Op-Ed from Sen. Ryan Zinke
Chairman, Special Operations for America
USN Cdr. at Seal Team Six (Ret)
Special Operations for America
Facebook: Special Operations for America
September 14, 2012
President Obama Leads from Behind in Libya, Egypt, & the Rest of the Middle East
Today’s troubling state of affairs in Libya, Egypt, and the rest of the Middle East is a stark reminder that we need strong American leadership. The chaos in Egypt and Libya, the uncertainty of Iran, and the back-handed treatment of Israel are direct consequences of a White House that leads from behind, a White House that does not believe in American Exceptionalism. American Exceptionalism is the belief that our values are outstanding and unique to the world. These values have made the USA the greatest asset to the globe. We do not apologize for them! The Obama administration has repeatedly proven it does not believe America is truly exceptional. Three examples stand for the world to see: the President’s proclivity for apology, his shunning of our allies, and the willingness to bow to the world.
Why does the world see our President take an apology tour across the Middle East and Europe – speaking of our so-called “mistakes,” “troubles” and “arrogance?” After his election, he portrayed the US as naïve, hasty bullies. His appeasement approach represented the United States – NOT as the greatest nation, but merely as one of many nations. When unrest was rising a few days ago, the Obama administration in Cairo issued a statement apologizing for freedom of speech. Rather than condemning the violence and disrespect of our nation, the administration officials felt the need to pacify the mob with an apology. While the President rightly stepped away from those remarks, it is still his administrations’ words. It sent mixed messages and creates an aura of weakness.
The administration has repeatedly thrown our closest allies under the bus, especially Israel. For the last three and a half years, the US-Israel relations have been on shaky ground. White House action has not matched the rhetoric toward our strongest, democratic ally in the Middle East. Historically, America has defended Israel’s right to exist despite terrorist regimes like Iran and Syria who threaten her national security and democratic freedom. Instead of strengthening ties with Israel, the President – on numerous occasions – has chided Israeli leadership, snubbed important meetings, proposed harmful policies, and ridiculed Prime Minister Netanyahu. Meanwhile, he has done nothing to deter Iran or Hamas’ destructive ambitions toward Israel. Instead his platform is based on talking with dictators while shunning allies. On multiple occasions, this administration has tried to “restart” foreign relationships to the peril of our friends. In an effort to appease Russia, he canceled missile defense plans leaving Poland and the Czech Republic defenseless. Nobody can forget the President’s infamous promise to be “more flexible” with Russia after his reelection. With Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East, his platform has been based on talking with the reckless regime. His administration has been reluctant to enforce real sanctions. In the wake of recent events, the President has invited the new Muslim Brotherhood leader of Egypt for talks while simultaneously snubbing the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The policy of appeasing our enemies and shunning our allies emits the scent of weakness.
The President bows to the world. On multiple occasions from Saudi Arabia to Japan the President has bowed to world leaders – not in mutuality but in subjection. Our values are too great; our military too strong; and our history too deep to bow in deference. The service men and women of this great country have sacrificed too much to see their Commander-in-Chief bow.
This is a call to action. We can simply disapprove of the direction of our country or we can CHANGE the direction of our great country. The world does not deserve our apologies; the world benefits from our leadership. However, the Obama administration promotes policies of appeasement and apology; the recent disgrace at American embassies reflects that failure. Now is the time to bring back the belief in American Exceptionalism. If we simply disagree with the President’s policies, we will have four more years of weakness and appeasement rather than dignity and strength. But if we unite with our belief in America, we can change the next four years.