With the weakest national security team since World War II, it is no wonder that both our foreign and national security policies lack coherence and direction. The Administration’s faculty-lounge logic that, in the 21st century, “diplomacy” will substitute for military solutions to international crisis, overlooks or chooses to ignore a key factor: recognized military power that provides the essential underpinnings to successful diplomacy. It is called “Peace through Strength.”
How did we get to the rudderless position we are in today? Clearly, a series of policy mistakes have been made. It should be remembered that it was President Carter’s misguided policies that gave rise to Islamic resurgence by undercutting our key ally, the Shah of Iran by fostering the return of the Islamic zealot Ayatollah Khomeini with his 7th century mentality. Furthermore, much like President Obama today, he oversaw a deliberate drawdown of our military forces and capabilities. Regrettably, each successive administration, be it Democrat or Republican, has also contributed to the chaotic situation we now face in the Middle East. First, by essentially ignoring the 34 years of acts of war by Iran against the United States. These have included the takeover of our embassy in Iran; the bombing of our embassy and US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon without responding; their material and training support to the 9/11 hi-jackers, as well as a host of other acts of war which have caused the loss of life of thousands of American military personnel and civilians.
Today, we have the Obama Administration’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which has clearly facilitated the advance of the Islamic global agenda. President Obama’s 4 June 2009 Cairo speech was the catalyst for the Arab Spring movement which evolved under the political direction of the Muslim Brotherhood.
We all know how that has turned out. In the current Israeli-Hamas conflict, it should not be forgotten that Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the MB whose creed is to eliminate Israel’s very existence. Clearly, no peace can be achieved as long Hamas remains in control, and the Palestinians continue letting themselves be used to further the merchants of hate agenda. There are some indications that Hamas maybe losing some of its luster. Many hold Hamas responsible for the current Gaza humanitarian crisis. It must be made clear that the only way the Israeli and Egyptian blockade will be lifted and border crossings opened is with the removal of Hamas. There can be no reward for terrorism.
It appears no matter where you look, we have serious global instability. The Middle East essentially is in a total meltdown. Russia continues its aggressive move into the Ukraine’s eastern provinces. While China continues pressing its illegal claim in both the South and East China Seas, – the impotence of American leadership is clearly evident. As a result, our allies don’t trust us and worse, our enemies don’t fear us.
Russia has embarked on an accelerated modernization of both its strategic and conventional forces, while China continues with an unprecedented military expansion of both its strategic and conventional forces. The Obama Administration’s response has been to continue with the unilateral disarmament of our military forces It will leave us with the smallest Army since prior to WWII, and the smallest Navy since prior to WWI. Furthermore, our strategic forces have been allowed to atrophy over the past two decades. Our national leadership deliberately is jeopardizing our national security.
The draconian budget cuts to our military under the Obama Administration’s sequestration mandate must not only cease immediately but be reversed to meet these new and dangerous challenges. Such an announcement by the administration would provide a much needed morale boost to our allies, as well as sending an unmistakable message to our enemies.
Aside from Ukraine, which should be provided the necessary requested military equipment to protect its sovereignty, the most pressing problem facing the Obama Administration is the ISIS threat to Kurdistan and what remains of Iraq. This threat must be destroyed before it expands into surrounding countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. The half measures we have taken so far are clearly inadequate. To protect and support the only viable ally we have in the region (besides Israel), Kurdistan, will require a sustained comprehensive air campaign. To complement the current naval air strikes and sustain such a campaign, we should establish a Forward Operating Base alert element of F-16 fighters and A-10 close air support aircraft in Kurdistan, which has the longest runway in the world. Further, we should fly in the heavy military equipment that the Kurds have requested, as well as additional anti-tank weapons and ammunition.
The Obama Administration’s position that they would only provide support through an all-inclusive Iraqi government was nonsense. Even with the appointment of Haider al-Abadi, a former Maliki lieutenant, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has refused to accept the new Prime Minister, however, this should be short lived. While Iran has endorsed the new PM, they most likely want to see an inclusive Baghdad government so that Iraqi and US forces will prevent ISIS from threatening Iran.
ISIS is a barbaric, murderous, evil terrorist group which must be crushed. However, our involvement should not be as a protector for Iran. Will the Administration change its strategy? Whatever strategy the Administration implements, it must remember that the objectives of ISIS, AQ, MB, and the Iranian regime are all the same – destroy Israel and the United States. The Administration must decide which side they are on.
This column was originally published at the Washington Times.