terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban gain and retain power. Right now, patriotic Iraqis are in fear of an Iranian-controlled government taking power as soon as the US withdraws its forces. Many Lebanese people fear that a disagreement between the central government and the terrorist organization Hezbollah will lead to another civil war. They also fear that Syria and Iran (Hezbollah’s sponsors) will come to wield undue influence in their country and that Hezbollah might launch another attack on Israel, dragging them into war yet again, or worse yet, another dose of Israeli occupation. Israel itself is afraid that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, which is now all but assured due to US insistence on dialogue which just gives them more time to finish their nuclear development, might bring about a nuclear Holocaust. Were Hamas to be more legitimized by the United States and the world, they would have the ability to smuggle more weapons into Gaza and continue their terrorist campaign against Israel. The US already has pledged hundreds of millions to help Gaza while insincerely reassuring the world that these funds would not make their way into terrorist hands. Ultimately though, the legitimization of Iran as a regional power in the Middle East makes it a perfect model of an Islamic fundamentalist state to be emulated by any other terrorist movement in any other country. By offering recognition the United States has just made extremism into a form of mainstream-ism in the world.
Which brings us to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. After being almost totally routed in Afghanistan, the Taliban and their Al Qaeda guests relocated to Pakistan’s ungovernable tribal regions. In that area, due to the Pakistani government’s unwillingness to crack down on the terrorists, these organizations regrouped and rearmed. Upon assuming office, Obama has repeatedly proclaimed that the war in Afghanistan is being lost in spite of the fact that the Taliban have been ousted, they are forced to blend into the local population, and rarely engage in anything other than guerrilla attacks. To his credit, even General David D. McKiernan, the Commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, agree with him. Among the solutions proposed by the commander-in-chief was to engage in dialogue with the Taliban. The United Nations also says that we must talk with the Taliban, including “alleged war criminals.” Another country that repeatedly has advocated talking to the Taliban is Pakistan, a country that is currently engaged in an offensive operation and in the midst of a terror wave. Apparently, the multitude of cease-fires, agreements, and negotiations did not prevent the Taliban and Al Qaeda from gaining strength in the region, so why does the Obama administration believe that some form of dialogue with the Taliban would do us any good? It is unknown why they believe that discussions with the Taliban would benefit US security, but since February, such secret talks with the Taliban have been underway. Of course they are secret, because if the American public was made aware that backers of the criminal terrorist Osama bin Laden are being offered immunity and other concessions, then there would be a great public outcry. To this date, negotiations are taking place in Saudi Arabia. While the Taliban are engaged in talks with the US, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Taliban terror attacks in Pakistan have been escalating. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have learned that if they continue to pressure these governments, they will eventually try to negotiate a way to end the conflict. Talking to the Taliban has only emboldened them. Right now, the citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan are in fear for their lives while their governments and ours is legitimizing the Taliban terror campaign by engaging in talks. The security of the world will be severely jeopardized if Al Qaeda is once again allowed to use Afghanistan as its training camp or if the Taliban once again assume control of the country. If this occurs, then Al Qaeda can claim victory over the United States and the memory of 911 will be betrayed. Obama’s policy of appeasement will only lead to more terror.
Which brings us to the western hemisphere. On Obama’s watch, the Organization of American States has lifted its suspension of communist Cuba after 47 years and now Cuba is well on its way to being recognized as a legitimate state. While Cuba has rejected OAS membership because of the stipulations that Cuba must re-apply to the organization and meet certain human rights standards, what this move signifies is that regardless of a regime’s crimes it will be accepted by the international community and the United States in particular. It also means that Castro-imitators will be accepted by the international community. Thus, to legitimize Castro by unilaterally easing restrictions on the embargo and lifting its suspension from an international organization of mainly democratic states is to legitimize Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela that has been, by increments, consolidating power in his and his party’s hands. Not to mention the fact that Obama has said that he is open to direct talks with Chavez, further legitimizing the socialist movement that has gripped the governments of many countries in Latin America. For example, Chavez recently has been cracking down on his political opponents and stripping them of power without the US saying a word, nor the media even mentioning it. When one also considers that these “socialist” governments are united mainly by their opposition to the United States and that they have been reaching out to anti-American nations around the world, it makes it clear that the threat to our country is closer than the new administration seems to believe. Chavez and Raul Castro have reached out to Iran.
Reports abound that Hezbollah has infiltrated Latin America. Bolivia’s ties with Iran have also increased substantially since the assumption of office by Evo Morales, Chavez’s good friend and fellow socialist. Some fear that this new relationship between these two America haters will lead to or has already led to the establishment of a terrorist cell or camp in Bolivia.
Ahmadinejad and Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, getting really friendly
Obama has treated these anti-American thugs with kindness. The president has not addressed their ties with Iran, probably because he is trying to engage with Iran. The policy of offering direct diplomacy without preconditions to these leaders only helps strengthen these regimes by giving them international legitimacy, even while the plot, prepare, and participate in attacks against America. In Latin America, an emerging socialist bloc threatens to reawaken the communist guerrilla armies that wreaked havoc in Colombia, Peru, and Nicaragua to name a few Latin American countries that have been affected by socialism/communism. In turn, civil wars in these countries will lead to a greater displacement of people and increase in the drug production and trafficking.
In the short time that this new administration has been in power, the seeds for regional destabilization have been sown and the enemies of the United States have been strengthened. It is now almost impossible to isolate Iran or North Korea. It is now expected that we negotiate with the Taliban and take a softer stance on the war on terror. It is now a fact of life that Latin America will consider the emerging socialist internationalist movements as a preferable alternative to free markets and trade with the United States. All of these states, organizations, and movements have one thing in common: anti-Americanism. They are reacting to the fact that America represents the eventual universal emancipation of people around the world. America represents the model for a government of, by, and for the people… a model where any person, including those who will undermine our national security due to poorly-conceived idealism, can become president. Thus, the idea that direct talks with our enemies without preconditions will lead to an era of dictators acting nicely and terrorists renouncing their ways only empowers both… our enemies have smelled weakness in our new government and although they have been united in purpose for some time now, they are increasingly uniting in action… they are forming an Anti-American Axis that is dramatically different from the Evil Empire that we faced in the last century. The potential loss of their entire country and people kept them from using weapons of mass destruction on the United States. Suicidal extremists have no such constraints.
When faced with such an enemy, the popular refrain seems most fitting: Talk is Cheap.