In addressing West Point’s 2014 graduating class of cadets earlier this week, President Obama announced to the tyrants of the world that they could do whatever they want, to whomever they please.
It was a foreign-policy speech that many observers on both sides of the political aisle described as apologetic, defensive and petty. It was also dangerous.
Consider the reaction of The Washington Post, a media outlet Mr. Obama can usually count on for nominal support, if not outright cheerleading. Its editorial board, however, delivered an astoundingly brutal assessment of his remarks, noting in particular his apparent abandonment of traditional U.S. commitment to confront human rights abuses, crimes against humanity and violations of international law. The Post noted:
“Mr. Obama said the United States should act unilaterally only in defense of a narrow set of ‘core interests,’ such as the free flow of trade . This binding of U.S. power places Mr. Obama at odds with every U.S. president since World War II. In effect, he ruled out interventions to stop genocide or reverse aggression absent a direct threat to the U.S. homeland or a multilateral initiative.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama’s comments offered confirmation to the world that his administration’s unreliable and passive foreign-policy posture isn’t a mistake; it’s policy.
For our allies, this public pronouncement of official ambivalent boredom must be quite disturbing. For the world’s growing cadre of savages and tyrants, however, this was a surrender likely received with glee.
Prior to his speech at West Point, Mr. Obama’s attitude toward the world was already quite clear.
Earlier this month, Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death in Islamist Sudan for “apostasy.” Her crime? She is a Christian who is refusing to renounce her faith.
Amnesty International told CBS, “The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice is abhorrent and should never be even considered . It is flagrant breach of international human rights law.”
What is the U.S. State Department reaction? CBS reports they’re “deeply disturbed” by her death sentence. Oh, and they called on Sudan to respect freedom of religion. That should do the trick.
Just this week a pregnant 25-year-old Pakistani woman was stoned to death in public by male members of her family. She, too, engaged in a crime as defined by Islamists: She dared to marry the man she loved instead of her cousin.
On this issue, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Judith Miller reminded everyone of a shocking reality. She noted on Twitter, “868 women stabbed, burned, shot or beaten to death in Pakistan in ‘honor’ killings in 2013 .”
Yet in 2013, the Obama administration announced the release of $1.5 billion in aid to Pakistan, during which, as The New York Times reported, the State Department crowed about the “resilience of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.”
In his West Point speech, Mr. Obama insisted not every crisis in the world requires a military response, and he’s right. Pakistan is a good example of the financial leverage we have over a backward nation that uses religion as an excuse to brutalize women.
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama says lots of things all the time, but words are cheap, as our nation and the world are painfully realizing.