Jimmy Carter was the Rodney Dangerfield of international politics: he got no respect from the people who counted. The bad guys laughed at him. The bad guys must be rolling on the floor tonight.
Rogue Leaders Respect Nothing But Strength
Almost simultaneous with North Korea's launching an ICBM in violation of international law and in defiance of US warnings, Barack Obama stood before the world and declared his intention to disarm the arsenal for democracy. Using irony fit for Oscar Wilde, Obama asserted: "I am not naive."
Mr. President, yes you are.
In truth, Obama's vision of nuclear disarmament is like a fat guy's vision of wearing a size 43 regular suit: nice words, mere preference. A "goal" that "might not be achieved in my lifetime," is meaningless when coming from a man in his 40s and in good health.
In international politics, though, the speech screamed weakness. By talking about disarmament as North Korea thumbed its nuclear-tipped nose in our faces, Obama gave the unmistakable appearance of capitulation to a nuclear North Korea. By default, this permissiveness extends to Iran.
Our weakness was compounded by the US bungled handling of the missile threat. The US leaked veiled threats of knocking down the missile in the weeks leading up to the launch. When the missile was deployed, though, Secretary of Defense Gates indicated that the US had no intention of interfering with the missile's flight. Retreat is the ultimate form of weakness.
No Port in a Storm
After North Korea's defiance and Obama's disarmament speech, the US President expected his buddies in the UN Security Council to save him with strong sanctions. That didn't happen. Instead, the UN Security Council simply walked away. Fox News reports:
Council members met for three hours, seeking above all a unified response, but broke up for the night without issuing even a customary preliminary statement of condemnation. Diplomats privy to the closed-door talks say China, Russia, Libya and Vietnam were concerned about further alienating and destabilizing North Korea.