Laughingstock and Paper Tiger

Ed Koch delivers a solid, withering attack on US foreign policy. He starts off clearly naming the enemy and the vital stakes of the battle:
We are at war with radical Islam, and that war will go on for many years.

For me, the question is this: will the secular Western civilization shared by America and Europe, which allows us to enjoy life and its creature comforts, still be standing at the end of that war? Or will radical Islam, with an aggressive culture that treasures martyrdom and death over life, prevail?
He advocates a mostly self-interested foreign policy and decries our administration's inaction, and names the real consequences of the current policies:
I believe these failures to stand up for allies and most importantly to stand up for ourselves is why we are taken less seriously by nations throughout the world than should be the case. When others fully respected us, we were able to keep the world at peace. We are losing that ability with each passing day, as we demonstrate our unwillingness to teach the bullies of the world the lessons they deserve. [bold added]
Koch is right, but I detect a slight altruistic tinge to his arguments. Our goal should not be to "keep the world at peace" but to protect the rights and interests of American citizens, and therefore the country. If broader peace is also achieved (or some such measure is a valid goal in the national interest) then so be it.

Regardless, Koch sees the problem that our incessant backtracking, apologizing, and appeasing is causing. We're becoming a paper tiger; one that is harmless not because it lacks muscle, claws, or fangs to attack with, but instead is self-crippled by a tragic moral inversion which states that the existence of such magnificent weaponry means it must never use it for itself. Our enemies know this, and use this advantage to great effect.

Finally, Koch addresses Obama himself, saying:
Speak softly and carry a big stick, Teddy Roosevelt said. President Obama speaks apologetically and carries no stick at all. No wonder North Korea torpedoed that South Korean warship, something they would not have done in all probability if China had not quietly approved. No wonder Brazil and Turkey thumb their noses at us. We have become a laughingstock. [bold added]
"...speaks apologetically and carries no stick at all." That's a good line, and accurately reflects Obama's foreign policy stance. (I'd say he does carry a stick, but directs its use domestically instead.) I'm not familiar with Koch's politics, but I wonder if he sees the damage that was done by Bush's policies as well. Obama is weak and other nations are gleefully exploiting that, but Bush and other presidents back down the line for decades have been setting us up for just such problems. Altruism has long motivated much of our foreign policy, weakening us and undercutting our willingness to stand up for ourselves. Now that we have an actively anti-American president who despises our founding principles as much as do our enemies, we shouldn't be surprised by the results.

1 comment:

mtnrunner2 said...

Of course Koch is right. And I share your doubt concerning his degree of adherence to the principle of NON-sacrifice.

Here's another one, which seems a bit out of place at Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-koch/i-have-never-been-so-terr_b_526105.html

He is an interesting guy. I was in living in the NY metro area back when he was mayor, and although I didn't like a lot of his policies, I had to grudgingly admit he was pretty much on top of it as mayor. I never once saw him stumped by a reporter or anyone else. He had an answer for everything.

Lately his commentary seems to have a good sense of justice when it comes to national defense, both of the U.S. and Israel.