Obama's Absence Abroad Spurs Open Season for Dictators, Terrorists, Ne'er Do-Wells

Obama's Absence Abroad Spurs Open Season for Dictators, Terrorists, Ne'er Do-Wells

Are you the leader of an international terrorist organization looking to establish a new caliphate? Or perhaps you are a modern-day despot looking to return your once proud empire to former glory? Maybe you just want to take that long awaited shot at the West in general?

Well, good news tyrants, your chance to make a move may be right around the corner. With Iraq in shambles, Eastern Europe under siege from Putin’s puppet rebellion, Hamas continuing to barrage Israel with rocket attacks, and the continued massacre of civilians in Syria, there has never been a more opportune time for those who wish to do wrong to do so. The international community, and the West in particular, has turned an unfortunate blind eye to these conflicts and more, essentially empowering those who seek to do us harm through their inaction.

Unfortunately, the future of the current crises is quite bleak. The Iraqi government has failed to push back on ISIS, and likely won’t be able to do so successfully pending some major shifts in the Iraqi military. Bashar al-Assad has been conveniently ignored ever since he reluctantly agreed to give up his chemical weapons stockpile; after already using some of it on his own people, of course. Hamas has thus far refused at least five ceasefires with Israel and just last night, broken another, one of which was brokered by fellow Arabs in Egypt. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin continues to wage a proxy war in Ukraine, redrawing the map of Europe.

As if the aforementioned international crises were not enough, it is highly likely that they will soon be compounded with more issues in the very near future. Just recently, extensions were given on the so-called Iranian nuclear negotiations with little to no positive outlook on a viable deal. All the while, the centrifuges continue to spin and Iran is poised to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the US by 2015. Make no mistake, the Mullahs of Iran are keeping a keen eye on the half-hearted actions taken by the international community in response to the current international crises and will certainly use it to their advantage from now and into November.

On the other side of the world, North Korea has been uncharacteristically quiet as of late. If they continue to follow their recent pattern of trouble making every 6-12 months, we should expect to see Kim Jong-Un and his cadre make another aggressive move quite soon, particularly given the state of world at the moment.

The supposedly beaten and battered Taliban have made news as of late, having massacred 15 people on a bus in the Ghor province. This recent act of senseless violence brings the civilian death toll in Afghanistan to 5000 in 2014, an increase of 25% from the same time period last year, according to a UN report. This violence occurs in the midst of what is supposed to be a drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan. Surely, we can expect that as US and ISAF forces draw down, a rise in Taliban violence will coincide as the former tyrants come back to reassert their power. 

Yet instead of finishing the job and crushing the Taliban once and for all, it appears that some leaders, like former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, would rather negotiate with them in a feigned attempt at peace. It appears that Clinton’s tradition of turning those who harbor terrorists into rational actors has continued with her successor, when Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to do the same thing with the so-called ‘technocrats’ in the Hamas-Fatah unity government.

It would also be remiss not to mention the strangely silent Hezbollah in Lebanon, though the terrorist’s group leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah vowed to stand by the Palestinian “resistance.” The rocket arsenal of Hamas is dwarfed by that of Hezbollah, who are now also being supplied with advanced missile systems by Iran. Hamas’ rocket campaign against Israel has undoubtedly served as a test subject for the Iron Dome system, allowing Hezbollah to take notes on what works and what does not. As Israel is keeping busy in Gaza, Hezbollah has an opportunity to prepare for their next move, whenever it may be.

If the current status of international security as a whole continues as is, it could prove to be an end to pax Americana as we know it. Aside from the obvious players, the weakened state of the West in international security issues could open up opportunities for China to take steps in projecting more power in international affairs, particularly in regard to shoring up the natural resources it so desperately needs to drive an insatiable economy. The recent successes of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram also empower non-state actors across the world, including the growing Islamic extremist fringe in Europe. Proof of this has already been witnessed with the wave of anti-Semitic mobs in Germany, France,  the UK, and more.

The shockwaves of these crises and the subsequent lethargic responses by the international community have emboldened those who would seek to do harm on an international level. Continued inaction in response to these crises will only serve to create instability worldwide for decades to come. Tyrants and extremists are not interested in negotiation, international cooperation, or preserving the lives of civilians; and they are only emboldened by the weakness of their adversaries. Those who would seek to do us harm are playing a twisted game of realpolitik, and it is high time the international community take note of it before it is too late.

Russ Read is a Legislative Associate at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)


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