America has "reacted ambivalently, slowly or not at all" in crises around the globe, and it's not only risking important alliances, but the nation's security, prosperity and freedom, former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman says.
In a commentary posted Thursday night on the website of The Wall Street Journal
, Lieberman wrote that in the midst of chaotic situations, "there is a natural tendency to avoid getting involved."
"But it is at just such times when it is most important to get involved, to take sides, and make clear that we know who our friends and foes are — and that we will stand with our friends and against our foes," he wrote.
Lieberman urged the United States "stand more clearly with our allies" in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe.
"America's allies are on the defensive and increasingly feeling alone, while Iran, the Islamist extremists, Russia and China are on the move," he said. "In response, our allies may be tempted to seek out a different partner or build up their military capabilities, making the world much more dangerous."
So far, he said, U.S. foreign policy has not earned confidence or respect in troubled regions. "This is self-evidently not good for America's security, prosperity or freedom," he wrote.
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"When other powers — Iran, Russia and China — have acted aggressively, we have reacted ambivalently, slowly or not at all," he wrote. "Too often we have sent a message of uncertainty to our allies and enemies, making the former more anxious and the latter more ambitious."
In Syria, he said, "We laid back. Iran and Russia did not. They saw the larger importance of the Syrian conflict and poured in weapons and personnel."
The current conflict between Israel and Hamas has "further divided us from our allies," he wrote. "The U.S. succeeded in infuriating Israel, encouraging Hamas and Iran, and once again shaking the confidence of our friends."
In Eastern Europe, he said, "our soft response to Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea, and our slow reaction to his deceptive and treacherous support of Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine before the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 unmasked him, stirred disappointment and anger among Ukrainians and anxiety among NATO allies in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia."
"Some will say that the U.S. cannot and should not be the world's policeman," he wrote.
"But if we want our allies to join us when we ask for their help in protecting order and freedom in the world, we must take sides and be there when they need our help."
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