Obama's Foreign Policy: Continued Appeasement Will Bring The Ultimatum

As the Presidential election kicks into high-gear, foreign policy has been brought to the fore with the one year anniversary of the killing of terror mastermind and al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. With some tit-for-tat going back and forth between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney over whether Romney would have ordered “the raid to capture Osama bin Laden last year,” I began to think about President Obama’s record as Commander-in-Chief. The more I thought and the more I dug into his record, the more I couldn’t help but think about Ronald Reagan and a few choice words he had to say:

Ronald Reagan (1964): “Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace—and you can have it in the next second—surrender. Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face—that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand—the ultimatum.”  (Ronald Reagan, Televised Campaign Address for Goldwater Presidential Campaign, 10/27/64)

Ronald Reagan (1980): “Peace is made by the fact of strength; economic, military and strategic. Peace is lost when such strength disappears, or just as bad, is seen by an adversary as disappearing.” (Ronald Reagan, Campaign Commercial, 10/19/80)

I’ve selected these two quotes, from very different times, because they echo the same consistent message that rings as true today as they did in 1964 and 1980. America will only enjoy peace when it is strong and projects its strength. American will suffer “the final demand–the ultimatum,” when it accommodates and appeases our enemies.

This is the choice we face in the November election on foreign policy: stand strong and project our strength or accommodate and appease our adversaries. Both have consequences, but as Reagan said, “every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement.”

With President Obama’s record, the choice is crystal clear which side he stands on: a policy of accommodation and appeasement. Consider the events that have unfolded over the past three years with Russia and China:

Only eight months into his first year as Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama waved a white flag to “our adversaries” by choosing Russia over “two key NATO allies” (Poland and the Czech Republic) in abandoning missile defense; a move that “will be hailed by the Kremlin as a big victory” and as a “sign of weakness.” Oh, and don’t forget that Obama announced the decision on the 70th Anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland and received no concessions from Russia in return.

At the same time Obama was trying to appease Russia by abandoning missile defense plans, Obama was trying to appease the Communist Chinese by postponing a meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

President Obama Has Decided Against Meeting “With The Dalai Lama During His Five-Day Trip To The U.S. Capital Beginning On Monday.”  (David Alexander, “Obama Breaks Precedent By Not Meeting Dalai Lama,” Reuters, 10/5/09)

Obama’s Snub Of Dalai Lama Is “In An Attempt To Gain Favor With China.”  (John Pomfret, “Obama’s Meeting With The Dalai Lama Is Delayed,” The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

• “. . . the United States pressured Tibetan representatives to postpone a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President. . .”  (John Pomfret, “Obama’s Meeting With The Dalai Lama Is Delayed,” The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

“Obama Administration Officials Have Termed The New Policy ‘Strategic Reassurance,’ Which Entails The U.S. Government Taking Steps To Convince China That It Is Not Out To Contain The Emerging Asian Power.”  (John Pomfret, “Obama’s Meeting With The Dalai Lama Is Delayed,” The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

• “The U.S. decision to postpone the meeting appears to be part of a strategy to improve ties with China that also includes soft-pedaling criticism of China's human rights and financial policies as well as backing efforts to elevate China's position in international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund.”  (John Pomfret, “Obama’s Meeting With The Dalai Lama Is Delayed,” The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

“For The First Time Since 1991, The Tibetan Spiritual Leader Will Visit Washington This Week And Not Meet With The President.”  (John Pomfret, “Obama’s Meeting With The Dalai Lama Is Delayed,” The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

“Since 1991, He Has Been Here 10 Times.”  (John Pomfret, “Obama’s Meeting With The Dalai Lama Is Delayed,” The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

In 2007, President Bush Was The First President To Meet Publicly With Dalai Lama. “The last time he was here, in 2007, however, George W. Bush became the first sitting president to meet with him publicly, at a ceremony at the Capitol in which he awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian award.”  (John Pomfret, “Obama’s Meeting With The Dalai Lama Is Delayed,” The Washington Post, 10/5/09)

About a month after Obama gave up missile defense plans – while gaining nothing in return – Russia announced that it reserved the right to launch pre-emptive nuclear attacks on anyone it sees fit, including conventional forces.

Russia “Reserves The Right To Conduct Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strikes.” “A top Russian security official says Moscow reserves the right to conduct pre-emptive nuclear strikes to safeguard the country against aggression on both a large and a local scale, according to a newspaper interview published Wednesday.”  (David Nowak, “Report: Russia To Allow Pre-Emptive Nukes,” The Associated Press, 10/14/09)

Russia Singled Out The U.S. As A Threat. “Presidential Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev also singled out the U.S. and NATO, saying Moscow's Cold War foes still pose potential threats to Russia despite what he called a global trend toward local conflicts.”  (David Nowak, “Report: Russia To Allow Pre-Emptive Nukes,” The Associated Press, 10/14/09)

Reserve Right To Pre-Emptive Use Of Nukes Against Conventional Forces. “The proposed doctrine would allow for the use of nuclear weapons ‘to repel an aggression with the use of conventional weapons not only in a large-scale but also in a regional and even local war,’ Patrushev was quoted as saying. He said a government analysis of the threat of conflict in the world showed ‘a shift from large-scale conflicts to local wars and armed conflicts.’”  (David Nowak, “Report: Russia To Allow Pre-Emptive Nukes,” The Associated Press, 10/14/09)

Russia followed up its nuclear posture announcement with a series of war games, codenamed “West,” which included a mock amphibious assault on Poland and the use of nuclear weapons.

Russia’s “Armed Forces Are Said To Have Carried Out ‘War Games’ In Which Nuclear Missiles Were Fired And Troops Practised An Amphibious Landing On [Poland’s] Coast.”  (Matthew Day, “Russia ‘Simulates’ Nuclear Attack On Poland,” Daily Telegraph [United Kingdom], 11/1/09)

• “The Russian air force practised using weapons from its nuclear arsenal, while in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which neighbours Poland, Red Army forces stormed a ‘Polish’ beach and attacked a gas pipeline.”  (Matthew Day, “Russia ‘Simulates’ Nuclear Attack On Poland,” Daily Telegraph [United Kingdom], 11/1/09)

Russia’s War Games Codenamed “West,” Appeared Offensive. “The documents state the exercises, code-named ‘West’, were officially classified as ‘defensive’ but many of the operations appeared to have an offensive nature.”  (Matthew Day, “Russia ‘Simulates’ Nuclear Attack On Poland,” Daily Telegraph [United Kingdom], 11/1/09)

A month later, as the START Treaty was set to expire, the Russians began preparations for manufacturing their next-gen intercontinental ballistic missiles, the RS-24, which is a thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) payload designed to carry more nuclear warheads and defeat existing and future missile defense systems.

Russians Have Waited For Expiration Of START To Begin Manufacturing “Next-Generation RS-24 Missiles.” “However, the head of Russia's strategic missile forces, Nikolai Solovtsov, was recently quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that the assembly and deployment of next-generation RS-24 missiles would start once the treaty expires. Analysts said that could happen, because Moscow was not banned from developing new missiles.”  (Nicholas Kralev, “Exclusive: U.S. To Stop Counting New Missiles In Russia,” The Washington Times, 12/1/09)

Four months later, in April 2010, the Obama Administration announced it was replacing his predecessor’s nuclear posture by “revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons.”

“For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.”  (David E. Sanger and Peter Baker, “Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms,” The New York Times, 4/5/10)

Obama scrapped the former Bush Administration’s doctrine of “preemptive military strikes” put in place as a result of 9/11.

“The Sept. 11 Terrorist Strikes Prompted Bush To Alter U.S. Policy By Stressing The Option Of Preemptive Military Action Against Groups Or Countries That Threaten The U.S.” (Tony Capaccio, “Bush Preemptive Strike Doctrine Under Review, May be Discarded,” Bloomberg, 10/15/09)

“Bush Outlined His Doctrine Of Preemptive Strike In A Speech At West Point In June 2002.”  (Tony Capaccio, “Bush Preemptive Strike Doctrine Under Review, May be Discarded,” Bloomberg, 10/15/09)

“For The First Time In A Doctrine, The U.S. Expressed The Right To Attack A Threat That Was Gathering, Not Just Imminent.”  (Tony Capaccio, “Bush Preemptive Strike Doctrine Under Review, May be Discarded,” Bloomberg, 10/15/09)

“The Doctrine Says The U.S. ‘Will Not Hesitate To Act Alone, If Necessary, To Exercise Our Right Of Self-Defense By Acting Preemptively.’”  (Tony Capaccio, “Bush Preemptive Strike Doctrine Under Review, May be Discarded,” Bloomberg, 10/15/09)

In December 2010, Obama pushed for the U.S. Senate to ratify the new START Treaty he had negotiated with Russia.

“‘Before going away for the holiday break, I’m hopeful we can also come together on another urgent national priority – and that is, the new START treaty that will reduce the world’s nuclear arsenals and make America more secure,’ Obama said in a weekly address delivered Saturday.”  (Alexander Bolton, “Obama Aims For Second Lame-Duck Victory With START Treaty Push,” The Hill, 12/18/10)

In January 2011, as Obama waited for the START Treaty to be ratified, the Communist Chinese decided to adjust their nuclear posture, allowing for a preemptive strike using nuclear weapons.

“The Chinese Military Will Consider Launching A Preemptive Nuclear Strike If The Country Finds Itself Faced With A Critical Situation In A War With Another Nuclear State, Internal Documents Showed Wednesday.”  (“China Military Eyes Preemptive Nuclear Attack In Event of Crisis,” Kyodo News, 1/5/11)

In February 2011, Obama got his wish and signed the START Treaty, but did so with minimal press coverage allowed.

“The [START] Treaty Is A Cornerstone Of Obama's Efforts To ‘Reset’ U.S. Relations With Russia.”  (“Obama Signs Nuclear Treaty Documents Wednesday,” The Associated Press, 2/2/11)

Obama Signed Historic START Treaty Without The Presence Of Reporters Or TV Cameras. “Despite the great attention the president has devoted to this treaty -- and the vast coverage of the treaty negotiations by the media -- the White House refused to allow reporters or TV cameras in the room.”  (Jake Tapper, “President Obama Signs START Treaty, Doesn't Allow Reporters in the Room,” ABC News, 2/2/11)

“Still Photographers Were The Only Representatives Of The Free Press Permitted To Record The Historic Moment.”  (Jake Tapper, “President Obama Signs START Treaty, Doesn't Allow Reporters in the Room,” ABC News, 2/2/11)

But why did Obama have one of his signature achievements rushed through the Senate and signed into law without the traditional pomp and circumstance that goes along with something so momentous? Maybe it’s because he didn’t want anyone to look too closely at what really went down in getting this treaty agreed to with Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. A closer look reveals Obama may have betrayed our closest ally, Britain.

“The US Secretly Agreed To Give The Russians Sensitive Information On Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent To Persuade Them To Sign A Key Treaty. . .”  (Matthew Moore, Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope, “WikiLeaks Cables: U.S. Agrees To Tell Russia Britain’s Nuclear Secrets,” The Telegraph, 2/4/11)

• “A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the ‘New START’ deal.”  (Matthew Moore, Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope, “WikiLeaks Cables: U.S. Agrees To Tell Russia Britain’s Nuclear Secrets,” The Telegraph, 2/4/11)

“Information About Every Trident Missile The US Supplies To Britain Will Be Given To Russia As Part Of An Arms Control Deal Signed By President Barack Obama. . .”  (Matthew Moore, Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope, “WikiLeaks Cables: U.S. Agrees To Tell Russia Britain’s Nuclear Secrets,” The Telegraph, 2/4/11)

• “Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.”  (Matthew Moore, Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope, “WikiLeaks Cables: U.S. Agrees To Tell Russia Britain’s Nuclear Secrets,” The Telegraph, 2/4/11)

“Washington Lobbied London In 2009 For Permission To Supply Moscow With Detailed Data About The Performance Of UK Missiles.”  (Matthew Moore, Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope, “WikiLeaks Cables: U.S. Agrees To Tell Russia Britain’s Nuclear Secrets,” The Telegraph, 2/4/11)

“The UK Refused, But The US Agreed To Hand Over The Serial Numbers Of Trident Missiles It Transfers To Britain.”  (Matthew Moore, Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope, “WikiLeaks Cables: U.S. Agrees To Tell Russia Britain’s Nuclear Secrets,” The Telegraph, 2/4/11)

Months later, as Bill Gertz of The Washington Times reported, “The president decided against selling Taiwan 66 advanced F-16 C/D model aircraft, despite several requests from Taipei and Congress.” This was another effort to appease the Communist Chinese which viewed the sale as a “red rine.”

“China has called the sale a ‘red line.’ A recent editorial in the state-controlled People's Daily called for the use of a ‘financial weapon’ against the U.S. if new F-16s were released.”  (Wendell Minnick, “U.S. To Deny Taiwan New F-16 Fighters,” DefenseNews, 8/14/11)

Months ago, Obama pleaded with outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to give him “space” and wait for his “last election” to be over so that he would have “more flexibility” with appeasing Russia over missile defense plans.

“At The Tail End Of His 90 Minute Meeting With Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama Said That He Would Have ‘More Flexibility’ To Deal With Controversial Issues Such As Missile Defense, But Incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin Needs To Give Him ‘Space.’”  (Jake Tapper, “President Asks Medvedev For ‘Space’ On Missile Defense,” ABC News’s Political Punch, 3/26/12)

“President Obama: ‘On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.’”

“President Medvedev: ‘Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…’”

“President Obama: ‘This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.’”

“President Medvedev: ‘I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.’”  (Jake Tapper, “President Asks Medvedev For ‘Space’ On Missile Defense,” ABC News’s Political Punch, 3/26/12)

Space or no space, just yesterday, Russia threw-down a new threat that it would preemptively strike any NATO missile defense system “if the U.S. pushes ahead with deployment.”

“Russia’s Top Military Officer Warned Thursday That Moscow Would Strike NATO Missile-Defense Sites In Eastern Europe Before They Are Ready For Action, If The U.S. Pushes Ahead With Deployment.”  (Shaun Waterman, “Russia Threatens To Strike NATO Missile Defense Sites,” The Washington Times, 5/3/12)

• “‘A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens,’ Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile-defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.”  (Shaun Waterman, “Russia Threatens To Strike NATO Missile Defense Sites,” The Washington Times, 5/3/12)

The President has deployed a policy of accommodation and appeasement with the Russians and the Communist Chinese for three years and three months. All evidence suggests that Reagan was right, as storm clouds gather, “the greater risk lies in appeasement.” Let us just hope that he was wrong when he also said, “if we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand—the ultimatum.”

One last note, I know this has been a long read, but I would like to point out that this covers only a small fraction of Obama’s policies of appeasement. There’s also nuclear proliferation in Iran, Myanmar (Burma), North Korea, and Syria, as well as a list of issues much too long for a blog post that has already run on long enough.

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