Remember these words from President Obama?
“Gov. Romney, I'm glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years.”
The foreign policy of the 1980’s brought down the Soviet Union. It would appear that Obama’s foreign policy is bringing it back.
We are fewer than two years past that debate and Russia has invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation. The Ukrainian people took to the street to demand freedom and democracy and to protest a government that allowed neither. When the government attempted to violently crush the demonstrations the people overthrew the government. As we know:
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin however, contends: the government in Ukraine, the people’s government, is illegitimate because the leader, Yanukovych, was illegally overthrown; that Yanokuvych remains Ukraine’s legitimate leader; that Russia has a right to use military force in Ukraine because the ousted Yanukovych (the legitimate leader according to Russia) formally asked for Russian for assistance in quelling the revolt.
To which the President of the United States responded, “President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations but I don’t think that’s fooling anybody.” Well, there’s a strong statement from a powerful man.
In 1982, the USSR-controlled Polish government declared Solidarity, the first non-communist union in the Soviet Bloc, to be illegal. Ronald Reagan let the world know where America stood:
“I know Poland is a faraway country in Eastern Europe. Still, this action is a matter of profound concern to all the American people and to the free world… The Polish military leaders and their Soviet backers have shown that they will continue to trample upon the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the Polish people. America cannot stand idly by in the face of these latest threats of repression and acts of repression by the Polish Government…The Polish regime should understand that we're prepared to take further steps as a result of this further repression in Poland. We are also consulting urgently with our allies on steps we might take jointly in response to this latest outrage… when anyone is denied freedom, then freedom for everyone is threatened. The struggle in the world today for the hearts and minds of mankind is based on one simple question: Is man born to be free, or slave? In country after country, people have long known the answer to that question. We are free by divine right. We are the masters of our fate, and we create governments for our convenience. Those who would have it otherwise commit a crime and a sin against God and man.”
Strangely, in his February 28 statement about events in Ukraine, Obama never uttered the word “freedom.” Instead, he said:
“Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future… we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe. It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people… the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The nation that once said big things, did big things, and led the world, now confronts Russian aggression with talk of “lawyers” and “people deserving the opportunity to determine own future.” The world perceives America as weak and perception is reality.
What happens when America is weak? The world is less safe. Syria crosses “red lines” with impunity, Iran and North Korea flex their muscles, Russia invades neighboring states, and al Qaeda does not—contrary to Obama’s 2012 campaign spin—run.
America has suffered terrorist attacks at home, Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and abroad, Benghazi—for which no one has been brought to justice. Are we safer today than when Obama took office?
No, we are not. Since our nation’s birth, the fundamental purpose of our government is to defend its people, to ensure our liberty. If Obama fails to perform this most basic purpose he should not pursue vast domestic undertakings like Obamacare. Because, if Obama cannot keep our nation free and safe, health care will be the least of our concerns.
Sean Noble served for ten years as former Congressman John Shadegg’s Chief of Staff. He is the President of DC London, a political consulting firm with offices in Phoenix and Washington, D.C.