Politics & Policy

Pak Attack

Obama's sword.

Within the past several weeks, presidential aspirant Barack Obama has announced that he would meet with America’s enemies and attack America’s friends. Those interested in a dramatic departure from Bush/Cheney need look no further.

Asked whether he would — without preconditions — meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, Obama declared that he would and added, “I think it’s a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.” (Actually, the U.S. has had diplomatic contact with all of those nations, just not at the presidential level.)

A week later, in a major foreign-policy address, Sen. Obama scolded the leader of Pakistan and warned, “I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will.”

To be fair to Sen. Obama, there is no doubt that Pakistan is a terror haven and a flimsy ally. But Pakistan’s very precariousness in this struggle — to say nothing of its nuclear arsenal — argues for particular finesse and restraint, one would think. What is it about American allies that Democrats seem to find so offensive? When Jimmy Carter was president, he inaugurated a foreign policy ostentatiously based on respect for “human rights.” Yet the principal targets of his human-rights crusade were American allies like the shah of Iran, while traditional enemies like the Soviet Union and Cuba ‘scaped whipping. That turned out well, didn’t it?

We’ve heard endlessly about America’s blunder in supporting the mujahadeen in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviet occupation. The unintended consequence was to strengthen the Islamists. Fair enough. Few foresaw that our allies in defeating the communists would then turn against us. But what of Jimmy Carter’s abandonment of the shah? No foresight was required. Even in 1979, it was clear that the only beneficiaries of a revolution in Iran would be either the leftists or the Islamists. If the mullahs had not seized control of Iran in 1979, the world would be a far, far less dangerous place today.

Sen. Obama rattles his saber at Pakistan, yet sponsored a resolution calling for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by March 2008. In this, Obama speaks for the majority of Democrats. The Democrats’ delusion is that we can win the war on terror (perhaps by lobbing some cruise missiles into the mountains of Pakistan) while losing the war in Iraq. The al Qaeda leadership must welcome this emphasis. Bin Laden’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has called Iraq “the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.” Zawahiri probably wouldn’t mind a few cruise missiles headed into Pakistan in exchange for a thorough humiliation of America in Iraq. A defeat for the United States and Britain in Iraq would be the greatest boon possible for the Islamist cause.

Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, famously declared in April that “the war is lost.” What a time to be surrendering! After years of misguided policy and ineffective military strategy, the U.S. forces under Gen. David Petraeus are finally making progress.

Anbar and Diyala provinces, once largely under enemy control, have shifted allegiance. The Sunni tribal leaders are now helping U.S. forces against al Qaeda. Shiite death-squad activity and executions in Baghdad have significantly decreased since January. Violence in Anbar has subsided, and normal life is resuming.

As former White House strategist Peter Wehner reported in the Wall Street Journal: “Since the start of the year, Baqubah, al Qaim, Haditha, Hit, Ramadi, Habbaniya, Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, and Arab Jabour have all been liberated from al Qaeda control. Arms caches are being found at more than three times the rate of a year ago. Intelligence tips are sharply up. We are also seeing signs of normalcy return to Baghdad, including soccer leagues, amusement parks and vibrant market places. More than half of Baghdad is now under the control of coalition or Iraqi Security Forces.”

The war has been far more difficult, frustrating, and long than the administration anticipated. But the Democrats’ answer is to declare defeat and give up just when, at last, there is real reason for optimism. The Democrats believe that defeat in Iraq would be George W. Bush’s defeat. It would not. It would be America’s defeat.

© 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Most Popular

Elections

Hell, No

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and other things you can fight with your family about at Thanksgiving. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, follow this link. The Case against Trump In 2016, my friend Roger Kimball of Encounter ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and other things you can fight with your family about at Thanksgiving. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, follow this link. The Case against Trump In 2016, my friend Roger Kimball of Encounter ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Another Pollster Sees a Trump Win

The Trafalgar Group’s Robert Cahaly is an outlier among pollsters in that he thinks President Trump will carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, or both, and hence be reelected with roughly 280 electoral votes. (I explained his thinking here.) Last week another pollster, Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research, ... Read More

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More