Former Vice President Dick Cheney stormed the beachheads of the liberal US media again today with a fiery performance on ABC’s This Week. He offered a stinging rebuke to current VP Joe Biden’s ludicrous claim that Iraq may end up as one of Barack Obama’s “great achievements”, as well as blistering criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of terrorist suspects. He also launched a strike on Biden’s recent comment that another 9/11 scale attack was “unlikely.”
“I just think that’s just dead wrong. I think the biggest threat the United States faces today is the possibility of another 9/11 with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind. And I think al Qaeda is out there — even as we meet — trying to do that. You have to consider it as a war. You have to consider it as something we may have to deal with tomorrow. You don’t want the vice president of the United States running around saying, ‘Oh, it’s not likely going to happen.’”
The Daily Telegraph was right to name Cheney America’s most influential conservative in its recent ranking of the top 100. He was the first opposition figure of weight to seriously dent Barack Obama on national security issues when he unleashed a ferocious attack on the president’s policies last May in a major speech at The American Enterprise Institute. The speech was significant, because it sparked a largely successful counter-offensive against the Obama administration’s weak-kneed counter-terror strategy and dominated media coverage just after Obama gave a far less impressive address on the same issue across town at The National Archives.
“There is something very reassuring about a leader who never apologizes for America’s actions, possesses no self-doubts about defending his country, and who believes his nation must do what is necessary to crush al-Qaeda. The spectacular return of Dick Cheney on the political stage is a huge breath of fresh air after months of suffocating liberal dominance in Washington. Let’s hope he’s here to stay.”
In many respects, Cheney’s vision is the antithesis of that of Barack Obama. In contrast to the current occupant of the White House, Cheney firmly believes the West is engaged in an epic global war against a vicious, Islamist enemy. It is striking for example how the recent 108-page Quadrennial Homeland Security Review omitted the words “Islam”, “Islamic” or “Islamist”, preferring to use the term “violent extremist”, a revealing insight into the Obama administration’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the Islamist nature of the enemy the US is fighting in the form of al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
Dick Cheney is a refreshingly forceful advocate of American exceptionalism, and the idea that the United States is a special country with a unique role to play in shaping history. He also understands the importance of maintaining and strengthening America’s key alliances. Unlike Obama, Cheney is a dedicated supporter of the Anglo-American alliance, and understands the importance of the Special Relationship as the central bulwark in the defence of the free world. He cherishes the friendship with Great Britain, and recognizes the huge contribution she continues to play in fighting alongside the United States, from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Perhaps most strikingly, Dick Cheney, like Ronald Reagan before him and in complete contrast to Barack Obama, views the world in terms of good and evil. For Cheney, engagement with America’s enemies such as Iran and North Korea is a surrender of American global power, and a shameful abdication of responsibility by the world’s only superpower. In this new era of appeasement, Cheney’s outspoken criticism, like that of conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, is increasingly striking a chord with an American public that is sharply turning against the Obama administration’s agenda.
Dick Cheney has become an extraordinarily influential game-changer in post-Bush Washington, emerging as Barack Obama’s leading nemesis on national security. It is not hard to see why. He is a formidable figure of tremendous principle, an unapologetic and uncompromising patriot who believes in the greatness of America on the world stage, as well as a shamelessly old-fashioned political pugilist in a modern age dominated by carefully choreographed spin. In the political arena today Cheney remains a sure-footed Rocky Balboa, landing punch after punch on his opponents. His latest intervention is another well-placed blow to Obama’s flailing leadership, and once again puts the White House firmly on the back foot.