Who’s afraid of Barack Obama?
By Post Editorial Board
February 12, 2014 | 10:02pm
We cheered a week ago, when President Obama used the National Prayer Breakfast to call for release of two Americans.
The first is Kenneth Bae, a prisoner of North Korea. The other is Saeed Abedini, a prisoner of Iran. Each has been sentenced to long prison terms for “crimes” that only a criminal regime would deem criminal: Bae for ministering to Christians and Abedini for work on behalf of house churches.
Alas, the week since Obama’s call confirms a depressing fact about America’s diminished standing in the world these days.
Pyongyang packed Bae off to one of its labor camps in the vast North Korean gulag and cancelled an invitation for an American envoy to visit to discuss Bae’s fate. Meanwhile, Tehran announced it was dispatching several warships to the edge of US waters. Tells you what they think of President Obama’s appeals for release, and his claim that respect for religious liberty is a tenet of his foreign policy.
The hard men in Pyongyang look at the red line Obama drew in Syria and understand he won’t take them on. Ditto for the Iranians, who are using negotiations to buy time before they simply announce they’ve developed their own nukes.
It’s a long way from President Theodore Roosevelt. When a Moroccan bandit named Raisuli kidnapped an American named Ion Perdicaris, Teddy sent a telegram to the sultan: Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead. Even though Perdicaris’ US citizenship was doubtful, the principle was served.
The world would be a safer place if, instead of feeling free to taunt President Obama, Iran and North Korea had to fear the consequences of defying him.