…and we’re pretty good dancers too!
Filed under: Afghanistan, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Military, National Security, Politics, Russia, The United States | Tags: Russia and Ukraine, The Rise of al Qaeda, The World Demands Attention
So many of us on the right have felt we were confronted by a puzzle. The left was caught up in a bubble of ecstasy about their president. No superlatives were too extreme. After the Cairo speech in June, 2009, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas gushed ” I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above, above the world, he’s sort of God.”
Thomas added ,”He’s going to bring all different sides together … Obama is trying to sort of tamper everything down. He doesn’t even use the word terror. He uses extremism. He’s all about let us reason together…He’s the teacher. He is going to say,’now, children stop fighting and quarreling with each other.’ And he has a kind of a moral authority that he—he can—he can do that.”
Republicans were puzzled by the bubble. Republicans have been proud of some presidents and some candidates, but are not given to hero worship, and quick to point out flaws. Unfortunately. Democrats still worship FDR, sure that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that he saved the country from the Great Depression and from Hitler and Tojo. So they believe in intent, and are not given to analyzing the results — but we knew that.
Republicans thought Obama did not have the experience either in the private sector or in managing anything — no executive experience — to be successful in the presidency. Democrats, desperately aware of their own long dismal history with race, jumped on any lack of enthusiasm for the Obama presidency as a clear example of racism. If you didn’t think Barack Obama was beyond criticism, then you clearly were opposed to having a black man as president and you were a racist.
That’s getting harder to maintain as President Obama’s claim that he is “on the right side of history” has crumbled in the wake of his ineptness in foreign policy. He was famously caught ‘off mike’ telling then-president of Russia Dimitri Medvedev that “he could be more flexible after the election.”
Paul Mirengoff sums it all up very effectively at Powerline, in a piece titled “Barack the Surprised.” Mr. Mirengoff sums it up: “Obama’s biggest mistake is to ascribe his own ambivalence towards America to the world at large.” He quotes Leon Wieseltier in the New Republic in a piece titled “The Inconvenience of History.”
[T]he richest of the ironies about Obama’s foreign policy is this: the world that in his view wanted to be rid of American salience now longs for it. It turns out that Obama’s Iraq-based view of America’s role in the world, according to which American preeminence is bad for the world and bad for America, is not shared by societies and movements in many regions.
They need, and deserve, support in their struggles. (In Syria, for example, the tyrant enjoys the significant support of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, the Islamist rebels enjoy the significant support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and the moderate secular rebels enjoy the significant support of nobody.)
There are many places in the world where we are despised not for taking action but for not taking action. Our allies do not trust us. Our enemies do not fear us. What if American preeminence is good for the world and good for America?
Obama brought to the presidency a view that George W. Bush was responsible for most of the troubles in the world, and the United States was unnecessarily involved in the world. Obama told us he had a better understanding of the world because he had lived in Indonesia as a child, visited Pakistan, and his father was from Kenya. His opposition to everything Bush led him to want a much smaller military, less involved.
It was a shock to many when in the wake of Putin’s takeover of the Crimea, when Ukraine begged for help we sent MREs and military-type socks.
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to warn of playing politics with military readiness in a dangerous world. Al Qaeda is on the rise, encouraged by a passive White House. Panetta is speaking softly, but attempting to wake up those in charge.
While the temporary two-year budget deal in Congress provided some short-term stability, it failed to repair the extensive damage to readiness. There is simply no slack left in the system if the U.S. must respond to another crisis abroad.
In a troubled world, both our friends and our enemies will take note if we reduce our military readiness. No one questions the capability of our troops, our weaponry or our technology. What they do question is whether our democracy can function effectively to ensure our strength.
We have been told by those who know Obama that he does not change his mind. That does not portend well for the next 2½ years. Obama’s interest is focused on the midterm elections, not the world as it is.
Filed under: Election 2008, Europe, Foreign Policy, History, National Security, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: A Blog in The Telegraph, Obama Foreign-Policy Tour, The G20 Meeting in Europe
Sorting out a stack of old stuff, I ran across a couple of 5½ year old pieces that I saved for one reason or another. A little history. This one came from a blog in the Telegraph (UK) on April 10, 2009, by Gerald Warner. ________________
“President Barack Obama has recently completed the most successful foreign policy tour since Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. You name it, he blew it. What was his big deal economic programme that he was determined to drive through the G20 summit? Another massive stimulus package, globally funded and co-ordinated. Did he achieve it? Not so as you’d notice.
Barack is not the first New World ingenue to discover that European leaders will load him with praise, struggle sycophantically to be photographed with him and outdo him in Utopian rhetoric. But when it comes to the critical moment of opening their wallets—suddenly it is flag-day in Aberdeen. Okay, put the G20 down to inexperience, beginner’s nerves, what you will.
On to Nato and the next big objective, to persuade the same European evasion experts that America, Britain and Canada should no longer bear the brunt of the Afghan struggle virtually unassisted. The Old World sucked through its teeth, said that was asking a lot—but, seeing it was Barack, to whom they could refuse nothing, they would graciously accede to his wishes.
So The One retired triumphant, having secured a massive contribution of 5,000 extra troops— all of them non-combatant, of course —which must really have put the wind up the Taliban, at the prospect of 5,000 more infidel cooks and bottle-washers swarming into the hazardous regions of Afghanistan.
Then came the dramatic bit, the authentic West Wing script, with the President wakened in the middle of the night in Prague to be told that Kim Jong-Il had just launched a Taepodong-2 missile. America had Aegis destroyers tracking the missile and could have shot it down. But Uncle Sam had a sterner reprisal in store for li’l ole Kim…a multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air.
“Rules must be binding,” declared Obama, referring to the fact that Kim had just breached UN Resolutions 1695 and 1718. “Violations must be punished.” (Sounds ominous) “Words must mean something.” (Why Barack? They never did before for you—as a cursory glance at your many speeches will show).
President Pantywaist is hopping mad and he has a strategy to cut Kim down to size: he is going to slice $1.4bn off America’s missile defence programme, presumably on the calculation that Kim would feel it unsporting to hit a sitting duck, so that will spoil his fun. Watch out, France and Co, there is a new surrender monkey on the block and, over the next four years, he will spectacularly sell out the interests of the West with every kind of liberal-delusionist initiative on nuclear disarmament and sitting down to negotiate with any power freak who wants to buy time to get a good ICBM fix on San Francisco, or wherever. If you thought the world was a tad unsafe with Dubya around, just wait until President Pantywaist gets into his stride.
Filed under: Election 2008, History, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: A Gush of Feelings, Riding a Wave of Emotion, The Inaugural Glow
Going through a bunch of stuff I had saved for one reason or another, I ran across this, which I offer up without comment:
Over at National Review, in 2009, a reader wrote to Jay Nordlinger, sending him something that had appeared in his inbox that morning.
It is Sunday evening about 9:30. [So-and-so] and I were just watching the pre-inaugural events in Washington and were quite moved by the purity and optimism being expressed. So I came up with an idea, and a request. Please know that this has no political agenda. I want to appeal to that inner dimension of you/us that runs deeper than politics or religion or race or nationality or gender or sexual orientation or age or body size or physical abilities or whatever else we can use to keep ourselves lost in the painful illusion that we are separate from one another and from our own divinity and from Mother Earth. The following is an invitation to participate in a collective visualization that could help turn the course of the human race and of Mother Earth
So here goes:
On Tuesday morning, during the swearing-in ceremony of Barack Obama, let’s constructively use the energy of the love that will be flowing in abundance all around the world during the whole morning, especially during his speech. The invitation is to first feel into the energy and inspiration that is being touched in you by watching the morning’s events.
Then, at some moment during Obama’s speech, close your eyes and begin to visualize these very moments are literally the turning point in world history. Know that this speech will be referred to by future generations as the defining moment that everyone had been waiting for. See people all over the world be inspired by Obama’s kind heart and his safe presence and his uncanny intelligence.
Then allow your heart to become even more tender and allow yourself to be gently touched and moved that, at last, there is an end to the fear and hatred in our hearts. The fear and hatred that have perpetuated the recent downward spiral of violence, wars and economic contraction. Literally, close your eyes and visualize this very moment as the beginning of the emergency of a new level of harmony within yourself, with your family and neighbors, and with all human beings no matter what their race, religion, nationality, sexual preference, body size or capabilities, or any other way we see ourselves as separate or different, rather than looking to the deeper levels where we are all the same. We just want to love and be loved.
The environment is recovering as human beings are at last attuned to Nature’s beauty and sensitive balance. We are taking the dramatic steps necessary to reverse the violence we have done to her. See people’s priorities shifting to simply enjoying Nature and one another, living in the abundance created by loving one another.
If this suggestion feels right to you, tune in on Tuesday and play your part in allowing Obama’s inauguration to be a turning point in human history. You and I have the power to change the world with our hearts.