- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2009

Historians will look at 2008 and say it was the year that America ceased to be a great superpower. A war-weary public threw in the towel against Islamic fascism, and embraced President-elect Barack Obama´s policy of appeasement. Groveling in fear of a recession, Americans also overthrew their free-market ideals. This was the year of false hope by an Obama prophet who will only accelerate our demise.

The core of Mr. Obama’s appeal - behind the vacuous promises of “change” and “hope” - is that his election will “restore America’s standing in the world.” The muscular, unilateralist foreign policy of President Bush is over. Conservative nationalism is out; liberal multilateralism is in. Mr. Obama vows to wind down the Iraq war, restore our alliances and engage in direct dialogue with rogue states, such as Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

The American electorate has buried its collective head in the sand, hoping that Mr. Obama can somehow - through his slick rhetoric, artificial “cool” demeanor, and worldwide celebrity status - convince our enemies to lay down their weapons. He will not succeed. Our celebrity-in-chief does not frighten or inspire the murderous, anti-American thugs in Tehran, Pyongyang or Caracas. They see him for what he is: a weak, naive and oscillating leader, who does not understand the growing threat against the West. In fact, he is even part of the problem.

Not since the late 1960s has the United States - and Western civilization - faced such a powerful array of enemies.

Islamic extremism is on the march. Nuclear-armed Pakistan has become a hot-bed of fundamentalism. The Taliban and al Qaeda have established a vital sanctuary within its borders. NATO troops are in a bloody quagmire in Afghanistan. Hezbollah has set up a theocratic statelet within Lebanon. North Korea continues to sell missile technology to Syria (which, in turn, supports Hamas and Hezbollah). Somalia is teetering on the brink of an Islamist revolution. Saudi Arabia continues to fund radical madrassas around the world. Sudan is recruiting jihadists in its genocidal campaign against Darfur.

The biggest threat, however, comes from revolutionary Iran: 2008 was when Tehran reached the point of no return in its quest for the bomb. Iran’s mullahs are now within reach of possessing the capability for a nuclear weapons program. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to annihilate Israel, as well as blackmail Europe and America into adopting Sharia law. He is a radical Shi’ite, who believes he is divinely ordained to help bring about the apocalypse. Trusting him with a nuclear warhead is like trusting Dracula with a blood bank.

In the face of this gathering storm, Mr. Obama pledges diplomatic carrots and negotiations. He fails to recognize we are at war not only with terrorist-sponsoring states, but a totalitarian fascist ideology that seeks to impose a global Muslim caliphate. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are not our only enemies; they are part of a larger movement encompassing millions around the world that seek the destruction of the West - and especially the United States, its most stalwart champion.

Radical Islam’s greatest ally is communist China. Beijing’s Leninist capitalists don’t much care for Islamic practices (in fact, they have a restive Muslim population of their own), but their attitude is more Machiavellian: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. China’s leaders are bent upon becoming the world’s next superpower. They are engaged in a massive military buildup. They threaten neighbors, such as Taiwan, India and Japan. They have formed an anti-American, anti-democratic alliance with Russia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Sudan. Combined with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, they are providing Tehran with vital missile and nuclear technology. This will enable Iran to not only acquire the bomb, but the air defenses necessary to shoot down Israeli and American fighter jets.

If 2008 can be compared to any previous year, it is 1938 - the year of Munich, appeasement and self-delusion in the face of xenophobic militarism. Then, the Axis powers consisted of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan; today, it is authoritarian China, a revanchist Russia and revolutionary Iran. Their goal: to bring America to its knees.

For the first time in decades, the United States faces a massive economic crisis. The financial meltdown threatens to undermine our dominant international economic position. As America sinks deeper into debt, China experiences sky-rocketing growth rates. Washington has record trade deficits; Beijing has massive trade surpluses. China is slowly buying up America’s crippling national debt. Eventually, we will no longer be in control of our collective economic destiny.

Moreover, 2008 saw the triumph of socialism in America. The taxpayer bailouts of the financial and auto sectors, the nationalization of the big banks, the explosion in deficit spending - all of it has not only failed to revive the economy, but marked a huge expansion in governmental activism.

Mr. Obama promises to complete America’s transformation into a Scandinavian-style social democracy with universal health care, federally subsidized day care, a massive public works program and soak-the-rich tax increases. The results will be the same as in Europe: anemic economic growth, high unemployment, a bloated and ossified public bureaucracy, and a dependent and less productive citizenry. The European Union shows that a sclerotic, highly taxed, over-regulated economy eventually leads to a defanged military - and the inevitable loss of world power status. America has chosen to follow the ruinous road of Europe.

An honest and serious media would have exposed all of these issues - and the dangerous pitfalls of an Obama presidency. Instead, the 2008 campaign represented the final culmination of a low, dishonest decade. A sycophantic press corps suppressed damaging information about Mr. Obama and effectively carried him into the White House. They have thus carried America’s Neville Chamberlain on their shoulders, in a massive delusion that the problem was George W. Bush when, in fact, the problem we face are the evil forces aligned against us.

In 1938, German dictator Adolf Hitler gained the precious months he needed to wage his war of aggression. History is repeating itself - except this time, fascism does not have a Nazi face, but a Persian Islamic one. Americans think they have bought themselves peace and prosperity with Mr. Obama. Yet, neither peace nor prosperity has previously been secured by cowering to the enemies of freedom.

The year 2008 was the year of surrender.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at the Washington Times.

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