One of the biggest items of “change” that President-elect Barack Obama ran on was in the department of foreign policy. It was one of the major reasons that he was able to engineer an upset of Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primaries and clinch the nomination. However, when faced with the realities of a dangerous world, one that was dangerous before George W. Bush took office, “change” may seemingly have to take a back seat in order to defeat Islamofacist terrorism.
First, Obama must make the commitment to winning in Iraq. During the campaign, Obama ran on a promise to end the war in Iraq. However, his plan for a 16-month troop withdrawal may hit a snag: How history will remember him in regards to winning an important theater in the first war for America’s existence since the Revolution.
If Obama commits to winning the war before pulling all of the troops (he can still hold his pledge on not having permanent bases despite the desires of the Iraqi government), history will think of John McCain as the whistleblower, George W. Bush as the implementer, and Barack Obama as the closer and victor. It’s a political win-win-win all around the board. It would also have historians forget that Obama was willing to concede defeat in the middle of the success of the surge.
Also, the American public is hearing little about what’s going on in Iraq today. Since the start of October, there have been a total of 17 U.S. troops killed over a 40 day period for an average of just under 0.43 troops per day dead. To top this off, there has only been one month this year (June) where the body count was greater than the number of days in the month. Prior to that stretch, the only months that had a monthly body count less than the number of days in the same respective month were in February 2004 and December 2007.
The other is for Obama to fulfill his complete campaign promise to pull all the troops within 16 months, or by the end of May 2010. This could be risky for his majorities in Congress should Iraq descend in to chaos. Already, Israel is about set to elect Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel thanks to the election of Obama on Tuesday. Netanyahu will likely have to take over as the leading head of state in the war on terror if Obama decides to withdraw any troops that are necessary for victory and appease rogue dictators who are supporting Islamofacist terrorists.
A withdrawal also empowers Iran and Syria who would align with the Shiite majority in Iraq and fight the Sunnis who will be backed by Jordan and Saudi Arabia. This would be problematic and a catastrophic failure of the Obama administration because Syria and Iran have been building up their military for an invasion of Israel, but would get the parting gift of Iraq. Jordan and Saudi Arabia will be unable to fight because Jordan has made peace with Israel and Saudi Arabia depends on the United States to protect them as it has since just before Desert Storm.
Pulling out of Iraq sends the mixed signal to forces fighting the United States in Afghanistan by saying “We don’t believe that this ‘surge’ worked in Iraq, but we’re going to implement it here against you anyway.” There would be an emboldening of the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan if the United States doesn’t commit to winning in Iraq alongside that of a troop surge in Afghanistan to root out insurgent forces once and for all.
Second, Obama must decommit himself from meeting with rogue dictators ranging from Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il (it is still up in the air as to whether or not he’s alive), Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syria’s Bashar Assad, and Cuba’s Raul Castro. It cannot happen because it would set up a disaster akin to what John F. Kennedy had after he met with Nikita Khrushchev.
The meeting resulted with the Soviet construction of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Neither of these were successfully concluded by the Kennedy White House. In the case of the Berlin Wall, it stood until 1989 when it was torn down as both Berlin and Germany were reunited. As for the Cuban Missile Crisis, Fidel Castro feared an invasion by American military forces that would oust him from power if the missiles were not taken back. Khrushchev acquiesced on the Cuban missiles.
Third, President-elect Obama must not condemn any actions taken by Israel in defense of their country. This was a problem of his that emerged when the Russians invaded Georgia this past summer. In his first response, Obama called on Georgia to “exercise restraint” in the defense of their country. This was absolutely laughable and showed his ignorance and naivety on foreign policy matters.
If Iran is accelerating towards a nuclear bomb and the Israelis have credible intelligence that indicates this, it would be wise to let Israel deal with the problem and take out Iran’s nuclear program with air strikes of their own. Should Netanyahu decide as Prime Minister (and he will win election in February) to bomb Iran, Obama would be wise to not condemn the actions of an ally against a mutual enemy. It is neither politically wise for him to do so nor would it be strategically wise in a worldwide war against Islamofacist terrorism.
Finally, Obama needs to come to the realization (and the intelligence briefings better do the trick) to make Obama realize that the enemy of Islamofacist terrorism is an even graver enemy than that what the Soviet Union could have ever been. That realization has to come about from the methods, tactics, and aspirations of Islamofacist terrorists versus that of the former Soviet Union.
The Soviet proliferation and expansion was initially as a result of their territorial gains and reconstruction of Eastern Europe from World War II. From 1945 to 1989, the Soviets had puppet Communist governments in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania, Hungary, and Bulgaria as well as recapturing Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and absorbing them into the Soviet Union itself.
One of the greatest methods that the Soviets used was spreading military technology and money around to nations, especially Arab ones, in order to gain influence and to back them against Israel who was being backed by the United States and Western Europe. They also sought to further influence nationals from other nations by spreading Communist teachings and ideology.
Meanwhile, the Islamofacist approaches of countries like Syria and Iran as well as terrorist groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda results in a goal of complete subjugation to strict Islamic teachings and law. Their means are the use of intimidation by killing civilians with bombs and to pursue greater and more deadlier attacks throughout countries that don’t subscribe to or support their ideology.
If Obama decides that he is going to scale back the War on Terror and attempt to use a type of détente with terrorism like that of what Nixon, Ford, and Carter did with the Soviet Union, there will be many more major losses coming over the next four years. The end result of détente with the Soviets was their invasion of Afghanistan which was responded to with the Moscow Olympics boycott, the dumbest of all foreign policy decisions made since in the last 30 years.
There can never be coexistence with terrorism and President-elect Obama must come in to office on day one with that realization. Either we stop it and destroy its capabilities or we allow them to intimidate and dictate the future of freedom and liberty with subjugation under what many in the post-modernity West would consider barbaric.
Should Obama push for a kind of coexistence with those who have a goal to kill or subjugate us to their radical and barbaric philosophies of hate, he will be even more naïve than what America’s enemies are being led to believe.