Sunday, April 26, 2009


Holy Moses!

Of all the professors I had when I was an undergraduate student, Dr. Moses Tesi was the worst. That is just the plain truth. Not only was Dr. Tesi quite inarticulate, he would almost become completely unhinged whenever a student dared express a contrary opinion. (Not good qualities for someone who never tired of stating that famed political scientist Hans Morgenthau was his "mentor.")

In this morning's Tennessean, Dr. Tesi has this to say about President B. Hussein Obama's foreign policy:

"The Obama administration's performance in foreign affairs has been brilliant and masterful. He has so far shown a keen understanding of the complex issues involved in a complex world characterized by self-interests. I say that the "soft power" approach that he is employing is not only the appropriate approach, it is an approach whose results do not come instantaneously."

When has there ever been a president who expected his "soft power" diplomacy to produce instant results? Again, can you say "inarticulate" ...?!

Unfortunately for Dr. Tesi, The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger exposed some ugly truths about President B. Hussein's foreign policy. Henninger cogently explains that Obama might just be the most naïve president ever when it comes to foreign policy. To wit:

When Barack Obama was a candidate for president, the main plank of his foreign policy, other than withdrawing from Iraq, was agreeing to "talk to our enemies," notably Iran and Syria. The intellectual rationale for this policy, as far as one can make out, is that because George W. Bush wouldn't commit the office of the presidency itself to direct negotiations with the leaders of these regimes, and because everything George W. Bush did was wrong, reversing that policy would bear fruit.

Iran just sentenced Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison. Syria's leading pro-democracy dissident, Riad Seif, has spent the last year in Adra prison and is reportedly dying of prostate cancer. Syrian "president" Bashar Assad won't let him leave the country to get treatment.

In Cuba, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet is serving a 25-year prison sentence. In China, the whereabouts is unknown of Liu Xiaobo, co-author of a new, online pro-democracy petition. His wife has written to Mr. Obama for help. Tens of thousands of North Koreans are hiding in China.

The Obama people seem to believe that talking top guy to top guy is the yellow brick road to progress. Why do they think that? They say Ronald Reagan negotiated over nuclear arsenals at Reykjavik. But virtually all desirable regime change in our time -- Soviet Communism, South Africa, the Philippines -- has come mainly from below, from the West protecting and supporting people in opposition to autocrats.

The origin of the change-from-below movement was the 1975 Helsinki Accords, which ratified the legitimacy of self-determination. There was no stronger supporter of this liberal turn than AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland. Where is his like today in the Democratic Party or its unions? Where is the left-wing blogosphere when the pro-democracy prisoners of Cuba, Iran and Syria need them? It's ranting about Bush "war criminals."

It is early in the Obama foreign policy. They say the right thing on political rights. But there appears to be no coherent strategy beyond "talk to our enemies." So far, what do we see? Hugo Chávez is smiling. His fellow prison wardens around the world are smiling. The joke must be on someone else.


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