As the country marks the eleventh anniversary of the attacks of September 11, we know that the world is a dangerous place. Ever since that terrible time, Americans have become much more aware of the threat to our way of life, and that we are a target. Unfortunately, the war against terror is an ongoing battle, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
Meanwhile, our focus is on the Presidential election and how we can get our economy running again. To most voters, that will be the defining issue and they will cast their vote based on their personal well being. However, events of the past week, may swing some votes, and even if it doesn’t, Americans are once again going to reassess our role in the world.
The two major events this week were the dual attacks on the American embassies and the Obama Administration’s snub of Israeli Prime Minister Bebe Netanyahu. The attacks on the American embassy in Libya, and the death of our Ambassador should bring chills to Americans. This was a brazen attack by extremists, and as of this writing, there has not been any American action to retaliate against those terrorist. Similarly, the storming of the American embassy in Egypt brings back memories of the taking of American hostages by Iranian “students’ back in the late 1970s.
Which brings us to the other major event, or non event of the week. The Israeli President was been denied a meeting with President Obama, surely not the type of treatment that we would extend our allies. Perhaps the President doesn’t want to get bogged down in Iran before the election, but we can’t claim to be Israel’s biggest defender if our President won’t even meet with their leader. Of course, Netanyahu could be playing some politics himself and trying to box Obama in before the election, but that seems hardly likely given how large the stakes are in respect to Iran and their nuclear aspirations.
Nonetheless, the President can’t ignore foreign policy for the next eight weeks. The United States has to lead and show our allies that we have their backs, and show our enemies that we will not be pushed around. The timing is unfortunate given the focus on the election, but the world won’t wait while the American public decides on its next leader. At this time, the voters are getting a picture of a President who cannot create jobs and appears to be over his hear in regards to economic policy. It will not help his re-election chances, or our world standing, if Obama looks as weak in foreign affairs as he does on the domestic front.