America, Russia, & Israel

There will be wars and rumors of wars, Jesus told His disciples. They will end only when He returns. I don’t know if there are more wars and disturbances now than ever, or if we simply are more aware of them due to mass communications. But the underlying cause for them is the sinful heart of man. People want something, and they do not have it, so they strike out at others, the apostle James declared. Biblical instruction from thousands of years ago remains true today.

In the past week, the world has been rocked by two major events. The first is the downing of a Malaysian airliner carrying nearly 300 people. All perished in the attack by dissidents/terrorists in Ukraine who want to unite with Russia. This is an outgrowth of Vladimir Putin’s encroachment on Ukraine and his desire to take it over, piece by piece. While the international community—such as it is—wrings its hands over this atrocity, few doubt the hand behind it:

Heat Signature

Then there’s the Middle East, always ripe for violence. Those of us who pay attention to Biblical prophecy and try to sort it out are not surprised. We also know this area will never be at peace. Again, it is the sinful heart of man that has led to the latest round of violence. Let’s be clear, though: when it comes to Israel and its enemies, this is not a moral equivalence situation. As noted by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the difference can be expressed this way—if Hamas lays down its weapons, there will be peace; if Israel lays down its weapons, there will be no more Israel.

It’s Hamas that started the rain of rockets into Israel that has led to most of the citizens living in shelters. A nation can’t put up with that for long. Israel had to respond and try to destroy Hamas’s capability to continue those attacks (missiles supplied by Iran, by the way). Their invasion of Gaza is completely justified. They warn Palestinians to get out of the way; Hamas tells them to stay put so that many will die and they can use the deaths for propaganda purposes:

Death to Israel

The foolish among us then blame Israel for what is happening. The U.S., historically, has been Israel’s staunchest ally. We have helped them install the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system that has effectively neutralized many of those missiles. Hamas has an Iron Dome of its own, but entirely different:

Iron Domes

Yet Israel’s strongest supporter in the past is no longer its greatest ally, if it is an ally indeed. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry mouth the usual platitudes about Israel having the right to defend itself, while simultaneously casting aspersions on Israel for actually doing it. Their public statements seem to imply that Israel is the real problem. They point to the loss of life in Gaza as if this is Israel’s fault. Kerry even was caught on a “hot mic” before his Fox interview sarcastically commenting on Israel’s precision strikes in Gaza. No longer can Israel count on the American government:

Stands Behind Israel

In both these situations—in Ukraine and the Middle East—where is the American president? Out fundraising. Some commentators are beginning to refer to him as the semi-retired president. He’s no real leader.

Leading from Behind

As I’ve said repeatedly, and will say again here: we’re in trouble.

America’s Image Abroad

Benghazi hasn’t been the only foreign policy fiasco for the Obama administration. Presumed Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was a non-entity as secretary of state. Neither she nor other State Department officials, when asked what she accomplished, could come up with anything concrete.

Her successor, John Kerry, is, if possible, even more inept. He and President Obama have displayed an uncommon disdain for Israel and sympathy for those who would like to commit another holocaust against the Jewish people. Last week, Kerry was caught saying that Israel might become an apartheid state. Yet the only nation in the Middle East that includes both Jews and Arabs in government is Israel. It was an offensive statement, divorced from reality. Israeli officials were deeply troubled by the attitude. They have lost confidence in America as an ally, and for good reason:

One Reason

Overall, the Obama approach to world affairs has been to wash our hands of any real leadership. He offers words, and little else. It’s not only Israel that has lost confidence in the nation that has, since WWII, taken on responsibility for combating the evil ideologies of communism and Islamic terrorism. What is America’s role today?

Atlas Shrugged

From returning a bust of Winston Churchill back to Britain, to the silly “reset” button sent to Russia, to the toothless reaction to the imminent takeover of Ukraine, to . . . well, fill in the blank . . . our policies are now being orchestrated by rank amateurs who are still trying to figure out how this all works:

Foreign Policy

So who is going to lead? On what nation or organization can the future of freedom depend? Well, there’s always the United Nations:

Shock Waves

Sure, that should work.

I’m not saying the United States has never stumbled in foreign policy prior to this administration, but there is one glaring difference today: the world no longer looks to us as the best hope for extending liberty and the rule of law. Obama is not too keen on either liberty or the rule of law, at home or abroad.

The Middle East Mess: Obama Disconnected

The Middle East is more of a mess with each passing day. And we helped. The major player now in that area is not the United States but Iran, which is actively exporting its Islamist ideology. I know that George Bush’s actions can be critiqued, but at least when he decided to unleash a surge in Iraq, it worked. Radical elements in that country were set back significantly. Iraq, for the first time in quite a while, experienced something approaching stability.

That has now changed.

Anyone remember the city of Fallujah? It was Islamist Central until we finally brought it under control. The same with the city of Ramadi. What’s happening now? Fallujah is now back under the domination of Al Qaeda. There is no longer any Iraqi government presence there; the Al Qaeda flag is flying from all the buildings. Ramadi is now a battleground, prepared to go the same way.

Barack Obama inherited a fairly stable Iraq, but instead of keeping a small force there to maintain stability, he chose to pull out completely. When’s the last time you heard him say anything about Iraq? He seems to have forgotten it, and apparently doesn’t much care what happens. He never believed in our intervention there in the first place, so he’s disconnected to events on the ground. Being disconnected to events is one of the themes of his governance.

What about Afghanistan? We’re about to see the same scenario play out there. Even though Obama once said this was the right war, one he could support, he’s in the process of pulling an Iraq in Afghanistan. The Taliban, who were driven from the country, are now reentering. Instability is on the rise. Another tragedy is in the offing.

Behind all of this is the belligerence of Iran, the big power now in the region. It continues to develop nuclear capability, while we pretend its leaders are becoming more moderate. The “deal” Obama-Kerry want to solidify with that rogue nation has no mechanism to stop Iran’s drive toward domination, including a publicly stated intent to destroy Israel once it attains nuclear status. There’s a lot of posturing going on that belies the reality:

Sheep & Wolf

It’s always easy to talk tough, but one must have the stomach and backbone to follow through with action. Maybe that’s what’s missing:

Too Transparent

Given the opportunity to make his mark and stand up to Iran, our leader chose another path:

Iran

We are not in a good place. Unless there is a jarring wake-up call to this administration, things are going to get worse, much worse, very soon.

Dreamy-Eyed Progressives vs. America’s Security

I’m concerned that not enough Americans are paying close attention to the latest developments in the Middle East, particularly the deal reached with Iran by the US and a few other nations. Iran was hurting under our sanctions; now we’ve pulled back on those sanctions without getting a solid promise that the country that seeks to obliterate Israel will actually stop working on its nuclear capability. I’ve read a number of commentaries on the “deal,” and there are so many holes in it, it is virtually useless.

Excellent

Here is where a skewed worldview comes into play, one that will put us at greater risk. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry seem to believe the Iranian leaders will become reasonable. They are sadly mistaken because they have a distorted concept of the nature of sinful man. Our “leaders” have spent most of their lives bemoaning American actions in the world and criticizing their own country more than other nations. It’s as if they think the United States is the primary hindrance to world peace. Iran doesn’t mind this warped perspective; it works to their distinct advantage:

All Smiles

It also helps them move closer to the goal of wiping Israel off the face of the map. Ever since the creation of Israel in 1948, the United States has been its staunchest ally, but our current leadership is more sympathetic toward the Arab world than the embattled Israelis, who are surrounded by a host of enemies. They have come to realize they can no longer count on the nation that once was their best supporter and helper in times of trouble. They are trying to adjust to the new reality:

Israel's Seat

This is not just a problem for Israel. The Obama administration, due to its off-base ideology, is unwilling and/or unable to see the long-term danger now facing America from the Iranian terrorist state. We’re also now hearing reports of talks with the terrorist organization Hezbollah, as if they also can be reasonable. Dreamy-eyed progressives are undermining our security.

The Iranian Deal: Realism vs. Idealism

Obamacare has been so front and center lately—and will continue to be so because of its effect on everyone—that our foreign policy with respect to Iran has taken a back seat in the public’s mind. Foreign policy usually takes a back seat, as we’re nearly always more concerned about what we see happening here at home. Yet what happens here in the future is vitally connected to what’s happening over there.

Iran DealWe have blustered for years now about Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Presidents Bush and Obama have pledged not to allow such development, the basis for that concern being the radical Islamic ideology that motivates Iran. The first country to be menaced by any nuclear weapons in Iran will be Israel, which is our only staunch ally in the Middle East. Turning our backs on Israel would be a betrayal of the highest magnitude, yet this new “deal” that the Western nations have just agreed to with Iran seems to do just that.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, calls this deal a “historic mistake.” James Carafano, in National Review, calls this “Munich II,” the classic sellout of Czechoslovakia by the Western powers to Hitler in 1938. The first Munich rested on the “ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated.” Carafano says it is  “equally ludicrous” to believe that Iran is really open to giving up its nuclear development. Sanctions were working, to some extent; that’s what brought the Iranians to the table. Now, in this new deal, we are easing most of those sanctions. Carafano then writes about the two different worldviews in our approach to Iran: realism vs. idealism.

The realists, he says, know that sanctions were only there for one reason: bring down this regime. Idealists believe that sanctions were the “magic button” that would make the Iranians reasonable. He continues:

The parting of the ways between realists and idealists is not about two different visions of the path to a peaceful future. In the case of this particular foreign-policy conundrum, the realist approach is based on a full awareness of whom the West is really dealing with. The idealists’ assessment is delusional. . . .

The only “fact” offered so far to prove that the pact will lead to something other than a good deal for Iran is the blithe assurance that the deal was negotiated by really smart people who know what they are doing.

Are these the same “smart people” who orchestrated our response to Benghazi? We also need to realize that President Obama has a soft spot for Islamic radicalism and a seething disdain for Israel. How comforting is that? He’s always been far more willing to negotiate with Islamists than with others he perceives as his enemies:

Negotiations

I, for one, am not in my comfort zone when I think about his negotiating skills and his promises:

Iran Nuke Deal

Obama is one of those idealists Carafano wrote about, who think the Iranians will see the light, and with whom we can negotiate in good faith. As he said, this is delusional:

Bridge

Then again, maybe we just don’t know how clever he and John Kerry have been in all this. Perhaps we don’t understand their trump card:

Secret Plan

Yes, that might do it—a sure pathway for the destruction of any enemy.

Egypt & Obama

It’s never easy to get Americans interested in what’s going on in other countries. Much of what is happening in the Middle East, though, is critical, and we should be aware of developments in that crucial area. Israel, of course, is the only solid American ally in the region, and it is continually threatened with extinction. If the Muslim extremists get their way, a new holocaust will take place.

Also high on the list for extinction in that part of the world is Christianity. What we’re seeing played out in Egypt right now is downright scary. Some of the news networks aren’t providing the whole story; Christian churches are being attacked and destroyed, and individual Christians are being murdered for their beliefs. This is persecution, plain and simple.

The primary culprit in these atrocities is the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to establish Sharia law over not only Egypt, but the entire world. Turmoil in Egypt during the misnamed Arab Spring led to an election that put a Brotherhood leader is charge of the country. Mohamed Morsi proceeded to put the Brotherhood’s plan into action, tightening the noose on Christians and moderate Muslims who were just too afraid to oppose him and his terrorist organization. Egypt was cooperating with Iran, which has declared it will wipe Israel off the map.

Finally, the military put a stop to the drift toward Sharia totalitarianism, ousting Morsi and clamping down on the Muslim Brotherhood. This has led to civil war as “days of rage” are proclaimed and casualties mount. Again, the main culprit is easy to spot:

Muslim Brotherhood

Yet this has put the United States government in an awkward situation. You see, the Obama administration had not only recognized the Morsi government as the legitimate government of Egypt, but seemed to endorse its actions. Now that the military is taking control, the people are coming out of hiding and applauding the removal of the Brotherhood. Signs displayed in the streets are not only anti-Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, but also anti-Obama. The citizens rightly perceive that Obama chose his side in this struggle. The wrong side. This leaves him in a tough spot:

Sand Trap

If it appears he is lost in the world of international relations, it might be because he is. The American president, ostensibly in charge of the most powerful nation on earth, is powerless to do anything meaningful in that region. But he’s the one who put himself in this untenable position; he has no one else to blame.

Really Is Obama

His radical ideology trapped him. Most of the world has come to view him as little more than clownish. Unfortunately, the whole nation suffers from his reputation. This is a far cry from the adulation heaped upon him five short years ago. It was a foolish adulation then; those who cling to the earlier image have decided to remain fools now.

These Are Our Leaders?

Chuck Hagel was confirmed as the new Secretary of Defense yesterday. Forty-one Republicans voted against the appointment; four joined with all the Democrats to put the vote well over the top. Republicans who earlier voted for cloture and broke the filibuster are, in my mind, just as much to blame for this successful nomination as those who openly supported Hagel.

This is the same man who fell on his face verbally in his confirmation hearings, stumbling badly before sharp questioning. This is the man who has said the Iranian regime is a legitimately elected regime despite all the evidence of corruption and intimidation of opponents. This is the man who can’t understand why the Iranians shouldn’t have nuclear capability. And this is also the man who has made rather strong statements against our only ally in the region—Israel.

In fact, the radical anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, is now praising Hagel. He’s pleased that Hagel stands up to the “Jewish Lobby.” Who, in their right minds, would want Louis Farrakhan saying nice things about them? Somehow Hagel has accomplished that. But keep in mind that Hagel will not be making policy; he’ll simply be carrying out the policies of his boss, President Obama, another politician who has little good to say about Israel, and who feels far more comfortable in the Islamist world.

This “team” is rounded out by the new Secretary of State, John Kerry. He’s now on his first overseas assignment, visiting supposedly key allies, but curiously omitting some of the staunchest—no Israel or Poland on the itinerary. Kerry didn’t get off on the right foot when he stopped in the country of Kyrgyzstan; he invented a new name for the country—Kyrzakhstan. Shouldn’t the Secretary of State know how to pronounce the names of allies?

On top of that embarrassment, Kerry went to Germany to speak to students there. What did he decide to focus on? He told them that in America, even neo-Nazis have the right of free speech, and that is a good thing. Whatever one thinks of the limits of free speech, upholding Nazi free-speech rights in Germany is at least odd, probably stupid. Germany has banned the Nazi Party, and for good reasons. Germany is not America, and the history of Nazi Germany is anathema to modern Germans.  Jonah Goldberg of National Review responded to Kerry’s choice of subject rather superbly, I think, when he said,

I am all in favor of democracy promotion and singing the praises of free expression. But getting the Germans to be more tolerant of Nazi propagandizing is low on my list of priorities. Really, really, really low. Let’s see if he’s willing to give a similar talk about religious freedom and tolerance in Saudi Arabia. My hunch is that he’d be much quicker to respect the cultural distinctiveness of Saudi attitudes.

These are our political leaders. Pray that we survive their leadership.