Tags: obama | foreign | threats

Gaffney: Dangerous Foreign Foes Await Obama

By Tim Collie   |   Sunday, 21 Dec 2008 06:03 PM

A resurgent Russia, a nuclear-armed Iran and a Latin America increasingly destabilized by leftist subversion – President-elect Barack Obama is entering office facing several threats that could erupt into major crises at any moment, a leading defense analyst tells Newsmax.

In a wide-ranging interview, Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, says the Obama administration won’t have the luxury of time in dealing with three major threats facing the United States:

  • an increasingly bellicose Russia sending its navy, arms and military trainers to countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.

  • a Cuba whose new boss, Raul Castro, is very much like the old boss, his brother Fidel, in spreading subversion against U.S. allies like Colombia while forging destabilizing alliances with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela as well as Iran and Syria.

  • an Iran led by militant Islamists on the verge of having their own nuclear bomb. Very soon, Gaffney says, Obama may be faced with deciding whether to help or hinder Israel from attacking a nation that has vowed to destroy the Jewish state.

    At any time, Gaffney tells Newsmax’s Ashley Martella, any one of these foreign policy minefields could explode into a full-blown global crisis.

    [Editor's Note: Watch the Frank Gaffney interview - Go Here Now]

    Russia is particularly worrisome, he says, because Russian leader Vladimir Putin has sent his military forces on maneuvers in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Russian Navy recently visited Cuba, an old Cold War ally.

    “It would be mistake to simply dismiss this as ‘Putin being Putin.’ It is Putin being Putin but that’s a problem,” says Gaffney, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy in the Reagan administration. “I think what he has in mind is trying to restore the greatness of Mother Russia.

    “I think it’s pretty clear he (Putin) intends to resuscitate many of the trappings, and unfortunately, some of the very bad behavior that the Soviets engaged in. That’s going to be a problem for us, particularly in our hemisphere.”

    Gaffney fears that Obama may listen to advice from the liberal spectrum of the Democratic Party and think that he can deal with Putin without projecting U.S. power. By rebuilding its relationship with Cuba, Russia is attempting to pressure the United States to abandon allies like Poland and Ukraine in Eastern Europe by denying them security treaties and U.S. anti-missile defenses.

    Don’t repeat the mistakes of President George W. Bush, who famously said he had seen into Putin’s “soul,” Gaffney advises. The administration should especially resist the temptation of reinvigorating outdated arms-control arrangements with Russia, says Gaffney, an expert on missile defense.

    Obama “needs to go to school on what the Russians are up to,” Gaffney says in the interview. New treaties “I’m afraid will only reinforce Putin’s appetite for expansionism, not slacken it.”

    Obama will also need to go to school on the previous, failed efforts to normalize relations with Castro. Again, what he learns will not be so reassuring, Gaffney says.

    Cuba is “now under new management—Raul Castro—but basically conducting the same kinds of policies,” Gaffney tells Newsmax.

    “They are subversive throughout Latin America,” Gaffney says. “They are rabidly anti-American, and I’m afraid that, combined with Hugo Chavez, who has benefited from Venezuela’s oil wealth, that the old Castro brothers’ ideology and Chavez’s money has made those kinds of ambitions much more dangerous today than at any time than since the end of the Cold War.”

    One key component of that danger is the relationship with Iran, which may be the most immediate threat that Obama will face. Analysts vary on the timing, but some have suggested that Iran could already have a functioning nuclear weapon.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to destroy Israel and has openly called for a world without the United States. Some reporting out of Israel has suggested it could launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities as early as the first quarter of next year.

    “I think they’ll (Iran) be pushing quite assiduously, as they have during the Bush years, to complete the nuclear weapons program that is clearly their ambition, and testing Obama to do something about it.

    “Having said as he did during the course of the campaign, and I think, since he got elected, that we must not let Iran have a nuclear bomb, that will constitute a test of the first order,” Gaffney says.

    The question for Obama will be whether he stands by one of the United States’ closest allies, or lets Israel go it alone.

    “My guess is that Israel is capable of causing disruption, but not destroying, the Iranian nuclear weapons program,” says Gaffney. “To do so, it will almost certainly require a considerable use of force and a loss of a lot of life on the ground.

    “But I really believe it is in America’s interest as well as that of the free world more generally to stop Iran from getting its hands on nuclear weapons,” Gaffney adds. “This regime has threatened to wipe Israel off the map and bring about a world without America and either of those is a really bad prospect.”

    [Editor's Note: Watch the Frank Gaffney interview - Go Here Now]

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    A resurgent Russia, a nuclear-armed Iran and a Latin America increasingly destabilized by leftist subversion – President-elect Barack Obama is entering office facing several threats that could erupt into major crises at any moment, a leading defense analyst tells Newsmax.In...
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