Ditching Friends, Courting Enemies
Last July, 22 intellectuals and former political leaders from Eastern and Central Europe penned an open letter to the Obama administration. Endorsed by many of the region’s current leaders, it explained that Central and Eastern Europe are at a “political crossroads.”
“Storm clouds are starting to gather on the foreign-policy front,” the letter read. The region is afflicted with a “growing sense of nervousness.” The primary source of fear is Russia, their reinvigorated neighbor bent on “pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods.”
The gracious yet somber missive was a heart-to-heart plea. America rescued us from the Cold War, was the unwritten implication. Grateful and indebted, we have for 20 years reciprocated by being dependable, trustworthy allies, both in word and in action. Our relationship must remain healthy. Now, more than ever, the “United States and Central and Eastern Europe must reconnect around a new and forward-looking agenda,” it said. Be strong, Mr. Obama. Treasure our past, and please don’t abandon us now—not at this precarious moment.
You might remember the president’s response. Two months later, on the 70th anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Poland, his administration announced it was scrapping the ballistic missile defense (bmd) system slated for Poland and the Czech Republic.
It was exactly what the leaders of Central and Eastern European states feared: After 20 years of friendship, the United States was tossing them to the Russian bear.
This decision, disastrous as it was, was at least consistent. Over the past year, ditching long-time friends and allies in order to court enemies has become standard American foreign policy.
The U.S. has been Israel’s most ardent ally since its establishment as a state in 1948. Though the intensity of America’s support has waxed and waned over the years depending on who inhabited the White House, the waning that has occurred during the Obama administration is unprecedented.
In his June address to the Muslim world in Cairo—where he declared a “new beginning” in the relationship between America and the Muslim world—President Obama essentially severed America’s historic relationship with the Jewish state. As the Trumpet noted after that speech, by coddling the Muslims “the U.S. effectively ended its brotherly and strategically critical alliance with Israel” (August 2009).
Since then, the American-Israeli relationship has continued to fracture. In an effort to make good on its promises to the Palestinians (and Muslims in general), Washington maintains its policy of imposing outrageous, even dangerous, demands on the Jewish government.
For decades, Israel has relied heavily on its brotherly, sometimes testy, bond with the U.S.—whether it was America giving political legitimacy to Israel’s sovereignty, selling hardware to Israel’s military, or defending the interests of the Jewish state internationally. Mr. Obama’s lofty rhetoric notwithstanding, that “unbreakable” bond is now broken.
As we explained in August, “Israel knows it has been abandoned by the United States.”
The bond between the U.S. and Britain was the defining relationship of the 20th century. Together the two countries defeated the Kaiser in World War i and the Axis powers in World War ii. Together they formed the dual heart of the global economic system. Together they rebuilt postwar Europe. Together they confronted and eventually defeated Communist Russia. Together they overthrew Saddam Hussein and waged war against Islamic terrorists.
Barack Obama wasn’t in office a month before he was undermining this historic relationship. “It has been said that the new president does not share the affinity for Britain of his predecessors,” observed the Telegraph in February (Feb. 3, 2009). His disregard for Britain was evident early, when he made the decision, without consulting Downing Street, to send four Guantánamo detainees to settle in the British colony of Bermuda. “The U.S. is clearly determined to act in what it perceives as its own national interest even riding roughshod over what it should have done, which is spoken to the British government,” stated one British member of Parliament.
The White House press secretary ditched the term “relationship” in favor of “partnership” when describing America’s association with Britain. And don’t forget about the infamous Churchill bust incident, or Obama’s frosty reception of Prime Minister Gordon Brown in early March, which consisted of a 30-minute chat inside the White House and a gift of a dvd collection of 25 Hollywood movies. “There’s nothing special about Britain,” a Washington insider was reported to have said during preparations for Mr. Brown’s visit. “You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”
And they don’t—not anymore.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt
Although it’s a stretch to say Saudi Arabia and Egypt are friends of America, the “moderates” in Cairo and Riyadh have definitely been counted among Washington’s firmest Muslim allies. “Have” is the operative word too. Watching the president work, it’s hard to imagine Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the moderate Muslim world remaining allies for long.
The president’s address in Cairo redefined America’s relationship with the Muslim world. It’s telling then, that during that speech President Obama didn’t express a shadow of interest in confronting Iran, the nation Mort Kondracke has identified as the one that “the whole Arab world is scared to death of.” The president said nothing about dealing with Iran’s sponsoring of terrorists, nor its rapidly advancing nuclear program. In fact, he made it clear that America has no realinterest in preventing Iran from acquiring nukes.
Mr. Obama’s speech was “the weakest statement on Iran and nukes in at least eight or nine years by anyone in the West,” said syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer (June 5, 2009). Instead of using this watershed address to reassure America’s moderate Arab allies, President Obama terrified them by making it clear he will not defend them, or Israel or the rest of the world, against Iran’s ambitions.
In addition to the few moderates in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, other smaller Islamic states—including Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen—can also be counted among those tossed by Mr. Obama into the ravenous jaws of Iran. And don’t forget Iraq, a fragile nation quickly falling under Iranian control as the Islamic Republic increasingly fills the void left by America’s diminishing presence.
In June, the Honduran Supreme Court lawfully booted the nation’s president, Manuel Zelaya, after he illegally trampled on the nation’s constitution in an effort to transform the country into a Venezuelan-style tyranny. The Obama administration responded by rallying to the defense of Zelaya, erroneously calling the Supreme Court’s decision a coup d’etat.
Although Washington subsequently shied away from calling the impeachment a coup, and later helped hammer out an accord (which failed) between Zelaya and de facto leader Roberto Micheletti, its initial reaction and subsequent dithering and refusal to support democracy and the Honduran Constitution exposed its dangerous lack of moral clarity.
As we wrote on our website, “While punishing those who are struggling to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law, [America is] actively aiding and abetting the cause of murderous thugs who hate what America stands for and wish to destroy us” (Sept. 11., 2009).
Since Mr. Obama took office, North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon and a long-range missile, withdrawn from the 1953 armistice agreement with South Korea, and declared that it will weaponize its plutonium stocks. How did the Obama administration respond to these belligerent acts? It showered Pyongyang with concessions, among which was the decision to agree to Kim Jong Il’s demand for bilateral talks.
Washington’s impotence in the face of North Korea has been noted in Japan, South Korea and to a lesser extent the Philippines, all important allies of America over the past 65 years. Each of these nations is worried and has started to position itself for a future in which North Korea has nukes.
With all these precedents, the betrayal of Eastern and Central Europe was almost expected. Yet it was no less tragic. America’s planned bmd system in Poland and the Czech Republic was a symbolic gesture of America’s commitment to that region. It was a sign of Washington’s willingness to invest in European affairs, confronting Russian ambitions on Europe’s periphery and checking Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The decision to scrap the bmd plan caused a political earthquake in Central and Eastern Europe. “By trading the loyalty of Poland and the Czech Republic to satisfy Russia’s security concerns, the United States is signaling that it no longer contests Moscow’s right to assert its interests in Eastern Europe,” wrote the Times Online (Sept. 17, 2009; emphasis mine throughout). America’s other allies in the region felt the tremors too. Ukraine and Georgia are currently being squeezed by the Kremlin. Washington has already abandoned Georgia, and Obama’s capitulation over Poland and the Czech Republic was a sure sign that it ultimately plans to abandon Ukraine as well.
“Putin … sees this as a triumph of his will over Obama’s weak, retreating U.S.,” wrote Ralph Peters. “And he’s right.” Now we can “add Poland and the Czech Republic to the list of allies, such as Israel and Honduras, that we’ve thrown to the wolves” (New York Post, Sept. 19, 2009).
President Obama hopes that by tossing friends and allies to the wolves he might satisfy the appetite of America’s enemies. That hasn’t happened, not even a little. In fact, the wolves are circling America closer than ever, and, having digested the food thrown to them, are now stronger than ever.
Take the Muslim world, for example. Citing a number of surveys, including a large Pew survey performed in June, in the wake of Mr. Obama’s speech in Cairo, Joseph Loconte, a senior research fellow at King’s College in New York City, explained how America’s reputation remains unfavorable among Muslims throughout the Middle East.
“[M]ost Islamic countries distrust the United States under the leadership of President Obama about as much as they did under President George W. Bush,” noted Loconte. “Yes, majorities of the Muslim populations interviewed still believe that America plays a mostly destructive role in the world. Most view the United States as ‘an enemy’ and ‘a military threat’ to their own country. Most disapprove of the American-led effort to combat terrorism. Large numbers, in fact, voice strong support for terrorism and Osama bin Laden. … In other words, anti-Americanism is alive and well in the age of Obama” (The American, Sept. 16, 2009).
Think about that. Under Barack Obama the United States has tried to tone down or draw down its commitment and involvement in virtually every major point of friction between America and the Islamic world, from supporting the Jewish state, to Iraq, to Afghanistan, to the “war on terror.” For what?
Much of the Muslim world dislikes the United States as much today as it did when George Bush was president. The same goes for America’s other competitors, like Russia and China. There’s one important distinction however: While America’s enemies remain unmoved in their hatred, its traditional friends and allies are dazed and disconcerted—and a whole lot less willing to ride to America’s rescue.
A Spent Superpower
After Mr. Obama delivered his speech to the Muslim world last June, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote, “President Obama’s speech is a great turning point in this world.” He also identified it as a “signal to the world that America the superpower is dead!” (August 2009).
Clearly that was no exaggeration. The accuracy of that statement was rooted in Bible prophecy as much as it was present reality.
In Deuteronomy 28, for example, God explains the curses He would send upon the United States and other modern nations of biblical Israel. Verses 65 and 66 state: “Among those nations you shall find no ease, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a languishing spirit. Your life shall hang in doubt before you; night and day you shall dread, with no assurance of your life” (Revised Standard Version).
We are witnesses to this gut-wrenching prophecy. The U.S. is transforming from world superpower to global vagabond. Look at the American government: Its heart is skittish, its head is sick. Its leaders are naive and weak in the face of tyranny. They’ve embraced a foreign policy of abandoning friends and courting enemies. It’s a policy of entrapment, and one that can only end in destruction.
As prophecy states, the United States will very soon find itself entirely friendless—isolated in a terrifying world drunk on hatred of America!