TheBlackList Pub

For All Points-Of-The-View.

Tale of Two Presidents: Eisenhower and Obama

A Tale of Two Presidents: Eisenhower and Obama


On Nov. 6, 1956, Election Day, to be precise, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent a brief message to British Prime Minister Anthony Eden: "We have given our whole thought to Hungary and the Middle East. I don't give a damn how the election goes."


Eisenhower could afford that kind of attitude—he was a genuine American hero in World War II, and there was no chance of his losing his bid for a second term to the inconsequential Adlai Stevenson. But the election came, as the historian David Nichols put it, during a "perfect storm." Britain and France had invaded Egypt under the guise of bringing to a halt fighting in the Suez Canal between Egypt and Israel, and the Soviet Union had deemed this the right time to crush a Hungarian bid for freedom.


Ours is a different world. Barack Obama isn't to be held to the Eisenhower standard. Indeed, as a fortunate "off-mic" moment recently revealed, this president bargains with Russian errand boy Dmitry Medvedev over something as trivial as protecting Europe with a missile defense system. I will have more "flexibility," the leader of the Free World says, with my last election behind me.


Thankfully, we don't live in the shadow of a nuclear showdown. But from its very beginning, this presidency has been about the man himself and his personal ambition, and less so his duty to democracy.


So what's to be said of Mr. Obama's foreign-policy accomplishments? Has he, like Eisenhower, given his whole thought to the troubles of the Middle East? As a candidate, he declared Afghanistan the "war of necessity." But the war does not detain or torment him, nothing here of the anguish of LBJ over Vietnam. He ordered his own surge in Afghanistan but took away so much of its power by announcing a date for American withdrawal in 2014—two good, safe years after his second presidential bid. This way peace could be had with the Taliban who could wait us out—and with the "progressives" at home who have no use for this war but are willing to grant the president prosecuting it time and indulgence.


In the same vein, the primacy of electoral politics over the necessities of strategy had driven the decision to quit Iraq and give up our gains in that vital country. Mr. Obama gave the Iraqis an offer they were meant to refuse. The small residual force he said he would accept, a contingent of somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers, could hardly defend itself, let alone be of any use to the Iraqis.

ajami0402

President Barack Obama.


No one was fooled. The American president had given every indication that he had no interest in Iraq and its affairs. A decade of sacrifices lay behind us in Iraq, the new order was too fragile to stand alone. We could have had an appreciable presence in Iraq—the Kurds, the Shiites, the Sunnis would have all been glad for the American protection. This presence would have served us well as a hedge against the hegemonic ambitions of Iranian theocracy, and an Iraq in the orbit of U.S. power would have been less likely to cast its fate with the embattled House of Assad in Syria.


For a year now, the people of Syria have been in the midst of a heroic struggle against a tyrannical regime, but no American help has come their way. Moral considerations aside, Syria is now a strategic battleground, a place where Iranian power challenges, by proxy, the moderate order of nations in the region. For three decades, the Iranian radical theocracy has waged campaigns of terror away from its soil.


In Syria, the mullahs are determined to prevail in the face of the moderate Arabs and Western democracies. Much of the order of the region hangs in the balance. Were the Iranian bid for regional hegemony to be broken in Syria, the Middle East would change for the better.


As the noted scholar of strategy Charles Hill put it, Syria is the ideal place to rattle the turbans. Were the Assad regime to bite the dust, the stranglehold of Hezbollah over Lebanon would come to an end. In "the East" there is that age-old instinct for reading the wind and riding with the victor.


It had taken some five months for President Obama to call on Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power, but once that call was made we were reduced to mere spectators of the Syrian calamity. We exaggerated the might of the Assad killing machine, belittled the opposition, and doubting their purpose and cohesiveness, refrained from arming the defectors.


American intelligence and policy statements could never get it right: Assad was, alternately, a dead man walking or firmly in the saddle. When a measure of ambiguity about American intentions could have aided the Syrian rebellion, the Pentagon and State Department went out of their way to reassure the despot in Damascus that there was nothing to worry about in Washington. No wonder the suspicion has grown that the Obama administration is content to see Assad ride out the storm.


From this great contest, the administration wishes to be spared. Were Assad to fall, the claim could be made that the Obama wisdom had been vindicated, that an "organic" Arab rebellion had prevailed. In the meantime, the agony of Homs and Hama, the popular upheaval against a monstrous tyranny, is left untended.


Mr. Obama has never owned up to the fact that the cruel regimes in Tehran and Damascus were the ones he had been eager to court at the dawn of his presidency. Read the Wikileaks from Damascus in early 2009—they are full of false hope that the olive branch extended to the Damascus dictatorship had altered its ways.


History is perhaps forgiving nowadays, the Syrian rebellion could be crushed without Mr. Obama paying an appreciable political price. It is a sad truth that the president has become the embodiment, and the instrument, of our retreat from distant shores—and concerns. He trades away strategic American assets in the hope that the American people will not care or notice. On the face of it, he exudes a sublime confidence that the world could be held at bay—at least until November, past that last election.

Mr. Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and co-chair of Hoover's Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.

A version of this article appeared April 2, 2012, on page A15 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Obama and the Eisenhower Standard.

Views: 21

Comment

You need to be a member of TheBlackList Pub to add comments!

Join TheBlackList Pub


Donations Accepted

      Your donation
     keeps us online.

Forum

Stop Mimicking Your Oppressor!

Started by SendMeYourNews in CURRENT EVENTS AND TOPICAL ISSUES. Last reply by Brotha Lukata 2 hours ago. 4 Replies

                When our leadership, particularly Black elected officials,…Continue

HOPE ORGANIZATION will accept applications for Home Energy Bill Payment Assistance beginning September 2nd

Started by TheBlackList-Publisher in Bulletins 16 hours ago. 0 Replies

Who:               HOPE Organization located in the Englewood community will provide assistance to thousands of low income residents with utilities assistances while funding last. What:          The LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program…Continue

Trekking in Nepal - Acute Trek Pvt. Ltd.

Started by Treks Himalaya in LEISURE_RECREATION_TRAVEL 17 hours ago. 0 Replies

Trekking in Nepal and Hiking in Nepal is part of world adventure tourism. Natures to renew one’s own self regard, to relive…Continue

Tags: trek, travel, tours, hiking, in

September 2nd starts LIHEAP applications in Englewood with HOPE Organization

Started by Mark S. Allen in CURRENT EVENTS AND TOPICAL ISSUES 17 hours ago. 0 Replies

For Immediate Release                                                                 CONTACT    September 1, 2014                                                              Roosevelt Watkins (773) 717-2444 HOPE ORGANIZATION will accept…Continue

Cynthia McKinney: Another Tuskegee? Whistleblower Admits CDC Lied About Vaccine Link to Autism

Started by TheBlackList News in CURRENT EVENTS AND TOPICAL ISSUES. Last reply by Zhana 10 hours ago. 1 Reply

On August 27, 2014, a CDC whistleblower, William W. Thompson, Ph.D., admitted his role in a massive coverup that has had devastating repercussions in African-American male babies (and possibly others) who were administered the MMR (Mumps, Measles,…Continue

The Guillermo Morales-Assata Shakur Community Student Center @ CCNY in Harlem, Fall Schedule of Events

Started by Bronx Scoop in Bulletins yesterday. 0 Replies

THE GUILLERMO MORALES-ASSATA SHAKURCOMMUNITY/STUDENT CENTER @ THE CITY COLLEGE IN HARLEM THE MORALES-SHAKUR CENTRAL COORDINATING COMMITTEEStudents For Educational Rights @ CCNYThe Black Student Union @ CCNYThe Healing Drum CollectiveThe Sister…Continue

Nation's parks with India- Should stop by at least one time

Started by bruce wills in Politics yesterday. 0 Replies

Exotic & decreasing in numbers chickens, creatures, bugs, fishes, plants, reptiles, mammals plus some additional wildlife variety are located with world famous countrywide parks with Indian. The actual county is usually a property for numerous…Continue

Tags: National, Park, Rajaji, in, tours

Prologue Goes After Dropouts to "Drop-In" Chicago Schools Next Week!

Started by Mark S. Allen in CURRENT EVENTS AND TOPICAL ISSUES yesterday. 0 Replies

Prologue Inc. officials take to the Streets to Make Sure More Dropouts Drop in Chicago Schools Next WeekEstimated 60,00O Students Fail to Go to ClassCHICAGO – (AUGUST 31, 2014) -- While more than 400,000 students are expected to return to Chicago…Continue

Chase Bank taking food out of homeless veterans mouths?

Started by Mark S. Allen in CURRENT EVENTS AND TOPICAL ISSUES on Saturday. 0 Replies

Chase Bank taking food out of homeless veterans mouths?submitted by RTW VET CENTERRTW VET CENTER August 28, 2014Chase Bank taking food out of homeless veterans mouths in Chicago's war zone neighborhoodRTW VETERAN CENTER, formerly Excellent Services…Continue

New MAADD/Blue1647 partnership brings two new youth job programs!

Started by Mark S. Allen in CURRENT EVENTS AND TOPICAL ISSUES on Friday. 0 Replies

"New MAADD/Blue1647 partnership brings two new programs that will bring new youth employment opportunities and detouring youth away from urban crime!" (Rev. Roosevelt Watkins) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         Contact:…Continue

 

Get on TheBlackList with
the following networks:

Facebook Page Twitter Ning foursquare StumbleUpon Digg Blogger pinterest

Notes

Promos

Created by SendMeYourNews Jul 10, 2012 at 6:18pm. Last updated by SendMeYourNews Jul 10, 2012.

Text Alerts!

Created by KWASI Akyeampong Jan 20, 2010 at 5:52pm. Last updated by KWASI Akyeampong May 28, 2012.

© 2014   Created by KWASI Akyeampong.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Offline

Live Video

= http://theblacklist.net/