Bending over backwards and retreating from the world

Last week, when watching the news I saw a report about refugees fleeing the war in Syria, making their way through Turkey into European countries looking for any kind of refuge where they could find food and shelter and most importantly, new lives for themselves and their children. I was struck by the video of men, women and children pushing through and under razor wire snaked along the border between two European countries.  To date, over four million have fled Syria where nearly 250,000 people have been killed since Syria’s civil war began.

More reports about human tragedy hit the airwaves.  Migrants and others escaping Libya and other parts of North Africa have been trying to get to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, many, unfortunately including children, drowning when the boats carrying them capsize.  Some desperate hopefuls who have made it into Europe from the east and the south get there only to die by other means, at the hands of unscrupulous smugglers who leave the refugees locked in below-deck ship compartments or inside cargo trucks or vans, so that they suffocate as they are simply left there to perish.

ISIS continues to run rampant over large swaths of Syria and Iraq, killing anyone in their wake who dares to be of another religion or from any Western journalistic field or aid group.  Boko Haram continues to kidnap and kill in Africa.

I could go on and on about Islamic-related actions causing such heartache and human destruction, but aside from the commonality of so much of it going unchecked, or perhaps, to be fair, some of it being pin-pricked, the one thing in common for all the misery is that when it comes to world leadership, nobody really gives a damn.

Sure when the UN and others aren’t condemning Israel for something, we will see anxiety.  But here we are, well past so many horrors of history, where it is sad that collectively those civilized enough to know better and who can do better have entered a ho-hum, oh well, mindset when it comes to those who suffer because of radical and/or barbaric Muslims.

Am I wrong?  When there is a major earthquake, tsunami or other disaster causing death and destruction, the world mobilizes.  But when ten times more, even 100 times more, people are affected because of some form of Jihad, nada.  At least “nada” enough.

Perhaps it is an attitude difference between man-made catastrophes and those caused by nature?  That can’t be it because many disasters caused by man do generate mobilizations to assist.  Look at plane crashes as an example.

Maybe the drip drip murdering of a few hundred here and a couple thousand there doesn’t have the effect of 5,000 or 10,000 killed at one time.  Might be part of it.

Perhaps it just seems there are more disasters because of the 24-hour news cycle.  Whenever one turns on the TV or surfs the net, yet another calamity makes us shake our heads.  Floods, fires, earthquakes, wars, terrorist attacks, oil spills, etc.  It doesn’t stop.  There is only so much anyone can take.  (“We can’t save everyone,” I have heard more than once.  Usually, I think, by those content not to save anyone.)  Is that it?  I don’t think so.  Because here and around the world, help does come to certain affected peoples.

So what is it?  Why do we as a world community do pretty much nothing in the wake of so much Islamic-caused anguish?  More specifically, why does the United States sit idle as so much pain goes unabated and unhindered?  Yes, many do assist at times with some of the symptoms, but not the causes.  Europe and the UN I get.  Their decisions and indecisions continue to contribute to tragedy.  Weakness, greed, and hatred or indifference for the right peoples and love or support for the wrong ones is in the DNA of the UN and so many of its member countries.

But what has happened to America?  The US has gone through its periods of isolationism, but I think that now, under its current leadership, it is well behind the stage of active involvement and into a continuous reversal and retreat.  Sure President Obama has done a few things, minimally, like “leading from behind” in Libya, but only when forced to a degree, and with much of it not working, to say the very least.  And with Libya of course, he and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to protect those Americans left behind.

The Russians, the Iranians, and others adversaries know we have become less than a paper tiger.  We don’t even appear threatening anymore.

Let’s get back to Syria.  The conflict and its unceasing sad aftermath, from the killing to the fleeing to the engenderment of ISIS will perhaps one day, although I doubt it, produce regrets within Obama’s conscience.  Former President Bill Clinton has said more than once that his not intervening in Rwanda during its conflict in the 90’s — because he didn’t think there would be public support and the political cost would be too high — was his greatest regret.

The former president, when criticizing Obama about Syria in 2013, said this about the current president letting public polls and Congress to overly influence his decisions on Syria: “If you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken is, ‘Oh my God, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ You look like a total fool.”

Some may argue that Obama’s aggressive intervention with Iran shows that he has not retreated from the world stage, notably where Islam is concerned.  I say it is just the opposite.  The dangerously flawed agreement is a perfect example of withdrawal.  It is a way for Obama, not only to add to what he thinks is his great legacy, but for him to say, “Hey look!  I fixed that Iran nuke thing!  One less thing to worry about or get involved in.”  Uh-huh.

I think aside from an overabundance of caution, when it comes to the Muslim world in particular, President Obama has a tendency to bend over backwards, way too much, not wishing to offend, unless he has to choose.  And when he does, he chooses to coddle even the worst of the worst as long as his doing so will facilitate his continued retreat.

And so, the killing continues and the civilians run.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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