While President Obama was in the middle of delivering an excellent speech to the United Nations last week, it was pleasantly surprising to see an American president attempt to act like a dignified statement. He was saying all the right things, and raising issues on an international platform that many of our past Presidents have either sidestepped or refused to address: the importance of international law, a rejection of unilateralism in foreign policy, and even some stern words critical of Israeli aggression.
But when the topic of nuclear proliferation came up, the tone and content suddenly changed. Olive branches were quickly replaced with swords and spears, telling the world that Iran and North Korea “must be held accountable” if they continue to put their pursuit of nuclear weapons and international security.
As impressive as Obama’s speech was, it his ultimately his deeds, actions, and decisions that illustrate how devoted he is to international law and peace. His Administration recently and publicly said that there is nothing the Iranian government can do to convince the US that it’s nuclear weapons are for peaceful purposes, a stubbornness that makes any constructive diplomacy or dialogue impossible. Combine Obama’s repeated threats of more and more sanctions with the troubling and growing calls for a mountain of skulls in Tehran, and war with Iran may be just around the corner.
Obama may speak like a dove, but he acts like a hawk. Like the aptly named Predator drone (remote-control operated aircraft) strikes that Obama wants to escalate into Pakistan. Or the executive order he signed earlier this month giving US Special Forces the authority to launch raids in virtually any country in the world if there are “terrorists” or Al Qaeda suspects. Yemen has been the target of several US raids, and southern Somalia has been shelled on a weekly basis. Obama is also increasing the amount of US weapons being shipped to Somalia, and most of them are ending up in the hands of Islamic militias. Arming the enemy guarantees there will always be one.
And don’t forget about the war in Afghanistan, where Obama is “protecting” the Afghan population by sanctioning election fraud, sending thousands more American boys on vague and never-ending missions, condoning prisoner abuse and torture at the Bagram Gulag, and unleashing his favorite foreign policy tool: lots and lots of airstrikes.
As all of this is occurring under the President’s orders, conservative pundits have actually dared to call Obama “soft” and “weak.” Since this is his only mainstream opposition, he can praise the merits of peace to please his liberal base and not have to worry about any significant criticism for his trigger-happiness overseas.
Until there is more public outcry, especially from the Left, then his eloquent and impassioned speeches (like his Cairo speech) will continue to hide and provide cover for his dangerous militarism.
For more of Robert’s work, please visit his Libertarian Examiner blog.