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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Frank Gaffney assesses the reckless and dangerous foreign policy of Barack Obama

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HH: I start by a week in which foreign affairs is front and center with our friend, Frank Gaffney from the Center for Security Policy, Frank, I don’t know that we’ve had as weak, as eventful and as disappointing as this one in a very long time. Your assessment?

FG: If it were just disappointing, Hugh, we could live with it. I think what it does is it sets in train, or maybe further accelerates, trends that are very ominous, in my estimate, Hugh. And you and I have talked about the Obama doctrine, as I define it, in nine words – undermine our friends, embolden our enemies, diminish our country. And all three were on display, most especially I guess this week, in Barack Obama’s performances at the U.N., coming as they did on the heels of last week’s manifestation, the takedown of the U.S. missile defense system in Europe. And I think anticipating still greater debacles as the U.S. gets into the engagement game with the Iranians, even in the immediate aftermath of this revelation that an inconvenient fact has just been established, namely that something the American and other Western intelligence services apparently have known for some time but chosen to conceal from us, namely that there is a second, dedicated, covert, nuclear enrichment program underway in a mountain outside Qom in Iran. It’s a smoking gun, as far as I’m concerned, of the nuclear weapons ambitions of the regime.

HH: So Frank Gaffney, this is the big news of the day. We have discovered the Iranians have confirmed, the world leaders represented by Obama and the prime minister of England, the president of France, and the chancellor of Germany, though she was not there, Angela Merkel, authorized this to be said, have confirmed they are in breach of every undertaking they have ever made, they are clearly intent upon getting a nuclear weapon. But then they didn’t do anything today, Frank.

FG: Well no, they’re redoubling their effort to engage the Iranians. And by the way, there is now a slightly amped up bluster about what will happen to the Iranians if they don’t engage in a meaningful way, send a signal, as I think Hillary Clinton put it, their intentions with respect to their nuclear program. Well, Hugh, they couldn’t have sent any more clear a signal of their intentions than affirming what has now been known. And again, I think this is the incredible story about this, or is the piece of the story, is that our government, and I guess it goes back to the Bush years, too, our government has known about this capability, but didn’t acknowledge it. So it’s a revelation to the rest of us, it’s a smoking gun if you will, but it hasn’t really been a secret, at least from our intelligence services.

HH: When Ahmadinejad went to the podium in the U.N. this week, I don’t care how many empty seats there were, he declared that capitalism was going to be overthrown by the Koran, he all but declared war on Israel again. Frank, is war inevitable?

FG: This is the trend that I’m worrying about, Hugh. As I say, the things that I believe are now being accelerated that go way beyond disappointment are indeed the seeds of war, global conflagration is not out of the question, sadly, because what we’re dealing with now are people who are being, as I said, emboldened at every turn. Every bad actor on the planet is being encouraged by our behavior, and each and every one of our allies is being I think alienated, or at least discouraged, and left to defend for themselves. You put that all together, these are the sorts of forces that have in the past produced miscalculations and ultimately conflicts, and maybe on an unprecedented and horrific scale. I pray not, but that’s what I’m fearful of.

HH: I’ve got three questions for you. Is it fair to call it appeasement? Number two, is the president’s policy intention, or simple incompetence manifesting itself? And number three, what can the ordinary listener do to respond to these events? Let’s start with is it fair to call the policy being pursued by the United States as appeasement?

FG: In part, it is appeasement, absolutely. I think it is intention on the part of the president. I think this tracks with his worldview of many years standing. And what people can do about it, Hugh, I think is first of all, recognize it for what it is, and get engaged with organizations, ours is just one of many, that is trying to do what can be done to establish that there are alternatives. We don’t have to do this. We don’t have to abet the enemy. There is in short an alternative, and that’s what I think we need to get the American people thinking about. They need to think about it as they go to the polls next year, they need to think about it as they respond to pollsters this year. They need to be thinking about it as they render support, hopefully, as I say, to organizations like the Center For Security Policy that are in the front lines of the fight for freedom, certainly the war of ideas. And not least, of course, they need to be supporting our military at a moment when clearly the dithering, if not the insipient defeatism of the Obama administration, is threatening not only our success in Iraq, but the incredible investment we’ve made in trying to have things come out right in Afghanistan as well.

HH: Frank Gaffney, I know you keep a lot of, not only yourself, but a lot of very important analysts in the field like Carolyn Glick and others. Is the Center For Security Policy fully funded?

FG: Hugh, I apologize, I lost you there.

HH: I said, I thought maybe it was such a breathtaking question. I said I realize you keep a lot of great people in the field, but is the Center For Security Policy fully funded?

FG: No. Especially with the downturn in the economy, it’s tough times for everybody who depends upon the kindness of strangers, the philanthropy of people who get it. But here’s the point. Hugh, there are lots of folks who understand the problems that we’re confronting, and as you asked the question, aren’t quite sure what to do about it. Send them our way. is a great resource for them, it is a place where they can make common cause with people who are trying to do something to help restore what Ronald Reagan used to call the philosophy of peace through strength. It’s proven its effectiveness in the past, we abandon it today at our extreme peril.

HH: I encourage everyone listening to join the Center for Security Policy,, support them, write them a check. Last question, Frank, let’s finish on an up note, I know you’re headed to the airport. Netanyahu was pretty doggone good yesterday as a rallying point. As one e-mailer said, this must be what it was like to listen to Churchill in the 30’s, not in the 40s when he assumed command, but in the 30s when he was giving fair warning. I think it had an amazingly good effect, a bracing tonic. What do you think?

FG: Yeah, I was in Israel about a month ago, and I urged Netanyahu and his team to do exactly this. We need more of it. And now, the really important part, now, he needs to back it up with his actions. And I think that will probably have to involve at this point eliminating the existential threat that we talked about at the top of this interview. It’s not going to go away. It’s not going to be appeased into an acceptable danger. The Iranian nuclear weapons program is an existential threat to Israel, and I believe to the United States as well.

HH: Frank Gaffney, safe travel to you, I know you’re off to do the great work that you’ve been about doing this weekend. Safe travel, and we’ll talk to you again soon, my friend.

FG: Thank you, sir.

End of interview.


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