One of the most startling statements in last year’s presidential campaign was an eyebrow raising note of caution to voters inclined to elect a candidate with limited foreign policy experience.
“Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”
Who issued this word of warning?
How about “none of the above”.
These are the words of newly elected Vice President Joseph Biden.
And Biden didn’t stop there.
“I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate,” Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. “And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”
Well the events of the last few days have confirmed that Joe Biden was right on target.
North Korea has successfully detonated a Hiroshima level atomic bomb.
It has followed up with successful tests of its developing missile technology.
It has declared the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War null and void.
And has labeled South Korea’s willingness to join a coalition of nations in an effort to halt smuggling of WMD technology “an act of war.”
If this doesn’t fit the description of Biden’s anticipated test of Barack Obama’s mettle, I’d hate to see the real deal.
So how has the Obama Administration responded to the crisis?
Gates to press for Far East unity on NKorea threat
WASHINGTON – The White House on Wednesday accused of “saber-rattling” for attention as the Pentagon began the delicate task of reassuring Asian allies of U.S. support without further provoking the communist government.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton both lobbed carefully worded verbal salvos at North Korea. At the same time, Defense Secretary Robert Gates headed to Singapore for long-planned meetings with Asian nation counterparts already jittery about America’s commitment to the region.
“Threats won’t get North Korea the attention it craves,” Gibbs told reporters at the White House. “Their actions are continuing to further deepen their own isolation from the international community and from their rights and obligations that they themselves have agreed to live up to.”
Help me if I’m missing something here, but it seems our response to this avalanche of aggression by the regime of Kim Jong Il is to:
State the obvious – “You guys are sabre rattling!”
Be polite – Nothing intimidates mad dictators like a “carefully worded salvo”.
Apply some amateur psychoanalysis – “That wasn’t a nuclear test! It was a call for help! Mr. Il needs to learn to seek the attention he craves in a less dysfunctional manner.”
If only we could get Kim Jong Il on Oprah perhaps he could find why his inner child has such unmet needs.
Now to be fair there is undoubtedly an awful lot of behind the scenes effort to stem this crisis before war breaks out again.
We need to pray for great wisdom for our leadership in times like these.
But while we are on the subject of wisdom, could I offer a possible theory as to why the Cold War has revived on the Korean Peninsula?
In a word – it’s a distraction.
Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Barack Obama at the White House.
Mr. Netanyahu made it abundantly clear that any progress toward peace in the Middle East had to begin by putting an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
And if you are a regular reader of this space, you also know that the United States has strongly warned Israel not to take this matter into their own hands.
So if the United States has essentially said to Israel, “We will handle Iran. You stay on the sidelines.” – Iran now knows it has to find a way to keep the Americans from shutting down their atomic weapons program.
What better way for the Iranians to buy more time to perfect their nukes than to tie up the United States in a conflict on the other side of world?
How interesting that our old friend Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad made the following statement days before the Crisis in the Far East went from simmer to boil.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has no missile or nuclear cooperation with North Korea, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday, after North Korea conducted a second and far more powerful nuclear test.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush branded both countries as part of an “axis of evil,” but Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful electricity generation. The West suspects its work has military aims.
“We don’t have any cooperation (with North Korea) in this field. We oppose the production, the amassing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference.
Scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, revered by many Pakistanis as the father of the country’s nuclear bomb, confessed to selling nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya in 2004.
Military experts say Iran’s Shahab-3 missile is based on the North Korean Nodong missile. Tehran says Shahab-3 has a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles), which defense analysts say would put Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf within range.
So if you are keeping score at home, Iran has no connections with North Korea – aside from their supplying them all the plans for their missile technology.
How interesting that when the world’s attention has been squarely focused on Iran, suddenly North Korea goes crazy.
If we have told the Israelis to put aside any attempt at preventing Iran from going nuclear, we had better be able to handle this threat ourselves.
And if the infamous “Axis of Evil” is working together to tie our hands, we had better think good and hard about giving Israel the go ahead to deal with what will be more than just a threat to their continued existence.
Joseph Biden’s prescient comments about the testing of our new president included the heads up that at first it won’t appear we are doing the right thing.
Let’s hope that the key words here are “at first”.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.” (Psalm 122:6-7)
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