HORNADAY: POLITICS AS USUAL
Where is the Right when it comes to making national security an issue?
By Alexander Hornaday
I am absolutely disgusted. I am disgusted that my country is run by an administration content, even eager, to play politics instead of address the real issues of the day. I am, however, even more disgusted, and not a little bit betrayed, that I belong to a counter–movement happy to do the same thing.
On Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010, Iran joined the ranks of the nuclear powered. My political compatriots, seeking the privilege of governing partially on the basis of national security acumen, summarily ignored the threat posed by Iran’s quest for nuclear power. Perhaps we’ll hear from the Right now that Iran’s frightening accomplishment will surely prove a mere pit stop on the road to nuclear weapons.
Iran has been defiantly on this course for years. For the past several weeks, as Iran ever more exuberantly approached its intermediate goal of nuclear power, this administration took the official position that although we don’t like it, we can’t stop it forever, so we won’t try. The Obama administration also deserves credit for the dubious achievement of convincing Israel, the state with even more at risk from a nuclear Iran than the United States, to go with the flow as well. Now that Iran has an operational nuclear power plant, we have likely only months before it and subsequently its vassal states and organizations possess that most awful of weapons of mass destruction. This is unquestionably cause for significant distress, but instead of properly raising the alarm, the Right has treated us to cant objurgations about the religion of some property owners in New York City embarking on a development of questionable taste.
It seemed no elected official or hopeful failed to make some statement about the mosque, the more bombastic of whom called for the project to halt, knowing fully that such entreaties would fall on the developers’ deaf ears and the government, thankfully, cannot do anything about it otherwise. The most venerable bloggers and columnists of the Right, if they made even a peep about Iran, would bury it among thousands of words about who was insufficiently indignant over the Park51 project, barely masking the cynical glee that the President and his ideological sympathizers took a position contrary to 70 percent of the American people. Meanwhile, only the great national security curmudgeon John Bolton and self-described but partially-reformed Trotskyite Christopher Hitchens had the clarity to focus on the actual real-world threat of a nuclear Iran.
The greatest national security failure of the previous administration was to go after an Iraqi threat that proved imaginary, while turning a blind eye to North Korea’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Once again we focus too dearly on an exaggerated and imaginary threat while the real security menace grows bolder and better armed. Except this time, not only should we have learned from the mistakes of the last decade, but also the stakes are higher and the distraction more inane. Where North Korea is isolated and largely defensive, Iran is the Pater-state to scores of terrorist networks and calculatingly aggressive. Where Iraq appeared to all observers at the time to be a genuine threat, this mosque is obviously at worst a symbolic affront to good manners.
The Right, too enamored with the illusory vox populi, has utterly neglected to create an issue out of the real national security crises that the current administration has refused to mollify. There is certainly much to object about Obama’s foreign and national security policy, but to enjoy its self-proclaimed superiority on such issues with any credibility, the Right must actually voice objections. Not since Nero tuned his fiddle by the light of the flames of Rome has a government — and the salivating successors to that government — been so unconcerned with the dangers facing its people.
Alexander Hornaday is a local attorney, treasurer for the Denver Republican Party, and an active member of and legal counsel to several right-of-center groups. These are his personal opinions. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.