One of the most telling moments during the South Carolina presidential debate on April 26, 2007 was candidate Barack Obama’s response to the question of how he as president would react to an al Qaeda strike on two American cities. His answer was this:
Well, the first thing we would have to do is make sure that we’ve got an effective emergency response — something that this administration failed to do when we had a hurricane in New Orleans.
Apart from taking one of what would be countless gratuitous shots at the outgoing administration, Obama was inadvertently putting the nation on notice that he was a pacifist with little stomach for encountering the real and palpable dangers that the free world began facing on 9/11.
Today the world is an even more dangerous place than it was then, faced with a far more ruthless and resourceful foe in ISIS, and he remains as clueless as ever about how to handle the danger. Consider the opening of an op-ed he penned in today’s Washington Post:
Of all the threats to global security and peace, the most dangerous is the proliferation and potential use of nuclear weapons. That’s why, seven years ago in Prague, I committed the United States to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and to seeking a world without them. This vision builds on the policies of presidents before me, Democrat and Republican, including Ronald Reagan, who said “we seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”
Thursday in Washington, I’ll welcome more than 50 world leaders to our fourth Nuclear Security Summit to advance a central pillar of our Prague Agenda: preventing terrorists from obtaining and using a nuclear weapon.
It’s all well and good to want to rid the world of its nuclear menace, but holding a l0ve-in is too little — and too late. Another story in LU’s Web Crawler this morning quotes a Harvard researcher who warns that ISIS is closer than to acquiring a nuclear weapon previously realized. The time for confabbing with 50 world leaders on ways of “preventing terrorists from obtaining and using a nuclear weapon” is past.
It is also worth noting the names of world leaders that will be conspicuously absent from the summit. Among them is Obama’s new ally in the Middle East, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani. In October 2015, Reuters reported, “his nation tested a medium-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, in ‘clear violation’ of a United Nations Security Council ban on ballistic missile tests,” not to mention the U.S.’s agreement with Iran.
Another leader who won’t be present is North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, whose nation launched a rocket with probable links to an ICBM program as recently as Feb. 6.
As for Obama, it is slightly amusing to hear him invoke words by Ronald Reagan that were spoken more than three decades ago. The world back then was a very different place. Our chief enemy was the Soviet Union, which Reagan also noted “lived” as we did “under the threat of mutual assured destruction.” Today, all bets are off. ISIS has demonstrated repeatedly that it is willing to die for its cause as long as it takes us with them.