Welcome to the New Wonderland

I’ve been devoting more time than usual to national security and the threats that face us as a nation. It’s not that I want to do so; events are driving the commentary.

The latest from the Middle East is that the fallen Yemen government—you know, the one that Obama touted as a model for our great success in the War on Terror war on random acts of violence—has not only been deposed, but an Iranian-backed terrorist group has taken control. Yesterday, we not only evacuated our embassy, but the Marines were given orders to destroy all weapons, so they wouldn’t fall into the hands of the new “government.”

This comes on the heels of the news that another American hostage, this time a young woman of 26 and apparently a genuine Christian, Kayla Mueller, was killed by ISIS. Or should we not talk about such things? Are we just hyping a small problem into a major one?

Exaggerating

No worries. Our president has gone to Congress for authorization to wage war against ISIS. Don’t look too closely at the details of this call for authorization; it has a time limit of three years and doesn’t allow for any contingency for the use of ground troops because, as we all know, one of his key pledges was to not get the U.S. “bogged down” in another ground war—regardless of what might be necessary to defeat an enemy. Yes, let’s undermine the whole “war” thing from the start; it’s simply too messy to get involved.

I Want You

At least Obama isn’t limiting himself in the Middle East only; he’s also turning his back on the Ukrainians as they try to defend themselves against Russian aggression. Consistency—what a wonderful trait.

Giving a Hand

Those with a libertarian bent might be concerned about my seeming call to war. Let me be clear (to quote our current leader): war is a last resort, but how long are we going to allow terrorism to flourish? This is not only a Middle Eastern issue; it affects us all eventually. Is there nothing we’re willing to stand strong for anymore? Are we now willing accomplices in our own destruction?

So instead of being serious about the Islamic threat, and not even evidencing a willingness to call it what it is, what do we get? A dire warning that climate change is our greatest security issue. Huh?

Urgent Threat

Our president is going to make sure he doubles down on our real enemies:

Drones

Alice in Wonderland depicts a more realistic view of the world than the one Barack Obama lives in.

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.

U.S. Influence: The Great Vanishing Act

When writing on domestic policy and the Obama administration, I continually point out the overreach: Obamacare, IRS, ruling by executive fiat. If one were to concentrate wholly on the domestic side, it would seem as if everything Obama does lends itself to an incipient tyranny. Shifting to foreign policy, however, sheds a different light—not an admirable one, mind you, but different. Benghazi was/is an exercise in utter incompetence and cluelessness (coupled with a determined coverup, of course). Responses to nations that don’t have our best interests at heart reveal weakness and lack of seriousness, as if we don’t really grasp the threats.

Let’s take Russia, for instance. Putin continues to push the international envelope in many ways, the latest being in Ukraine. What decisive American policy has gone into effect in this crisis? What will it take to get the leader of the free world on board with real action?

More Warnings

Then there’s Iran, busily pursuing nuclear weapons while we think we can talk them into being a nice government that will put trade above ideology. They simply take advantage of our foolishness:

Negotiate

Meanwhile, our president seems more intent on proving his opponents as wrongheaded and portraying himself as focused on the “real” threats:

Doing Nothing

And our influence in the world?

Poof

As if by magic, it has vanished.

Russian Belligerence/American Weakness

The Russian Bear is sharpening its claws again. Vladimir Putin is doing his best to resurrect the old Soviet empire. His strategy of “protecting” Russian-speaking peoples has just landed him the Crimean Peninsula that legally belongs to Ukraine. Will he be satisfied with Crimea only? Why not the rest of Ukraine? After all, it used to be in the Soviet orbit. Rumors are now circulating that there are others who need “protection,” such as Russians living in the Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

The United States used to be seen as the counterbalance to Russian empire-building. Not so much anymore. The Leader of the Free World has more important things on which to concentrate:

Not Taking Seriously

Putin, in fact, is not taking Obama very seriously. Why should he?

March Madness

Threats

Once this president established a track record of being a paper tiger, he made himself inconsequential. Who, on the world stage, is really listening to him anymore?

Mouse that Roared

But never fear, he has his real enemies in his sights, and he’s not going to let them get away with anything:

Weak

Unfortunately, for us and the world, the only “enemy” he recognizes is his political opposition. And the world hurtles toward one disaster after another without the positive input the United States used to give. Things are more out of balance than ever, and they are tipping in the direction of increased belligerence and terrorism. Meanwhile, we just sit and watch.

The Russian-Ukrainian Crisis

I’ve refrained until now from commenting on the situation in Ukraine. I know this is a tough situation with few easy answers. The history of tension between Ukraine and Russia goes back a long ways. One of the worst episodes in twentieth-century history occurred in Ukraine in the winter of 1932-1933 when Josef Stalin was the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union. During that winter, Stalin, in an attempt to strangle Ukrainian resistance to his destruction of independent farmers, removed the region’s food supply, thereby starving approximately seven million Ukrainians to death.

This horror was largely unknown to the West, primarily because journalists like the New York Times’s Walter Duranty, who was given lavish gifts by Stalin, refused to tell the truth about the government-enforced famine. Back in 1983, I was hired by a Ukrainian organization to contact media people to get them to publicize the fiftieth anniversary of this atrocity. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that most of the media didn’t really care to bring it up. It was like the 1930s repeated.

This foolish infatuation with the communist vision was encouraged throughout the decades by people who were referred to as “fellow travelers.” Although not members of the communist party, they trod the same path, giving aid and comfort to the cause of the enemies of Western civilization. That same spirit remains today in the form of liberals/progressives who continue to see the United States as the main obstacle to peace in the world. Remember when Barack Obama took office? There was this famous [infamous?] “reset” button that Hillary Clinton took to Russia to show that a new era had dawned in U.S-Russian relations. Well, how has that worked out?

Reset

It was based on a faulty worldview. In the current Ukraine crisis, the perception of the world, it seems, is that the American government is all talk and no action. Our leaders, both Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, are seen as weak and impotent. Who is really afraid of any threat offered by this administration? Besides, the approach is anything but threatening:

Please Be Nice

Do Nothing

Vladimir Putin is seen, in the world’s eyes, as the strong man here. Obama, not so much.

Middle School

One gets the impression our president really doesn’t know what to do when faced with Russian intransigence:

Extend Our Hand

We continue to rely on good intentions, long after it’s obvious that Russian intentions are not good. Maybe there’s one action the president can take that will cause great consternation within the Russian government:

That'll Teach Him

Dream on.