Obama the Appeaser

Although President Obama is not the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century, he is rapidly moving in that direction.  He is much too accommodating towards the U.S. 's adversaries.  American Thinker asked some national security experts how they would characterize the President's recent foreign policy towards North Korea, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Russia. The unanimous answer; he showed weakness, not strength.

A few weeks ago North Korea and the US appeared to have come to an agreement to exchange food for nuclear concessions.  The problem is that the agreement was made without the requirement that the North Koreans eliminate rather than suspend their program.  Negotiations with the Koreans have occurred over the last two decades, starting with the Clinton Administration's deal in 1994. 

Former Congressman and ranking member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), who is currently running for the Senate, does not want to give anything to the Koreans until they provide complete access to their sites, especially "since they never deliver at the negotiations, and do the same thing each time.  These negotiations never work and are always violated. North Korea has fooled us four times now."  This is no more evident than when North Korea announced last Friday plans to blast a satellite into space on the back of a long range missile. Many intelligence officials believe this is a test of an ICBM capable of delivering a nuclear payload to the US.  What is a note of importance is that President Obama had made agreements without definable concessions: as part of the deal North Korea had agreed to a moratorium on long-range launches, something they obviously do not plan to honor.  

Iran also requested a new round of nuclear negotiations, which was accepted by the global powers, including the US.  President Obama felt his policy of a diplomatic approach and sanctions helped to get Iran to resume negotiations.  Congressman Rooney (R-FLA) disagrees, stating, "This whole philosophy of showing we are not hostile towards them is wrong.  The Iranians look at it as a sign of weakness and seize upon it." Since America has been talking to the Iranians about their nuclear program for over thirty years should this administration still be engaging them?

Former Ambassador and CIA Director James Woolsey pointed out that many of America's Presidents have tried to engage the Iranians to stop their nuclear program; yet "it has been a total and complete failure each time.  It will never succeed with this government.  By entering into formal negotiations we have given them status.  Giving them status should be a no game.  There are ways to talk with them privately, without formal talks, such as talks through intermediaries like our intelligence service. The formal talks will be to our disadvantage."

Three months ago the Taliban announced they were ready to enter into negotiations with the US.  However, last week it announced that it was suspending the dialogue.  The inference to these statements is that the Taliban appeared to be the ones in control, not the superpower, America.  As the Taliban was suspending US talks, the President of Afghanistan was demanding that NATO forces pull back from the villages over the issues of the Koran burning by US soldiers and the killings of civilians by a deranged US soldier.  All interviewed agreed that the President needed to speak to President Karzai and apologize for mistakes made.  However, regarding the Koran burnings President Obama neglected to point out that the Muslim holy book was defaced by radical Islamists and therefore had to be burned.

Congressman Rooney would have liked the President to say, at the same time, "our soldiers have sacrificed their blood and lives to try to make Afghanistan a better place.  By apologizing the way he did, he legitimized the riots. The only thing they respect is strength and by apologizing the way he did the President showed weakness not strength."

As the President was apologizing six American soldiers were killed.  Did President Obama demand an apology or answers from Karzai? There have been many instances over the years when Afghan soldiers and their police force have fired upon American soldiers; yet, the President has never demanded an apology.  There appears to be a double standard where the President's policy, according to Hoekstra, is to have a "bandwagon of apologies.  This is the administration's new standard, an accommodating America where we appear humiliated."

Egypt, America's staunch ally just thirteen months ago, was accommodated through the payment of a ransom to get the American rights workers released.  For each of the sixteen Americans, $300,000 was paid.  Is this setting a bad precedent, encouraging kidnappings for money all over the world?  Ambassador Woolsey would have advised the President to pay the bill to get the Americans out and then cut off a portion of the billion dollars of military aid to Egypt.  He feels that if the administration does nothing but pay the ransom, "we are setting ourselves up for future hostage takers. This is why countries like Egypt have to be shown we will not put up with this kind of behavior."

Early in President Obama's administration he showed these signs of weakness when during the arms control negotiations with Russia he decided to unilaterally take out the missile defense programs in Eastern Europe and received nothing in return. Woolsey sees missile defense as very important and feels "this administration has shown weakness in dealing with the Russians.  I am quite critical of the way this administration handled the missile defense program."

Fast forward to today when Russia has deployed an anti-terror squad in support of Syrian President Assad.  Woolsey could not understand "why this administration was tougher on former Egyptian President Mubarak and Libyan President Gaddafi, who were terrible dictators but did not cause a lot of difficulty to the US, than we are on Assad. This is absolutely beyond me."  Perhaps because the President embodies a weak America where Russia is able to gain the upper hand.

By constantly conceding points and apologizing President Obama has shown weakness, not strength and engagement.  There appears to be the perception that America can be pushed around with no consequences. Pete Hoekstra summarized it best, "The President thought by pressing the 're-set button' for foreign policy our enemies and adversaries would reciprocate.  His offering of the Olive Branch has not worked. The question that needs to be asked, 'does any American feel more comfortable today about the Middle East and other areas of the world than 3 1/2 years ago?'" The answer is an obvious no.