Beltway Insider: Obama Dedicates 9/11 Museum; U.S. Goes Soft on Foreign Policy; Russian Sanctions Hit

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President Barack Obama paid tribute, this week, to the fallen heroes, known and unknown, from the September 11, 2001 Terror Attack, as he dedicated the 9/11 Museum located on the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan.

 

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week dropped one percentage point to 44% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose one percentage point to 51%. 

Obama Dedicates 9/11 Museum

President Barack Obama, along with local dignitaries and invited guests, joined members of the families of those who were killed during The World Trade Center attacks to pay lasting tribute to the sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, families and loved ones.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor William De Blasio, New York and New Jersey Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, paused for a moment laying down political agendas and came together to honor the memories and memorialize the lives of those who perished on that day.

"A nation that stands tall and united and unafraid -- because no act of terror can match the strength or the character of our country.  Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us; nothing can change who we are as Americans," said President Obama as he dedicated the 9/11 Museum.

The president spoke of the man in the red bandana, initially unknown, who showed valor and courage as he lead many to safety sacrificing his own life.

"And then there came a voice -- clear, calm, saying he had found the stairs.  A young man in his 20s, strong, emerged from the smoke, and over his nose and his mouth he wore a red handkerchief. He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames.  He tended to the wounded.  He led those survivors down the stairs to safety, and carried a woman on his shoulders down 17 flights. Then he went back.  Back up all those flights.  Then back down again, bringing more wounded to safety.  Until that moment when the tower fell," the President said.

Picking up the rich mantle in American history of fallen hero's and soldiers who charged the beaches in Normandy, in Iwo Jima, Korea, Vietnam, an unknown who saved many.

The unknown man in the red bandanna, eventually identified as Welles Crowther, deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor for Uncommon Valor in times of war as does the first responders who, without thought or concern, paid the ultimate price.

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001, New Yorkers woke to spotless blue skies, near perfect visibility. Cool autumn temperatures had yet to reach the region. City dwellers were heading to the polls to determine who would become the next mayor. Others getting a slow, yes, even a late, start after cheering on the hometown New York Giants in a Monday Night Football agonizing fourth quarter loss after a near perfect game against rival the Denver Broncos.

In the city that never sleeps people were out and about, throngs of commuters heading up the bank of escalators leading into the World Trade Center, walking through a maze of retail shops, into a complex mass of steel and glass. Vendors, kiosks, opened, the aroma of fresh coffee holding the attention as all paused before entering offices and joining the mad rush of The World Trade Center, a beauty, testament and marvel on any day.

It was 8:46am. A slow, loud, sonic engine sound brought pedestrian traffic to a halt as an unusually low passenger jet grazed the tops of Manhattan Skyscrapers. Astounded, the world halted as the plane flew directly into Tower 1. It was American Airlines Flight 11.

Impact was captured by tourists and amateur videographers. The moment that stopped time and changed our destiny was replayed throughout the world.

Morning television was live as Good Morning America's Diana Sawyer calmly announced breaking news, without understanding the enormity, she said, "there has been some sort of crash in the World Trade Center."

By day's end, the scene would be repeated in Tower 2, at the Pentagon, and in a remote field in Shanksville, PA, as passengers decided their government, as flawed as the system can be, was worth the risk to fight, and die if necessary.

 "Here we tell their story, so that generations yet unborn will never forget," Obama said.

There are some who will never forget that day, other who will never know the memories.

For me, time allows bits and pieces to return in disjointed memories, hearing the announcements, understanding the words as they were spoken, knowing the meaning, pausing as the words hung in the air, trying to visualize the statements, turning on my 13inch television, the scope, from corner to corner, didn't seem so bad, then the news footage interrupted the mental, clean up and rebuilding clock based on a New Yorker's resilience, one month, two, three tops, we'll be back to normal.

Normal ended that day and brought us, here, to this one.

U.S. Goes Soft on Foreign Policy, Failures and The Changing World Stage

President Obama, as key foreign policy failures are coming to the surface, is facing additional scrutiny and questioning over his administration's foreign policy decisions that have damaged the reputation of America and ultimately cost the lives of American citizens.

The United States soft foreign policy agenda, throughout the Obama Administration have reflected, almost a idealistic, youthful, belief that peace, if given a chance, will prevail.

Obama's soft foreign policy was, in theory, to become the foundation for a welcoming White House, one that was able to bring about peace to all countries even those who have committed themselves to destruction.

Foreign Policy has become a tricky road to navigate as the world power stage shifts and new power structures emerge and the United States is no longer considered the proverbial global parent.

While still considered the strongest and most powerful nation in the world, the ever expending European Union, who fortunately is an ally, represents the interests of more than 20 European nations and has become a major player in world summits and sensitive European foreign policy issues.

President Obama's administration has reached out to longtime and traditional enemies of the United States in what would be considered the good of all. Foreign Policy efforts that give the appearance of representing the global good still remain unsettling and questionable to long time allies.

Conclusions the President has spoken with determination when effort is initiated to enforce the United States agenda abroad as he and his cabinet attempt to gather all allies in global hot spot issues have yet to be finalized.

Israel and Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated the Israeli commitment to an ever strengthening and long lasting friendship with the United States and equally the right of Israel to defend itself from any enemies especially those who are committed to Israels obliteration and the destruction of its people.

Straining the relationship with Israel doesn't appear to be a concern for the Obama White House. With Prime Minister Netanyahu convinced the Iranians are deceiving the P5 +1 committee and continuing to build a nuclear weapons arsenal, the United States, and by extension, Secretary of State John Kerry, is quiet on calming Netanyahu's concern.

President Obama's soft Iranian foreign policy is continued concern for regional partners. 

White House Israeli policy while still strong, has deteriorated as foreign policy has shifted and welcomed, lifelong Israeli enemy, Iran and its new, moderate Cleric President Rouhani, with proverbial open arms, extending an every lengthening olive branch as the Iranian government continues to, theoretically, honor the agreements calling for the dismantling of its nuclear program.

Benghazi and Nigeria

President Obama's first Secretary of State, Hillary Rodman Clinton was also known as soft on foreign policy. Clinton, following the dictates of the Commander-in-Chief, has in other governmental leadership roles voiced very different foreign policy opinions.

Questions surrounding former Secretary-of-State Clinton's, who admitted full responsibility, which translates to acting autonomously, leadership during the Terror Attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, is again under examination.

The September 11, 2012, terror raid on Benghazi, which not only occurred on the anniversary of the terror attack on America also coincided with the Arab Spring protests that swept through the Middle East beginning on December 13, 2010 and ended two years later, in December 2013.

Eric Schultz, White House Strategic Communications Director, has attempted on several occasions to address these investigations as party driven in preparation for the upcoming 2016 election, and yet the facts of the situations are present.

Under the leadership of President Obama, in an increasingly hostile environment across 20 countries in the Arab Peninsula and Middle East, did not direct Secretary of State Clinton, to order increased security on embassies across the Middle East which resulted in the death of three American citizens including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Clinton has also indicated the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram was on the State Department's radar throughout her tenure and refused, or was not directed, to escalate the group that was under Watch Status to Terror level.

By the admission of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the handling of Boko Haram is also coming back to enforce the soft foreign policy implemented under Obama administrations as the group, responsible for the kidnapping of over 200 girls from their school dormitory, is now carrying out terror assaults.

 "There is no question that the Nigerian people face a real threat in Boko Haram.  Boko Haram has demonstrated it has no regard for human life and it has demonstrated an increased ability to conduct attacks, and those attacks have increased in frequency and lethality.  So this organization poses a serious threat in that country," said Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary.

Syria

President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, all members of the former G8, the G20, and the United Nations condemned Syrian President Basher Al-Assad as the United States led the initiative to have the Syrian dictator removed from power, and even has the shocking images of chemical weapons use surfaced the policy initiated by the U.S. could not be realized.

Obama's Syrian efforts stand as evidence of policy that depends more on the "strongest possible language" without any back up to enforce the strong statements.

"We are constantly reviewing our policy options when it comes to Syria and constantly working with our partners, including the Syrian opposition, in an effort to assist the Syrian people, assist the Syrian opposition, and press forward towards a negotiated political settlement.  There is no question that this conflict has gone on far too long and has cost far too many lives.  The responsibility for that is unquestionably with Syrian President Assad and his regime that has engaged in a conflict against its own people with horrific brutality," Carey said.

Basher Al-Assad remains in power.

Russia and Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, by violating the territorial sovereignty of the Ukraine, faced an international outrage that has been condemned by all members of the G7, and still as globally the U.S. is seen as soft on foreign policy and weak in implementation, the demands agreed to by every member nation of the G7, including sanctions have not deterred Russian President Putin from furthering his agenda.

Foreign Policy failures are the through-line of the Obama administration. Impotent initiatives in Benghazi, Syria, Nigeria and Iran, all terror hot spots and all able to defy the United States, allies and partners, without fear of repercussion, have damaged the ability, reputation, and word, of the United States to move forward, lead and implement world changing policy.

Russian Sanctions Heat Up

As the G7 begins the push to assist the implementation of the sanctions against Russia, Putin has moved forward to calm the Ukrainian separatists.

The White House has maintained the policy which, agreed upon by all members of the G7, call for diplomatic and economic sanctions.

President Hollande of France is calling for sectoral sanctions; a message that was delivered to President Obama by the French Foreign Minister would direct G7 partners to hit Russia with military weapons, energy, and banking sanctions simultaneously which demonstrates a unified decision by the G7.

"The President has said that imposition of more severe sanctions will come at a cost to the global economy and, therefore, the economies of those nations that are imposing the sanctions.  Of course, the costs will be much, much higher for Russia and the Russian economy.  And we take that into account as we review our options when it comes to imposing sanctions, and as we work with our partners and discuss with them actions that they are considering when it comes to the imposition of sanctions," Carney said.

60th Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Ruling

President Obama in a released statement said, "Tomorrow marks 60 years since the Supreme Court handed down its landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the first major step in dismantling the "separate but equal" doctrine that justified Jim Crow. 

As we commemorate this historic anniversary, we recommit ourselves to the long struggle to stamp out bigotry and racism in all their forms.  We reaffirm our belief that all children deserve an education worthy of their promise. 

And we remember that change did not come overnight – that it took many years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God's children.  We will never forget the men, women, and children who took extraordinary risks  in order to make our country more fair and more free.  Today, it falls on us to honor their legacy by taking our place in their march, and doing our part to perfect the union we love."

 

For more information on President Barack Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.org, Wikipedia.com,

 

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