On May 18, 1904, The American diplomat to Morocco, Ion Perdicaris was kidnapped by a flamboyant Berber chieftain who called himself The Raisuni. Few people knew this at the time, including by the way President Roosevelt, the American Ambassador to Morocco had renounced his American Citizenship almost 40 years prior to being kidnapped. In the movie based on this event, so expertly acted out by Sean Connery and Candice Bergen, it was believed that a 64 year old balding fat pampered man would not be a compelling enough story to exact full fare from movie goers to see the 1970′s version of an action adventure flick. So Ion Perdicaris was changed to Eden Pedecaris, the Raisuni was changed to the Raisuli, and the rescue suddenly became a love story of sorts, complete with making it all about Roosevelt’s reelection.
It is true that at the Nominating Convention in which Teddy secured his first GOP nod to be our President, (his first term in office resulted from the death of William McKinley on September 14, 1901, and not the result of winning in a general election,) that this campaign slogan was unveiled, “Perdicaris alive or the Raisuni dead.” Unlike the movie however, it was not Roosevelt who had initially used this slogan in a political context. During the convention his Secretary of State, John Hay, read the communication that Roosevelt had secretly sent to the Sultan of Morocco as his keynote address to the Convention. The telegram was a means to explain exactly what those 7 war ships Roosevelt had dispatched to Morocco meant, and what their intended business would be upon their arrival. Roosevelt’s doctrine on foreign policy you see was somewhat different than what we see today from the current State Department. Teddy’s philosophy was, “speak softly and carry a big stick.” He didn’t deliver well articulated speeches, he didn’t pontificate about all peoples coming together to live in peaceful coexistence, and he didn’t offer up theories about nations never seeking to dominate other sovereign nations. He merely sent the full capability of our fighting force to inflict his will upon people who he felt were purposefully provoking the American People with clear acts of war.
Two things happened prior to the arrival of those 7 warships. First, the Sultan of Morocco, probably interpreting Roosevelt’s telegram as a personal threat against himself, paid the Raisuni’s $70,000 ransom demand. Second, Ambassador Perdicaris was returned, unharmed along with his stepson who had also been kidnapped. Years later, while living in Britain, Perdicaris admitted to forming a friendship with the Raisuni, in what has to be the earliest case of Stockholm syndrome ever recorded.
In the years following this earlier-than-Israel’s-existence act of Islamic Terrorism, many theories about Roosevelt’s motivation as to how he handled the crisis have emerged. Many feel that the whole thing was nothing more than a slick campaign ploy, and that he was more interested in using the debacle to ride to reelection. Many people have postulated that he was embarrassed by the fact that Perdicaris was not a U.S. citizen, and that Roosevelt himself paid the ransom to the Raisuni once this was learned, so that the whole thing could be resolved prior to anyone in America finding out. One thing is obvious however, and that is that even one century later, nobody doubts the American Strength that was projected by Theodore Roosevelt, and that it also marked for quite some time, the end of our troubles with the crazy membership of that Cult known as Islam.
I am not suggesting that in today’s world, simply dispatching America’s military capability about the globe every time our President feels provoked should be our new foreign policy doctrine, but there are other ways in which our President can project American strength, rather than weakness. Maybe we should discuss some of pieces of low hanging fruit that already exist for this endeavor. Not announcing to the world that we will be slashing our military defense budget to levels not experienced since prior to WWII would help immensely. Many of our enemies, which still exist around the globe, can in fact read, and often do. They are also equipped with the skills necessary to perform basic math. When you slash the military’s budget while at the same time demand that they retrofit and fuel many of the vehicles used to run on bio-diesels, which are 600% more expensive than those based on crude oil, you are ill equipped to project any kind of strength within your own borders, let alone abroad. Many from the political left labeled Ronald Reagan as crazy or stupid for his, “Star Wars,” missile defense shield. Not a single one of them apologized to the 40th President when he was proven correct. It was a deterrent to further hostility, and in fact did more to contribute to the collapse of the Soviet Union than any other single factor. It projected American strength around the globe in a way that can only be described as defensive in nature. The missile shield does not have an aggressive capability, but can only be used to prevent unwarranted attacks against us or our allies. Removing that shield from Eastern Europe and preventing its inclusion amongst other allies around the globe can only be described as the worst sort of idiotic naivete. Yet, here we are, and that is exactly the unilateral action taken by our President. If your goal were to purposefully destroy the United States and hang all of her allies out to dry, there would be no greater course of action than these two things alone.
Now, compare all of the above with this:
This is weaker tea even than economic sanctions, which couldn’t even convince the world to stop trading with Iran while she threatened and nearly achieved the capability to build her very own nuclear bomb. (I’m guessing that Iran hasn’t achieved this yet, since there’s not been errant detonations anywhere. We, all of us, know that Iran will use one as soon as she has sufficient quantities to perform evil.) Nothing says toothless former giant more than a First Lady begging as a part of a photo op. Clearly, the Kumbayah school of diplomacy has reached its only possible end, which is a disastrous level of failure not seen since Neville Chamberlain announced, “peace in our time.” I don’t know if it our place as Americans to do anything at all about Nigerians kidnapping Nigerians, or conducting their acts of evil anywhere else in the world against anyone but those people with whom we are interested. I do know however that they have been emboldened to these new heights of hubris by a suddenly ineffective and toothless United States of America. The progenitors of evil around the globe have taken the measure of our President and found him to be lacking resolve, ability, maturation, and a desire to oppose them in any fashion. To say that they are singularly unimpressed with hashtags is itself one of the great understatements of the century. They see a man who, while speaking to our enemies, used that time to vainly plead for a cessation in provocative action until after his reelection bid. The sheer shallowness of this man alone must have seemed like candy to Vladimir Putin, who is clearly not in the slightest bit concerned with winning elections.
During the days between our election of the least qualified man in any room that he enters and his inauguration to become our nation’s chief executive, President George W. Bush authorized, against the protestations of Barack Obama by the way, the launch of one of our missiles from a Submarine stationed in the Pacific Ocean to bring down an obsolete satellite in lower Earth orbit. We not only hit the satellite with the missile, but hit the specific part of the satellite that we intended to hit. The message to the world at large was plain, (and judging by the week long temper tantrum thrown by Chinese diplomats and high ministerial officials, was also plainly received,) you may have Barack Obama and his desire to weaken America for a President now, but his effects upon our capabilities will be temporary. We will still have our toys and we will still know how to use them once his regime has been replaced. Thank goodness for George W. Bush, if for no other reason than that action alone. We’d certainly all be speaking Arabic or Chinese now were it not for that.