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Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow

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White House appeasing Iran fosters continued hostage-taking

Dec 26, 2023

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While President Joe Biden secured the release of 10 hostages in Venezuela on Dec. 20, American hostages are being held in other areas of the world. In addition to Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan being held in Russia, eight American hostages are still believed to be held captive in Gaza. Hostage crises like these have prompted the State Department to appoint a Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs to bolster efforts to bring those held captive home.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ben Weingarten argues that it is America’s — and specifically Biden’s — weak response to attacks by Iran and its proxies that have created an environment conducive to the taking of American hostages in the first place.

Appeasement begets aggression. That’s a cruel lesson that has a way of blowing up in our face, literally, again and again. If the sophisticates in Washington, D.C. refuse to learn it, then Americans are doomed to suffer the consequences.

The Biden administration has made appeasing America’s enemies the linchpin of its national security and foreign policy, rather than endeavoring to make America the world’s dominant economic and military power, and applying overwhelming force, in limited situations, as a deterrent to our enemies.

The end result is a world today in total and utter chaos. We’ve talked about the appeasement agenda in context of the White House’s efforts to promote Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of jihad, to the Middle East strong horse, bending over backward for the mellocracy in pursuit of Iran Deal 2.0; showering tens of billions of dollars on that regime and protecting or laying off its proxies, including Shia militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza — interrupted only by the Oct. 7 attack. And, in fact, since that attack, these very Iranian forces have staged dozens of attacks on U.S. forces in the region — attacks that have largely gone unanswered.

Appeasement begets aggression. That’s a cruel lesson that has a way of blowing up in our face, literally, again and again. If the sophisticates in Washington DC refused to learn it, and Americans are doomed to suffer the consequences. The Biden administration has made appeasing America’s enemies, the linchpin of its national security and foreign policy, rather than endeavoring to make America the world’s dominant economic and military power, and applying overwhelming force in limited situations, as a deterrent to our enemies. The end result is a world today in total and utter chaos. We’ve talked about the appeasement agenda in context of the White House’s efforts to promote Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of jihad, to the Middle East strong horse bending over backwards for the Molocracy in pursuit of Iran to 2.0, showering 10s of billions of dollars on that regime and protecting or laying off its proxies, including Shia militias in Iraq, the houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Gaza, interrupted only by the October 7 attack. And in fact, since that attack, these very Iranian forces have staged dozens of attacks on US forces in the region. attacks that have largely gone unanswered. The red sea itself is becoming a no go zone for commercial vessels with major geopolitical implications. A red sea set ablaze by the aforementioned houthis, which the Biden administration de-designated as a terrorist group, less than a month into its tenure. In the run up to Hamas is Holocaust level attack and October, the Biden administration engaged in a prisoner swap trading five Americans for five Iranians and unfreezing $6 billion to the mullahs that it wouldn’t negotiate such a deal, rewarding Iran for hostagbe taking wasn’t just a one off, it’s established policy, not something the administration is ashamed of and wants to sweep under the rug, but that it actively celebrates. It has institutionalized this appeasement and is now actively trumpeting it. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, the US now has an office of the Special Presidential Envoy for hostage affairs and Ambassador level position. The Office headed by former Green beret Roger Karstens quote, has few qualms about the US cutting deals with dictators to free its citizens or promoting the practice. There’s a saying that we have in my office that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists. But we do. Karstens often says of his staff of about 20 that enters to coordinate efforts whenever the US considers a citizen wrongfully held by another country, unquote. This is deeply wrong, and should outrage Americans first, the idea that we have an office dedicated to negotiating for hostage release means our enemies are taking hostages. The only reason they do that is because they sense that we are weak, that we are unwilling to defend our people, and that the benefits of hostage taking outweigh the costs. The US policy should be this. If you dare touch even a hair on the head of an American, we will want to wish hell upon you. You demonstrate that through action. Once demonstrated your enemies think twice self evidently they do not today. In fact, what we’re showing through building this office and then having its personnel profiled, in what amounts to puff pieces is that we tolerate enemies, kidnapping Americans, and we’ll reward them for it. There is no deterrence. The Office admits that in the article, quote, the deterrence strategy is in its infancy. Carsten says, with two people on his team working full time on possibilities, including the encouragement of like minded countries to join an international coalition against hostage taking. He also wants to extend the infrastructure that has built up around state hostage taking by talking with US allies about creating their own equivalents of his job is more international coalition’s, and other countries creating appeasement offices that show they’re happy to pay ransoms or be extorted. Should it stop the bad guys from detaining our peoples on paper. This is madness. The dereliction of duty here and the pathetic cowardice that has enabled a situation where we create an office like this is beyond belief that Congress apparently has done nothing about it only compounds the outrage only through restoring American strength and using it overwhelmingly, but with immense prudence, are we gonna have any hope of restoring deterrence? The damage being done right now cannot be easily repaired. However, the end result is that in the near to medium term, we will incentivize continued aggression against America and that continued hostage taking of our people abroad by those who wish to do us harm. Government’s first job is to protect the life and limb of citizens. It’s utterly failing. And this is just one more example of it.

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