Nitwit Diplomacy: President Obama and His State Department

Right From the Start

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of two Iranians in a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabia ambassador in Washington, D.C. We now await the familiar weak-kneed response from President Obama’s administration.

The naivete of politicians when it comes to dealing with tyrants, madmen and genuine evil in the world continues to astound me. I recently finished reading Wilson Miscamble’s The Most Controversial Decision – the detailed and well documented decision by President Harry Truman to drop the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The most startling thing about the book was not the difficulty that Truman had with his decision to drop the bombs – he made that decision before the bombs were fully developed or tested and never wavered – rather it was the extraordinary naivete of his belief that he could deal personally with Joseph Stalin and that Stalin was the “moderating” force in the Soviet Union.

Mr. Truman’s mistaken belief was a holdover from his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the “diplomats” running the State Department. It was only after repeated aggressions by Mr. Stalin and the emergence and conversion of Secretary of State Dean Acheson that Truman adopted a more aggressive policy of containment reinforced by military action.

President John Kennedy succeeded President Dwight Eisenhower and re-established the politics of naivete. Mr. Kennedy was so regularly irresolute over the continuous advance and aggression of the Soviet Union that he was finally forced into a showdown with Soviet Union over the Cuban Missile Crises – a confrontation that should never have happened except for pusillanimous pussyfooting of the “diplomats” at his State Department. One only has to remember the disaster at the Bay of Pigs to understand how cowardice in the face of aggression breeds further aggressive actions.

President Jimmy Carter smiled his way into the presidency after the disaster of President Richard Nixon. Mr. Carter presided over the rise of the Iranian theocracy – Ayatollah Khomeini – highlighted by the invasion and capture of the United States Embassy and the holding of 52 Americans hostage for nearly 450 days. His “turn the other check” form of diplomacy was engineered by Cyrus Vance – a patrician Wall Street lawyer – so adverse to confrontation that he resigned when Mr. Carter authorized Operation Eagle Claw, the disastrously failed attempt to recover the hostages.

And now comes Mr. Obama. Vice-President Joe Biden, inadvertently and regrettably, predicted in October of 2008 that Mr. Obama would be “tested” by an international crisis within the first six months of his presidency. Full of unwarranted bravado, Mr. Biden told his audience that Mr. Obama would need their support “[b]ecause it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.” We’re still waiting.

Mr. Obama has been tested by North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Venezuela, Hamas, Hezzbolah, al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Peninsula, the Palestinians and China. His responses have ranged from “disappointed” to “very disappointed.” His actions have ranged from “disapproval” to “strong disapproval.” Mr. Obama has become the laughing stock of tyrants, despots, and “tin horn dictators” who all know that they can ignore, without consequence, the blustering of Mr. Obama and his diplomatic corp. Not even our traditional allies in Europe give credence to Mr. Obama’s utterances and tolerate his participation solely because he will pick up the bill.

So now we wait for yet another “stamp of the foot” by Mr. Obama in response to the Iranian theocracy’s blatant assassination attempt on American soil. Mr. Obama’s fervent belief in “diplomacy” in face of naked aggression guarantees another timid response.

History has consistently demonstrated that diplomacy is futile when dealing with tyrants and despots. Those who espouse diplomatic responses to continuously dangerous provocations have so consistently backed down that those tyrants and despots have learned they will prevail through delay and persistence. Diplomacy only works to resolve conflicts among nations of goodwill. It is force and the threat of force that is necessary to hold tyrants and despots in check.

Let me suggest some more aggressive steps that will go a long way to reminding the world that this country can still be the 800-pound gorilla:

  1. Revoke all visas and travel approvals for members of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations – including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad– culminating in the immediate expulsion of Iranian members. Please don’t bother me with the “diplomatic niceties” of the status of the United Nations presence on American soil. If the United Nations thinks its more important to protect the Iranians than it is for us to pay their bills, they can move their operations elsewhere and find a new “sugar daddy.”
  2. Revoke the passports and expel all Iranian nationals unless they can prove that a return to Iran will result in their imprisonment or death.
  3. Do the same for North Korea, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.
  4. Ban all air transportation originating from, or passing through airports in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Yemen or Lebanon without an item by item inspection by United States authorities at the last point of departure prior to landing in the United States. The cost of such inspection will be borne by those governments.
  5. Do the same for all shipping.
  6. Re-program nuclear weapons for the immediate destruction of Iran and North Korea in response to the next act of aggression on American soil. (This will be difficult because these terrorist nations have “learned” that threats from the United States are empty vessels – a smaller scale response such as wiping out Iran’s nuclear facilities may be an appropriate demonstration of both commitment and capability.)

But don’t hold your breath because neither Mr. Obama nor his “diplomats” at the State Department have shown the slightest willingness to hold aggressor nations accountable.