Will 2013 be the year America sacrifices the rest of her credibility to the world? We are dead set on continuing our ill-conceived policy of making nice to countries and groups that hate us (see: Countries that Hate America Could be Our Best Friends), no matter how futile or costly the effort. Instead of non-lethal aid to Syria, how about spending that money in the U.S., where we stand a better chance that our efforts won’t be reciprocated with anti-Americanism?
Strong world leaders don’t make the mistakes suffered by our inexperienced president. Most important, they don’t fall into credibility traps that damage their nation’s influence for years to come. Barack Obama dedicated a lot of effort to apologizing for the Bush years. How much time will his successor have to spend apologizing for Obama?
Here are five pitfalls strong world leaders avoid at all costs. Our president, on the other hand …
1. Issuing ultimatums they won’t live up to.
Words are cheap and easy. Leaders with experience know that the moment of truth is hard. Is it Obama’s inexperience or his illusion of an international community watching America’s back that led him to warn Syria’s government about a game-changing imaginary line?
2. Relying on the international community.
In Tuesday’s White House press conference we heard how America has “organized the international community.”¹ We’ve tried that one before and it doesn’t always work out very well, especially when the time comes to pay the bill. Mr. Obama is dealing with the Arab world, not the West, and countries that hate America on principle are not going to look more kindly on America because the U.S. is behind an intervention, whether armed or humanitarian.
3. Getting involved with the Arab world because of Western principles.
Strong world leaders know when to say “no.” When it comes to violent conflict in the Middle East, saying no is the wisest response we can offer (see: Americans Are Not to Blame for Savagery in the Muslim World).
The president got lucky in Libya. We didn’t go it alone, a good thing when collateral damage from NATO air strikes ruffled the Arab world. What is the payoff in Syria? Do our inexperienced president and a growing number of lawmakers think this could be the start of a new Arab spring? We will end up with a different Muslim group in power who will find new reasons to hate America and, if past history is any lesson, will also find new reasons to kill more Muslims and maybe a few more Americans.
4. Letting an adversary cross a line that really is a game-changer.
Let’s be honest. Muslims killing Muslims is not a game-changer, no matter how they do it. Let them have at it. The international community needs to see more of how members of this “great, world religion”² treat each other.
North Korea owning nukes and threatening the U.S. is another matter. There is no question about whether or not they have the bomb, only how much they can do with it. JFK would have been appalled.
5. Forgetting who your real friends are.