The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nuance and Naïveté

For the past year the Obama administration has made every effort to make nice with some of the most anti-democratic, thuggish regimes in the Middle East. For example, the President has dispatched envoys to visit Syria, all in a come-let-us-reason-together effort to help a major sponsor of terror in the region see the light. No more “Bush cowboy diplomacy” under the “smart power” of Obama foreign policy — no sir, it’s nuance, brow-furrowing discussions, and no small dose of mea culpas on behalf of the United States. The big question is really quite simple: Has it worked? Have regimes like Assad’s in Syria changed their behavior? Or, do they view the President’s deferential approach as a sign of weakness?

The Wall Street Journal [subscription required] reports:
JERUSALEM—Syria has transferred long-range Scud missiles to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Israeli and U.S. officials alleged, in a move that threatens to alter the Middle East’s military balance and sets back a major diplomatic outreach effort to Damascus by the Obama administration. …

The Scuds are believed to have a range of more than 435 miles—placing Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s nuclear installations all within range of Hezbollah’s military forces. During a month-long war with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah used rockets with ranges of 20 to 60 miles.

Officials briefed on the intelligence said Israeli and American officials believe Syria transferred Scud missiles built with either North Korean or Russian technology.

Hmmm. It looks like President Assad has not been impressed by Barack Obama’s “smart power” diplomacy, and that this little act of mischief is the result. Like virtually everything that President Obama has done in the Middle East, his actions bring the region closer to war.

Why is it, I wonder, that the President expressed public outrage for the “insult” delivered when Israel (a long time ally) announced plans for apartment buildings in Jerusalem, but is now mute when scud missiles are delivered by Syria to Hezballah on the Israeli border. No public outrage—not a peep from the Whitehouse, or the Secretary of State, or even a low level state department functionary. Nothing. Most of the MSM, of course, chooses not to mention the matter (might make their anointed one look bad, after all).

There is little doubt that President Obama has a high opinion of his own communication skills. In fact, it can be argued that his meteoric rise has more to do with those skills that will any tangible personal accomplishments.

I’m beginning to believe that he feels he can charm thugs and tyrants using heartfelt speeches that isolate our allies and embrace our enemies. Someday, our inexperienced President may learn that nuance and naïveté will not solve the intractable problems in the Middle East. I just hope that the lesson is not accompanied by the deaths of tens of thousands on both sides of the conflict.