The Corner

Testing Obama

It seems to me the pirate situation is a clearer test of our mettle for world leaders than other foreign-policy challenges so far. Other examples are more ambiguous: for example, we should have just shot the Nork missile test down, but South Korea didn’t want us to and that complicates things. But the pirate standoff is small and unambiguous — this is the first pirate attack on an American ship since the last time jihadis tried it, in 1804, and if every one of those pirates on the lifeboat isn’t sleeping with the fishes within the next day or two, then the ChiComs, the ayatollahs, Putin, and the rest will figure they were right about Obama’s effete diffidence and will act accordingly. On the other hand, if our destroyer sends the pirates to their deaths, combined with the fact the American crew — the unarmed crew — actually took back the ship from the pirates, Flight 93-style, then the world’s rogues might think twice in the future, the way that Reagan’s reaction to the PATCO strike had salutary foreign-policy consequences.

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