Posts Tagged ‘Poland’
November 26th, 2012 at 3:50 pm
White House Stays Quiet Amidst Egyptian Turbulence
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From the Daily Caller:

White House officials remained silent during the extended Thanksgiving weekend, as Egypt’s pro-democracy groups called on President Barack Obama to condemn Thursday’s power grab by their country’s Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.

Morsi decreed Nov. 22 that his pronouncements and edicts were beyond the reach of judicial review. The announcement was met by resistance from the nation’s top judges, who said they would fight Morsi’s unusual self-elevation to near-dictator status.

Not to kick our Egyptian friends when they’re down, but point to any random spot on a map and chances are that you’ll be within hailing distance of a nation that has been disappointed waiting for the Obama Administration to do the right thing. Whether it’s supporting dissidents in Iran, protecting constitutional government in Honduras, or providing missile defense for Poland and the Czech Republic, the president has a real gift for making himself scarce when the stakes get high.

If the devolution of Egypt continues apace, the implications for Obama’s legacy are decidedly negative. This president, after all, promised a new start for the Islamic world in 2009. And he did so in Cairo.

June 4th, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Obama’s Walesa Snub Puts Liberals to the Test
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American liberals need to be thinking abut 1975. That was the year that President Gerald Ford denied Russian dissident and staunch anti-communist Alexander Solzhenitsyn an audience at the White House, a snub to all those who defended freedom against the depredations of the Soviet Union throughout the world.

Despite the fact that Ford was a Republican president (albeit an unelected one), the conservative movement (to its credit) disowned him on the issue. By the following year, the indignity that Ford forced upon the author of The Gulag Archipelago was one of the many reasons that conservatives were looking to deny the incumbent president renomination. So why is this germane to liberals? Because of this passage, courtesy of Matthew Kaminski at the Wall Street Journal, which Tim also highlighted in his column last week:

Among this year’s 13 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Mr. Obama posthumously honored Jan Karski. As a member of the Polish underground during World War II, Karski was the first to provide eyewitness evidence of the Nazi extermination of Jews in occupied Europe…

The Poles wanted Lech Walesa to receive the medal on Karski’s behalf, but the White House nixed the choice. Last year, during Mr. Obama’s visit to Poland, the hero of Solidarity refused to attend a large gathering to meet the younger leader. Mr. Walesa felt entitled to a tete-a-tete. Administration officials told Polish journalists that Mr. Walesa’s presence was too “political” for this week’s occasion. Poles read something else into it: Mr. Obama holds grudges.

Lech Walesa was leading the fight for the freedom of  the Polish people back when Barack Obama was still sashaying around his New York apartment in a sarong, scribbling pretentious, adolescent musings to one of his composite girlfriends. Walesa deserved the one-on-one in Poland. And he deserved the stage in the East Room of the White House last week for the Medal of Freedom Ceremony.

As for Barack Obama, he deserves the rebuke of all those who esteem freedom, but especially his fellow liberals. If they can’t bring themselves to have a moment similar to the one conservatives had in 1975 — one in which principle trumps partisanship — they will have revealed their supposed affection for human rights to be little more than election year pablum.

September 18th, 2009 at 12:46 am
Obama’s Foreign Policy Meltdown
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Today’s revelation that the Obama Administration is pulling missile defense out of Poland and the Czech Republic reflects a complete ignorance of (or apathy towards) the point that I made in yesterday’s post — that the Western commitment to collective security in Eastern Europe has made the continent (and the world) a safer and freer place.

It also reflects a total strategic miscalculation. The oldest con in international diplomacy is to get an adversary to give up something tangible today for an abstract promise tomorrow (see “Land for Peace”). The notion that Russia will be of more assistance in sanctioning the Iranians (and the broader idea that sanctions will have any serious effect) ignores a question that the self-proclaimed realists in the Obama Administration have somehow overlooked. Why is it in Russia’s interest to play ball when they’re currently getting major concessions from the U.S. at no cost?

Though it’s been overshadowed by the healthcare debate, the last month or so of the Obama Administration has been its absolute worst for foreign policy. We’ve agreed to one-on-one talks with North Korea (with the laughable goal of getting back to the six party talks — you know, the ones we had before we agreed to one-on-one talks?), decided to pursue prosecutions of CIA interrogators, announced that Iran likely already has the ability to build nuclear weapons, seen the White House put political pressure on General McChrystal to keep from requesting more troops in Afghanistan, and imposed a foolish tire tariff that’s threatening a trade war with China.

The President can get away with Jimmy Carteresque policies for a lot longer than Jimmy Carter ever could because Obama has considerably more political gifts. But in the end, politics (particularly the presidency) is always about performance. This will not end well for Obama or the country.