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.
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.