by Daniel Greenfield
On the shield of the Strategic Air Command a steel mailed fist grips a lightning bolt and an olive branch. The motto of the organization that was the nightmarish obsession of every Cold War leftist was “Peace is our Profession.”
To the moviegoers who sat through Dr. Strangelove, to the earnest leftists who saw the world going up in a puff of atomic smoke because the military industrial complex was obsessed with killing people, to the pseudo-idealists who passed on atomic secrets to Moscow to avoid an American monopoly on the bomb, the SAC’s motto was a demented joke. They knew that the only way to stop war was to disarm.
After the Soviet Union collapsed in the face of relentless pressure from Ronald Reagan, against their fervent opposition, their jeering of SDI defense and their clamor for total appeasement, they did not change their minds. They are even now penning earnest essays in The Nation explaining, as they did of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, that we are the warmongers who are making threatening moves.
In the spring of 2009, Obama delivered a speech in the Czech Republic calling for an end to nuclear weapons. Rather than celebrating the patriotic dedication of Americans throughout the Cold War which had made the freedom of the Czechs possible, he dug up the hoary leftist cliché of how “generations lived with the knowledge that their world could be erased in a single flash of light.”
Obama vowed “to put an end to Cold War thinking”, eliminate nuclear weapons and guarantee the defense of our allies “including the Czech Republic”.
That fall, Obama abandoned missile defense for Poland and the Czech Republic to appease Russia.
At his inaugural address, Obama had declared, “the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve”, “as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself” and “America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”
The new era of peace was not to come. That same spring, his Cairo speech with its abandonment of American power and alliances would devolve the Middle East into murderous civil wars fought over lines of tribe and Islamist regimes rejecting common humanity with non-Muslims and even fellow Muslims.
Throughout his campaign, Obama had assured the country that Sunnis and Shiites would come together and negotiate a working arrangement once Americans troops were out of Iraq. Instead the Shiites seized power and Al Qaeda came surging back as the murderous champion of the Sunnis.
In Iraq, as in Ukraine and Syria, the lines of tribe held and common humanity was nowhere in sight.
Gore had run against Bush by promising to be harder on Iraq. Kerry had run against Bush by promising to be harder on Iran. But then the Democratic Party’s ideological shift bore fruit and Hillary Clinton was suddenly too much of a warmonger to be president. The man who knocked her out of the race had become famous for delivering a confused anti-war speech to elderly Marxists in Chicago in 2002.
The Democrats had made it their priority to freeze Bush’s second term foreign policy by making it impossible for him to do anything about the terrorists streaming into Iraq out of Syria, Russia’s invasion of Georgia or Iran’s nuclear program. Meanwhile eager champagne drinking leftists held their glasses in the air, waiting for the ascension of their candidate who would “fix the world”.
By embracing the attacks on the Iraq War, the Democratic Party had reverted its foreign policy back before Reagan to the Carter era. Peace through strength was gone. Soft power was in. America would appease and apologize its way out of any foreign policy problems and surrender its way to peace.
By the time Obama’s 2009 world tour was done, American foreign policy lay in tatters. It would take years for the full damage to reveal itself, for the forces he had set in motion to crystallize into events such as the Syrian Civil War or the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The men of the Strategic Air Command during the Cold War had understood, as the scribblers in The Nation did not, as the audiences giggling over Dr. Strangelove did not, that it wasn’t America power that would bring on war, but the elimination of that power.
They knew that they were standing against the long night. Now the night has come.
Obama deliberately abandoned American power. He threw it away with the same disdain that Kerry had tossed the medals over the White House fence. Unilateralism was over. It was a post-American world now with no more lines of tribe or border to get in the way of our uncommonly common humanity.
The message that he sent the world was that the Democratic Party’s opposition to the Iraq War had not been a temporary fluke or an opposition tactic. It was now government policy.
Obama abandoned Iraq to Iran and Afghanistan to the Taliban, snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory in both wars. Each time his foreign policy went up in flames, he rose from the ashes having learned nothing whatsoever from the experience.
Last year, Chuck Hagel’s Vision Zero group unveiled a parade of celebrities reciting Obama’s Czech speech. “I demand zero,” Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman and Whoopi Goldberg sonorously recited. They meant zero nuclear weapons, but they could have just as easily meant reducing American power to zero.
On Feb 24, Hagel unveiled a new series of drastic defense cuts that would take the US Army back to its smallest size since before the Cold War.
Three days later, Russia invaded Ukraine.
Obama and his ilk with their faith in international law and soft power had forgotten what Woodrow Wilson, that Democratic Party champion of international law, had said, “A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within it or observe its covenants.”
Obama had put his faith in the submission of American power to autocrats, perverting Wilson’s already flawed vision. Distrusting American power, he had instead trusted in the willingness of Iran and Russia to meet his flexibility with friendship.
He blamed America first and put America last.
America has so far only paid the lightest price for the treason of the Democrats. The greater part of the price has been paid by the tens of thousands dead in the conflicts touched off by their foreign policy. But if the post-American foreign policy continues, then millions around the world, including Americans, will pay the price.
Every liberal today wants peace. Every diplomat wants to be a peacemaker. But their brand of peace, whether it is the negotiations with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea or Palestinian terrorists, is worthless. The only peace that counts is the one protected by the men of the Strategic Air Command who live the knowledge that the profession of peace can only be practiced with the tradecraft of war.
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