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by Ralph Peters, New York Post, 1 November 2008
Looking back on the four years of his first administration, President Obama can be proud: He made the US welcome among the family of nations again; he reduced our reliance on military force; and he gave us peace by reaching sensible accommodations with our enemies.
The lies told about him in the 2008 election were exposed as sheer bigotry. Far from being "soft on radical Islam," President Obama was the first world leader to welcome Jewish refugees after Iran's nuclear destruction of Israel's major cities (his only caveat - a fair one - was the refusal to accept Zionist military officers and their families, in light of Israel's excessive retaliation).
He also demonstrated his resolve in the face of extremism when he overruled the obstructionist advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ordered our military to cross the border into Pakistan in force. The subsequent debacle, as Pakistan cut off supply routes to Afghanistan and threatened a nuclear response, was entirely the fault of our generals on the ground, not of the administration.
Fortunately, President Obama's willingness to talk to our enemies rescued the situation. After laying down their arms, our troops were allowed to evacuate Pakistan and Afghanistan in peace. The Taliban's return to power in Kabul did not result in an excessive bloodbath, and al Qaeda is not permitted the unrestricted freedom it enjoyed in the country prior to 2001.
State Department surveys prove that the Afghan population welcomes Sharia law, the closure of girls' schools and other such cultural choices. Our reparations payments to Kabul (as with those to Havana) are only just. Opium production is, arguably, no worse than in the past.
We also have seen peace in Iraq. Claims that our troop withdrawal was responsible for the resurgence of al Qaeda and the subsequent civil war are nothing but Republican campaign propaganda. With the International Sunni Alliance in firm control of Iraq - after Israel's wanton destruction of Iran - order prevails in the streets. As for the Turkish and Arab suppression of the Kurds, our diplomats regard it as a small price to pay for regional stability. Biased reports of massacres and concentration camps remain unsubstantiated.
Our relations with the Muslim world have rarely, if ever, been better. The current $320 per barrel price of oil allows long-oppressed states to develop themselves without the yoke of neo-colonialism or invasive efforts to force democracy upon their populations. As UN Ambassador Ayers noted, "We can state with pride that the US not only respects, but embraces cultural differences."
Relations with Russia are also at a high unthinkable a mere four years ago. Moscow's legitimate concerns for the welfare of its citizens in the "near abroad," as well as for ethnic Russians persecuted by so-called free democracies, fully justified its peace-preservation military deployments into Ukraine and other regional states. The subsequent referendums on re-unification with Russia, while displaying a few inevitable irregularities, have been judged free and fair by the Jimmy Carter Memorial Foundation.
While the deployment of Russian forces into the NATO-member Baltic states to protect ethnic Russians proved controversial, President Obama's personal intervention kept us - and NATO - out of war. Partisan charges of "Finlandization" distort the generous terms of the neutrality guarantees Moscow provides for the former NATO members.
After the internationally brokered (with President Obama in the lead) demilitarization of eastern Poland, it's clear to all responsible parties that Russia's legitimate claims have been fully satisfied and we may expect peace in our time.
President Obama resisted yet another war trap as China lost patience and finally reclaimed its long-lost province, Taiwan. Furthermore, the reduction of the US military presence in Japan and South Korea has deflated strategic tensions in East Asia to the lowest level in over one hundred years. Again, President Obama gave us peace.
(The resulting peace dividend from our president's 25% cut in the defense budget has allowed our government, in a public/private partnership with the Chicago-based Rezko Foundation, to provide subsidized housing for almost six million new immigrant families from developing countries. No other administration policy has raised the world's esteem for us more profoundly than our "Global Balance" instant-citizenship immigration reforms.)
In our own hemisphere, President Obama has supported the cause of justice, human rights and trade unions, cutting off military aid to Colombia, killing the proposed free-trade agreement with that country, and expressing humane understanding for the long freedom struggle of the FARC and other liberation groups.
Preferring a sensible rapprochement with Venezuela to needless confrontation, our president went to Caracas and negotiated a regional division of labor with democratically-elected President Hugo Chavez. The end of our destructive trade embargo against Cuba, our formal apology for the deprivations we imposed, and our generous reparations payments have inaugurated a new era of friendship with our long-suffering neighbors to the south.
The only complaint Democratic Party cadres fairly may lodge against the Obama administration's foreign policy is that we still have not fully opened our border with Mexico. Resistance among right-wing fanatics in Washington and bigots around the country remains too strong for now.
As for Mexico's presidential contest, President Obama has made it clear that, while he would prefer that a reputed drug-cartel leader not be elected, the US will respect the will of the Mexican people and strive for good relations with any future Mexican government.
One can only ask how much higher our 16.2% unemployment rate - an obvious legacy of the Bush years - might be if President Obama had not restored America's standing in the world and re-negotiated unfair trade treaties imposed on American workers by previous administrations.
As our president remarked just the other day in a re-election campaign speech in Dearborn, Michigan: "Wealth redistribution isn't just an American issue - it's a global issue. Better that Americans should be a little poorer, if that means our brothers in Egypt and Bolivia can become a little richer."
Under President Obama, America's back!
Ralph Peters' most recent book is, "Barack Obama: Too Great To Be A Mere Messiah?" (Fairness Doctrine Press, Limited, Chicago, July 2012)
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