You may remember that one of the messages Barack Obama used in his pursuit of the presidency in 2008 was that George Bush had damaged America’s reputation across the world during his term in office, especially through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is ironic considering the amateurish record of our current President.
One of Obama’s first national security acts in office was to unilaterally disengage the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, without even giving advance warning to our allies such as Poland and Georgia. He has dealt with Russia with hat in hand, never seeking any concession for the missile shield termination.
Since his early days in office, Obama has gone out of his way to distance our most significant ally in the Middle East, Israel. He turned a blind eye to the popular uprising in the streets of Iran in 2009, was slow to engage in sanctions against the rogue regime, and acted like an amateur during the so-called Arab spring in 2011.
Some political observers were concerned that Mitt Romney’s trip overseas would distract from the jobs and economy focus of this election campaign. While the blip in London (see: Romney in London for Olympics: Candidate Angers Brits) ultimately won’t lose Romney any votes in the U.S., his speech to the Jerusalem Foundation is going to be considered one of his best. It was the kind of speech that connected our interests with those of Israel in ways that we haven’t seen throughout the Obama administration.
You might even say this speech was Reaganesque in the way it conveyed the principles of freedom in a part of the world where Israel is still an isolated example of economic success based on a market-based economy and a strong commitment to its national security – peace through strength, as it were (see: Romney’s Remarkable Speech in Jerusalem).
Here are some of excerpts from this exceptional speech:
…for an American abroad, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel. We’re part of the great fellowship of democracies. We speak the same language of freedom and justice, and the right of every person to live in peace. We serve the same cause and provoke the same hatreds in the same enemies of civilization.
It is my firm conviction that the security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States. And ours is an alliance based not only on shared interests but also on enduring shared values.
When Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust or speak of wiping this nation off the map, only the naïve – or worse – will dismiss it as an excess of rhetoric. Make no mistake: the ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object, and who will look the other way.
My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away; and neither will my country. As Prime Minister Begin put it, in vivid and haunting words, “if an enemy of [the Jewish] people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him.”
The contrast to this speech comes from Obama the candidate in 2008 (see: Barack Obama at AIPAC), when he addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in which he used false rhetoric to appease the Jewish organization, focusing in part on the need to break our addiction to foreign oil in order to achieve peace in the Middle East.
Considering the mess with the Keystone Pipeline (see: After Obama Blocks Keystone Pipeline, China Readies $15.1 Billion Canadian Oil Deal) and Obama’s record on Israel over the past three years, it would be difficult to claim that the president can hold a candle to Romney in terms of aligning our strategic interests with Israel as the means toward a stable Middle East.
Photo credit: Jewish Journal