Remember when President Obama was running around Europe waxing lyrical about a world without nukes? “I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (Applause.) I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’” That’s not a parody; that was Obama’s big speech in the Czech Republic in April 2009.


Propaganda poster in the dictatorship of North Korea (Jean H. Lee/Associated Press)

 

Then there was his ludicrous stint as master of ceremonies at the U.N. Nonproliferation Treaty confab later that year in which the big topic was — Israel (which is not a signatory to the NPT). No, really. Obama proclaimed then, “Now, we harbor no illusions about the difficulty of bringing about a world without nuclear weapons. We know there are plenty of cynics, and that there will be setbacks to prove their point. But there will also be days like today that push us forward — days that tell a different story.”

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the centrifuges kept spinning in Tehran, and the Obama administration, like its predecessor, was immersed in wishful thinking about the dictatorial regime in North Korea. The Post now reports after a first term speechifying about a world without nukes, we have a world quite likely to have many more nukes — and nukes held by the most unbalanced regimes on the planet:

After more than four years of diplomacy, the Obama administration is struggling to contain the nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran, a pair of nations already isolated internationally and resistant to the economic incentives offered in return for an end to their programs.

All that first term clap-trap about a world without nukes was no substitute for an effective policy for confronting rogue regimes bent on oppressing their people and using nuclear blackmail to get their way.

The Iran talks have come to nothing as Iran dances just this side of the Israeli “red line.” In more candid moments, current and former Obama officials let on that the talks are going nowhere.

Meanwhile, we’re now sending two destroyers (Note to file: We really do need a first-rate Navy) instead of diplomats to the Korean peninsula, which is an improvement of sorts but no substitute for the lack of strategy. Pyongyang has learned it can act with impunity, while we have learned that China has neither the will nor ability to restrain its neighbor. The North Koreans are now daring the United States to act “by announcing that it would restart a shuttered nuclear reactor at its Yongbyon facility and increase production of nuclear weapons material.”

So much for a world without nukes. What we have is a world of rogue states running amok in the absence of determined U.S. leadership. Long overdue is any attempt to enact comprehensive sanctions against North Korea and go after its heinous human rights record. It is high time we make regime change in both places and begin to support the oppressed instead of trying to entice the oppressors.

Former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton wrote recently, “Since Pyongyang verges on possessing deliverable nuclear arms that we cannot safely pry from its grasp, the obvious alternative is to replace the North Korean regime with one that will renounce nuclear weapons, as did post-apartheid South Africa and post-Soviet Ukraine and Belarus. The best way to achieve that aim is through peacefully reunifying the Korean peninsula.” He urges a concerted attempt to lure China into agreement. (“Persuading China to support reunification is the best answer. If China disagrees, nuclear-capable Japan and South Korea, ranking among China’s worst fears, could become reality. A reunification strategy should have been pressed decades ago, but better late than never.”) Meanwhile, if information about the regime is hard to come by, we at least should be (as we did with the former Soviet Union) sending information into the country to provide the effectively enslaved North Korea population with a sliver of exposure to the outside world.

In sum, we’re not going to attack North Korea, but we should be trying every avenue to bring the regime down. As for Iran, it’s time to stop the negotiation charade, squeeze harder on sanctions and make our military option credible (for a change). Otherwise we’ll have two very dangerous regimes with nuclear weaponry and nothing but contempt for the West.

It seems all those fuzzy-headed speeches, all the talks and all that defense-cutting only emboldened the rogue states and increased the risk of nuclear proliferation. Who knew, huh? But not to worry, we have a crackerjack defense secretary, a White House that wouldn’t dream of playing politics with national security and a deep commitment to maintain our military. Oh. Wait.

It is no joke. The result of the Obama-Biden-Hillary Clinton brain trust and four years of unseriousness about national security is precisely what conservatives warned of — a more dangerous and unstable world.

 

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.