American Elephants

So Much For Obama’s So-Called Foreign Policy Expertise. by The Elephant's Child

Do you recall the years when you were 8, 9, and 10 years old? Think back and see what you learned in those years. Barack Obama lived in Indonesia, a Muslim country, from age five to age ten. This was apparently a formative experience for him and gave him a deep understanding of the Moslem world.

I lived elsewhere than my home from age eight to eleven, and I have distinct memories, but it never gave me a deep understanding of the city where I lived. Yet I think I understand what it means to Obama. In trying to learn just who you are as a person, exceptional experiences can make you feel that you have some unique qualities that others don’t, and that makes you special in a way. Obama, however, has taken it to an extreme. In New Hampshire, when he was campaigning for the presidency in 2007. Obama said earnestly to his interviewer:

I truly believe that the day I’m inaugurated…the whole world looks at America differently. If I’m reaching out to the Muslim world they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country…I understand their point of view….And that will ultimately make us safer.

Obama clearly believed a complete change in direction was called for, and attached enormous importance to his Cairo Speech, an excerpt is here:

A speech in which we are the perpetual villain, heaping praise on a backward society that chooses to explode in anger and riot and kill rather than accommodate themselves to the world in which they live. So we apologize for our progress and development and seek to show our deep respect for the religion whose rules are holding them back. This, of course, from a government that has little respect for our own religious organizations.

We hastened to get rid of Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak who were reliable allies even if they were noxious dictators, with no concern for what was to replace them. We now have the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and President Morsi is getting rid of 77 Generals in the army that has long kept Egypt under control. And in Libya, there was nothing to replace Gaddafi, and is now a very weak government  with all factions jockeying for power. It was never about the video.

The press has spent a lot of energy speculating about marines. Marine detachments at embassies are small, and their purpose is to safeguard the most sensitive parts of the embassy, not to stop an assault on the outer walls. That is the responsibility of the host nation.  If the host nation cannot stop the howling mob, embassy staff and marines have to protect classified materials as best they can, preventing their falling into hostile hands. Which, in Libya, they apparently did, endangering the Libyans who have worked with us. It was never about the video.

Our government, our State Department screwed up. Whoever authorized such a vulnerable and poorly defended facility has much to answer for. The anniversary of 9/11 is a very big deal— a day that radical Islam likes to celebrate. That both Libya and Egypt were unprepared is a major unforgivable failure. It was never about the video.

Obama’s great Islamist delusion has borne bitter fruit. His embassy in Cairo has issued a craven apology, the Secretary of State has groveled and blamed it all on a You Tube video that few have seen, apparently forgetting that we have a First Amendment that is not subject to Muslim demands. We had warning, in Egypt and in Libya, but it wasn’t “actionable” intelligence, since they didn’t have a timetable. It was never about the video.

Obama apparently believed firmly that his apologies and his life in Indonesia from age 5 to age 10 was a much bigger deal to him than it was to the Moslems.

Welcome to your Embassy in Tunis— under new flag, new management.

2 Comments so far
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Good article, AE. For me, before the 08 election (I was strongly opposed to Obama – the Raila Odinga connection was one of the biggest reasons), the one single thing Obama had in his favour was the “formative years” in Indonesia. How wrong I was about that.

Indonesians are nothing like the Arabs. I’ve been going there for more than 20 years, fluent in the language. Many of the best periods in my life have been spent with some truly wonderful people there. One of the first things a foreigner learns (if he’s listening), is that it’s important not to be “sombong”.

“Sombong” means something like “snobby” or “stuck up” or excessively proud. One who returns friendliness to whomever offers it — even if you’re tired of shouted hellos and waves from across the street (it happens a lot) — is someone who is not sombong, and this is highly valued. A traveler who ignores and walks on his way, or won’t sit down and chat with a shopkeeper who is seeing a foreigner (not on the tv) for the first time, is sombong.

What I soon realized with Barack Obama is that he didn’t learn much from his “formative years” there. He’s the most sombong person I’ve ever seen. He really squandered a great opportunity to learn some great human lessons from these wonderful people. He might have picked up many good qualities from his exposure to Indonesian culture and society. I see no evidence that he picked up any of them.

I watched him closely during his visit to Indonesia a few years ago. His Indonesian language skills suck just as bad. It’s an easy and consistent language, and I could speak it better after only my first two weeks there (so long ago), than he does.

His time in Indonesia isn’t a mark against him. His failure to learn anything from it, is the mark against him. President Sombong.


Comment by Agam

Thanks for confirming what I have come to believe. Obama does not change his mind, his ideas are set in concrete — according to Richard Epstein who knew him in Chicago. His ideas are not open to revision. Makes for major problems in international relations.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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