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The Tentacle


April 24, 2009

If you ainít the lead dogÖ

Joe Charlebois

President George W. Bush led. President William Jefferson Clinton led. Presidents George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan led. No matter what your opinion of our last four presidents in regard to their policies, they were leaders.

 

After just three months in office President Barack Obama has taken swipe after swipe at his own country. His foreign policy positions can only be described as anti-American. He has dismissed allies such as Britain, France and potential free-trade partner Colombia, and, in a misapplied attempt to gain respect throughout the world, has conceded American leadership.

 

With the president's insistence on engagement with all, he has given credibility to those who seek to tear us down. With this, the last remaining superpower's moral authority has been thoroughly weakened throughout the world.

 

President Obama has reversed decades of work in containing rogue regimes. Any advantage the United States had dealing with these rogue leaders has vanished. What supporters of the president may see as an attempt to make progress with these regimes has been anything but successful. While the president partners with countries in an attempt to provide opportunity (read the purchase of fealty with the American taxpayers' monies) he has undermined his own efforts by showing his naiveté.

 

He may have made nice with Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez, but these two dictators got the better end of their meetings. President Chavez embarrassed the American president by setting a photo-op trap by presenting him with his favorite anti-imperialist tome by the Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano. How did the president respond? He joked with him afterward.

 

When the President sat through Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega's 50 minute diatribe spewing venom toward the United States, how did the president respond? He joked about it.

 

A leader, who gets put in the position that Mr. Obama was, should not have disregarded their actions. He should have stood up to their bullying tactics and shown true leadership by holding these leaders to account for their years of brutality. He has played into these leader's hands by consistently pointing out that the United States is not morally superior to other countries, but rather they are equals. The president's magical apology tour has painted America with the broad brush of racist, anti-immigrant, gun-running, drug-using, imperialistic, torturing and arrogant.

 

Mr. Obama's address to the Summit of the Americas was an exercise in faux leadership. He deftly walked the political tightrope and never took the opportunity to take the anti-democratic leaders to task.

 

He stated that "we have to stand up against any force that separates any of our people from that story of liberty…Every one of our nations has a right to follow its own path. But we all have a responsibility to see that the people of the Americas have the ability to pursue their own dreams in democratic societies."

 

This address was filled with contradiction. In this excerpt, Mr. Obama seems to call for free and democratic society, but each of the countries has the right to pursue their own path. The paths followed in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are hardly free or democratic.

 

Even if one deems Mr. Obama's intentions as commendable, his modus operandi will never work with leaders such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Presidents Chavez and Ortega, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, or Cuba’s Castro Brothers. These rogue leaders see these overtures as a sign on weakness, not strength. They are laughing in the halls of power in Tehran, Caracas and Pyongyang.

 

What we need is a leader who will not be afraid to take other leaders to task when it is morally right to do so. Now is the time for the president to stop apologizing and start leading.

 



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