The rumblings of terrorist activity should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever had dealings with Arabic and/or Middle Eastern, predominantly Muslim cultures. Above all, they tend to respect strength, and find the kind of mealy-mouthed, apologetic tone taken by Barak Obama almost insulting.
But a distaste for weakness is not limited to the Persian Gulf. Vladimir Putin’s “up yours” to America in general, and President Obama in particular, is a completely predictable reaction to a timid and ineffectual leader. Just look at the expressions and body language that Putin exhibits when meeting with Obama. He can barely disguise his contempt, virtually smirking when Obama is speaking. You can almost hear him wondering, “Americans actually elected this rank amateur?”
I’ve spent time in the Middle East in my previous career in international aviation, and have dealt with various Middle Eastern cultures in business. I can say with some authority that the worst thing one can do in negotiations is to appear unwilling to draw a line in the sand, and back it up with conviction. Thus, what many American consider admirable qualities like “consensus” and “compromise” are viewed by many people in the world as weakness.
From his infamous “Cairo speech” to his refusal to even call the threat of Islamist terrorism by its rightful name, Obama has sent the unmistakable signal to his potential adversaries that he is a “paper tiger” and unlikely to “stand his ground” on international matters. And no, drone strikes do not make up for a general lack of backbone in our foreign policy.
The Bengazi debacle has probably done more to reinvigorate Al Qaeda than anything in recent memory. By essentially sitting on his hands, Obama made it clear to “the neighborhood bully” that he was not going to do anything significant to protect Americans in harms way. And unless and until we have an American president who shows strength and resolve to the world at large, we will continue to live in the shadow of the next terrorist attack.