Our muted response to ISIS

If you are worried that the U.S. is reigniting the war in Iraq, don’t be.  Despite the atrocities being committed by ISIS/The Islamic State, our airstrikes are designed simply to protect Americans in threatened cities and to protect those Yazidis besieged on that mountain (that siege is reportedly over, as the Yazidis have now escaped).  But, according to two Washington Post analysts, there is no effort to stop ISIS as such or to win back the large amount of territory they have taken over. [Read more...]

A post-mortem of Obama’s foreign policy

British journalist Charles Moore has written a devastating critique of President Obama’s foreign policy.  Read it all, but sample the excerpts after the break. [Read more...]

American absence

In the course of a discussion of how Vladimir Putin is rebuilding Russia’s Soviet-era spheres of influence, international affairs columnist Jackson Diehl raises yet another example of ineptness in American foreign policy. [Read more...]

America’s enemy list update

Hugo Chavez, the Marxist anti-American president of Venezuela, has died of cancer.   Meanwhile, nuclear-armed North Korea has said it will cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War, due to American sanctions and joint military exercises with South Korea.  And Secretary of State John Kerry rattled his  sabre at Iran, threatening military action if Iran acquires nuclear weapons and announcing that the U.S. will give non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels. [Read more...]

The new leaders of the free world

Americans are the new French.  And the French (and British) are the new Americans.  At least when it comes to foreign policy.

Whatever happened to the good old days when the U.S. aggressively confronted evil-doers and France screamed about our defiling the altar of the United Nations? Now, it is France and other European allies who are leading the way in confronting brutal dictators while the U.S. drags its feet so as not to look like an anti-Muslim resource-grabber. And while the U.S. dithers on Libya despite direct requests for help, suspicions in the Arab mind are being reconfirmed that it cares about their well-being as much as Charlie Sheen cares about sobriety.

Western Europe, not the U.S., has acted as the leaders of the free world since the Libya crisis began. When President Obama finally addressed it, he did not mention Gaddafi by name. He didn’t call for his removal until late last week. The British were the ones who began contacting Libyan officers to tell them they could be prosecuted for war crimes if they did not defect. It was French President Sarkozy, not U.S. President Obama, who first called for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone on February 23. Since then, British Prime Minister Cameron has become the loudest voice in the free world to support it.

There are now mixed messages coming out of France with the foreign minister saying any no-fly zone must be under UN authority, even though Russia opposes it, but we know where Sarkozy stands. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Defense Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen say say there is no confirmation that Gaddafi’s forces are carrying out air strikes despite countless accounts from Libyans, reporters, and pilots who defected. Gates is warning about what it will look like to attack another Middle Eastern country and Secretary of State Clinton says that intervention has been resisted to avoid the perception that we’re trying to take Libyan oil. Ironically, the military commander who defected in Tobruk is suggesting that the West’s oil business with Gaddafi is the reason why it is not coming to their rescue.

via Pajamas Media » Europe Takes the Lead in Defending Freedom and Western Values.

This just in:  France has extended diplomatic recognition to the rebel government.

Then there is this from the Washington Post:

President Obama is content to let other nations publicly lead the search for solutions to the Libyan conflict, his advisers say, a stance that reflects the more humble tone he has sought to bring to U.S. foreign policy but one that also opens him to criticism that he is a weak leader.

So what do you think?  America is probably not in a position to begin a third war.  But do you appreciate the president’s “humble” approach?   Is it time to give up our leadership on the world stage?

The God gap in U.S. foreign policy

According to a new report received by the White House, American foreign policy is hindered by its secularism and needs to factor religious issues into its dealings with other countries:

American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and “uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights, according to a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The council’s 32-member task force, which included former government officials and scholars representing all major faiths, delivered its report to the White House on Tuesday. The report warns of a serious “capabilities gap” and recommends that President Obama make religion “an integral part of our foreign policy.”. . .

American foreign policy’s “God gap” has been noted in recent years by others, including former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright.

“It’s a hot topic,” said Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement in Arlington County and a Council on Foreign Relations member. “It’s the elephant in the room. You’re taught not to talk about religion and politics, but the bummer is that it’s at the nexus of national security. The truth is the academy has been run by secular fundamentalists for a long time, people who believe religion is not a legitimate component of realpolitik.”

The Chicago Council’s task force was led by R. Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame and Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. “Religion,” the task force says, “is pivotal to the fate” of such nations as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Yemen, all vital to U.S. national and global security.

“Despite a world abuzz with religious fervor,” the task force says, “the U.S. government has been slow to respond effectively to situations where religion plays a global role.” Those include the growing influence of Pentecostalism in Latin America, evangelical Christianity in Africa and religious minorities in the Far East.

U.S. officials have made efforts to address the God gap, especially in dealings with Islamic nations and groups. The CIA established an office of political Islam in the mid-1980s. Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998 to make religious freedom a U.S. foreign policy priority. During the second Bush administration, the Defense Department rewrote the Army’s counterinsurgency manual to take account of cultural factors, including religion. . . .

To end the “episodic and uncoordinated nature of U.S. engagement of religion in the world,” the task force recommended:

– Adding religion to the training and continuing education of all foreign service officers, diplomats and other key diplomatic, military and economic officials. That includes using the skills and expertise of military veterans and civilians returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

– Empowering government departments and agencies to engage local and regional religious communities where they are central players in the promotion of human rights and peace, as well as the delivery of health care and other forms of assistance.

– Address and clarify the role of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy. Cizik said some parts of the world — the Middle East, China, Russia and India, for example — are particularly sensitive to the U.S. government’s emphasis on religious freedom and see it as a form of imperialism.

via ‘God gap’ impedes U.S. foreign policy, task force says – washingtonpost.com.

But how would this work? I just read a report about a high-level dialogue between representatives of the West and moderate Muslims. They established the common ground of a desire for freedom of religion. To the Westerners, that means the freedom of individuals to hold any religion they want. But to the Muslims, freedom of religion means the freedom of Muslims to establish an Islamic state.

Any push for freedom of religion in our sense will have to involve supporting Christians against those who suppress them. Christians, you will notice, tend to allow freedom of other religions. Other religions, when they are in control, are not so generous.

Will our government want to come across as advancing the interests of Christianity?


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