Sunday, February 13, 2011

Obama Doesn't Yet Have Moral Clarity

  As we've watched what's happened in Egypt over the last several weeks it's become increasingly evident that Obama and his Administration doesn't have the same moral clarity that past presidents have displayed. The initial statements out of the administration seem to tack to a squishy, we must get this right, narrative, rather then speaking with moral conviction. First Hillary Clinton pronounced that the Egyptian government was stable. Stable? It was about as stable as a mobile home in a West Texas tornado. Then Joe Biden proclaimed that Mubarak was not a dictator. Right. He's not a dictator and democrats are fiscal conservatives.  Obama's statements went from trying to get out front, to backing off. Then during the O'Reilly Superbowl interview he passed up a chance to condemn the Muslim Brotherhood, but instead just lumped them in as a faction and intimated they have legitimacy. His director of National Intelligence testified before congress, and said the Muslim Brotherhood was primarily secular and non-violent

These wavering s and capitulations are not new. He passed up an opportunity to support the Iranian protesters in the summer of 2009, obviously not wanting to fuel Iranian contentions that the protests were being fomented  by the West. It was clear that their elections were rigged and he passed on a Reagan like moment to define the corruption of the Iranian regime. His refusal to support the protesters intentionally or not, disheartened their efforts and gave momentum to the crack down. It almost seemed he didn't want to anger Ahmedinejad, and undermine his opportunity to sit down with him, and look diplomatic and reasonable compared to the cowboy label that was saddled on W.

His administration from the early days has refused to call a spade a spade. Terrorist attacks were now "man caused disasters." The fight against terrorism was now "over sea's contingency operations." Terrorists and terrorism were taken out of the lexicon. They were slow to admit the intentions and conspiracy of terror attacks like the Fort Hood and Christmas Day 2009 incidents. It's instructive to point out that Janet Napolitano in her recent appearance before congress has reversed that trend dramatically. She referred over and over to terrorism, maybe as a result of the 2010 election day chastisement they received.  Maybe they've learned that their initial strategy was not only unpopular with the American people, but was a dismal failure. Whatever the reasons, it is a welcome change.

A president more then anything is seen by the public as a leader, and moral arbiter that can define enemies as well as our friends and not confuse the two. This administration has confused the American people by seeming to throw our friends under the bus and coddle those that want us harm. They have however made crystal clear who their political friends and foes in this country are. Even if you disagree politically, a strong and morally clear commander in chief will have overwhelming support. Reagan spoke out against the Soviet Union, calling it "The Evil Empire." He went to Berlin and boldly demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." Both statements were discouraged by many of his confidants. We have seen what it led to. The Soviet Union fell like domino's and pictures of the Berlin Wall being dismantled still resonate today. It wasn't just the statements, but the moral certainty that defeating communism was imperative to a free world that we loved about him. It was that kind of clarity that created Reagan democrats and caused independents to flock to him. No ambiguity, and no nuance seemed to define Reagan's foreign policy. 

George W. Bush, for all his warts had a similar moral clarity. His "axis of evil" line used in his SOTU speech defined the enemies of freedom and set us on a course to tackle the new challenge of this generation. This was more then a call to defeat Islamic Fascism, but to stand against all tyrannical regimes that subjugate their populous and seek weapons of mass destruction. Liberals have falsely contended that if we have nuclear weaponry why shouldn't the rest of the world. Their naivete fails to understand that only democratic societies put restrictions on their leaders ability to wage war. Bush's idealism and master strategy in the Middle East after 9/11 was actually quite brilliant even though it was somewhat messy. He understood that Islamic Fascism was the major threat to the West. Establishing a democratic beach head in the Middle East would cause a contagious like desire for freedom for others in the area. Iraq's success at establishing a democratic government with free elections may now be spreading throughout the region. The toppling of Saddam, no matter how messy and contentious here, gave hope to others living under tyranny. The Iraqi people seen holding up their purple fingers with pride after casting their votes in the first free election there was seen throughout the world. We saw how terrorist flooded into Iraq to fight  the invaders. It could be they feared the establishment of a democracy in their part of the world as much as their desire to defeat the great Satan, and gain control of the country. Now because of what was done in Iraq, the forces of freedom will began working from inside the middle East.

Demonstrations are scheduled for Iran once again this Monday, and the momentum may be more than the regime can deal with. It's now looking like the administration is ready to fore-go the sit down with the Iranian president and support the demonstrators. Better late then never, as the on the job training continues for this president. If he plays his cards right and stops blaming his predecessor for every insufficiency in his own administration, he could position himself to preside over the democratization of the middle East. He can then thank his predecessor for the moral clarity and determination to establish a democratic beach head in Iraq, and boldly fight Islamic Terrorism. There's still an uncertain outcome in Egypt, but he should immediately renounce radical elements like the Muslim Brotherhood. If the military provides free and fair elections there, the momentum will accelerate the domino effect and we could witness an historic shift from brutal dictatorships to free democracies that will reduce the threat of Islamic radicalism that threatens our security.
Find your moral compass Mr. President, for the benefit of freedom, democracy, and the defeat of Islamic extremism.
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