Tag Archives: Diplomacy

Remembering 9/11 and the Democrat weakness on foreign policy that caused it

The 9/11 attacks resulted from weak Democrat foreign policy
The 9/11 terrorist attacks resulted from weak Democrat foreign policy

One of my libertarian friends was objecting to the 9/11 memorial being conducted today. So I decided to re-post a VERY old post I wrote in February 2009 when I was just starting out blogging. In it, I explain why I became so conservative on foreign policy after 9/11. Watching the response of the secular left and libertarians to the attack (blame America and praise terrorists) turned me into a hawk.

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The Wall

Democrats have a reputation for not taking defense and counter-terrorism seriously. According to this post over at the American Thinker, the 9/11 tragedy was mostly due to a failure in intelligence caused by a “wall” between different intelligence-gathering organizations.

Gorelick, an appointee of Bill Clinton, is the one who constructed the wall of separation that kept the CIA and the FBI from comparing notes and therefore invading the privacy of nice young men like, say, Muhammed Atta and Zacarius Moussaoui. While countless problems were uncovered in our intelligence operations in the wake of 9-11, no single factor comes close to in importance to Jamie Gorelick’s wall.

In fact, it was Gorelick’s wall, perhaps more than any other single factor, that induces some people to blame Clinton himself for 9-11 since he appointed her and she acted consistent with his philosophy of “crime fighting.” She put the wall into place as Deputy Attorney General in 1995.

Now let’s see how a Republican president responded to a terrorist attack.

George W. Bush

George W. Bush’s bold action abroad gave us 7 years free from terrorist attacks on American assets. If there is one thing that deters future attacks, it is military invasions of countries that support and/or harbor terrorists. They understand military force. For Bush, one terrorist attack was enough to get us to respond with force.

As a result of the Bush doctrine of invading states suspected of developing and/or proliferating WMDs, Libya discontinued its weapons program and invited inspectors to come in and cart away all of its research equipment. That was the Bush doctrine – which Libya believed only because they saw that we were willing to back up our demands with force. We can have peace if our enemies believe that we have the will to go to war, and that our enemies fear that they will lose that contest.

Bill Clinton

Contrast George W. Bush’s immediate response to terrorism with Democrat Bill Clinton. According to Byron York, we had four terrorist attacks during Clinton’s presidency.

So Clinton talked tough. But he did not act tough. Indeed, a review of his years in office shows that each time the president was confronted with a major terrorist attack — the February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center, the Khobar Towers attack, the August 7, 1998, bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole — Clinton was preoccupied with his own political fortunes to an extent that precluded his giving serious and sustained attention to fighting terrorism.

How did Clinton respond to these four attacks? According to this interview with Richard Miniter, President Clinton was much less aggressive than Bush was, during his two terms. Bush’s administration did not fear public opinion, but Clinton’s administration did. Miniter lists sixteen of the Clinton administration’s failures to treat terrorism as a serious threat. Below, I cite my favorites. Read the whole list!

Lopez: In sum, how many times did Bill Clinton lose bin Laden?

Miniter: Here’s a rundown. The Clinton administration:

[…]4. Did not militarily react to the al Qaeda bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

[…]7. Objected to Northern Alliance efforts to assassinate bin Laden in Afghanistan.

8. Decided against using special forces to take down bin Laden in Afghanistan.

[…]11. Clumsily tipped off Pakistani officials sympathetic to bin Laden before a planned missile strike against bin Laden on August 20, 1998. Bin Laden left the camp with only minutes to spare.

12-14. Three times, Clinton hesitated or deferred in ordering missile strikes against bin Laden in 1999 and 2000.

15. When they finally launched and armed the Predator spy drone plane, which captured amazing live video images of bin Laden, the Clinton administration no longer had military assets in place to strike the archterrorist.

16. Did not order a retaliatory strike on bin Laden for the murderous attack on the USS Cole.

When you look at the facts, we begin to understand why Democrats perform so poorly on national security issues.

Peace Through Strength

Republicans, on the other hand, believe in peace through strength.

In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve “peace through strength.” During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.

I’ve been reading a lot about the run up to World War 2 lately. And what I discovered was that leading figures in the governments of both the Germany and Japan (in their correspondence) believed that no one in the West would stop them for being aggressive. So, in the 1930s, both Germany and Japan took aggressive actions against their neighbors. For example, Germany and Japan both seized territory from their peaceful neighbors. We got into a world war because we didn’t deter these early aggressive actions. That’s why we had to fight against a much stronger enemy in a world war – we gave them time to build up while we did nothing to prepare.

The differences between the two political parties could not be more clear. Weakness provokes war. Wars start when our enemies believe that they can strike us with impunity. Military strength, and the will to use it, deter aggression.

Iran test fires “Emad” long range surface-to-surface missile

Iran fires a C-802 anti-ship cruise missile (SSM)
Iran fires a C-802 anti-ship cruise missile (SSM)

Is everything is going to be fine with this Iran deal? Because judging from their willingness to violate previous orders from the international community, they are not really serious about honoring international agreements.

Investors Business Daily explains:

The terrorist state of Iran over the weekend successfully test-fired the Emad — which means pillar — its first precision-guided, long-range surface-to-surface missile. As the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ Anthony Cordesmannotes, the Emad “is essentially a Shahab-3, but with a maneuvering re-entry vehicle to improve system accuracy and complicate missile defense.”

Iran’s Shahab-3 is based on North Korea’s Nodong-1, which in turn is based on the Soviet Scud — a tactical missile that was adapted to carry a nuclear warhead of up to 80 kilotons. Its range exceeds 1,000 miles — meaning it can reach Israel, Saudi Arabia and NATO member Turkey — and its accuracy is within 600 yards of the target.

The Obama administration reacted by complaining that the test violated the 5-year-old U.N. Security Council resolution 1929, prohibiting Iran from any activities related to ballistic missiles, and the State Department warned it will raise the issue at the United Nations.

Anyway, it’s not a big deal because Obama complained, and that should fix it. Well, he thinks it will.

Global Warming

Anyway, this whole “nuclear missiles in the hands of terrorists” thing is just a distraction from the more pressing problem of global warming. That’s the real threat we need to be worried about.

Global warming is a lot hotter than a nuclear missile detonation. Pretty sure. The science is clear on this.

The liberal Huffington Post reports that Pew Research says that Americans don’t agree with Obama on his threat assessment:

Americans are less concerned about climate change than they are about the Islamic State, Iran’s nuclear program and other threats, according to a new study released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday.

[…]Pew asked respondents in 40 nations whether they were “very concerned” about climate change and six other major global issues, giving them the option to respond either “yes” or “no.” The study was conducted from March to May 2015.

The Islamic State topped Americans’ list of concerns, with 68 percent of Americans reporting that they were “very concerned” about the militant group in Iraq and Syria. More than half of American respondents were also worried about Iran’s nuclear program (62 percent), cyber-attacks (59 percent), and global economic instability (51 percent).

It’s a good thing we have such a smart President, because he is able to focus on the real problems that are an immediate threat to our survival.

Mainstream media silent as Muslim Brotherhood targets Christians in Egypt

Investors Business Daily reports.

Excerpt:

Christians in Egypt are again the target of Islamist Muslim Brotherhood supporters using the new violence as a cover for ongoing persecution. If Christians were burning mosques, the world would be outraged.

Amid the raging violence in Egypt, a less-publicized war is being waged against Egypt’s long-persecuted Coptic Christians, this time using the excuse that they were somehow involved in the military’s ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi from power.

Coptic Christians comprise up to 10% of Egypt’s 84 million people.

Ishaq Ibrahim from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights group has documented as many as 39 incidents of violence against churches, monasteries, Coptic schools and shops in different parts of the country within the past few days. They include Thursday’s torching of the Prince Tadros Church in the province of Fayoum, where three similar attacks occurred on other churches the day before.

Islamists firebombed the Mar Gergiss Church in Sohag, a city with a large community of Coptic Christians, burning it to the ground. Islamists previously raised an al-Qaida flag over the church.

Another two places of worship, the Churches of Abraham and the Virgin Mary, were attacked in El-Menia province, leaving them partially damaged by fire. St. Theresa Church in Assiut in Upper Egypt was also burned.

[…]In a terrorist attack one minute after midnight on Jan. 1, 2011, 21 Christians attending a New Year’s mass were killed, and 97 people, mostly Christians, were injured as worshipers were leaving a New Year’s mass at the Saints Church in Alexandria.

On April 7, two Copts were killed and 84 injured by a mob using guns, wielding machetes, throwing stones and possibly hurling Molotov cocktails at mourners exiting St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. The worshippers were mourning the deaths of four Copts in an April 4 attack in Khossus in which a nursery and church were burned.

An investigation into the October 2011 attack on Coptic Christians in Cairo’s Maspero district, leaving 30 dead and more than 500 wounded, was shut down by the Morsi regime. In the Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood, Christian lives mean little.

As the administration quibbles over the definition of a “coup” regarding Egypt’s military aid, we are reminded the U.S. and NATO went to war over the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in Bosnia. What will be our response to the ethnic cleansing of 10% of Egypt’s population?

One of the troubling things that I’ve noticed with younger evangelicals and libertarians is that they don’t understand that wars start when bad people believe that they can behave aggressively and no one will stop them. Being nice doesn’t work on bad people, it just makes them act that more more aggressively.

Here’s an article from Townhall by famous economist Thomas Sowell, in which he explains how tyrants respond to weak foreign policy.

Excerpt:

On the international scene, trying to assuage aggressors’ feelings and look at the world from their point of view has had an even more catastrophic track record. A typical sample of this kind of thinking can be found in a speech to the British Parliament by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938: “It has always seemed to me that in dealing with foreign countries we do not give ourselves a chance of success unless we try to understand their mentality, which is not always the same as our own, and it really is astonishing to contemplate how the identically same facts are regarded from two different angles.”

Like our former ambassador from the Carter era, Chamberlain sought to “remove the causes of strife or war.” He wanted “a general settlement of the grievances of the world without war.” In other words, the British prime minister approached Hitler with the attitude of someone negotiating a labor contract, where each side gives a little and everything gets worked out in the end. What Chamberlain did not understand was that all his concessions simply led to new demands from Hitler — and contempt for him by Hitler.

What Winston Churchill understood at the time, and Chamberlain did not, was that Hitler was driven by what Churchill called “currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them.” That was also what drove the men who drove the planes into the World Trade Center.

Pacifists of the 20th century had a lot of blood on their hands for weakening the Western democracies in the face of rising belligerence and military might in aggressor nations like Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. In Britain during the 1930s, Labor Party members of Parliament voted repeatedly against military spending, while Hitler built up the most powerful military machine in Europe. Students at leading British universities signed pledges to refuse to fight in the event of war.

All of this encouraged the Nazis and the Japanese toward war against countries that they knew had greater military potential than their own. Military potential only counts when there is the will to develop it and use it, and the fortitude to continue with a bloody war when it comes. This is what they did not believe the West had. And it was Western pacifists who led them to that belief.

Then as now, pacifism was a “statement” about one’s ideals that paid little attention to actual consequences. At a Labor Party rally where Britain was being urged to disarm “as an example to others,” economist Roy Harrod asked one of the pacifists: “You think our example will cause Hitler and Mussolini to disarm?”

The reply was: “Oh, Roy, have you lost all your idealism?” In other words, the issue was about making a “statement” — that is, posturing on the edge of a volcano, with World War II threatening to erupt at any time. When disarmament advocate George Bernard Shaw was asked what Britons should do if the Nazis crossed the channel into Britain, the playwright replied, “Welcome them as tourists.”

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher called this view “peace through strength”. There is only one reason why evil people do not attack – because they think that good people have the firepower tomake them pay dearly for their aggression, and – and this is very important – the will to use it.

The important thing to realize is that without a powerful military, there is nothing that we can do when the Muslim Brotherhood goes after Coptic Christians in Egypt. Happy talk isn’t going to solve anything. To deter aggression, you need to have a credible threat of military force deployed in the region. Even if you don’t go to war, the other guy has to believe that you can and that you will. That’s what stops bad people from being aggressive. What Benghzi showed the Islamists is that they could do anything they wanted, and no one is going to stop them. That’s why Christians are dying by the bushel in Egypt today.

Democrat diplomacy: John Kerry pleads with Iraq to interdict Iranian arms shipments

Map of the Middle East
Map of the Middle East

The Wall Street Journal explains how well Democrat diplomacy worked in the Middle East. (H/T Dennis Prager)

Excerpt:

The strategic cost of President Obama’s election-driven total withdrawal from Iraq is now becoming clearer. On Sunday Secretary of State John Kerry was reduced to pleading with Iraqi officials to search Iranian flights that fly over Iraq on their way to arming Bashar Assad’s Syrian government.

With private entreaties doing no good, Mr. Kerry took his complaints public on Sunday on a visit to Baghdad, telling reporters that Iraq’s failure even to search Iran’s overflights leaves the American people “wondering how it is a partner.” Too bad Mr. Obama didn’t think about that in 2011 when he could have struck a deal to station 10,000 or so U.S. troops in Iraq for the long haul, which would have sealed the kind of partnership Mr. Kerry now wants.

Mr. Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, thought she had secured a Baghdad pledge last year to search Iran’s flights, but U.S. officials say Iraq has searched only two of what have become almost daily trips to Damascus. Mr. Kerry implies that this is an Iraq betrayal, but with the U.S. seen as wanting to withdraw from the region and Iran able to stir up plenty of political trouble inside Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has little incentive to take a risk for U.S. interests.

Mr. Obama is also discovering that there are strategic costs to doing so little in two years to topple Iran’s proxy government in Syria. Refugees are flooding into Jordan, threatening the stability of that U.S. ally, and no one seems sure who has control over Syria’s chemical weapons. Mr. Obama claims “the tide of war is receding,” but the main result of his abdications is that the U.S. has less influence to stop war from spreading.

We withdrew our forces from the key area of the Middle East, Iraq, which is located between Iran and its puppet state, Syria. Without a military force in the area, we have no influence and nothing to bargain with. We can’t even support covert operations. We have lost all credibility in the Middle East by appearing weak. That’s what happens when you put Democrats in control of foreign policy. They think that people will listen to them because they are so nice – redistributing wealth and silencing those mean moral people. They have such compassion. But in the real world, countries understand that pacifists are weak. Iraq knows that they have more to fear from Iran than the United States, so they side with Iran. Our weakness has caused our allies in Afghanistan and Iraq to side with the stronger force in the Middle East, our enemy Iran.

Obama foreign policy: Muslim Brotherhood imposing anti-US dictatorship in Egypt

North Africa and Middle East Political Map
North Africa and Middle East Political Map

The Heritage Foundation explains what Obama enabled by using American military force to remove Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

Excerpt:

Egypt was wracked by protests today, the day after President Mohamed Morsi purged key judicial officials and issued a decree that granted himself sweeping new powers. In Cairo, protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s stalled revolution, to denounce Morsi’s power grab and chant: “Morsi is Mubarak.” There were reports of heavy rioting in three Suez Canal cities, Suez, Port Said, and Ismaila, with angry crowds burning the offices of Morsi’s political party, the Freedom and Justice Party.

Opposition political leaders accused Morsi of “monopolizing all three branches of government.” Mohamed El Baradei tweeted that Morsi had “appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh.”

And more from a different Heritage Foundation article:

Egypt has been rocked once again by a political crisis triggered by President Mohamed Morsi’s relentless efforts to secure dictatorial power. Hundreds of protesters from liberal and secular opposition groups demonstrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the birthplace of Egypt’s stunted “Arab Spring” revolt. One barometer of the coming test of strength between Morsi and the weak and splintered opposition will be whether the disappointed democrats can retain control over Tahrir Square in the face of police and Muslim Brotherhood countermoves.

Egypt’s judiciary also has pushed back against Morsi’s power grab. The Supreme Council of the Judiciary denounced Morsi’s unilateral assertion of power over the judiciary as “an unprecedented attack on judicial independence.” The Judges Club, an association of judges made up of many appointees by the Mubarak regime, called for a strike by courts across Egypt.

But the judges alone will not be enough to reverse Morsi’s power grab. The key vote will be wielded by the armed forces. Morsi appears confident that he can count on support from key military leaders, whom he hand-picked after purging the top ranks of Mubarak loyalists in August.

While the army’s ultimate verdict on Morsi’s power grab is not yet apparent, Egypt’s investors voted with their wallets and withdrew their money from Egypt’s stock market, which plunged almost 10 percent on Sunday. Even if Morsi does secure the backing of the army, his assertion of dictatorial powers will further undermine what little confidence remains in Egypt’s deteriorating economy.

Guess what? It’s not always a good idea to use American power abroad. We have to ask what is in it for us. And in Egypt and Libya, there was nothing in it for us. We should have intervened appropriately in Syria and Iran, which are much more threatening to us.