Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Guns of August, Ralph Peters, Mistaking the Intentions of the Enemy & What Happens When Obama Misreads US?

Found THIS in the rush to get out back on the road to Mississippi this morning. I had to take the time to pass it on, not for what it says about Obama's foreign policy misdirections, but more for what it bodes domestically when he applies the same sort of ignorant arrogance and misreading skills to US. This is how wars, including civil wars, get started.



by Ralph Peters
July 31, 2009

WHEN it comes to dealing with America's adversaries, rhetorical "empathy" may get the Obama administration points with the media, but stone-cold-sober analysis of the enemy's view of the world would get better results.

There are plenty of problems with this administration's Pollyanna approach to butchers, fanatics and dictators, but its fundamental foreign-policy weakness -- even with allies -- is its refusal to put itself in the other guy's place.

Well, things look a lot different from Kandahar or Caracas than they do from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

If you're a Harvard-educated member of our ruling class, insulated from violence, poverty and the passions of faith, it's all too easy to convince yourself that al Qaeda "isn't about religion," or that Iran's hard-liners "don't really mean" what they say about longing for Israel's destruction.

Assuming that everybody else, from Peru to Pakistan, is "just like us" and "wants the same things we do" is an old Washington sin. But President Obama has carried it to a level fraught with catastrophic danger.

We need to get it straight: The cabal of rulers in Beijing does not seek the same global outcomes we do. Afghan villagers do not dream of a Hamptons lifestyle. Al Qaeda believes that Allah wants bloody vengeance.

Russians assume they have a right to rule their neighbors. North Korea's leaders do not share our humanitarian concerns. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is not just adding a little salsa to democracy. And Sudan's Arab rulers do not believe that blacks are fully human.

If all men and women want the same thing, does that mean we'd celebrate if our kids became suicide bombers? Would the neighbors congratulate us? Any Post reader inclined to assist in the "honor killing" of his or her daughter after she's spotted flirting?

Not even all of our fellow citizens want the same thing. How on earth can we continue to cough up the lie that war, massacre, vast atrocities and the savage oppression of women are just misunderstandings that a few ringing speeches and heart-to-heart chats will vanquish?

As an intelligence officer, the most challenging and important task I faced was the need to put myself in the mind and soul of an enemy, whether a military commander, a political leader or a fundamentalist madman.

It isn't easy, and it certainly isn't comfortable, but it must be done. The greatest leverage you can have in a negotiation is to grasp what your opposite number really wants, what his red lines are, his weaknesses. We obsess on what we have in common, but the key to coming out on top is a painstaking assessment of our differences.

Our enemies study us. We just draw up wish-lists and cross our fingers. As I've noted before, it's natural for Obama to assume he can talk anybody into anything, since this charismatic, talented man talked his way into the Oval Office without ever really doing anything.

But when he attempts to engage Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, or Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, or Venezuela's President-for-Eternity-and-Then-Some Hugo Chavez, it's not just about blithe election promises and getting ACORN to register a few more cemetery residents.

Despite their present bickering, Iran's hard-core leaders all want Israel destroyed. They may debate how and when, but not whether.

Putin's life is dedicated to Russia's centuries-old imperial mission. Chavez intends to export his new-model dictatorship throughout Latin America. Hamas and Hezbollah are not interested in amicable compromises over Israeli settlements.

And al Qaeda's terrorists believe down to the depths of their withered souls that their god demands their barbarities and will reward them in paradise for their savagery.

The Obama crowd thinks they're all kidding. After all, who takes religion seriously? Who would really pull a nuclear trigger? Who would spoil everything now, when America's president travels the globe, crying out, "Our bad!"

Our self-mythologizing president got a hard slap in the face last month when Putin -- a typical Great Russian racist -- lectured him on Moscow's imperial destiny. Encountering condescension instead of adulation seems to have come as quite a shock.

But how many shocks will it take before Obama grasps that not every foreign leader will be susceptible to his charm, that they have their own agendas -- and that some of those agendas are irreconcilable with our national interests?

Our emboldened enemies tell us exactly what they mean to do. And we tell them they don't know what they're talking about.

In world affairs, self-delusion has always been a formula for catastrophe.

Ralph Peters is Fox News' strategic analyst.


Uncle Lar said...

Jimmy Carter with a better tan, oh and a much bigger opinion of himself. Carter after all was just a well intended idiot out of his league. BHO is of course the anointed one destined to win over the world and remake it into one big happy community organized and run by Himself and his cohorts.
And I do fear that when it all falls apart we will find ourselves in a fight for our lives our fortunes and our sacred honor. And the saddest part is that war may very well be fought on two fronts, foreign and domestic.

ParaPacem said...

Outstanding article!!! Excellent!
As my old uncle Walter ( a great-uncle, actually) said, back when I was a kid -
"Nothing wakes a man up from his dreams of invincibilty like a hard slap of reality across his face."
BTW - does anyone besides myself, think that we should add one more requirement to the qualifications for the Presidency... that the candidate must have completed at least one full stint in the US military?
When arrogant bastards like Gore, jet around the world to lecture the rest of us on what energy wasting pigs we are, and insolent bastards like Obama jet around on global 'dates' with gorilla-browed wives and then dictate foreign policy, fiscal policy and military policy to the rest of us to live by, I wonder if some genuine grunt-time might broaden their horizons.

Anonymous said...

I'll give credit where credit is due and agree that this is a well informed and well written article.


Mr. Peters has often used the rhetoric of "Islamophobia" and also sneers at the idea that -- though I can't find a reference for it at the moment -- Islam as a world movement desires and intends to institute a world-wide Caliphate to force us all into their three choice ultimatum: Convert, Die, or live as dhimmis.

Nevertheless, he is spot on regarding Obama. Especially regarding his narcism shining through when certain leaders aren't convinced by him just 'chatting' with them.

(Speaking of narcism, here's a funny side note: my captcha was "imerica". Did Obama hack your captcha generator? :-))

Sean said...

Nailed it. And when Odumba and his smiley-faced socialism take that one step beyond, domestically, you can bet your sweet ass he'll recoil with stunned disbelief at what he has unleashed. And when he can't fix it, talk his way out of it, or duck the responsability, he'll exit like a bad Broadway play. Pathetically.

sofa said...

rumour is those guys TRIED to get into the military, but neither the NVA nor the Soviet military wanted them. So they're doing their part as remf's.
maybe it was just a rumour.

Anonymous said...

"BTW - does anyone besides myself, think that we should add one more requirement to the qualifications for the Presidency... that the candidate must have completed at least one full stint in the US military?"

Gore did serve in Vietnam; remember the famous picture of him trying to adjust the sling on an M16?

John Kerry served as well, and actually killed a guy or two.

Bob Kerrey, won the MOH in Vietnam as a SEAL, and has consistently supported "reasonable" gun control.

Point being here, military service doesn't necessarily make a better president.

james said...

Military service won't make a man a better man it will make what is already there stronger, harder, and tougher. Obama couldn't hack it through BMT because his faults would fester and inflame him so that he would fail the first week.

Ralph is pretty well spot on. But we have identified the malignant cells and diagnosed the patient with terminal illness that can only be mitigated by extreme and possibly deadly treatment.

Who among us is willing to start the scalpel into the body? You? Look closely into your gut and be honest with yourself. No one can see you and judge you if you flinch. But if you can be honest with yourself long enough to gain insight and some understanding of your limitations it will make your way known to you.

Like Harry Callahan said," A man's gotta know his limitations".

Doc Enigma said...

Anonymous said: "...military service doesn't necessarily make a better president."

AMEN! We'd get a lot better representation in both houses of Congress, elect better Executives, and see better Justices appointed if the common American was educated in the Constitution, how it was designed to work, and had a vested interest in how government worked in our country.

But to do that, we'd have to repeal the 17th Amendment (for starters) as well as start to actually educate our young people early on.

Now? Too much "entitlement" mindedness and popular vote frenzy in any election cycle.

My .02

ParaPacem said...

All of you gents have made excellent points, RE my musing about military service maybe improving the breed of those who would be king; and yes, I must agree that the aberrations like Gore and Kerry, prove the flaw in my logic and deflate one of my fond illusions.
Darn it!