Read most liberal newspapers and you’ll discover that since Barack Obama has become POTUS, the world has embraced America with open arms again. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see international relations may have not improved, but actually worsened, because of the nature of Obama.
It began with an apology tour in Europe and Egypt regarding America’s actions in securing freedom for millions of people across the world. Obama’s words illustrated a message that America is not the beacon of light that shines democracy, but just a member of a larger collection of nations that must act in accordance to each other. It told the world that without people like President George W. Bush leading America, the world will be a unified and safer place (cue the rainbows and pixie dust).
During his Cairo University speech:
“Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible… I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other… America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.” (emphasis mine)
Although his presidency and rhetoric was supposed to initiate healing among the world and within America, as we’ve all seen, failed diplomacy has led to emboldening our enemies to expand dangerous programs (Iran, Venezuela), disregard for our allies (UK, Israel, and Poland), which leaves them questioning what happened to America’s leadership, and lastly bashing Arizona.
More importantly, the emboldening of our enemies has lead to increased oppression onto their citizenry, attempting to reverse the effect President Bush’s freedom agenda had on citizens under rule of tyrants. Under a month ago, a column in the Wall Street Journal discussed the changes that have occurred since Obama took over the Presidency.
“In 2006, Mr. Hendi was browsing pro-democracy Web sites in a Damascus Internet café when plainclothes cops carrying automatic guns swooped in, cuffed him, and threw him into the trunk of a car. He's now living in Maryland as a political refugee where he works for an organization called Cyberdissidents.org. He also got to meet the 43rd president. Mr. Hendi's message to the former president was simple: ‘We miss you.’ There have been ‘a lot of changes’ under the current administration, he added, and not for the better… ‘In Syria, when a single dissident was arrested during the administration of George W. Bush, at the very least the White House spokesman would condemn it. Under the Obama administration: nothing.’”
The column also discusses a Chinese dissident that helped North Koreans escape Kim Jong-Il’s grasps and was arrested; “’When I was released [after 10 days] I was told it was because of very strong messaging from the White House and the culture you set,’ he told Mr. Bush.”
So while brave dissidents challenged the tyrannical leaders, believing they had a supporter in the President, as they just did with his predecessor, their struggle is now falling on deaf ears, ears that are more concerned with denouncing the progress America’s made in securing freedoms for people rather than announcing support for those that seek freedom.
When Iran’s corrupt and fraud ridden election declared Ahmadinejad winner, it was clear that Iranians had enough. They had enough of the oppression taking place under the regime, and were sick of being manipulated under a power thirsty theocracy. What they craved was occurring in their neighboring country of Iraq, which disposed a rule under dictatorship because of America. Iranians were dying the in streets because they could feel that freedom was almost at their fingertips and they needed recognition by the world’s preeminent democracy to help secure it. But all they got was; “We respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran.” Needless to say, the uprising was silenced, and it’s a wait and see on what’s next for the people of Iran.
On Monday, another op-ed published in the WSJ, by an Egyptian democracy advocate, discussed the issue of Arab democracy activists are being discouraged due to the current administration’s actions.
“George W. Bush is missed by activists in Cairo and elsewhere who—despite possible misgivings about his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan—benefited from his firm stance on democratic progress. During the time he kept up pressure on dictators, there were openings for a democratic opposition to flourish. The current Obama policy seems weak and inconsistent by contrast.”
With elections occurring across the Arab world, the citizens are engaged in the current direction of their respective countries. Engagement is high in Egypt, who got funding towards democratic development cut by the current administration, and now is left teetering on the edge of falling into an extended autocratic rule. Without aid and attentive vigilance on the part of U.S and our allies towards Egypt’s elections, democracy may be an afterthought within Egypt.
While words can be reported by media as actions towards spreading democracy, real action is few and far between, which will not eventually spell well for our great country. With Israel left alone to defend itself against intolerable declarations from the UN, Palestinians, and Iran, it seems that the world is yearning for a leader to take on these challenges, whether popular or not, and based on the notion of freedom for all, rather than useless rhetoric that appears caring and sparks hope, but lacks desire for results.
So does the world miss George W. Bush as a statesman who believed all people deserve to live in a democratic society? I’ll let Henry Kissinger answer that: "The great statesmen of the past saw themselves as heroes who took on the burden of their societies' painful journey from the familiar to the as yet unknown. The modern politician is less interested in being a hero than a superstar. Heroes walk alone; stars derive their status from approbation. Heroes are defined by inner values; stars by consensus.”