In an impromptu conversation with Joe the Plumber during the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama famously and unintentionally acknowledged his support for redistributing the nation's wealth. And he has been hard at it ever since.
Mr. Obama has yet to cop, however, to another, arguably even more radical agenda: redistributing the nation's power. We are, nonetheless, beginning to witness the poisonous fruits of his efforts to enhance the relative might of America¹s adversaries while degrading our own. Call it Obama' s global makeover.
The most obvious example is in the Middle East, where each day brings fresh evidence of how the Obama administration's disastrous policy of embracing Islamists is transforming and destabilizing the region. Of particular concern is the Muslim Brotherhood's accelerating domination of the Egyptian government, which is turning the Arab world¹s most populous nation, one that sits astride the strategic Suez Canal and wields a formidable, American-supplied arsenal, into a shariah-adherent, Islamic supremacist state. This is a formula for mass repression in Egypt, war in the Mideast and increased jihadist terror elsewhere.
Less obvious, but potentially even more problematic, is the effect of the Obama-facilitated redistribution of power on Communist China. The Chinese have not been fooled by the President's putative strategy of 'pivoting' to Asia. They understand that his administration is eviscerating American military power ¬ a process that will become even more draconian (and perhaps substantially irreversible) as a result of Mr. Obama’s determination to impose the so-called sequestration round of half-a-trillion dollars more in cuts on a Pentagon already reeling from early $800 billion in previously approved reductions.
As one wag put it, the PRC views us more of a pirouetting paper-tiger than a formidable foe, whose pivot represents a meaningful strategic redeployment.
The ominous repercussions of such a perception are already beginning to manifest themselves:
Last week, police in the Chinese province of Hainan Island announced that they would stop, board, search and possibly seize vessels hey deemed to be ‘illegally’ plying areas of the South China Sea that Beijing has declared to be its sovereign territory. That could apply to as much as half the world's oil tanker traffic that passes through those waters. Some observers believe this may be a feint, designed to test American responses and resolve. If so, the U.S. response has been negligible and the Chinese can only be further emboldened by our irresolution to stand up to their aggressive behavior.
It can hardly be an accident that China has begun throwing its weight around in other ways, as well. As David Goldman wrote in the Asia Times on November 27th under the nom de plume Spengler: "It is symptomatic of the national condition of the United States that the worst humiliation ever suffered by it as a nation, and by a U.S. president personally, passed almost without comment last week. I refer to the November 20 announcement at a summit meeting in Phnom Penh that 15 Asian nations, comprising half the world's population, would form a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership excluding the United States.
We were not accidently barred from this new grouping. Rather, Goldman reports, Obama tried to use the summit to promote a U.S.-sponsored "Trans-Pacific Partnership" that would exclude China. He not only failed.
The ASEAN nations plus India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand actually agreed to form instead a new club with China in, and the United States out. Spengler attributes this poke in the eye to a cold calculation by the Pacific rim types that the United States is no longer the region's dominant economic power. That may be.
But whether it is a recalibration rooted in changing financial and trade relations or a sense that China is emerging as the new hegemon in their part of the world, the result is the same: Dynamics in Asia that are unlikely to prove conducive to our economy or security.
Then, there is President Obama's rash effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons, starting with ours. A State Department advisory committee made up of rabid disarmers has just issued a recommendation that the United States make still further, deep reductions in its nuclear stockpile, through negotiated agreements with Russia, if possible, and unilaterally if Vladimir Putin will not go along. This panel ¬ like the Obama administration that is expected to embrace its recommendations ¬ seems indifferent to the growing evidence that China may have substantially more deployed nuclear weapons than we do. And, unlike ours, theirs are on modern launch vehicles, many of which appear to be hidden in 3,000 miles of hardened tunnels. Meanwhile, Team Obama is ensuring that there will be no modernization of the U.S. arsenal and that its weapons, and the industrial complex vital to their future deterrent value and readiness, will continue to atrophy.
President Obama is redistributing power, all right, and is thereby giving the globe a strategic makeover. Think of it as his "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" by diminishing its power and upgrading that of its enemies.
Does any one actually think this is going to have any effect other than emboldening those who wish us ill, even as we reduce our capacity to deter and, if necessary, to defeat them?
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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