General James Longstreet in his oft-maligned or oft-praised written requiem (depending on whose side you fall) of Confederate military history, From Manassas to Appomattox, labeled those who criticized his skepticism of Lee’s Gettysburg strategy as woeful “knights of peaceful later days.” Longstreet understandably bristled at the hindsight offered by some who used the benefit of time and peace to criticize how he had challenged assumptions of Lee’s invulnerability. He equally resented commentary from others, who by circumstance weren’t immersed in the heat of battle, but deferred to a largely unrealistic and sterile version of how war, generally, should be fought.
Not much has changed in 140 years. An intellectually vapid landscape has served as fertile ground for a brand of cheap, soundbite liberalism, spawned by groups like the Daily Kos, and its MSNBC mouthpiece, Keith Olbermann. Their collective disdain for all things Bush has, in turn, helped elect a president whose liberal worldview is firmly rooted in a frightening naivete. Clearly, today’s American foreign policy is constrained by the criticism and direction of those who view war and diplomacy as a largely academic exercise, while demanding safety from the peril created by the very appeasement policies they urge.
Oh, if only, these foolish arbiters of bloodless war were just “knights of peaceful later days.”
But these are not “peaceful later days.” Regrettably, the continuing threat of terrorist attacks upon the American homeland and American interests abroad prevents labeling criticism of post 9/11 American foreign policy as innocuous musings of political backbenchers. There are no sanctuaries from which liberal criticism of aggressive anti-terrorist policies could be called for the political propoganda that it largely is – nuclear threats to our allies in the Middle East and Europe and plots threatening American cities and towns, its subway systems, federal buildings and American schools and places of worship do not permit us the luxury of such dismissive and detached review.
And, indeed, the most discouraging aspect of this naive, armchair politics is the influence which it has had in electing a U.S. President and shaping Obama Administration American foreign policy. In what can only be called a foreign policy ensconced in notions of appeasement and retreat, it is clear that the folly of far left wing politics has found a home in today’s West Wing.
At his core, President Obama displays a fundamental lack of understanding of the dangers facing America and our freedom loving allies around the world. Oh, I know, one policy wonk after another, interchangeably trotted out from the Brookings Institution or the Carter Center, will tell us that Obama policies are required change for a changing world.
What changing world?
Is Iran any less a threat to Israel today than it was a year ago? Heck, how about two weeks ago, when American abandoned its plans for a missile shield of Poland and Czechoslovakia, ostensibly arguing that Iran’s delivery capability presented no threat to Eastern Europe? In the last four days, Iran launched three missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to Tel Aviv and Prague. Oops.
Is Afghanistan any less a breeding ground for Taliban extremism and Al-qaeda terrorists today than it was a year ago? Our generals on the ground tell us, “no.” In fact, they tell us that the situation is sufficiently dire, that if they don’t get the thousands of troop increases promised by Candidate Obama to fight his declared war of necessity, our frontline war against terrorism might be lost. Yet, a month after calls were first made for additional troops, we are just now “debating” a “new” strategy within the Oval Office, while our president flies to Copenhagen to win the Olympics? How many American soldiers will die while their military superiors wait for the White House’s answer?
Is our understanding of Vladimir Putin different today than it was five years ago, such that we should now tolerate Russian retreat from democracy and its sponsorship of anti-American aggression, in its growing satellite states of Iran and Venezuela?
Has North Korea, by releasing the American journalists it wrongfully detained, given reason for renewed American negotiation on Pyongyang’s nuclear ambition? Disturbingly, there are those within this administration who think that’s the case.
This is a dangerous world, Mr. President. This is a time when we need leadership, not abdication. A time when we need you to stop posturing for your liberal base, who neither have America’s interests “at heart” nor the intellectual capacity to lead America against the very real threats to its existence and its people. Now is not the time, Mr. President, to surrender America’s survival to cable TV talking heads and their minions, whose bloviating is shaped far more by cheap opportunism than a capacity to understand the gravity of the challenges which face this country.
Yes, Mr. President, it is time for the kids running the White House to turn over the keys to the grown-ups. The only question left, President Obama, which are you?