Thursday, August 22, 2013
To: Friends & Supporters
From: Gary L. Bauer
Obama & U.S. Credibility
The apparent chemical attack in Syria and the recent shutdown of America's Middle East embassies starkly demonstrate the meltdown of Obama's leadership and America's credibility in the region.
French and Israeli intelligence reports indicate that this was a real chemical attack against Syrian civilians and not a contrived event by the Syrian opposition. But an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council yesterday yielded little but a tepid statement.
In war weary America decent people can disagree over what our response, if any, should be. But there should be no disagreement over Obama's disastrous approach to this and virtually every foreign policy issue, which can be best summed up as the antithesis of Teddy Roosevelt's maxim, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."
Obama, with his usual lack of foresight and enthralled by the sound of his own voice, said this about Syria, "We have been very clear to the Assad regime -- but also to other players on the ground -- that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus; that would change my equation."
Obama said that on August 20th -- of last year! -- after the first reported use of chemical weapons in Syria. If a president says something like that, he'd better to be prepared to back it up. Obama wasn't, and increasingly no one in the Middle East cares what Obama says.
Yesterday, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki, presumably attempting to defend the Obama Administration, told Fox News, "Let's be clear…The president made clear a line was crossed. We expanded the scope and scale of our aid. That's on-going. We continue to consider all options."
If the American response to crossing red lines amounts to little more than expanded aid, I suspect Bashar al-Assad is ready to cross quite a few of Obama's red lines while the administration ponders its options.
The Decline Of The West?
We now know that an intercept of an Al Qaeda leadership conference call led to the recent mass closure of U.S. embassies throughout the so-called "Muslim world." We learned from that call that Al Qaeda is not on the run, despite what Barack Obama has been saying for the past few years.
According to respected national security reporter Eli Lake, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's new leader, took part in that call and "compares America's regional position with the Soviet Union in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell and the communist empire collapsed. Zawahiri urged others in the conference to take advantage of America's declining influence in the region."
Why would he conclude that America's influence is declining? Well, Obama has repeatedly promised to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to re-orient America's foreign policy. But you can't decide when a war ends without your enemy surrendering. Al Qaeda clearly has not surrendered. Zawahiri seems to see America under Obama as a nation in retreat and is preparing to counterattack.
Can We Learn From Christopher Lane?
The left rarely hesitates to exploit a tragedy. That Trayvon Martin is a household name speaks volumes about the power of the political left and its liberal media allies. The left and Obama seized on Martin's death and it quickly became an international news story.
Not so with Christopher Lane. Lane was a 22 year-old Australian attending college in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship. He was gunned down last week in Duncan, Oklahoma. His murderers were three teenagers, ages 15, 16, and 17. Two were black, one was white.
Unlike the Trayvon Martin case, self-defense was never an issue -- Lane was shot in the back while jogging. According to the police report, the teens were "bored" and "just wanted to see someone die."
There is evidence from social media that Lane's killers were heavily into the "gangsta" culture of rap music. According to one report, Lane's murder may have been a "gang initiation." The three teens were threatening to kill another youth they had tried to recruit into their gang when they were captured by police.
What does it say about our culture that three teenagers have so little respect for innocent life that they can so callously kill a young man jogging down the street?
The attitude of one of the murderers, 15 year-old James Edwards Jr., shocked investigators. Less than an hour after Lane was murdered, Edwards showed up at the courthouse to sign papers related to juvenile probation charges. Police say they have video of him "dancing, laughing and carrying on" as he was being booked for Lane's murder. The prosecutor said, "It was a great big joke to him."
Increasing numbers of youth today are gripped by nihilism -- a belief in nothing. Unfortunately, our modern society is teaching it to them. They are told repeatedly in school and in the popular culture that there are no reliable standards of right and wrong -- whatever feels good, do it.
They are told that we are all the result of a cosmic accident, that human life is just an accident, instead of being created in the image of God. We destroy over a million innocent babies a year and tell our children it is merely a choice.
The kind of senseless violence we witnessed in Duncan, Oklahoma, appears to be more and more frequent in America. It should set off a national conversation about the breakdown of the family, the absence of fathers, the rap/gangsta culture, the flight from Judeo-Christian values and the expulsion of God from our national life.
But since so many of these things go against the ethos of modern-day liberalism and because there is growing aversion to discussing anything related to values by many on the political left and right, we are not likely to have such a national conversation and America will continue its decline.