Walking Small

With apologies to Sheriff Pusser; but the disrespect comes from the administration.  Why are we so timid in front of the People’s Republic of China?  Where did that timidity get us vis-à-vis the Soviet Union prior to President Reagan?

At the Shangri-La Dialogue conference, a gathering of the Asia-Pacific region’s national defense officials to discuss regional security questions, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ought to reassure the PRC that the new US military strategy focusing on Asia was not designed to contain them, saying

Some view the increased emphasis by the United States on Asia-Pacific as a challenge to China; I reject that view entirely.

Never mind that the PRC is an aggressive and growing threat to the US and to our friends and allies.

A PLA representative asked Panetta

My question is, sir, could you enlighten me a little more how the US plans to develop military-to-military relations with China?

Panetta responded with a list of American planned initiatives: plans to cooperate on cyber and space, creating teams to work on these difficult issues, exchanges between military commanders, and a visit to China later this summer by the secretary himself.  (And I thought President Obama had all the self-importance in the administration.  [/snark])  Notice that, though: the PRC asks what are we going to do to please them; they have no plans at all to approach us.

As Senator John McCain (R, AZ) noted after the conference,

Realities are we are retiring ships.  We are having the smallest navy since World War II.

There is great reluctance on the part of this administration to confront China’s aggressiveness toward us and our friends and allies, and shrinking capability being left to subsequent administrations who might have a greater interest in the region’s security.

Yet this timidity is part and parcel with our government’s performance in another part of the world.  While thousands of Syrians die at the hands of the Assad regime, our government sits around clucking its collective tongue and shaking its finger very firmly at Assad—and does nothing of substance.

Senator Joe Lieberman (I, CT) notes that while he thinks the administration is making progress toward a halt in the bloodshed in Syria, it “is moving too slowly.”

Lieberman went on, saying that Panetta had assured him that DoD has a series of plans that they can implement, yet:

I don’t think anybody expects that [Panetta’s claimed plans] would include American troops on the ground in Syria nor will they require the US to take on the fight against Assad alone.

So even those little vaunted and lightly touted “plans” involve nothing more substantive than continued Obamatalk—idle chit-chat and finger waving, with no intension of doing anything serious.

Then Lieberman summed up this administration’s behavior:

If we to continue to say that we won’t do anything to help the Syrian people unless there is UN Security Council authorization, that is essentially saying to the Russians, ‘you can block the world from coming to the aid of these people in Syria against your ally Assad,’ and that is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Senator McCain got right to the point:

I can’t think of a time in the many years that I have served this country in many ways that I have been more embarrassed about my country and their failure to carry out our fundamental principles.  It is shameful because the countries in the region say that they need American leadership, not American unilateral action….  It is patently obvious that this president does not believe that America leads.

And Iran.  After three years of Obamatalk, Iran now is just months away from obtaining nuclear weapons.  Even today, the administration is just sitting around talking with the Iranian “negotiators.”

We’re not even carrying Teddy Roosevelt’s big stick—nor are we prepared to use one, should one magically appear, like that McNairy County sheriff was.

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