As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

The Peril of Putting the Naive in Power

President Obama entered the White House without experience of any kind that would normally qualify one for the most important job in the world. He chose a Secretary of State who fulfilled his wish to assemble a Lincolnesque “team of rivals” in his Cabinet, who was applauded by the Washington congnoscenti as an inspired choice, and who had little knowledge of foreign policy.

You wouldn’t let your dog be groomed by someone with no experience, but the country and your children’s futures are in the hands of people with no experience.

So what we get is a learning curve. Like we had with Jimmy Carter, another supposedly super-bright leader who made the following incredible statement after Russia invaded Afghanistan.

This action of the Soviets has made a more dramatic change in my own opinion of what the Soviets’ ultimate goals are than anything they’ve done in the previous time I’ve been in office.

Obama and Mrs. Clinton also believe that all the world is a village and we are merely another player in it. Bush went too far with unilateralism, but he understood at least that it is the job of the United States, as planet earth’s main force for good, to keep the evildoers in line. Europe is good, but it self-neutered long ago and can’t do much more than bitch from the sidelines.

Remember this by Obama in 2008?

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

This, by our supposed philospher-king, is what’s known as a an argument with an internal contradiction. In this case, you cannot believe you are above and better than all others if you also believe that others also are better than all others, which is what he’s suggesting. It’s as if the queen said, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” And the Mirror said, “You are, but other mirrors tell their owners that they are.” What’s the point?

So as Obama and Hillary learn that “OMG, there are not-nice people out there” and that only we can deal with them, what we get is a world in the meantime churning along with scattered evildoers increasingly emboldened to do us harm, whether on the economic or the military front.

In a must-read piece today in the Wall Street Journal, “Obama’s Air Guitar,” Columnist Bret Stephens notes a few happenings around the globe.

Beijing provokes clashes with the navies of both Indonesia and Japan as part of a bid to claim the South China Sea. Tokyo is in a serious diplomatic row with Russia over the South Kuril islands, a leftover dispute from 1945. There are credible fears that Tehran and Damascus will use the anticipated indictment of Hezbollah figures by a U.N. tribunal to overthrow the elected Lebanese government. Managua is attempting to annex a sliver of Costa Rica, a nation much too virtuous to have an army of its own. And speaking of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is setting himself up as another Hugo Chávez by running, unconstitutionally, for another term. Both men are friends and allies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He adds:

About all of this, the Obama administration has basically done nothing. As Sarah Palin might say: How’s that multi-poley stuff workin’ out for ya?

The “hopeful” approach to the world manifested itself in the admnistration’s “outreach” to Russia, which brought us the new START Treaty, which Obama wants to the Senate to pass during the current lame duck Congress. Serious people have serious concerns about whether the treaty allows adequate inspections, would destroy our missile defense program, and would be disadvantageous to us in a variety of other ways.

One of them, former Bill Clinton CIA Director and veteran arms negotiator James Woolsey, writes in a piece titled “Old Problems with the New START that the flaws stem from Obama and Clinton’s multi-poley hopey-changey approach to the Russians.

A number of years negotiating arms-control agreements with the Soviets taught me that, when dealing with Russian counterparts, don’t appear eager—friendly yes, eager never. Regrettably, the Obama administration seems to have become eager for a deal in its negotiations on the follow-on treaty to the recently expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start). Hopes for a boost in efforts to “reset” relations with Russia, and for progress toward the president’s dream of a world without nuclear weapons, apparently combined to trump prudent negotiating strategy.

Obama and Clinton may yet discover that some are born in sin and only get worse from there. But they will probably realize it too late to save themselves, since most voters’ already understand this. Ideally, it won’t be too late to save the world.

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8 Responses to The Peril of Putting the Naive in Power

  1. Some are indeed born in sin, as you say. Bad seeds. Trouble. Don’t ask me how I know–but I know without any scintilla of doubt. There is evil in this world as a separate, active force–not just the absence of good intentions. And we should have known about Putin–not looked into his KGB-torturer soul or whatever. Others work night and day to hurt us. I am not onboard with the idea of national wars and takeovers to counter this, but I do think the US needs to stand tall and say, nope, don’t even think about it, when smaller countries start problems. I don’t know if we have any credibility in that dept anymore.

  2. Agreed.
    Our enemies cannot be deterred with a ‘let’s be friends’ policy. Because the President and his Secretary of State are both ill-equipped to negotiate with other world leaders, we look weak and vunerable.
    Some say that is the President’s goal; to weaken/destroy the modern America, but that implies that MrO is a cunning or sophisticated world player. He is not, he is just naive, not diabolical.

    You and Star are right. The evil-doers will not be leveraged into statesmen by MrO’s persona or MrsClinton’s pleas for civility.

    • GREAT POINT here.

      For those of you who believe Obama is the spawn of Satan and has intrincsic evil tendancies —- srdem makes a salient point here about one word that is the sum total of President Barack Obama: naivete. Keith’s articles this week have a common theme that run through them: a naive electorate (2008) leads to a naive leader (Obama) which leads to naive decisions (Obamacare, Stimulus, etc.).

  3. Isn’t this naivite rather like those who assert that those millions of unknown foreigners crossing our borders in waves “only” want to steal jobs and birth anchors and it may look like they are breaking our laws and stealing from us, but really, isn’t that a nasty way to look at it? If we’re just really nice and give them sanctuary and legal residency certainly it will turn out to be a bonus overall because if you’re nice to people to who do wrong, they’ll be nice back. Besides, if we’re nice to these several millions no more will come because that would be taking advantage after our friendly response, so we needn’t worry. NOT.

    Of a better, shorter image — the woman who walks down a dark alley with a stranger and expects that because she’s put herself at his mercy he’ll restrain himself and be a nice guy.

  4. My father used to say the US is a formidable enemy–unpredictable, respected because, for one thing, we are the only country to date that has dropped a nuclear weapon on anyone. The only one! Yet, we profess peace and nicey-nice, but we need to retain that side that makes people pay attn.

  5. Keith,

    Interesting you mention the WSJ article today (“Obama’s Air Guitar”). I read it today at Starbucks; what stood out was the comment by Stephens about South America (Ortega/Lula/Morales/Chavez/Kirchner). I watched Oliver Stone’s “South of the Border” this weekend. The movie was *VERY* eye opening. I suggest everyone watch it. Although it was your typical, left-wing, liberal pap, the movie provides a window into the future of South America.

    The combination of a united South America with a South American parliment possessing dictatorial powers, using drug-money to purchase better weapons systems while strong arming weaker democracies (like Costa Rica, Columbia and Uruaguay) is too frightening to contemplate. Comments have been made that the Cali Cartel and Chavez/Lula joining forces in the future to destablize other SA nations. In the film Lula and Chavez talked about a “pan-South American government”, an EU-style dictatorship pooling military resources for “future wars.” Daniel Noriega received Soviet and Cuban training in guerilla warfare when he fought with the Sandanistas in his attempt to destroy El Salvador and influence and destabilize other countries.

    I think the next “low level” guerilla war could be in our backyard – South of the Border.