The Wall Street Journal Op/Ed today wonders if President Obama will change his tactics now realizing that reality doesn’t match up with his perception of rogue nations:

The immediate challenges are North Korea and Iran, governments that the American left claimed were "evil" only because Mr. Bush had declared them so. Perhaps Mr. Obama believed this too, though five months later he has learned otherwise. North Korea has rejected his every overture and is now defying the U.N. to press its nuclear and proliferation ambitions. As for Iran, the mullahs are attempting to crush a popular uprising after a stolen election while also showing disdain for Mr. Obama’s diplomatic entreaties.

The question is whether Mr. Obama will now adapt his policies to meet challenges he clearly didn’t expect. Jimmy Carter took office with similar illusions about the Soviet Union, promising to cure our "inordinate fear of Communism." Our enemies pushed back at what they perceived to be U.S. weakness, and Mr. Carter and his NSC adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski never recovered. We’ll soon learn if Mr. Obama is made of sterner stuff.

A revolution is on in Iran, and for the most part has been met with silence on the part of the Obama administration, but then issued the following statement over the weekend:

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction compared to what we’ve seen before it still falls short.  He is still being too cautious how he can legitimately come to the table of diplomacy with an illegitimate government is problematic.  He made no mention in his statement regarding the issue at hand with the revolution, and that is that the votes of the Iranian people are counted.

North Korea threatens to launch a missile in the direction of Hawaii and Obama warns:

. . . unity in the international community that we haven’t seen in quite some time. And one of the things that we have been very clear about is that North Korea has a path towards rejoining the international community. And we hope they take that path. What we’re not going to do is to reward belligerence and provocation in the way that’s been done in the past.

Is he kidding?  Oh yeah like Security Council resolutions has worked oh so well so far.  He has an opportunity to take some clear action in terms of North Korea.  They can board the North Korean ship the U.S.S. John S. McCain is tracking that is suspected of carrying weapons that are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.  The current resolution says that they can only ask permission to board.  They are sure to say no.  What will he do?  I don’t have confidence that he’ll exceed the language of the resolution, and thereby does nothing further emboldening Kim Jung Il.  The only decisive action the administration has taken thus far is cut missile defense.

It’s time to see if President Obama’s foreign policy naiveté has finally lost its bloom.

10 comments
  1. North Korea said it will consider interception of their ship an act of war. Under the UN resolution, the ship may be directed to a convenient port for inspection. However, some reports say the ship appears headed to Myranmar, a country that will not respect UN resolutions to inspect the ship or refuse refueling if it arrives in their port (That government probably welcomes the arms shipments).

    Your move? How will N. Korea respond to a ship interception?

  2. They'll probably respond in someway, but we are positioned well in South Korea to be able to handle that.

    I don't want war with North Korea, but this guy will claim any enforcement of U.N. resolutions as an “act of war.” To do nothing will further embolden him. Deal with it now or deal with it when he does have long range nukes?

  3. I agree that doing nothing will definitely embolden N. Korea. We're not doing 'nothing' right now, we're applying pressure by following their ship and working with regional players. There are a couple days left before either side has to 'blink'.

    Short range nukes, in addition to the chemical and possibly, biological weapons on short range missiles are sufficiently bad for most countries in the region already. South Korea and its neighbors, those which will most likely face the brunt of any retaliation clearly have a say in this matter and I would be certain that they are being consulted. We will do nothing without at least S. Korea's go-ahead.

  4. Regarding Obama's latest statement on Iran, “We'll see how this plays out.” I would like to see him say that directly to Neda's Family!!!

  5. M. Hovda, you might find it helpful to watch the conference or read the full transcript.

    The Iranian people can speak for themselves. That's precisely what's happened in the last few days. In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests of justice. Despite the Iranian government's efforts to expel journalists and isolate itself, powerful images and poignant words have made their way to us through cellphones and computers, and so we've watched what the Iranian people are doing.

    This is what we've witnessed. We've seen the timeless dignity of tens of thousands of Iranians marching in silence. We've seen people of all ages risk everything to insist that their votes are counted and that their voices are heard. Above all, we've seen courageous women stand up to the brutality and threats, and we've experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets. While this loss is raw and extraordinarily painful, we also know this: Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.

    As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people have a universal right to assembly and free speech. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect those rights and heed the will of its own people. It must govern through consent and not coercion. That's what Iran's own people are calling for, and the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government.

    Full transcript here:
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009

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