Senator Barack Obama recently gave a speech about foreign policy, and the Junior Senator from Illinois outlined things he would do if he were President. If you have the stomach for it, you should read the whole thing, but I’ll excerpt a few parts:
We have heard much over the last six years about how America’s larger purpose in the world is to promote the spread of freedom — that it is the yearning of all who live in the shadow of tyranny and despair.
I agree. But this yearning is not satisfied by simply deposing a dictator and setting up a ballot box. The true desire of all mankind is not only to live free lives, but lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and simple justice.
And how exactly do we accomplish this lofty and laudable goal? The Senator from Illinois explains:
Delivering on these universal aspirations requires basic sustenance like food and clean water; medicine and shelter. It also requires a society that is supported by the pillars of a sustainable democracy — a strong legislature, an independent judiciary, the rule of law, a vibrant civil society, a free press, and an honest police force. It requires building the capacity of the world’s weakest states and providing them what they need to reduce poverty, build healthy and educated communities, develop markets, and generate wealth. And it requires states that have the capacity to fight terrorism, halt the proliferation of deadly weapons, and build the health care infrastructure needed to prevent and treat such deadly diseases as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
And how is this laundry list of actions unlike the work we are already doing in Iraq? Contrary to the snide comment of “simply deposing a dictator and setting up a ballot box,” the U.S. has been doing a very commendable job of rebuilding the infrastructure and quality of life in Iraq. Not that we’d hear that from the news, since they are only interested in reporting bad news.
Sen. Obama also said, “Our interests are best served when people and governments from Jerusalem and Amman to Damascus and Tehran understand that America will stand with our friends, work hard to build a peaceful Middle East, and refuse to cede the future of the region to those who seek perpetual conflict and instability.” Please tell Speaker Pelosi and other Democrat wanna-be Secretaries of State to stop sending mixed messages abroad. Then Sen. Obama explained that he would pay other nations to like us more:
As President, I will double our annual investments in meeting these challenges to $50 billion by 2012 and ensure that those new resources are directed towards these strategic goals.
The problem is that paying people to like us has not worked in the past. The Heritage Foundation recently released an analysis of U.N. votes by nations and aid money we give them. Of the top ten nations receiving foreign aid from the U.S., only Israel consistently casts its votes with the U.S. All the rest vote more times against our interests than for them. Imagine giving money to your out-of-work brother, only to have him rail against you at every family gathering. It would be obvious that your payments hadn’t succeeded in gaining you any good will. And since you couldn’t control how he spent the money, he chose to buy cases of beer for himself rather than food for his family. Do you really expect giving money to a dictator would have any better results than money given to your ingrate bum brother?
Jim Quinn of the Warroom recently brought up an interesting parallel. Back when the Barbary Pirates were seizing American ships and taking the sailors and passengers as slaves, the U.S. and other countries tried to buy the pirates off with tribute money. Payment didn’t keep the seas free of pirates, but the second Barbary War succeeded in doing just that. It appears to me that Sen. Obama believes paying off the pirates will have a better result this time. What is that phrase about people who are ignorant of history?
Since we are talking about historical parallels, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, then serving as ambassadors to France and Britain respectively, met with the then-ambassador from Tripoli to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja. When they asked Adja why Tripoli was so hostile to Americans, they got a response that could have recently fallen from Osama’s lips:
That it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.
I can only come away with one opinion after reading Sen. Obama’s address: this foreign policy neophyte should never become President.