American Leadership Means Being Clear About What We Stand For And Who We Stand With

Carly Fiorina Chairman, Unlocking Potential Project
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The world needs American strength and leadership now more than ever before. Such leadership requires moral clarity and perspective.

In a recent piece for the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer accurately wrote of the current clash in Gaza between Israel and Hamas that “[R]arely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity.”

The ultimate and stated aim of Hamas is the eradication of the Jewish state and the Jewish people. War is always a last resort, but Hamas has left Israel with no choice. And the manner in which Hamas engages in war should be clarifying: Hamas breaks ceasefire agreements without warning and purposely targets civilians. Rather than building schools and roads, they have built tunnels and located rocket systems where innocents are sure to be killed.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Turkey, an ally of Hamas, declares that Israel is the equivalent of Nazi Germany. At the same time, as the death toll in Syria exceeds 150,000 and the government continues to bomb, torture and kill its own citizens, we discover that it is Bashar al-Assad who is actually using techniques from Nazi Germany to catalogue the torture and death of at least 10,000 dissidents.

The death toll in Iraq is also climbing, as is torture, mutilation and the systematic attempt to eradicate Christians — a disturbing trend that is present throughout much of the Middle East. Boko Haram continues to kidnap young girls and women, torture and kill innocent civilians. Vladimir Putin’s Russia enables the shoot down of a civilian aircraft, killing all 298 people aboard, and fires missiles into a sovereign nation, all while denying any Russian involvement or culpability. And last, but certainly not least, we are told by our military and intelligence officials that the threat to the homeland from radical Islamists is growing.

Faced with all this, the Obama administration dispatches Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Israel and Hamas, as if they were parties of equal standing. Our president decries the loss of civilian life in Gaza and the West Bank. Collateral damage in war is always tragic, but surely moral clarity and perspective requires us to acknowledge that there are far worse atrocities being committed around the world than Israel’s legitimate defense of its own nation.

It is left to the U.S. Senate, led by the bipartisan team of Ted Cruz and Kirsten Gillibrand, to promote a joint resolution condemning Hamas for their actions. This is the kind of condemnation we should expect from the President of the United States. Sens. Cruz and Gillibrand should be commended for their moral clarity on this matter. But as it once took the President of the United States of America to declare the Soviet Union “the evil empire,” so it takes the President to call Hamas what it is — a bunch of terrorists and murderers. What would be better still is a policy that advances the wholesale dismantling of Hamas as a “government,” the destruction of their weapons and their tunnels, and the removal of their leaders from power.

American leadership requires being clear about who we are, what we stand for and whom we stand with. Lacking such leadership, the world is a far more dangerous place and our own security is threatened. Moral ambivalence typifies this administration’s foreign policy. And such ambivalence sends a louder message to the world than all of President Obama’s words combined. Our friends and allies have concluded they can’t count on us. And our enemies have decided they can ignore us.

Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is chairman of the Unlocking Potential Project and also serves as chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation.