Though Ronald Reagan restored the idea of "peace through strength" and carried out his promise to confront Soviet expansion, we still are paying the price for the Carter administration's ineptness and misfeasance. The undetected nuclear weapons programs in both North Korea and Iran trace their lineage to Carter's intelligence cuts. As a consequence, two of America's most steadfast allies -- Israel and the Republic of Korea -- now face the clear and present danger of existential annihilation. Both democracies are literally under the gun -- and getting little but platitudes or worse from the Obama administration.
After the Cheonan, an ROK navy patrol boat, blew up in international waters, killing 46 sailors March 26, Seoul's military -- as our mutual defense treaty requires -- turned to the U.S. for advice on how to respond. The O-Team counseled caution -- urging the South Koreans to invite an "international committee" to conduct a "fair, impartial and transparent investigation" to determine what happened. They did -- and the panel found overwhelming evidence that the Cheonan had been sunk by a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine. The Obama administration's response to this overt act of war: to refer the matter to the United Nations. In Pyongyang, the brutal regime that has starved its people to build nuclear weapons now promises "total war."
It's even worse for Israel -- abandoned by the Obama administration and beleaguered by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon's detonating on Tel Aviv, renewed rocket attacks on civilians from Iranian-supplied Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and a rearmed, Iranian-supplied Hezbollah terror movement in southern Lebanon. Last week's flawed effort by Israel Defense Forces to inspect a so-called "humanitarian aid flotilla" for weapons and military equipment has resulted in international opprobrium because nine "activists" aboard the vessels were killed. The O-Team's response: to demand that the United Nations conduct a "fair, impartial and transparent investigation." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has to be thankful no one insisted on a U.N. investigation after more than 70 were killed in Waco, Texas, in April 1993.
Americans once again are distracted by economic woes and a Gulf oil spill. The U.S. intelligence community is leaderless and in nearly total disarray. Our southern border is an open passage for unlawful entry at best -- and a virtual invasion path for well-armed enemies at worst. The Iranian regime, having brutally suppressed its internal opposition, overtly is arming Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida while racing to acquire nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. The vicious despots running North Korea -- having escaped any retribution for repeated violations of international law -- commit an act of war, and the U.S. backs down. Meanwhile the Obama administration is intent on turning the U.S. military, already engaged in a two-front war, into a laboratory for radical social experiments. Even Jimmy Carter didn't try that.
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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