Reaping the Consequences of Rewarding Bad Behavior

 My folks didn’t mess around.  Charley, Liz and I were many times discouraged from pursuing certain antics, high-jinx and tomfoolery, because we knew the negative consequences that would result from Mom and Dad enforcing the rules. As parents, they knew that rewarding their children’s bad behavior would ensure more of it. We knew they meant business. Their rules weren’t draconian; they were common sense. They reasoned that we would alter our unacceptable actions if there were adverse effects.


I wish President Obama understood this principle. If he did, I think his policies towards Syria, Iran and North Korea would be different.


Before negotiations began on the Iranian nuclear deal so heralded by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, Iran was still funding terrorists across the globe, building a nuclear arms program and holding American citizens prisoner. Things that I believe fall into the category of bad behavior. Yet the Administration’s response was to sign a deal that lifts sanctions, rewarding Iran with hundreds of millions of dollars, while doing very little to hold them accountable. Secretary Kerry recently admitted that some of the money Iran was due to receive would be used to continue funding terror, something that everyone opposed to the deal said would happen all along.


When we rewarded Iran’s bad behavior, how did they respond? Exactly as most of us expected – with more bad behavior.  At the end of last year, Iran illegally tested ballistic missiles not once, but twice. This action not only violated international U.N. treaties, but also the nuclear agreement the Obama Administration signed off on. 


The President’s response? For months, nothing at all. He finally added a handful of Iranian entities to the sanctions list – ones that should have been on there already.  Meanwhile, we still have an American being held captive by the Iranian government, one that they refuse to even acknowledge they have in custody. The President’s weak response is sure to elicit more of the same from the Iranian government.


Chances are it also emboldened more bad behavior from another enemy – North Korea. If Iran is allowed to get away with terrorism, Kim Jong-un certainly has no reason to curb his dictatorial activities. Unless there are consequences for North Korea’s illegal nuclear bomb test on January 6th, we’ll see more troubling actions from this rogue nation.


There is a pattern that cannot be ignored. The President drew a red line in the sand in Syria, saying the U.S. will intervene should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad use chemical weapons on his own people. Assad does just that and the President just redraws the red line. No consequences.


Russia embroils itself into the fight in Syria, bombing the moderate rebels the U.S. is trying to help defeat ISIS. Again, the President does nothing to confront Putin.


China continues to launch cyber-attacks on U.S. infrastructure, despite the cyber agreement President Obama forged with Xi Jinping in September. We’re doing nothing to stop them.


Our enemies must view President Obama as the beleaguered parent in the grocery store who always gives in to the child loudly demanding candy he or she doesn’t need. Doing anything to quiet the child ensures the same behavior the next time, because children aren’t stupid. Neither are our enemies.


Those trying to do us harm need to be convinced that the United States keeps its word and that we protect our allies. Our nation cannot be secure until we restore that commitment.