From Christian decapitations to radical Islamist victory marches, crisis and chaos is erupting across the world. The Obama Administration’s “crisis management” foreign policy has produced one thing: anarchy.
In Syria, President Obama drew a “red-line.” President Bashar al-Assad responded by launching chemical attacks against women and children. In Egypt, our longtime ally, Obama’s team willingly accepted the disastrous power grab by the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead of congratulating General al-Sisi’s efforts to restore stability and confront radical Islam, Obama stays silent. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is filling the leadership vacuum in both countries.
In Iraq, Obama promised stability and self-reliance. Today, ISIS radicals wave black flags in cities where American soldiers courageously and selflessly shed blood. Former ambassador to Iraq under Obama, James Jeffrey, described our botched strategy in Iraq as a “g–d— freefall.” Months ago, Obama highlighted Yemen as a model of American counterterrorism. Any day now, Yemen could fold under the weight of civil war. So much for “smart diplomacy.”
In the midst of this conflict, Iran is stepping forward, aggressively developing nuclear weapons and threatening to wipe Israel off the earth. From Baghdad to Beirut, Iranian-backed terrorist groups are destabilizing the Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands alone as a Churchill in a world full of Chamberlains, yet this administration undercuts Israel but trusts Iran. The ayatollah leads “Death to America” chants as Secretary of State [mc_name name=’Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000148′ ] is negotiating a nuclear deal that will embolden Iranian-backed terrorists and undermine the security of our regional allies.
What Hillary Clinton thought was a “reset” with Putin was really a “fast-forward” button into Ukraine. China keeps modernizing its military, expanding its sphere of influence and launching debilitating cyber-attacks against U.S. businesses.
In short, “leading from behind” has led to failure. Whether horse-trading with Taliban tyrants who killed Americans, extending amnesty to Guantanamo prisoners or deal-making with Iran, Obama lacks moral clarity and common sense. The American-led world order is being undermined by ambiguity and indecision. Our allies have lost faith in our leadership and Europe has lost faith in itself.
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with a group of scholars and academics at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The consensus among seasoned conservative scholars and everyday Americans is the same: We need to quit apologizing for being America and start leading.
We must restore America’s promise and reaffirm American exceptionalism.
First, we must reject Obama’s crisis-management approach to the world. Putting out fires is not a strategy. It is no way to run a business or state government. We are more than just a victim of circumstances beyond our control.
Second, we must accept responsibility. America is the leader of the Free World. We cannot hold our breath waiting for the United Nations or the World Bank to formulate or finance a path forward. We control our destiny—not dictators, despots, mullahs or militants.
Third, we must lead. Amidst President Obama’s “smart diplomacy,” what the world truly lacks is “strategic leadership.” Strategic leadership starts by tackling our reckless deficit problems and securing the border. We cannot preserve our credibility, protect vital interests or persuade other nations if we fail to roll up our sleeves and solve simple, serious problems at home. In addition, we must rebuild our military. In the absence of American strength, stability and purpose, we have anarchy. We must modernize our defense, diplomatic and human intelligence capabilities so we can address 21st century challenges.
Lastly, we must restore moral clarity. No leader can build enduring coalitions or unite Americans with secular self-interest or toothless multilateralism. Our leadership must be rooted in American values, common sense and moral clarity. That starts by acknowledging basic truths. We cannot defeat an enemy we refuse to name. Radical Islam is our enemy. We must confront and defeat this evil.
This administration has weakened America. But isolationism, backed by some on the right, will make the world even more dangerous. No one would suggest that America engage militarily in every dark corner of the planet. But if America fails to confront and defeat the threat of radical Islam, who will? In the face of orange jumpsuit decapitations, anyone who believes rogue states and renegades will “leave us alone” if we simply disengage is a childish fool living in a world of dangerous theories.
Through strength, strategic leadership and unity in purpose, we can restore America’s proper place in the world after years of crisis management. The shining city on the hill needs to get out of the shadows and illuminate a path forward once again.
Mike Huckabee is the former Republican Governor of Arkansas