Monday, April 20, 2009

Keep Powder Dry When It Comes To Obama-Chavez

Hugo Chavez is harmless. At least comparatively so. He poses no real threat to the United States, militarily or economically. American animosity towards the Venezuelan president stems not from any fear of his power, but instead from his clownish antics and his use of “Imperialist America” as a straw man with which to sell his socialist agenda to his largely poor and uneducated population. He has lowered himself to amateurish name calling on multiple occasions and is using democracy to acquire permanent and unchallenged power in a fashion similar to Adolph Hitler. However, Hitler he is not.

This is why the cordial meeting between Chavez and Barack Obama this weekend doesn’t bother me all that much. He shook Obama’s hand and gave him some crazy left-wing literature about how all of the poverty and corruption inherent in South American society is the fault of the United States. I’m guessing that Obama might already own the book and agrees with the bile contained within its pages so the net effect of the meeting itself was probably a wash. Chavez will now go back to his own country and once again begin badmouthing America in order to continue leading his nation down the road to pure socialism. In a fashion eerily similar to recent statements by Joe Biden, Chavez will brag about how he looked the American president in the eye and told him the truth about all the injustices that America has brought upon the people of South America in the last two centuries. Whatever. American has more dangerous dictators to worry about.

For example. This weekend Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at a United Nations forum on racism. Of course public enemy number one at this event-–appropriately boycotted by The United States-–was Israel, a nation that Ahmadinejad has vowed to destroy.

It is one thing for Obama to shake the hand of a harmless jester like Chavez for whom the ultimate goal is securing and advancing his own political power. It is far different for him to sit down with an individual who appears intent on eradicating an ally of the United States.

The Obama administration used Iran's rhetoric at the U.N. meeting as justification for backtracking on its recent promise to meet for talks with the Islamic Republic. It seems Obama has finally found a pre-condition that he believes in.

Add the fact that Iran shows no signs of ending its nuclear program to its Holocaust denial and you have complete justification for keeping Iran cut off from the civilized world.

In continuing to promote feel-good policies of engagement with the worst governments that the world has to offer, Obama is essentially saying that these governments can do what they want without fear of repercussions from the United States. The situation should provide both sides of the American political spectrum an opportunity to reassess their ideas about diplomacy.

Those on the Left who voted for Obama need to do some soul searching and ask themselves if they really believe that a nation as irrational in their actions and rhetoric as Iran can be negotiated into doing anything, especially into ending its quest for nuclear weapons.

Those of us on the Right need to consider saving our powder when criticizing the President for providing little more than a smile and a handshake to a comical goon such as Hugo Chavez and reserving our outrage for matters of life and death such as Obama’s promise to diplomatically engage Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs.

Furthermore, all Americans, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, need take a good hard look at the world community and decide whether their good will and respect is something that should carry weight in our own political calculations.

We need to keep in mind that anti-Semitism is not limited to the streets of the Middle East. The U.N. leadership is completely backward on matters such as these. It is the U.N. that should be condemned for expressing its dissappointment in those nations that walked out of the Iranian leader's speech. There is a reason we call it “American Exceptionalism”. The rest of the world simply does not share our moral compass or our value for human life.

Obama’s apologies for America over the past few weeks to anyone who will listen is a sign of the president’s weakness and naivete in regards to how the world works and proof of his low opinion of the country that he leads. These feelings have been nurtured in the communities and circles in which he has resided his entire life, from the pews of Reverend Wright’s Trinity United, to the home of Bill Ayers to the primary caucuses of the Democratic party. They should come as no surprise to anyone who paid close attention to the election of 2008. That a U.S President holds views such as these is unfortunate.

It is when these apologies turn into concessions however, that they become dangerous. Those of us who understand this need to keep it in perspective and be careful not to equivocate a clown such as Chavez with a legitimate threat to peace such as Ahmadinejad

- Dan Joseph

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