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My Turn 4-3
Obama fiddled while Brussels bled
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President Barack Obama’s behavior in the wake of the atrocious ISIS attacks in Brussels, Belgium was, in my view, unusual, bordering on the bizarre. Incredibly, he responded in Cuba to the bloodbath in Brussels with a scant 51 seconds of canned concern. Then he attended a baseball game with Cuban President Raul Castro.
Watching President Obama and his family wowing the crowd by doing the wave with Fidel Castro’s younger brother reminded me of the old adage, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” The term “fiddled,” applied figuratively to Roman Emperor Nero, meant  he should have been more attentive and more effective in resolving Roman crises during his reign. His tyrannical and neglectful rule led to his ouster.
Fortunately, President Obama is no Nero. Still, his actions do suggest a lack of urgency on an existential threat -- not only to Belgium and the rest of Europe, but ultimately to the USA as well.
Sure, his trip to Cuba was “historic.” However, with rue his heart was laden for past American mischief and misdeeds allegedly perpetrated against the government and people of Cuba. His mea culpa must have been music to the ears of the Brothers Castro.
I believe President Obama should have cut his visit to Cuba short and returned to the White House in a strong show of solidarity with the beleaguered Belgians against our common ISIS enemy. Moreover, his presence in the Oval Office could have reassured our nation and a nervous world he had his national security priorities in the right order.
Instead, President Obama continued his latest “apology tour” on to Argentina. While there, he alluded to the “dark side” of previous American intervention in Argentine domestic politics. He vowed to work with the government and people of Argentina to achieve a brighter future in their relations with the United States than they’ve known in the past.
As he demonstrated by attending a baseball game in Cuba, Obama proved he was no foe to frivolity in Argentina either. At a lavish state party in their honor on Wednesday night, the Obamas were “coaxed” from their dinner table to the dance floor to do the tango, though not with each other. The  viral video clip shows them having a ball.
President Obama has been widely criticized for cozying up to Castro in Cuba, then doing the tango in Argentina barely two days after the ISIS bombings in Brussels. And rightly so. His latter faux pas was called “a tremendous mistake,” by the Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas. He added, “It’s fine to go Argentina … but you’ve got be careful of these little pho-to ops and optics. Baseball games and tangos, that’s inconsistent with the seriousness of the day.”
Well said, brother.
The truth is President Obama’s conduct in Cuba and Argentina continues his past pattern of denial when it comes to countering terrorism. Meanwhile, ISIS and its fellow traveler terrorists pose a clear and present danger to our national security. What happened in Brussels is a cautionary tale for what could happen in the USA.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at