Rumors Of War: WSJ

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DeM Banter: the beginning of any administration is awash in such stories…but it should cause us to pause and ponder….what do we want our country to stand for? Are we global? If so how? Where and when do we engage and what are our strategic interests? Those are the real questions…agree? Thoughts?

Wall Street Journal
January 22, 2013
Pg. 18

The world keeps intruding on Obama’s dreams of easy peace.

Perhaps you’ve heard that “the tide of war is receding,” except apparently where it isn’t, which seems to be much of the world. The latest flash points are in North Africa and the Western Pacific, both of which implicate America regardless of President Obama’s second-term wishes.

The hostage death toll from the four-day terrorist siege of the Algerian gas plant is now at least 37, including three Americans. The dead were foreign employees or contractors for the companies that worked at the plant. Dozens of jihadists also died when Algerian forces stormed the facility, but the al Qaeda offshoot that planned the attack will consider it a success if that’s the only punishment.

President Obama said the perpetrators will be brought to justice, but that’s what he also said about those who killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi in September. An estimated seven million Americans work overseas (not counting the military), and there will be attacks on many of them if terrorists believe that they can kill Americans with impunity.

The U.S. is also dithering over how much to help the French in their intervention to stop al Qaeda allies from overrunning Mali, which is south of Algeria. The French have now confirmed our report last week that the U.S. is reluctant to back them with drones and other assets.

The French may have undermined the U.S. in Iraq in 2003, but this is the time to show the French that America isn’t as flighty a friend. Even if we don’t like the way the French intervened, now that they are there the worst outcome would be if they get bogged down or are forced to retreat. The U.S. needs to help them win as rapidly as possible.

Meanwhile, rumors of war grow as China challenges Japan’s control over islands in the East China Sea. Both countries are now sending military jet sorties into the area, and Chinese denunciations extended to the U.S. after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the U.S. opposes “any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration” of the islands. She urged both sides to “resolve the matter peacefully through dialogue,” but China denounced her for ignoring facts and confusing “truth with untruth.”

This is another case when stalwart solidarity with an ally is the best policy. Instead of mere words, the U.S. should send a signal to China by inviting new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the U.S. at an early date. Even better, send a U.S. carrier group to the area the way Bill Clinton dispatched a carrier through the Taiwan Strait in the 1990s.

Mr. Obama said in his inaugural address Monday that “enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.” True, but they do require perpetual vigilance, which is certainly needed now.

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