When Neville Chamberlain returned from meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1936, he noted that “peace was at hand,” based on his appeasement stance with Hitler.
Alas, Chamberlain was duped and, as might have been expected, history has not treated him kindly. However false the concessions Hitler made, Chamberlain believed he had obtained a concession: restraint on Nazi imperial ambitions.
Now, America’s own Chamberlain, President Obama, has adopted a stance beyond appeasement: He engages in preemptive conciliation without any expectation of a quid pro quo. Obama doesn’t wait to be double-crossed; he is a concession man who gives before he is asked and remarkably puts American interests at risk in order to enhance his international standing.
Without securing any benefit from the withdrawal of missile sites and radar in Poland and the Czech Republic, Obama blithely gave up what had been negotiated and settled with our allies. The Russians heralded the move, as might be expected. But Russian leaders immediately noted that they will not use this gesture to put pressure on Iran’s ambition to obtain nuclear weapons. After all, a Russian spokesman noted, “Why should we make a concession when you’ve decided to correct a mistake.”
When Obama addressed the United Nations on Sept. 23, in the midst of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, he embraced the Palestinian position for a two state solution based on the ’67 borders, a divided Jerusalem, a cessation of new settlements in the West Bank and a “contiguous” Palestinian state.
He said this without the slightest concession from the Palestinian side. He didn't demand that the state of Israel must be recognized. There wasn’t the slightest recognition of defensible borders. There wasn’t a hint that Palestinian violence would be arrested. And most significantly, there did not seem to be the slightest recognition of geographic realities: A contiguous Palestinian state of Gaza and the West Bank means Israel would have to be divided in half.
Obama was dismembering Israel, America’s only real ally in the Middle East, in front of the General Assembly amid thunderous applause from the ranks of tyrannical states. It was as if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote Obama’s speech.
Obama also suggested that he stands for the oppressed people of the world — a truly noble sentiment. Yet in the next breath he alluded to the electoral victory of Ahmadinejad in Iran. In that nation the oppressed were on the streets, beaten by the Revolutionary Guard, harassed in the homes, murdered by government thugs and raped in prison. Yet our president ignored these oppressed people.
Here again, Obama made an emotional concession without the slightest reciprocal gesture from the Iranian leadership.
And why should they or any of our enemies concede anything when Obama does their bidding? Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi thinks Obama should be president for life. The only problem with this idea from Gaddafi’s perspective is that the president soon will run out of things to concede.
This plunge into the U.N. quagmire has made the president and, to an unprecedented degree, the nation, look weak and ineffectual. It appears as if the United States is in decline and cannot marshal the fortitude to defend its own interests. When Peruvian strongman Hugo Chavez, Cuba's Fidel Castro, Ahmadinejad, and Gaddafi applaud the action of an American president, something must be wrong.
What is wrong, of course, is that concession man in his pursuit of a transnational agenda no longer represents the will of the American people. He is, in his own eyes, president of the world, a world in which national sovereignty is subordinated to global concerns. From global warming to the zero option on nuclear weapons, Obama is employing these policy instruments to foster his global goals.
Where this will end is anyone’s guess. But on one point I am sure: Should Obama’s policies be pursued, the world of the future will see an America in decline and instability rampant on the world stage. Welcome to the Second Dark Age.
Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University. He is the author of "Decade of Denial" and "America's Secular Challenge."
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