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Elections, Politics

The Middle East and Israel: Is it Too Late Now for “Red Lines” ?

Posted: September 14, 2012 at 8:00 am   /   by

Nineteen months ago (Feb, 2011), I wrote an article titled “Reaping What He Has Sown — Why Obama Can’t Handle Egypt“.  I speculated that Obama’s feckless, appeasement-oriented approaches to Middle East policy would ultimately leave him with no influence at all since neither Israel nor Israel’s enemies would take him seriously.

In that article, I suggested that President Obama might deter Iran’s aggresssive intentions by adopting the approach of President Kennedy when Kennedy set a “red line” in the Cuban Missile Crisis.  For example, in JFK’s rhetorical style, Obama might have declared:

Israel is a friend and ally of the United States. It shall be the policy of the United States to regard any attack launched from any country against the State of Israel as an attack by that country on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the attacking country. I say now to every friend and foe of Israel: Make no mistake — we will defend Israel.

Would such a declaration have deterred Iran?  Perhaps not, but we’ll never know since he has never declared any such thing.  Even if he were to declare it unequivocally now, who would believe him?  Iran?  Egypt?  Israel?  Is it too late now for “red lines” to be a deterrent to war?

Early on, President Obama chose a foreign policy based on winning love rather than fear or respect.  Predictably, he now has neither love nor respect, and the situation in the Middle East is rapidly unraveling.

Had Obama sought respect first and love later, and had he sought to keep our military and intelligence services strong rather than neglecting, redirecting, and decimating them as he is now, “red lines” might have actually worked.

As President Kennedy said (Inaugural Address,1961):

Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

And as Sun Tzu said (The Art of War, circa 600 BC):

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

The world may be about to learn (yet again) a painful lesson that President Obama never recognized, let alone heeded.

Heaven help our friend and ally, Israel.  And America as well.