Of course, it is the administration’s lack of clarity, lack of consistency and lack of commitment at times that has contributed to this situation. After all, the administration offered an extended hand to Tehran, averted its gaze from Iran’s pro-freedom revolution, initially supported Mubarak and then threw him under the bus, “led from behind” in Libya in a halfhearted war that had an expiration date for U.S. involvement, sat silent far too long regarding Syria and then inexplicably did nothing to end Assad’s reign, abruptly yanked U.S. forces out of Iraq, and recently sped up the timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
These actions and non-actions send signals to the generals in Cairo and Islamabad, to the tyrants in Tehran and Pyongyang, to the guerillas and jihadists who roam earth, to the business-suit autocrats in Moscow and Beijing.
Make no mistake: the president is not to blame for the hostages being taken, just as President Carter wasn’t to blame for the Iranian hostage crisis. The hostage-takers, the thugs, the enemies of freedom bear that responsibility. But presidents are responsible for how their administrations respond to crises like this.
For months, Carter did nothing of substance in response to the embassy takeover, and when he tried to do something it proved worse than nothing. President Obama has said little and done nothing, at least not in public view, regarding the Cairo crisis. Perhaps he is working behind the scenes. Perhaps he is trusting Gen. Demsey to deliver the message. Either way, the world is watching and waiting.
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