Friday, January 27th | 5 Shevat 5783

March 25, 2016 7:47 am

Brussels and the Obama Approach to Terrorism

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avatar by Ruthie Blum

President Obama with Secretary of State Kerry. Photo: White House.

President Obama with Secretary of State Kerry. Photo: White House.

“It’s very important for us not to respond with fear,” said US President Barack Obama, defending his decision to enjoy a baseball game in Cuba with his wife, daughters and dictator Raul Castro, while dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of body parts lay strewn across the Brussels airport and Metro station. “Groups like Islamic State can’t destroy us; they can’t defeat us; they’re not an existential threat to us.”

The following day, on the next leg of his trip in Argentina, Obama reasserted his mantra that life must go on by doing the tango with a sexy dancer. This, while Belgium was still searching for terror suspects and as American citizens killed in the blasts had yet to be located or identified.

But never mind all that. US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, made an arduous journey by car on Wednesday morning to the Belgian Embassy in Washington, a few blocks from their house, to sign a book of condolences. After scribbling a lengthy text, Biden made a public statement. “On behalf of the president, I can say that we are prepared to provide any and all information capability, technology, anything we have that can be value added to [Belgium’s] fight; they will prevail,” he said.

And let’s not forget US Secretary of State John Kerry, who headed not to Brussels on Wednesday, but to Moscow — after accompanying Obama to Cuba, where he heard about the bombings. Without skipping a beat, Kerry picked up the phone from Havana and called his Belgian counterpart to commiserate and offer assistance. Long distance, of course.

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On Thursday, America’s top diplomat met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the purpose of warming up cooled relations over Ukraine. But mainly Kerry was dispatched to the Kremlin, while Obama was being wined and dined in South America, to find out the meaning of Putin’s military withdrawal from Syria, where a shaky cease-fire seems to be holding up better than had been anticipated. Probably because Putin threatened to blitz any anti-Assad forces that violated it.

Despite this pressing piece of state business Kerry had to attend to, he nevertheless took time out of his talks with Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to stress that the attacks in Brussels made agreements between Washington and Moscow even more urgent. You know, since everyone wants to defeat ISIS, the perpetrators of the carnage in Belgium, which unwittingly welcomed them with open arms among the millions of “refugees” fleeing war-torn Syria.

Lest anyone think that all Kerry had to offer the Belgians were empty words, he flew to Brussels on Friday, to extend his heartfelt sympathies on behalf of Obama, in person. Or, as State Department spokesman John Kirby put it, “to formally express the condolences of the United States for the loss of life” in the blood-stained and traumatized country.

Perhaps while he’s at it, Kerry could reiterate his true position on terrorism — the one he articulated in a New York Times Magazine article in 2004 when running for president against incumbent George W. Bush. This was a mere three years after the attacks on the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Americans.

Asked by Matt Bai, author of the long piece about the candidate, what it would take for Americans to feel safe again after 9/11, Kerry — then a Massachusetts senator — replied: ”We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance. As a former law enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”

To someone living in Israel, that statement sounded as stupid and dangerous then as it does today. But at the time, it would have been hard to imagine that only four years later, Kerry would hold a prominent position in an administration that not only espouses such nonsense, but would come to give the Islamic Republic of Iran, the greatest state sponsor of global terrorism, the freedom and the funds to develop nuclear weapons with which to destroy Western civilization. After annihilating Israel, of course.

This administration has less than a year to continue on the path that led to the havoc being wreaked around the world by radical Islamists — whether Sunnis, like ISIS, or Shiites, like Hezbollah — and all their many offshoots. Obama said it’s important for us not to respond with fear to events like that which befell Brussels this week. The terrorists are gleefully taking his advice.

Ruthie Blum is the web editor of The Algemeiner.

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