So here we are, not even three months into the four years of the Obama Presidency, and we have our first new military crisis. A band of four--yes, four--pirates attacked an American-flagged ship and kidnapped it's American citizen captain, and the world is watching to see what Obama plans to do about it.
Unfortunately, other than dithering behind the scenes while publicly refusing to address it, Obama doesn't appear to be doing anything at all. Our SEAL teams--professionals who exist specifically to handle this sort of thing--are sitting idle.
And the world shakes it's collective head.
There was a proud time--actually there were many proud times over the years--when the American flag stood for a sovereignty that was inviolate. Bad guys of every stripe and color knew that if you messed with Old Glory, you would shortly have your ass handed to you. Over the years, we've taught many nations the folly of attacking the United States or It's possessions. We taught the British (twice), we taught the Spanish and the Mexicans more than once, and in the last century we taught the Japanese and the Germans, the Libyans, the Russians, and most recently, Saddam Hussein and the Taliban along with several terrorist outfits. The world knows that America can, has and will kick your ass if you get stupid and harm our people.
Unfortunately the world also knows that every now and again, WE get stupid and elect leaders who lack the spine to kick ass. And then all of the evildoers rush to hit us and get their licks in and get clear before we replace those leaders with new ones that have balls and they set things to rights again.
Look back through our history. Ronald Reagan defined "American Pride" in the 20th Century. When PLO terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and killed a wheelchair-bound American named Leon Klinghoffer, the Europeans on scene sniveled and quaked and finally granted the terrorists safe passage away from their crime. But President Reagan sent the US Navy to intercept their jet, and that's exactly what they did.
"You can run, but you can't hide." President Reagan told the world's thugs.
When Libyan leader Ghadaffi insisted on supporting terrorist operations against US and other personnel overseas and our European "allies" refused to act, President Reagan unilaterally acted by sending the US Air Force to Libya and giving Ghadaffi a serious attitude adjustment that stopped his support for terrorists cold. American President Ronald Wilson Reagan was a man that you did not mess with, and the creeps of the world figured that out and quit messing with the US of A.
Of course you can't put Reagan into perspective without looking at the man who preceded him. President Jimmy Carter had been an appeaser and a vacillator to the extent that even a bunch of Iranian students (backed up by the Iranian government) attacked our embassy in Tehran and held American citizens captive for 444 days, knowing full well that Carter did not have the guts to do anything about it. Sure enough, after one horribly mismanaged rescue attempt went wrong, Carter basically retreated into a corner and sucked his thumb for the rest of his term. But the Iranians weren't stupid; as soon as they saw President-elect Reagan rolling up his sleeves, they released the hostages on the eve of his inauguration. They knew what his first act would have been had they not, and it likely would have involved large numbers of US marines and soldiers and lots of trashed Iranian real estate.
Things went well for Americans under President Reagan and his successor, President George H. Bush. The bad guys knew that Bush--Reagan's former Vice-President--would maintain the Reagan Doctrine as far as it pertained to ferreting out those who murdered Americans and killing them and often anyone with them. But then came President Clinton, and he was too busy sticking cigars into Monica Lewinsky's private places to deal with such pesky trivialities like the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and other terrorist attacks, all of which he dismissed as "law enforcement problems" and allowed to go unresponded to. Incredibly, when the government of the Sudan offered to hand the Clinton Administration Osama bin Laden free of charge, he declined. The result: September 11, 2001, and the largest terrorist attack on American soil in the history of our country.
Well it sucked to be an enemy of America after that. President George W. Bush responded strongly and decisively and the Taliban in Afghanistan and got their asses kicked almost simultaneously with Saddam Hussein and his followers in Iraq. The citizens in both of those countries are free now, thanks to US President Bush. The panty-wearers and bedwetters of the American liberal establishment have always hated President Bush, but not one of them could ever say that America and Americans abroad weren't safer with him at the helm then they were under Clinton.
And lest anyone think that this is a Republican vs. Democrats issue, it's not. Many have thought so over the years, and the Russians in particular erred badly when they tried to punk newbie Democrat President John F. Kennedy both in Europe and in Cuba. (Missile Crisis, anyone?) Kennedy didn't actually have to kick the Russians' asses, but that was only because they realized that he was fixin' to and backed down. Kennedy had balls, and more people than Marilyn Monroe came to know it.
Also, let me remind you that the first US president to project American military power overseas (ironically, in pursuit of pirates) was Thomas Jefferson, a Democrat. When the rest of the world was paying tribute and/or ransom to the Barbary Pirates, Jefferson sent the new US Navy and Marines over to kick their Barbary asses. Result: no more piracy, and the world was a safer place for all--even our lily-livered European "allies".
President Andrew Jackson was a Democrat too. He never had to send the Marines anywhere. He was so bad-ass that everyone in the world knew that if they disrespected us with Jackson in office, he'd personally go kick their asses.
Sadly, the Democrats celebrate both of these men as icons today, but without regard for the fact that Jefferson and Jackson represented a time when even Democrat males had testosterone. That's not the case any more though, and our latest Democratic president, Barack "don't call me B.O." Obama proves it. While four terrorists in an out-of-gas lifeboat thumb their noses at us, he just sits there. Apparently this is one of those times when even his trusty teleprompter can't help him look slicker and more decisive than he really is.
If any of the other Presidents that I've mentioned here--Reagan, Kennedy, Jefferson, Jackson, either Bush--was in charge now (or even someone like Theodore Roosevelt), is there any doubt that we'd have our citizen back and there'd be four less pirates in the world right now? That was the sort of dynamic leadership that we've had at critical times in our country's history and it's the kind of dynamic leadership that we need now because it would deter any more of this sort of nonsense. God help us, President Obama is not that kind of leader, and like Clinton and Carter before him, I predict that he's only going to open the door to much, much more of this sort of thing if he keeps insisting on merely talking to our enemies and refusing to demand that they straighten up and fly right. and our enemies know that they're not dealing with Reagan or Bush any more--they're dealing with a guy who takes his cues from Jimmy Carter and Neville Chamberlain. The SEALs won't be sent because Obama is reportedly too afraid of offending the Somalis. In other words, the bad guys have gotten the message and that message is: "Game on and go like hell until America wises up and elects a real President again."
2010 and President Palin can't get here quick enough for me.
Additional: Oliver North on Reagan.