Posts Tagged ‘strategic patience’

For the First Time, Israel Faces an Adversary Too Powerful to Be Defeated

January 6, 2019

Iran is the most sophisticated, dangerous adversary Israel has ever faced. It has adopted a decades-long strategy of attrition until destruction. But Israel, frenetically focused on the here and now, lacks a systematic plan to confront it – and other crucial long-term national objectives

Chuck Freilich
Jan 06, 2019 2:03 PM

Iranian men burn an Israeli flag, in a pro-Palestinian demonstration, under the Azadi (Freedom) tower, in Tehran, Iran. May, 15, 2012
Iranian men burn an Israeli flag, in a pro-Palestinian demonstration, under the Azadi (Freedom) tower, in Tehran, Iran. May, 15, 2012 AP

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently outlined a draft version of a vision for Iran for the next 50 years.

The vision calls for Iran to become one of the world’s top five countries in science and technology, one of the top seven in “progress and justice,” including eradication of poverty, corruption and discrimination, and one of the ten largest global economies. It further calls for strengthening Iran’s defensive and deterrent capabilities, promoting Muslim unity, jihadism and Islamic liberation movements, and “vindicating” Palestinian rights.

Khamenei’s overall objective is for Iran to gain regional, and even global, supremacy, through technological self-sufficiency, and by resisting Western concepts of the international order, politics and culture.

Khamenei asked Iran’s academic and clerical establishments for feedback on the draft vision and directed the various branches of the government to turn its broad recommendations into actionable plans. A final draft is due within two years.

A man holds up a book of quotes from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, outside Friday prayers at the University of Tehran in Tehran, Iran. Aug. 21, 2015
A man holds up a book of quotes from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, outside Friday prayers at the University of Tehran in Tehran, Iran. Aug. 21, 2015.  Bloomberg

One can legitimately ask whether a 50 year plan is at all feasible, especially in a world that is changing so rapidly. China has been somewhat more modest, recently announcing a vision for 2050, whereas the Saudis sufficed with a humble 2030. Iran itself failed to achieve an earlier 20 year vision, designed to turn it into a developed country by 2025. It may very well fail to do so again.

Nevertheless, Khamenei’s attempt to craft such an actionable vision is bold and impressive. Under his leadership, Iran is at least trying to think systematically about its national objectives. He has set out bold, if heinous, plans before. In 2014 Khamenei announced a Nine Point Plan for Israel’s destruction.

What if Israel were to adopt Khamenei’s long-term approach and prepare 50 years out? What should those national objectives include? These are my suggestions.

Preserving the national movement of the Jewish people. Zionism achieved its primary objective, the establishment of the state, rapidly, but has lost its way. The paramount, and even existential decision we face today, is whether Israel’s Jewish character is determined primarily by its borders, or population.

In 2060, the furthest demographic projections available, Israel’s population will be 15.6 million, of whom 12 million will be Jewish – just 76%. This figure does not include the West Bank, in which case the combined population will only be about 60% Jewish, as it already is today.


Israeli border policemen stand by settlers near the Settlement of Ofra, in the west bank, on December 16, 2018, after settlers announced that they had begun to rebuild the Amona outpost to protest a new wave of Palestinian attacks.
Israeli border policemen stand by settlers near the Settlement of Ofra, in the west bank, on December 16, 2018, after settlers announced that they had begun to rebuild the Amona outpost.  AFP

A state in which 40% of the population is not Jewish cannot be considered a Jewish state, even if we annex all of Judea and Samaria. The future of the Zionist enterprise depends on separation from the Palestinians. There is no need for a 50-year vision.

Determining Israel’s borders, peace with our neighbors and regional acceptance. Israel’s classic defense doctrine held that the conflict with the Arabs was unresolvable. In practice, during our first 70 years, we reached peace with Egypt and Jordan, conducted advance negotiations with the Syrians and Palestinians, now have growing ties with the Saudis and others and have become a regional fixture.

Peace with the Palestinians will transform Israel’s regional and international status. It is not all up to us, but it does require a decision regarding our borders. During the next 50 years we must strive to complete the process of regional acceptance.

Maintaining Israel’s deterrence and security. Iran is the most sophisticated and dangerous adversary Israel has ever faced. A theocracy with a long-term perspective, Iran recognizes that it cannot destroy Israel in the short term and has thus adopted a decades-long strategy of attrition until destruction.

Israel is a frenetic democracy, focused on the here and now. Although we can manage the conflict with Iran and defend ourselves successfully, Iran may simply be our first adversary that is too big and powerful to be defeated.

Israel must thus adopt a national security strategy best suited to this new kind of long-term confrontation, one of “strategic patience,” based on maximal self-restraint, even in the face of significant provocations, and greater emphasis on defense (e.g. Iron Dome) and diplomacy. Offense would be resorted to when the other options have been exhausted, Israel can achieve significant periods of calm (5-10 years), at a price it is willing to pay, and maintain societal resilience.

A member of the Basij, an all-volunteer force under paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, holds a flag whose reads in Persian "Death to Israel" at agathering at the Azadi (Freedom) stadium in Tehran, Iran. Oct. 4, 2018

A member of the Basij, an all-volunteer force under paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, holds a flag whose reads in Persian “Death to Israel” at agathering at the Azadi (Freedom) stadium in Tehran, Iran. Oct. 4, 2018

A number of regional actors are now acquiring nuclear power reactors, for legitimate energy needs, but a similar project was the technological basis for Iran’s military nuclear program. It is thus increasingly likely that Israel will face the nightmare scenario of a multinuclear Mideast in the coming decades. Should this happen, Israel may be forced to contemplate a change its policy of nuclear ambiguity, seek a defense treaty with the U.S., or even consider regional disarmament, as fanciful as that sounds today.

Promoting regional stability. All of the forces that gave rise to the “Arab Spring” are still very much at work, even more so, including a population explosion, severe poverty and absence of economic opportunity, and political suppression. The Arab states are almost all in crisis, are at risk of becoming failed states, and have already caused a refugee crisis in Europe.

In 2007 an approximately 4 million Arab population lived near Israel’s borders; by 2027, 20 million will live within 50 kms. Israel’s thriving economy may prove a socioeconomic magnet that no border obstacle can withstand. Imagine 50 years from now.

Unlike Iran, Israel does not seek regional supremacy, certainly not global, but it does wish to influence critical regional processes such as these. It has two primary means of doing so: a settlement with the Palestinians, or even a reduction in the level of conflict, which would contribute to regional stability, as would a diplomatic campaign to promote a “Mideast Marshall Plan” designed to channel regional events in more positive directions.

A Palestinian protester carries a national flag during a demonstration near the border between Israel and Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. December 21, 2018
A Palestinian protester carries a national flag during a demonstration near the border between Israel and Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. December 21, 2018.  AFP

It will cost the international community billions, but the alternative is for the Mideast to continue exporting its ills to Europe, a change in its fundamental character and even a conflict between the West and Islam.

Preserving the “special relationship” with the U.S., a fundamental pillar of Israel’s national security, despite alarming demographic and political trends. New population groups are on the rise in the U.S. with little affinity towards Israel, especially Hispanics and the religiously nonaffiliated, while the Jewish community, the second-largest in the world, is decreasing in size and influence.

By 2050 the Orthodox will constitute 25% of the U.S. Jewish community, up from 10% today, whereas Reform and Conservative Jews, the vast majority of American Jews and heretofore the pillar of support for Israel, are intermarrying and assimilating themselves out of existence. We are already witnessing a significant decline in support for Israel on the American left, and even among the Jewish community.

Members from the activist group Code Pink march to protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned speech to a joint meeting of Congress. March 3, 2015

Members from the activist group Code Pink march to protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to a joint meeting of Congress. March 3, 2015.  Bloomberg

Israel should seek a formal alliance with the U.S., but also reduce its dependence on it, inter alia, by weaning itself off U.S. military aid, beginning in 2027, when the current ten-year military aid program ends. In 50 years, when we are 120, we must have long become fully independent. Nothing will contribute more to ensuring the long-term vibrancy of the “special relationship” than a settlement with the Palestinians.

Achieving a just and progressive society. Israel’s projected population of 15.6 million in 2060 will include 4.15 million Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and 3.6 million Israeli Arabs. Non-Haredim will comprise just 65% of the Jewish population, or 50% of the national total, income disparities and poverty will grow far worse, and the Haredi and Arab populations will become an untenable economic burden.

Much of the nation will look to various spiritual leaders, rather than the state, as their primary locus of authority, and will have little identification with its values. Maintaining a progressive democratic society, with equality before the law and respect for minority rights, will become very difficult.

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stands at the headquarter of ultra-Orthodox mayoral candidate Yossi Daitch during the municipal elections in Jerusalem. Oct. 30, 2018

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stands at the headquarter of ultra-Orthodox mayoral candidate Yossi Daitch during the municipal elections in Jerusalem. Oct. 30, 2018Oded Balilty,  AP

If, like Khamenei, we wish to eradicate poverty and discrimination, we should be formulating a comprehensive long-term national strategy for a “war on poverty.” The resources needed are great and poverty and discrimination can never be completely eradicated, but Israel has successfully pursued similarly ambitious national objectives in the past. A national strategy such as this would begin with a change in the absurd current policy which encourages population growth primarily among the non-productive sectors of society.

Maintaining Israel’s stature as a world leader in science and technology. Just a few years ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a limited national vision, that Israel become one of the world’s top five cyber powers, an objective already met with great success, and he may now set a similar vision regarding artificial intelligence and big data.

One cannot, however, base a society solely on the high-tech sector. Our universities, and education generally, are at a low. Israel’s qualitative edge generated its military, economic and spiritual strength in the past. We must invest in it again.

The public is focused today on other issues, possibly because the opioid of almost unlimited low-cost flights abroad has clouded our collective senses. If, however, we wish to chart our national course, not just be buffeted by the winds of change, we must prepare today. Iran’s Supreme Leader has already begun doing so.

Chuck Freilich, a former deputy Israeli national security adviser, is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center and author of “Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change” (Oxford University Press, April 2018). Twitter: @FreilichChuck


Trump says time for ‘strategic patience’ with N. Korea is over

November 6, 2017


Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and suit

President Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands in Tokyo Nov. 6. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)


Latest update : 2017-11-06

The time for “strategic patience” with North Korea is over, President Donald Trump said Monday, after winning Japan’s backing on his policy of considering all options to rein in the rogue state.

Trump has signalled in the past that Washington could look beyond a diplomatic solution to the North‘s nuclear weapons ambitions, and consider military intervention.

The North’s nuclear programme is “a threat to the civilised world and international peace and stability,” Trump told reporters on the second day of a trip to Asia dominated by the crisis.

“The era of strategic patience is over,” he declared alongside his host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The hawkish Abe, whose own nation has seen North Korean missiles fired over its northern island amid threats by Pyongyang to “sink” it into the sea, backed the bullish stance.

“We always support President Trump’s policy that all options are on the table,” in reining in North Korea over its provocative actions involving its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, he said.

Abe announced Japan will freeze the assets of 35 North Korean groups and individuals as a new sanction.

The United Nations has adopted multiple rounds of sanctions against the reclusive North, the most recent in September following its sixth nuclear test and a flurry of missile launches.

Abe said the additional measures were aimed at punishing the North over its weapons program, as well as to attempt to resolve the issue of civilian abductions that took place in the 1970s and ’80s.

A number of ordinary Japanese citizens were kidnapped by North Korean agents in that era, in order to train spies in Japanese language and culture.

Trump will later Monday sit down with an elderly couple whose then 13-year-old daughter, Megumi Yokota, was kidnapped four decades ago while on her way home from school.

The president arrived in Asia with tensions over North Korea at fever pitch, as US bombers fly sorties over the Korean peninsula and concerns mount that Pyongyang might stage another nuclear or missile test.

Trump began his marathon trip in belligerent form, warning on Sunday that “no dictator” should underestimate US resolve, a clear swipe at North Korea and its young leader Kim Jong-Un.

However in a pre-recorded interview broadcast on US TV he held out the prospect of talks with Pyongyang, saying he would “certainly be open” to meeting Kim.

“I would sit down with anybody,” he said. “I don’t think it’s strength or weakness, I think sitting down with people is not a bad thing,” he said on the “Full Measure” show.

“So I would certainly be open to doing that but we’ll see where it goes, I think we’re far too early.”

Are North Korea and Iran Working Missile, Nuclear Technology Together? Lawmakers Want To Know

February 9, 2016

By Niels Lesniewski
Roll Call
February 9, 2016

A Republican senator wants to compel the Obama administration to tell Congress what it knows about ties between North Korea and Iran.

“It’s undeniable that Iran and North Korea have been cooperating on nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development for years now. Iranians have reportedly been present for at least three of North Korea’s nuclear tests,” Sen. David Perdue said in a statement provided to Roll Call.

The Georgia Republican has drafted an amendment to a North Korean sanctions bill that’s due on the Senate floor Wednesday that would require semiannual reports to Congress on what’s known about cooperation on ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons between the country and Iran. In addition, the amendment’s language calls for disclosure of individuals involved in or connected to transferring information between the two countries.

“This amendment forces the Obama Administration to disclose to Congress what it knows about this cooperation between rogue nations, instead of denying the linkages,” said Perdue. “The sooner we acknowledge this illicit cooperation, the sooner we can work to put it to a halt.”

A House version of the North Korea sanctions measure included reporting requirements on interaction with Iran on nuclear weapons, but there’s no similar language currently in the Senate bill.

The underlying effort to make new, more biting sanctions available to penalize North Korea and entities that have continued to do business with the rogue state for its nuclear development is led by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., like Perdue a freshman member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Gardner is chairman of the subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

Reports of a missile test by North Korea over the weekend have only increased the likelihood of swift action by the Senate, where senators and aides were optimistic that the foreign policy interest in moving quickly would outweigh any desires for a potentially protracted amendment process.

“North Korea’s latest act of belligerence is further evidence that we must act to counter the Forgotten Maniac,” Gardner said in a statement responding to the missile launch reports. “We must act swiftly to reverse the President’s policy of ‘strategic patience,’ and pursue mandatory sanctions aimed at changing North Korea’s pattern of illicit behavior and peacefully disarming the regime.”

Contact Lesniewski at and follow him on Twitter at@nielslesniewski


Washington Post: North Korea’s rocket launch shows that Mr. Obama’s policy of ‘strategic patience’ has failed

February 9, 2016

From The Editorial Board
The Washington Post


The U.S. is more divided in more ways than it’s been since the 1960s — Obama’s legacy

January 13, 2016

The Obama Legacy Project

U.S. President Barack Obama walks down the colonnade from the Oval Office at The White House in Washington on January 12. 
U.S. President Barack Obama walks down the colonnade from the Oval Office at The White House in Washington on January 12. Photo: mary f. calvert/Reuters
The Wall Street Journal

As he begins his final year in office, President Obama’s legacy project is already in high gear. This includes Tuesday night’s State of the Union, which is best understood as the start of a campaign to persuade Americans that the last seven years have been better than they believe. He needs to start early because this reality makeover won’t be easy.

Start with the economy, which Mr. Obama’s Boswells are attempting to reframe as a “boom.” Mr. Obama certainly inherited a deep recession, but recessions always end and deep ones usually rebound faster and higher. The test of economic policy is the pace and quality of the recovery, and this one has been the slowest since World War II.

The jobless rate has fallen to 5%, but in May 2007 under George W. Bush it was 4.4%. Today’s rate has been able to fall as low as it has in part because so many working-age Americans have left the workforce; the labor participation rate of 62.6% hasn’t been this low since 1977. Real incomes for most households have only recently begun to rise above what they were at the end of the recession in June 2009.

Opinion Journal Video

Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Stephen Moore previews the president’s final state of the union address. Photo credit: Associated Press.

If you don’t believe us, listen to the Democratic presidential candidates. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and that other guy are all bemoaning the economic plight of the middle class and offering new government ministrations. Perhaps they know they’d sound silly if they talked about an Obama boom. Meanwhile, serious Keynesian economists use a 10-dollar euphemism for the Obama recovery: “secular stagnation.”

The President’s defenders blame slow growth on Republican opposition, yet he has achieved most of what he sought on the economy. He passed his “stimulus” and raised taxes. He transformed one-sixth of the economy with ObamaCare and the financial system via Dodd-Frank. He nationalized student loans, has regulated the Internet, and is redoing electricity markets to crush coal. All of this and more have combined to inhibit growth.

His last year isn’t likely to change this arc, short of a recession. He said Tuesday he wants Congress to pass the Pacific trade bill, but Republicans are wary and Mrs. Clinton opposes it. Corporate tax reform would also be possible but Mr. Obama won’t cut rates enough to make it worthwhile. ObamaCare’s private insurance markets are a mess, but fixing them will be up to the next President of either party.

Mr. Obama also claimed foreign-policy success, but with little connection to reality anywhere in the world. His failure to intervene left Syria to become what former CIA Director David Petraeus calls “a geopolitical Chernobyl,” spreading chaos throughout the Middle East. It nurtured Islamic State, which has swamped Europe with refugees and is inspiring jihadists in the U.S. Killing Osama bin Laden was not an even trade for the rise of ISIS.

The most serious long-term threat has been the rise of authoritarian powers on Mr. Obama’s watch. Vladimir Putin in Europe, China in the Western Pacific and Iran in the Middle East want to push America out so they can become regional hegemons, and they have all made substantial progress.

The best you can say about the Iran nuclear deal is that it will take years to play out, and it will be vindicated if Iran’s theocratic regime falls before the accord sunsets. If not, the deal will have enabled, with money and legitimacy, Iran’s ambitions to dominate the Middle East. Mr. Obama didn’t mention that Iran Tuesday seized two small U.S. Navy boats and 10 American crew members in the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s Republican Guard gets a media coup at the expense of the U.S. Navy — Persian Gulf, January 12, 2016. IRG photo


The President finished his speech with a pitch for optimism and civility, which is a return to the sunny sentiments that launched his national career. “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America,” Mr. Obama famously said at the 2004 Democratic convention.

But as he wraps up his Presidency, the United States is more divided in more ways than at any time since the 1960s. Democrats have moved further left, while Republicans have moved right. Mr. Obama is not solely to blame for this, but much of it is the product of how he has governed.

More than any recent President, he has turned the bully pulpit into a battering ram to smash his opponents. He denounced the Supreme Court in the 2010 State of the Union. He all but called Paul Ryan’s 2011 budget un-American. He played the race card to win re-election in 2012. He doesn’t argue with Republicans; he demeans them. In that sense he has made American politics safe for Donald Trump on the right and Black Lives Matter on the left.

Look no further than the debate over immigration. We supported reform long before Mr. Obama did, but he has succeeded in making it nearly impossible to achieve. His lawless legalization decree has made the issue toxic for Republicans and will probably be overturned in court. The rising terror threat has also made immigration a security issue as much as an economic one. This too has given Mr. Trump potent ammunition.


The political result is that, more than nearly all two-term Presidents, Mr. Obama’s legacy depends on the election of a Democratic successor. A Republican President could erase his executive orders in an instant, while a GOP Congress and White House would dismantle ObamaCare and much of his regulatory apparatus. His 2016 legacy project is really intended as a Democratic mobilization call to elect Mrs. Clinton. Above all he needs Republicans to blow themselves up.


MIT professor Jonathan Gruber said that the Obama administration was relying on “the stupidity of the American voter” when it wrote the Obamacare bill and its fraudulent financial projections.

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, before the House Oversight Committee health care hearing. Congressional Democrats charged Tuesday that Republicans are seizing on a health adviser’s self-described “thoughtless” and misleading remarks to attack President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

A Remarkably Passive Barack Obama Faces a World in Turmoil

February 14, 2015


President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast

By Charles Krauthammer

His secretary of defense says, “The world is exploding all over.” His attorney general says that the threat of terror “keeps me up at night.” The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates its embassy in Yemen, a country cited by President Obama last September as an American success in fighting terrorism.

Poking out his tongue, he goes on to practice telling people to use the U.S. health system while staring at himself

Amid the news of Kayla Mueller’s death and the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, the President of the United States had fun making a video for Buzzfeed.


Yet Obama’s reaction to, shall we say, turmoil abroad has been one of alarming lassitude and passivity.

Not to worry, says his national security adviser: This is not World War II. As if one should be reassured because the current chaos has yet to achieve the level of the most devastating conflict in human history. Indeed, insists the president, the real source of our metastasizing anxiety is . . . the news media.

Russia pushes deep into eastern Ukraine. The Islamic State burns to death a Jordanian pilot. Iran extends its hegemony over four Arab capitals — Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and now Sanaa.

And America watches. Obama calls the policy “strategic patience.” That’s a synonym for “inaction,” made to sound profoundly “strategic.”

Take Russia. The only news out of Obama’s one-hour news conference with Angela Merkel this week was that he still can’t make up his mind whether to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons. The Russians have sent in T-80 tanks and Grad rocket launchers. We’ve sent in humanitarian aid that includes blankets, MREs and psychological counselors.

How complementary: The counselors do grief therapy for those on the receiving end of the T-80 tank fire. “I think the Ukrainian people can feel confident that we have stood by them,” said Obama at the news conference.

Indeed. And don’t forget the blankets. America was once the arsenal of democracy, notes Elliott Abrams. We are now its linen closet.

Why no antitank and other defensive weapons? Because we are afraid that arming the victim of aggression will anger the aggressor.

Such on-the-ground appeasement goes well with the linguistic appeasement whereby Obama dares not call radical Islam by name. And whereby both the White House and State Department spend much of a day insisting that the attack on the kosher grocery in Paris had nothing to do with Jews. It was just, as the president said, someone “randomly shoot[ing] a bunch of folks in a deli.” (By the end of the day, the administration backed off this idiocy. By tweet.)

This passivity — strategic, syntactical, ideological — is more than just a reaction to the perceived overreach of the Bush years. Or a fear of failure. Or bowing to the domestic left. It is, above all, rooted in Obama’s deep belief that we — America, Christians, the West — lack the moral authority to engage, to project, i.e., to lead.

Before we condemn the atrocities of others, intoned Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, we shouldn’t “get on our high horse.” We should acknowledge having authored the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, etc. “in the name of Christ.”

In a rare rhetorical feat, Obama managed to combine the banal and the repulsive. After all, is it really a revelation that all religions have transgressed, that man is fallen? To the adolescent Columbia undergrad, that’s a profundity. To a roomful of faith leaders, that’s an insult to one’s intelligence.

And in deeply bad taste. A coalition POW is burned alive and the reaction of the alliance leader barely 48 hours later is essentially: “Hey, but what about Joan of Arc?”

The conclusion to this patronizing little riff — a gratuitous and bizarre attack on India as an example of religious intolerance — received less attention than it merited. India? Our largest and most strategically promising democratic ally — and the most successful multiethnic, multilingual, multiconfessional country on the planet? (Compare India to, oh, its colonial twin, Pakistan.)

There is, however, nothing really new in Obama’s selective condemnation of America and its democratic allies. It is just a reprise of the theme of his post-inauguration 2009 confessional world tour. From Strasbourg to Cairo and the U.N. General Assembly, he indicted his own country, as I chronicled at the time, “for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness (toward Europe), for maltreatment of natives, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantánamo, for unilateralism, and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.”

The purpose and the effect of such an indictment is to undermine any moral claim to American world leadership. The line between the Washington prayer breakfast and the Ukrainian grief counselors is direct and causal. Once you’ve discounted your own moral authority, once you’ve undermined your own country’s moral self-confidence, you cannot lead.

If, during the very week Islamic supremacists achieve “peak barbarism” with the immolation of a helpless prisoner, you cannot take them on without apologizing for sins committed a thousand years ago, you have prepared the ground for strategic paralysis.

All that’s left is to call it strategic patience.

Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

Read more on this topic:

Charles Krauthammer: Ukraine abandoned

The Post’s View: President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Obama reneges on his foreign-policy promises

Fareed Zakaria: Will Obama become a foreign policy president?

Related Here of Peace and Freedom:


National Security Adviser Susan Rice

Screenshot 2015-02-03 at 7.35.35 PM

Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh is burned alive by Islamic terrorists

Terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi with her bomb for suicide bombing

Yemeni armed member of the Shia Houthi movement in an army uniform guards a checkpoint on a street leading to the presidential palace in the capital Sanaa
In Yemen, Shia Houthi rebels have taken control of the capital Sanaa and are furthering their control elsewhere. Last September President Obama hailed Yemen as an example of America’s success in the war against Islamist terrorists.
The CIA team charged with protecting the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya when it was attacked in 2012 say they were told to 'stand down' for half an hour by a CIA official after the attacks began
At Benghazi, four Americans died. The Obama Administration has not been forthcoming with the facts.
ISIS thugs filmed James Foley, 40, as he was executed in August. Now, the group wants to sell his remains for $1 million, according to a report.
James Foley was beheaded by the Islamic terrorists
Ex-NBA basketball player Alonzo Mourning (left) also joined the president out on the Vineyard Golf Club course

Ex-NBA basketball player Alonzo Mourning (left) joined the President Obama at the Vineyard Golf Club course immediately after the president’s news conference to discuss the beheading of American James Foley.


Unmasked: The 16 followers of Jihadi John prepare to behead the Syrian soldiers they have held hostage. Nasser Muthana from Cardiff isto the right of John, who is dressed in black with a balaclava

Followers of Jihadi John prepare to behead the Syrian soldiers they have held hostage.

Dear Mrs Obama: Ask the President for the rest of us how he’s doing getting back the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram…..


White House National Security Strategy Document and Speech Machine Draws Fire

February 7, 2015


Fight against terrorism only gets one page  amid 29 in White House National Security Strategy.

US National Security Advisor Rice speaks at Brookings Institution in Washington on Friday, February 6, 2015

President Obama unveiled a national security strategy on Friday that called for “strategic patience” and warned against American “overreach” — an approach that drew criticism as some lawmakers say the rising threat from the Islamic State demands a more urgent response.

The 29-page document is meant to serve as a blueprint for Obama’s final two years in office. The strategy cast the U.S. as an indispensable force in combating global challenges — including terrorism, climate change and cyber threats.

“American leadership remains essential,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said at a Brookings Institution event where she detailed the plan.

Yet the long-awaited security agenda included no major course changes in the military campaign against Islamic State militants or in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The document acknowledged serious threats abroad – and reiterated that, for the Islamic State, the goal is to “ultimately defeat” the terror group – but was imbued with a sense of restraint.

“America leads from a position of strength. But, this does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world,” the document said. “As powerful as we are and will remain, our resources and influence are not infinite. And in a complex world, many of the security problems we face do not lend themselves to quick and easy fixes.”

The strategy said the U.S. has to make “hard choices” and “resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear.”

“The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence,” the document said.

That line drew a rebuke from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who suggested the approach will only embolden America’s rivals.

“I doubt ISIL, the Iranian mullahs, or Vladmir Putin will be intimidated by President Obama’s strategy of ‘strategic patience.’ From their point of view, the more ‘patience’ President Obama practices the stronger they become,” he said in a statement. “The Obama Doctrine, or ‘strategic patience,’ has led to a world in chaos.  … Applying more ‘patience’ to President Obama’s failed foreign policy just prolongs failure.”

The National Security Strategy was released a day after Obama made controversial remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast appearing to draw comparisons between Islamic State atrocities and bloody acts committed by Christians – hundreds of years ago.

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. …So this is not unique to one group or one religion.”

The administration faced a storm of criticism for the comments. Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday ripped the president’s “history lesson,” saying the issue today “is the terrorism of radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives.”

Jindal said: “We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz defended the comments on Friday, saying the president believes in American exceptionalism but also believes “we need to be honest with ourselves” when America falls short on holding to its values.

Some are concerned Obama’s rhetoric does not match the urgency of the challenge at hand, as the Islamic State holds a wide swath of territory across Iraq and Syria while seeking to attract followers from around the world. Its brutal execution by fire of a captured Jordanian pilot rallied the Jordan government this week to launch a new wave of airstrikes against the terror group.

In the National Security Strategy, the administration said the U.S. would continue to support Iraq’s government against ISIS, while working to train and equip a “moderate Syrian opposition” to battle terrorists in their country.

The document acknowledged that the terror threat “persists” and has spread to a range of countries and continents. At the same time, it claimed “the threat of catastrophic attacks against our homeland by terrorists has diminished.”

To that end, Rice said Friday that the danger does not rise to the level of past challenges America has faced.

“While the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War. We cannot afford to be buffeted by alarmism and a nearly instantaneous news cycle,” Rice said.

She spoke to how the terror threat has spread into a network of Al Qaeda affiliates, local militias and groups like ISIS. “This diffusion may for now reduce the risk of a spectacular attack like 9/11 but it raises the probability of the types of attacks that we have seen in Boston, and Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris,” she said.

The president is required by law to send Congress a national security strategy annually. However, most presidents, including Obama, have done so only sporadically. Obama’s only previous memo to lawmakers came in 2010 and formalized his desire to broaden U.S. national security posture beyond anti-terror campaigns.

Obama’s critics have accused the president of putting his desire to keep the U.S. out of overseas conflicts ahead of the need for more robust action against the world’s bad actors. Some members of Congress have called for Obama to send more American ground troops to the Middle East to combat the Islamic State group, while also pushing for the White House to authorize shipments of defensive weapons to Ukraine to help its beleaguered military in the fight against Russian-backed separatists.

Administration officials have said that Obama is reconsidering his opposition to giving Ukraine lethal aid, though he continues to have concerns about the effectiveness of that step.

For much of his presidency, Obama has sought to recalibrate the focus of U.S. foreign policy away from the Middle East and toward fast-growing regions like Asia and Africa. He’s made numerous trips to Asia, in particular, and Rice announced Friday that Obama would be hosting state visits this year for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In one area where Obama has overlap with Republicans, he reaffirmed his support for free trade agreements with Asia, as well as Europe.

The president also addressed the risks of climate change and infectious diseases like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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