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.
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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.
Boko Haram atrocities are continuing to unfold in Nigeria and illustrate what happens when the most powerful nation in the world does virtually nothing, or offers nothing more than theatrical assistance.
The kidnapping of hundreds of girls by those Islamist psychopaths has horrified the world. At first, the reaction of the White House was delivered by first lady Michelle Obama. We saw the implementation of “hashtag” diplomacy exemplified by the first lady posing for a Twitter picture holding a sign that read “#BringBackOurGirls.”
Oddly, Boko Haram is not complying.
Eventually, Mr. Obama dispatched 80 troops to help with the search for the girls held in a jungle in Nigeria. By maintaining aircraft and analyzing data. In Chad.
It was made clear in public statements from the White House that we will not be engaging Boko Haram on the ground.
Consequently, since American forces arrived, Boko Haram has kidnapped 11 more girls, and killed hundreds more innocent people. While we maintain aircraft and analyze data.
Many of us recall the Clinton years leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was a time of similarly feckless foreign policy.
In the 1990s, President Clinton did nothing as al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden operated openly in Afghanistan. We simply watched as bin Laden’s hosts, the Afghanistan Taliban, terrorized that nation, killed women in soccer fields for various imagined offenses to Islam, denied women and children schooling, and blew up ancient Buddha statues, among so many other atrocities.
Twenty years ago, Mr. Clinton looked away from the brutalization of women and girls in the Islamic world, thinking perhaps, as Mr. Obama articulated at West Point, “The odds of a direct threat against us by any nation are low, and do not come close to the dangers we faced during the Cold War.”
Cheap words of the oblivious, which are music to the ears of those who have killed thousands, and would kill millions, if they could.
Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, New York Times best-selling author and Fox News and PJTV contributor.