The Corner

Obama’s Absence as Leader of the Free World

“And I am going to block out — any noise that’s out there.” With these words, President Obama ostensibly pooh-poohed on CBS’s 60 Minutes the security of Israel and its deep worries that Iran is rapidly approaching nuclear-weapons status. Obama continued to downgrade the Israel-U.S. relationship by stressing that Israel is merely “one of our closest allies in the region.”

All of this perhaps explains why even Democratic former New York mayor Ed Koch distrusts Obama on Israel.

Obama’s bizarre language about what ought to be his administration’s most important Middle East ally comes at a crucial time in the region. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said “it could launch a pre-emptive attack” against the Jewish state. Iran’s radical clerical regime seeks to obliterate not only the Middle East’s only robust democracy, but aims to create “a world without America.”

Andrea Saul, Romney’s press spokeswoman, issued a quick rejoinder to Obama’s CBS comments:

Tonight on 60 Minutes, President Obama called Israel’s legitimate concern about the impact of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons “noise” and referred to Israel as merely “one of our closest allies in the region.” This is just the latest evidence of his chronic disregard for the security of our closest ally in the Middle East. Governor Romney’s views stand in sharp contrast to the President’s. Governor Romney strongly believes that Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East and that support for Israel is essential to extending freedom, peace and democracy throughout the region. As president, Governor Romney will restore and protect the close alliance between our nation and the state of Israel.

Iran’s war against U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq continues unabated with no meaningful response from the Obama administration. Moreover, Iran’s 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in a Georgetown restaurant and attack Israel’s Washington embassy, seems to be half-forgotten by the Obama administration.

In fact, one wonders whether Obama has delegated the leadership of the free world to Canada. Canada, to its credit, severed diplomatic relations in September with Tehran and termed Iran’s regime a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Canada has consistently took the lead before the U.S. on boycotting U.N. fora where Iran denies the Holocaust, shows contempt for Western values, and calls for the obliteration of Israel.

#more#Iran is nothing short of the world’s most dangerous rogue state — both internationally and domestically. The Islamic Republic has arrested more than 300 Iranian Christians since 2010, barred Iranian women from university programs, and continues to violently oppress its Baha’i religious minority group.

Sadly, the Obama administration’s natural inclination on foreign policy are to impotency. Obama has failed to push the EU’s 27-member body to retain a military option against Iran and impose a full economic embargo on the Islamic Republic’s wobbly economy. To their credit, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are on the record declaring that military force remains on the table to solve the nuclear crisis.

While a bipartisan group of U.S. senators sent a letter to the EU’s chief diplomat, Catherine Ashton, urging the European Union to outlaw Hezbollah – Iran’s long arm abroad — the Obama administration has made no real public attempt to twist the arms of European government to ban the radical Islamic group on European soil. U.S. and Israeli intelligence believe that a joint Hezbollah-Iran operation murdered five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver in July.

The senators wrote

Attacks by Hezbollah’s predecessors on the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in 1983 killed 258 Americans and 46 others. The U.S. State Department’s Country Report on Terrorism named Hezbollah as the likely perpetrator of the 2011 attacks on UN Interim Force in Lebanon peacekeepers that injured six Italian soldiers, three French soldiers, and six French civilians.

But will the Obama administration stand up for Western values and liberty in the Middle East and Europe?

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


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