"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."
- Barack Obama's Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009
The left in this country spent the Bush years wringing their hands, frustrated over efforts at nation building in the Mideast. Newsweek's attempt at rewriting history with claims of success in Iraq due to Obama's policies won't change the fact that the Bush administration's "war of choice" was a success. An entire population of repressed people now lives in freedom due to United States Mideast policy under President Bush. And the Iranian people desire a similar fate if only the American President were to seize the opportunity and support the populace demanding that their voices be heard.
Unfortunately, President Obama has traveled the globe handing out carrots to each and every one of America's enemies, leaders who also happen to be repressive dictators. Yet, no matter which tyrant Obama approaches with his open hand, he has, as my kids like to say, been "dissed."
With each fist bump from Hugo Chavez, Team Medvedev/Putin, Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one would expect that Obama would learn to close his open palm and offer up the tough policy that he promised would appear. Yet the only world leader who has seen Obama's stick wielding, clenched fist is Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu.
So where are the voices of the left now, as Obama attempts to strong arm a sovereign nation -- one in which citizens of all ethnicity live free -- into ceding land to a sworn enemy of freedom? This despite the fact that history has proven the Palestinian people both unwilling and incapable of peace with Israel. Why is no one questioning the amount of energy being expended by the Obama administration on finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while remaining silent with regard to the world's true human rights violators.
Meghan Clyne, a speechwriter in the Bush White House, wrote an editorial in the New York Post last month addressing "Obama's dangerous silence" with regard to dissidents the world over. Candidate Obama promised the world that he would make human rights a focus of his administration yet he has remains silent when it comes to addressing issues that face citizens of almost every country to which he has reached out - and then some.
Unlike Obama who utters beautiful yet shallow words read from a teleprompter, Clyne points out that:
"Bush sent a clear message to those risking everything for their freedom: If you stand up for liberty, the president will stand with you."
From Hillary Clinton's clear statements that human rights in China take a back seat to economic concerns, to Obama's Latin American love fest with the Castro bothers and Hugo Chavez, and finally his outreach (and bowing down) to the Muslim world as a whole, Obama is dissing every freedom-loving man, woman and child living under repressive regimes. And yet he continues to attempt to pummel Israel into submission in the hopes of forming a new nation for the repressed Palestinian people, while befriending the real oppressors.
Obama was handed a golden opportunity to take back the role of leader of the free world when Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs stole the election in Iran. Yet, Obama continued to look and play the fool with all of his make nice policies and statements rather than voice a strong decisive (presidential?) statement in support of democracy. By failing to refuse to recognize the illegitimate government, Obama's initial reaction was reminiscent of his time spent in the Illinois State Senate voting present. After suggesting that he would continue "negotiations" with whomever held the title of President, the opinion polls forced him to finally make a weak statement, drawing the ire of Ahmadinejad (who was taken by surprise since he has gotten used to Obama's can't we just be friends foreign policy).
On the other hand, Obama has had strong words for the citizens of Honduras who have legally ousted President Zelaya after he refused to obey the rule of law and the constitution. In a statement in which he made it clear that he is "deeply concerned" by the events in Honduras, Obama went on to say,
"I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference."
And Obama is in good company as Mary O'Grady points out in the Wall Street Journal:
"Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya's abuses, also wants him back in power. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground....
The struggle against chavismo has never been about left-right politics. It is about defending the independence of institutions that keep presidents from becoming dictators. This crisis clearly delineates the problem. In failing to come to the aid of checks and balances, Mrs. Clinton...expose[s her] true colors."
Sadly, the Obama presidency keeps getting "curiouser and curiouser." According to Obama, Israel's settlement building is illegal, the Iranian elections are legitimate, and the Honduran military's respect for the rule of law is "not legal." In other words, it is fine for the Obama administration to meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign ally, it has no interest in defending a popular uprising in which people are dying in the name of freedom, and it will support the Chavez-cloned dictator in the face of a democratic struggle.
Many have suggested that due to the voter fraud pervasive during his campaign, Obama is not troubled by a similar occurrence in the Iranian and Honduran elections. Yet this is the same man that made human rights a benchmark of his campaign speeches. And how does one rationalize his completely irrational responses to the various events taking place across the globe as citizens of repressed nations attempt to achieve freedom and democracy. The leader of the free world persists on choosing the wrong side of the fight.
The only discernable pattern to Obama's foreign policy decisions since taking office seems to reflect an attraction by Obama to dictatorial governments and disdain for freedom loving democracies. How else can one rationalize the disparity between his silence and weak response to the protests and bloodshed in Iran and his powerful and demanding response to the coup in Honduras? America's President is consistently supportive of tyrants at the expense of oppressed citizens who bear a terrible price for his policies.
During the final years of the Bush administration rumors abounded that he was quietly planting and nurturing seeds of democracy in Iran in the hopes that regime change would occur from within. Unfortunately, the sprouting of freedom reflected in the uprisings occurred under the auspices of a dictator-loving American President who cares more about international friendships with authoritarian despots than he does about human rights the world over. Americans that voted for this man are equally responsible for the human rights disasters that may occur world wide under his watch.