Sec. Hagel Meets with Belgium's Defense Minister: How Reassuring!
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was probably briefed on the demonstrations in Tehran this week. The mobs there burned U.S. flags, chanted "Death to America," and celebrated -- yes, celebrated -- the worst humiliation of the United States in the twentieth century: the seizure of our embassy 34 years ago.
In case young Americans have forgotten, or were never taught, that was when Islamist mobs stormed over the walls of the U.S. Embassy compound -- sovereign U.S. territory -- and took 52 of our people hostage. They beat and tortured our people for 444 days. On some occasions, they even subjected our hostages to mock executions.
The attack on our embassy was an act of war, recognized as such for centuries by international law. But when Iran's outlaw regime sent "representatives" to the U.N. in New York, the administration of Jimmy Carter meekly let them enter U.S. airspace and harangue delegates to the General Assembly.
Why didn't Carter seize these Iranians? Well, they all had diplomatic immunity! As if our tortured U.S. captives did not.
President Carter, after dithering for months, authorized a raid on Iran to rescue our hostages. That raid, early in 1980, was aborted when two U.S. aircraft collided, killing a number of our would-be rescuers. The failure at Desert One was symbolic of the fecklessness of the Carter administration.
What happened next was most interesting. Sec. of State Cyrus Vance resigned. That may have been the last resignation in Washington for principle. Mr. Vance resigned not because the rescue mission had failed. He resigned because the attempt to rescue our people had been made.
Until now, that was the worst example of spinelessness in American history. But this week, with Tehran boiling over in anti-American hatred and mobs yelling, "Death to America," our Sec. of Defense, Chuck Hagel, announces in all seriousness that he is meeting with Belgium's defense minister.
The Mideast is a powder keg. Iran is said to be close to "breaking out" in its reach for nuclear weapons. Egypt is angry with the U.S., and Saudi Arabia plans to go it alone. In Syria, Christians are being slaughtered by rebels whom this administration is aiding, while Turkey has betrayed Israeli undercover operatives to be killed in Iran.
Faced with all these crises, each one with the potential to boil over into regional and maybe even world conflict, Chuck Hagel has time to meet with the Belgians.
We should not forget that it was Belgium's collapse in 1940 that exposed France to the full fury of the German blitzkrieg. It's ironic that Americans show contempt for France's collapse and seem unaware that Belgium's precipitous surrender fatally weakened the French left flank.
With war clouds looming, it may not be so inappropriate to have this defense chief meet with his Belgian counterpart, after all. Showing its invertebrate nature with Iran, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and Libya, there can be no better symbol for this administration's foreign policy than a Belgian waffle.