WASHINGTON -- During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama famously said he was willing to meet "without preconditions" with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. It was a pledge that he repeated -- with minor modifications -- throughout his campaign, and it never failed to bring forth enthusiastic applause. Last November, the voters endorsed the approach and handed him a sweeping victory. But that commitment -- like his oft-repeated promise to close Gitmo -- may prove to be our undoing.
Unfortunately for us, it wasn't just idealistic American voters who were listening to Mr. Obama's naive campaign rhetoric. So, too, were our adversaries. And now, little more than four months into his administration, it should be apparent that his grip-and-grin "I like you, and you should like me" approach to foreign policy is a potential disaster.
This week's North Korean nuclear test and flurry of ballistic missile launches should not be viewed in isolation. It is but the most recent indicator that the O-Team is out of touch with the increasingly dangerous realities of a new world disorder. Despite a string of increasingly ominous events, the Obama administration appears intent on pursuing a Rodney King "can we all get along?" national security policy.
In early February, Moscow replied to Mr. Obama's offer to "reboot" the U.S.-Russia relationship by stiffing us on a key logistics base for our troops in Afghanistan. In response, the O-Team agreed to pay exorbitant fees to ship nonlethal supplies through Russian-controlled territory for NATO troops fighting in the shadow of the Hindu Kush.
During the first week of March, military aircraft and patrol boats of the People's Liberation Army Navy forced the USNS Impeccable -- an unarmed oceanographic survey ship -- to withdraw from international waters 75 miles off the coast of Hainan Island, which is a major Chinese naval and submarine base in the South China Sea. The O-Team meekly acquiesced and promised a "diplomatic resolution." It has not worked. On May 1, little noted by the so-called mainstream media, the USNS Victorious was harassed by Chinese vessels more than 180 miles off the Chinese coast.
On April 5, the North Koreans launched a 2,000-mile-range Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan. The O-Team referred the matter to the toothless United Nations Security Council. There, Chinese and Russian emissaries, brandishing veto threats, warned against "punitive" sanctions. They are babbling about the same things now.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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