September 20, 2009

Dictator Watch - September 20,2009

Joe Biden predicted this during the election campaign.  He said, refering to some imagined international crisis, that the President would be tested in his first six months in office.  There was a rigged election in Iran.  There was a North Korean ship floating around supposedly with nuclear material on board.  There was Chinese ships threatening American naval vessels.  And there was Russia growing increasingly belicose.  While he was off by the number of tests, Biden was right.

Biden also predicted that the President's response would not seem to be the right one but that byensuring Americans gave him their  support, he would be seen to be right in time. So far on that score, Biden seems only half right - the President's approach to these matters have seemed a little, well, off.  And things have gotten worse at an unnoticed but increasing pace.

The President this past week withdrew the missile defense shield planned installations from being situated in Poland and the Czech Republic.  Why? Ostensibly because they wanted to use the more mobile approach of naval vessels for the purpose of stopping potential Iranian ballistics aimed at Europe or Israel.  But who was the big complainer about the missiles? Russia.  And who felt betrayed in the unilateral retreat?  The former Soviet satellites Poland and the Czechs.   What does the President hope to gain by this?  Applause from Putin? He was credited by the dictator, who must be still be smirking over the unnecessary white flag.

That's Putin 1 - Obama 0.

Meanwhile, the President has capitulated on the talks with Kim Jong Il.  Retreating from the position that 6-way talks are mandatory, the President decided to give Jong Il, fresh from no doubt telling his prisoners citizens that he met with President Clinton (who knows, the people of North Korea may have been told Clinton was still President given the photo op for Jong Il), that fig leaf. He can now be elevated to direct talks with the President of the United States.

Obama had promised he would talk with enemies of the state (think Bill Ayers), so this change should come as no surprise.  Still, what was gained by the unilateral move?  On the U.S. side, nothing.  It's a propoganda coup for North Korea's crackpot dictator.

Jong Il 1 - Obama 0.

Meanwhile Chavez and Ahmedinejad are flirting with each other like giddy school children.  They are talking about shared nuclear technology, and likely ballistics too.  If Iran manages to get a long range ballistic nuclear program, it's bad.  If Chavez gets it, it's frightening.  It's way too close to home.  With Iran working with Russia and Venezuela working with Iran, we may only be a few years away from that reality.

With Obama in full retreat in international affairs, there are a lot of happy dictators free to roam about the planet imposing injustice and chaos - even Ghadafi got into the act with the release and Welcome Home party of the Lockerbie bomber Megrahi from a Scottish prison.  And Iran has proposed talks with the U.S. but on their terms and their topics.  Obama agreed.

In fact, let's call that Ahmedinejad 1 - Obama - 0.

It's starting to look like a losing streak in progress for the United States.  But all that said, the real threat Biden alluded to, is yet to come.  The unholy alliegance of Iran and Venezuela, and the potential for ICBMs pointed at the United States from Caracas is truly a foothold that enemies of the United States cannot afford to be given (and I use that word deliberately). That's Obama's real test.  So far his win-loss record, is making me feel like he's going to pass this test.  I'm not sure Mr. Biden, that retreat, abstention, or voting 'present' on any of these international issues is something that anyone can conceivably rally around. Nor does it seem like a winning strategy.  Biden may have been a prophet on international events, but as usual his assessment of the solution, as the President's track record, is lacking.

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