Generations of U.S. Marines have exemplified the motto "No better friend, no worse enemy" with their unstinting dependability in the face of adversity, and their ferocity in combat.
To the extent that the country as a whole has hewed to these time-tested principles, the world has been made more stable and American interests more secure.
In its time in office, however, the Obama administration has increasingly turned that formula on its head. The message of its policies and conduct is as unmistakable as it is ominous: Better to be an enemy of the United States than its friend.
Consider, for example, the starkly contrasting treatment associated with two recent episodes at sea. In the first, a North Korean submarine engaged in an act of war when it covertly torpedoed a South Korean naval vessel on March 21, resulting in the latter's sinking with the loss of 46 lives.
The second occurred last week when Israeli commandoes, acting lawfully in enforcing a declared naval blockade, intercepted a Turkish ship determined to violate it. Upon boarding the vessel, they were set upon by a mob comprised, it turns out, of weapon-wielding jihadists — not humanitarian-minded "peace activists." The commandoes defended themselves, killing nine of the would-be "martyrs."
To date, there has been no U.N. resolution denouncing the first. No calls for an international investigation. No talk of retaliation by the so-called "community of nations" if the perpetrator does not recant and make amends.
By contrast, the U.N. Security Council was immediately "seized" with the second. It adopted in short order a resolution condemning those responsible (read, the Israelis) and demanded an international investigation.
Given the predictable hostility of virtually any "international" participants in such an inquiry, the result can only be a new basis for vilifying Israel, and for insisting that it ends the blockade of Gaza — something the Obama administration seems to be preparing to support.
To what can the very different treatment of the two naval incidents by the "international community" be attributed? That's easy: Principally it reflects the fact that North Korea has as its greatest friend Communist China, while Pyongyang considers the United States to be its main enemy.
Beijing does not want the U.N. (or, for that matter, anybody else) challenging or otherwise calling into question the legitimacy of its ally's actions. The United States has no intention of upsetting the PRC — what with all the "help" Team Obama keeps hoping the Chinese will provide on sanctions on Iran, trade, currency revaluation, the "Six-Party talks," etc., etc.
By contrast, Israel has traditionally had but one powerful friend: the United States. This alliance has been all the more important since most of the rest of the world is at least somewhat, if not actually rabidly, hostile toward the Jewish state.
Under President Obama, however, Israel seems to have in the United States a friend in name only. American diplomacy did nothing to prevent passage of the Security Council's condemnatory resolution, focusing instead on making the U.N.'s criticism of the Jewish state a tad more oblique.
Regrettably, the Obama administration's complicity in the latest U.N.-administered assault on Israel is but one manifestation of a troubling pattern. It follows months of Washington-induced turmoil over: housing construction permits in Jerusalem, U.S. demands for Israeli concessions that ostensibly would resuscitate the so-called "peace process" and the humiliation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his last visit to Washington.
Then, the United States supported a deeply problematic final document at the just-completed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference. In the process, Team Obama pledged to support a conference in 2012 whose stated purpose is to denuclearize Israel, but says nothing about Iran. Here again, the administration acquiesced to better treatment for America's enemies than for its friends.
Sadly, other allies — including Britain, Honduras, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Ukraine, India, and Colombia — have also been given short shrift (or worse) by an Obama administration much more interested in cultivating ties with nations that are, at the very least, unfriendly.
In addition to Communist China, the objects of such "engagement" efforts have included the unsavory regimes in Russia, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Cuba, and Venezuela. Another intense — and appalling — "outreach" effort involves the Muslim Brotherhood's international arm, the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Of particular concern is the evident ascendancy within the Obama administration of Homeland Security adviser John Brennan. A long puff piece in Sunday's Washington Post reported that Brennan has "emerged as one of [the president's] most trusted advisors" and "for all the near misses [that is, attempted terrorist attacks] on his watch . . . Brennan has grown only more powerful within the White House."
If true, the President's worst instincts with respect to America's enemies and her friends are being reinforced by someone who believes, for example, that the "moderates" of Hezbollah can safely be treated as among the latter.
The result can only be a more dangerous world for all who love freedom, and a further diminishing of the one country they still hope will protect them.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program "Secure Freedom Radio" heard in Washington weeknights at 9 p.m. on WTNT 570 AM.
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