Friday, December 11, 2009
Thought While Shaving: Obama Adds a Dash of Old Fashioned U.S. Exceptionalism at Oslo But It Produces Nordic Fizzle.
Strong Reliance on Projecting Weakness.
Turning to shrewd, largely conviction-free David Axelrod who is not a heavy thinker but an image-meister, Barack Obama had this political bartender gin up a new concoction for his Oslo Nobel acceptance speech. The presidents numbers are falling because, in part, he has apologized for America rather than touting its exceptionalism. So Axelrod to an eyedropper and added a bit of conservative pride-in-country to the old lefty formula, shook it vigorously for 30 seconds, added ice and pronounced: they should like this.
Norwegians were unenthusiastic but not because of the speech. Obama served notice he would stiff their King who proffered lunch, hop on his jet and zoom out of country as soon as the speech was completed. But the speech? The Norskis as a liberal lot. The speech had a little of this and a little of that. It started out with a reversion to U. S. exceptionalism and how it is determined to fight evil in the world. That was a tough jolt for the Nordics. Then they thought it over. Obama mixed metaphors by telling them that we won the Cold War and the Berlin Walls collapse by the architecture of peace. Huh? How can architecture as such win a war? The only way architecture can cause a wall to collapse is by being lousy architecture. No wonder the Nordics were and are confused. So are we.
And what constitutes, may we ask, the fundamentals of an architecture of peace? Two things, he saidone, the Marshall Plan and two, the United Nations. Oh please. The Marshall Plan helped Western Europe to rebuild after World War II but it had nothing to do with stemming the tide of Soviet advance (even if some of its supporters thought it might). The United Nations had nothing absolutely nothing to do with winning the Cold War. What element had Obama neglected to mention? Think about it all of you who like me lived through the entirety of the Cold War as adults. What quality did Obama strain not to mention?
Those who like me lived through it know full well what he refused to say. It is military strength. By which I dont necessarily mean war but the demonstration of strength along with the evident determination to use it. When Truman challenged the Berlin blockade by implementing the airlift, the USSR blinked. When he initiated NATO with Eisenhower as its commander, the USSR knew it would be a long, tough slog. When Kennedy showed weakness to Khrushchev at their first meeting, Nikita ordered the Wall to go up. When Reagan thundered Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! by which he opposed the State Department line, incidentally, the wall came down. The Marshall Plan and the UN had nothing to do with deterring the Soviets.
Is Obama cognizant enough to understand the difference between these policies and his own? I dont think so. Remember, the rule isevery time we seek to ingratiate our opponents, we lose. There are four examples. First, seeking to solve the Middle East mess, he demanded that Israel unilaterally freeze all new settlements so as to encourage the possibility of cooperation from the Palestinians. The vague promises never came and Israel rightly has responded with toughness on the settlements.
Second, trying to woo the Russians Obama canceled the earlier-promised missile shield that would protect Poland and dropped U.S. opposition to Russias energy plan which would revert Europes old independence from Russia to susceptibility to Russia. Russias answer: it said nyet to our wish to have it oppose Irans nuclear program and with respect to Poland initiated a war plan that calls for a nuclear attack on Poland.
Third, Obama turned down a visit with the Dalai Lama because it would anger China which he was to visit shortly. In China, he meekly accepted its refusal to allow him to speak to its people directly and allowed them to tell him he could not take questions at the joint presidential press conference there.
Fourth, after trying to romance Iran he thought he could get them to agree to his plan to have them send much of its uranium abroad to be converted into medical research chips. Iran said no.
Thats why even the liberal president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie Gelb, an alumnus of the Kennedy administration and even the Carter administration, pronounced recently that Obamas administration shows a disturbing amateurishness in managing Americas power.
The amateurishness is caused not by ignorance so much as fixity of ideological intentions that we must at all times and all places capitulate to our enemies in order to win. Thus comes the quirky view that the UN and the Marshall Plan won the Cold Warnot military power.
Oslo showed that Obama is willing to serve up the Axelrod cocktail showing a dash of this and a touch of that but when you sip it you realize its the same-old, same-old. And things will never change until and unless the bartender and the man who owns him are tossed out on their ears by the voters. And before that day comes that they are blocked by a Republican congress to keep them from foolhardily repeating and repeating again their false and unproven nostrums.
Just keep remembering: the UN and the Marshall Plan won the Cold War. Impractical, visionary liberal nonsense which will continue not just lose FOR this country but if pursued in the long-range will lose this country.
And if this country is lost, on its tombstone will read: USA: Died of a Fatally Wrong Foreign Policy Prescription. RIP.