Obama's message of hope to our enemies

Gordon Chang:

In Beijing General Secretary Hu Jintao is sporting a big grin. Kim Jong Il is breaking out another case of his favorite Hennessy in North Korea. And in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is celebrating in, well, the way that dour theocrats kick up their heels, however they manage to do that.

The cause for all this cheer? On Wednesday Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union message, and although he surely did not intend to do so, he essentially let these villains--and others--know they can do whatever they want. The president unfortunately will not be doing much to stop them from destabilizing the international system--or even from threatening the United States.

America, whether it should be or not, is a nation at war. There are two obvious ones, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a general struggle against Islamic fanaticism taking place across the globe. Then there are especially consequential confrontations. Two nuclear rogues--North Korea and Iran--threaten to upend everything, while others--Syria comes to mind--wait in the wings.

Finally, to take another example from current headlines, there is a silent conflict waged every day against the United States, an unprecedented program of state-sponsored cyberattacks against defense, civilian and corporate networks. This hostile and never-ending campaign gives rise--or at least should give rise--to a state of emergency. Yes, I'm referring to the People's Republic of China.

Yet in a long oration the president devoted just nine minutes--out of 69--to discussing foreign policy and external threats....


And about the emerging hegemon that is mounting attacks against us each and every hour of each and every day? There was not one word on the most extensive and continuous attempt to intrude into our computers, disrupt electronic infrastructure and steal technology and information. The president had exactly two things to say about China: "There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products," followed by "Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy."

Actually the Chinese are not reforming, restructuring or revamping their economy, though the U.S. should make better trains. Nonetheless we needed to hear more about the country that is supposed to replace the U.S. as the global superpower in 10 years' time, the nation his administration says is essential to the solution of every major global problem.


There is more.

The US hjas adversaries who are making war against in both covert and overt ways everyday. Iran has been at war with us for 30 years and still is. That is why it is trying to get nuclear weapons. China thinks the key to defeating us is through taking down our digital infrastructure through cyber attacks. These are all issues we need to be dealing with, but with Obama you do not get much assurance that we are.


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