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First they came for the communists,
but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists
and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they
came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they
came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.
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|Government by Cowardly Bullies - Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 00:00|
Government by Cowardly Bullies
David C. Stolinsky, MD
I’ve always hated bullies. When I started junior high school, I was small for my age and wore glasses. In the schoolyard at lunchtime, a larger, older boy homed in on me as though by radar. He enjoyed punching me on the back of the upper arm, causing bruises. But fighting was severely punished, so at first I did nothing.
But one day, I had had enough. Unexpectedly, I approached him with an offer. He could punch me on the arm as much as he liked, but for each punch, I could punch him on the arm. Of course he agreed. A small crowd gathered to watch. He punched me fairly hard, and I punched him lightly.
Smirking, he punched me again. But this time, I used the technique I had learned by watching my favorite boxers on TV. I planted my feet, pivoted, and threw a punch with my weight behind it. The kids standing around winced from the loud whack. The bully said nothing but never bothered me again.
At the age of 13, I learned a lesson that many people do not learn even in middle age. As a seventh-grader, I learned what many professors, intellectuals, politicians and even presidents never learn. I learned that bullies must be confronted. I learned that if reason proves ineffective, force must be used. I learned that in order to reduce violence, one must be willing to hit − not just to be hit.
How is this relevant to the current political situation? At home, the administration puts intense pressure on Congressional Democrats to support ObamaCare, even to the extent of threatening to oppose them in the primary elections if they do not vote the “correct” way. But after bullying legislators, the leadership now is looking for a way to “pass” ObamaCare without actually voting on it − so legislators will be able to claim they voted for it or against it, whichever is more convenient at the time. How’s that for courage of their convictions?
Abroad, the administration behaves obsequiously with hostile foreign leaders, while it goes out of its way to irritate friends. Remember Obama’s behavior with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia? This man rules a nation that presents itself as our ally, but at the same time approves of terrorism and spends millions to fund radical mosques, run by imams who preach terrorism and murder of “infidels.” Yet our president showed him not just respect, but actually obeisance and veneration.
Remember Obama’s behavior with Emperor Akihito of Japan? The emperor is the titular head of a friendly nation. But why must our president bow to him?
President Obama is both chief of state (equivalent to a king) and head of government (equivalent to a prime minister). As such, he should greet foreign leaders with respect, but as equals − which they are, according to official protocol.
These are blatant examples, but hardly the only ones. Remember Obama’s affectionate handshake with “President” Hugo Chavez of Venezuela?
While not as disgraceful as a bow, this warm greeting of an anti-American enemy of freedom symbolizes the new direction of our government: Be submissive to those who show us hostility, but be hostile to those who have a record of being our friends.
Is this judgment too harsh? Consider the administration’s repeated, almost pathetic attempts to befriend the unbalanced leader of Iran. This man openly declares his intention to wipe Israel off the map, while also making thinly veiled threats to American troops in the region, and at the same time defying the “international community” by constructing nuclear weapons.
Unstable fanatics with nuclear weapons cause the administration only mild unease. But what causes acute anxiety? The Israelis decide to build 1600 homes in East Jerusalem, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a meltdown. Build nuclear weapons? No problem. But build houses? Intolerable! If you want an illustration of a cowardly bully, look no further.
Nor is this the only example of hostility toward our friends. Consider Obama’s repeated snubs of Gordon Brown, the prime minister of Britain, our ally in two World Wars and our staunchest ally in the war on terror. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton went further and apparently sided with Argentina against Britain in the Falkland Islands dispute.
And consider Obama’s hostility to Honduras and Colombia, our friends in Latin America. Consider his reneging on the promise of a missile defense for Poland and the Czech Republic, our friends in Eastern Europe. Soon our friends will conclude that they are our former friends, so they must look elsewhere for friendship.
Added to the Obama administration’s deteriorating relationship with Israel, the anti-British turn in our foreign policy can be seen as punishing friends while rewarding enemies. This is a sure recipe for having fewer friends and more enemies. How could intelligent, educated people not see this? Perhaps because their education was laced with large doses of “blame America first.” If we are responsible for most of the ills of the world, the solution is to reverse course − oppose our friends and befriend our enemies.
But will our enemies then befriend us? Is Ahmadinejad’s Iran responding to our repeated overtures by dismantling its nuclear facilities and renouncing its hostile intentions? Is Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela turning toward a pro-freedom, pro-United States policy? Is Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia ceasing to fund the instigation of terrorism? Is Putin’s Russia becoming our ally in the war on terror? Are you joking?
Of course, most people with even a rudimentary knowledge of history know that a submissive attitude will not evoke goodwill from our enemies − it will evoke only contempt, and increased hostility. Most educated people regard the words “Chamberlain,” “Munich” and “appeasement” with distaste, even revulsion. But to the anti-American Left, these words represent a policy that should be tried again − maybe this time it will work better. It won’t. It isn’t.
The difference is that last time, our enemies needed ships, planes and armies to attack us. This time, they can use suicide bombers, aircraft hijackers, missiles, and ultimately nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. This time, our oceans cannot protect us. This time, we do not have months or years to awake from our pacifist slumber.
So there you have it: Bow to the strong, be aggressive to the weak. Grovel before enemies, turn our back on friends. Would you respect a person who behaved like that? Then why do you think the world will respect a nation that behaves like that?
A few years ago, I passed a young man in the mall. He looked fit and had a “high and tight” haircut. He wore an olive green T-shirt. The wording caught my eye:
Mess with the best
Though the words were a bit crude, they conveyed the basic idea of the Bush administration and the war on terror. But things have changed. Perhaps it is time for a new T-shirt, one that more accurately reflects the Obama administration:
If you put us to the test
Of course, this shirt will be offered only in yellow, definitely not in olive green.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.