Many Americans are beginning to pick up the strange vibe that, for Barack Obama, governing America is “an interesting sociological experiment,” too. He would doubtless agree that the United States is “the place on earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.” But he doesn’t, not really: It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That’s not to say he’s un-American or anti-American, but merely that he’s beyond all that. Way beyond. He’s the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job — that it’s really too small for him and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.
And so the Gulf spill was an irritation, but he dutifully went through the motions of flying in to be photographed looking presidentially concerned. As he wearily explained to Matt Lauer, “I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking . . . ” Good grief, what more do you people want? Alas, he’s not a good enough actor to fake it. So the more desperately he butches up the rhetoric — “Plug the damn hole!”; “I know whose ass to kick” — the more pathetically unconvincing it all sounds.
No doubt my observations about Obama’s remoteness from the rhythms of American life will be seen by his dwindling band of beleaguered cheerleaders as just another racist, right-wing attempt to whip up the backwoods knuckle-dragging swamp-dwellers of America by playing on their fears of “the other” — the sophisticated, worldly cosmopolitan for whom France is more than a reliable punchline. But in fact my complaint is exactly the opposite: Obama’s postmodern detachment is feeble and parochial. It’s true that he hadn’t seen much of America until he ran for president, but he hadn’t seen much of anywhere else, either. Like most multiculturalists, he’s passed his entire adulthood in a very narrow unicultural environment where your ideological worldview doesn’t depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world. The aforementioned Michael Ignatieff, who actually has viewed the world, gets close to the psychology in his response to criticisms of him for spending so much time abroad. Deploring such “provincialism,” he replied: “They say it makes me less of a Canadian. It makes me more of a Canadian.”
Barack Obama’s remarkable powers of oratory are well known: In support of Chicago’s Olympic bid, he flew into Copenhagen to give a heartwarming speech about himself, and they gave the games to Rio. He flew into Boston to support Martha Coakley’s bid for the U.S. Senate, and Massachusetts voters gave Ted Kennedy’s seat to a Republican. In the first year of his presidency, he gave a gazillion speeches on health care “reform” and drove support for his proposals to basement level, leaving Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to ram it down the throats of the American people through sheer parliamentary muscle.
Like a lot of guys who’ve been told they’re brilliant one time too often, President Obama gets a little lazy, and doesn’t always choose his words with care. And so it was that he came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the “Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act.” Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That’s how I’d put it. This is what the president of the United States said:
“Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is.”
Now Obama’s off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he’s talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased’s family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it’s the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving and true. Indeed, for Obama, it’s the work of seconds, because he has a taxpayer-funded staff sitting around all day with nothing to do but provide him with that sentence.
Instead, he delivered the one above, which in its clumsiness and insipidness is most revealing. First of all, note the passivity: “The loss of Daniel Pearl.” He wasn’t “lost.” He was kidnapped and beheaded. He was murdered on a snuff video. He was specifically targeted, seized as a trophy, a high-value scalp. And the circumstances of his “loss” merit some vigor in the prose. Yet Obama can muster none.
Even if Americans don’t get the message, the rest of the world does. This week’s pictures of the leaders of Brazil and Turkey clasping hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are also monuments to American passivity.
But what did the “loss” of Daniel Pearl mean? Well, says the president, it was “one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination.” Really? Evidently it never captured Obama’s imagination because, if it had, he could never have uttered anything so fatuous. He seems literally unable to imagine Pearl’s fate, and so, cruising on autopilot, he reaches for the all-purpose bromides of therapeutic sedation: “one of those moments” – you know, like Princess Di’s wedding, Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, whatever – “that captured the world’s imagination.”
Notice how reflexively Obama lapses into sentimental one-worldism: Despite our many zip codes, we are one people, with a single imagination. In fact, the murder of Daniel Pearl teaches just the opposite – that we are many worlds, and worlds within worlds. Some of them don’t even need an “imagination.” Across the planet, the video of an American getting his head sawed off did brisk business in the bazaars and madrassahs and Internet downloads. Excited young men e-mailed it to friends, from cell phone to cell phone, from Karachi to Jakarta to Khartoum to London to Toronto to Falls Church, Virginia. In the old days, you needed an “imagination” to conjure the juicy bits of a distant victory over the Great Satan. But in an age of high-tech barbarism the sight of Pearl’s severed head is a mere click away.
Andy McCarthy on the latest from our transnational-progressive president.
You just can’t make up how brazen this crowd is. One week ago, President Obama quietly signed an executive order that makes an international police force immune from the restraints of American law.
Interpol is the shorthand for the International Criminal Police Organization. It was established in 1923 and operates in about 188 countries. By executive order 12425, issued in 1983, President Reagan recognized Interpol as an international organization and gave it some of the privileges and immunities customarily extended to foreign diplomats. Interpol, however, is also an active law-enforcement agency, so critical privileges and immunities (set forth in Section 2(c) of the International Organizations Immunities Act) were withheld. Specifically, Interpol’s property and assets remained subject to search and seizure, and its archived records remained subject to public scrutiny under provisions like the Freedom of Information Act. Being constrained by the Fourth Amendment, FOIA, and other limitations of the Constitution and federal law that protect the liberty and privacy of Americans is what prevents law-enforcement and its controlling government authority from becoming tyrannical.
On Wednesday, however, for no apparent reason, President Obama issued an executive order removing the Reagan limitations. That is, Interpol’s property and assets are no longer subject to search and confiscation, and its archives are now considered inviolable. This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.
Interpol works closely with international tribunals (such as the International Criminal Court — which the United States has refused to join because of its sovereignty surrendering provisions, though top Obama officials want us in it). It also works closely with foreign courts and law-enforcement authorities (such as those in Europe that are investigating former Bush administration officials for purported war crimes — i.e., for actions taken in America’s defense).
Why would we elevate an international police force above American law? Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have, within the Justice Department, a repository for stashing government files which, therefore, will be beyond the ability of Congress, American law-enforcement, the media, and the American people to scrutinize?
Bismarck is said to have said: “There is a providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children, and the United States of America.” Bismarck never saw Obama at the U.N. Sarkozy did.
When France chides you for appeasement, you know you’re scraping bottom. Just how low we’ve sunk was demonstrated by the Obama administration’s satisfaction when Russia’s president said of Iran, after meeting President Obama at the United Nations, that “sanctions are seldom productive, but they are sometimes inevitable.”
You see? The Obama magic. Engagement works. Russia is on board. Except that, as The Post inconveniently pointed out, President Dmitry Medvedev said the same thing a week earlier, and the real power in Russia, Vladimir Putin, had changed not at all in his opposition to additional sanctions. And just to make things clear, when Iran then brazenly test-fired offensive missiles, Russia reacted by declaring that this newest provocation did not warrant the imposition of tougher sanctions.
Do the tally. In return for selling out Poland and the Czech Republic by unilaterally abrogating a missile-defense security arrangement that Russia had demanded be abrogated, we get from Russia . . . what? An oblique hint, of possible support, for unspecified sanctions, grudgingly offered and of dubious authority — and, in any case, leading nowhere because the Chinese have remained resolute against any Security Council sanctions.
Confusing ends and means, the Obama administration strives mightily for shows of allied unity, good feeling and pious concern about Iran’s nuclear program — whereas the real objective is stopping that program. This feel-good posturing is worse than useless, because all the time spent achieving gestures is precious time granted Iran to finish its race to acquire the bomb.
Don’t take it from me. Take it from Sarkozy, who could not conceal his astonishment at Obama’s naivete. On Sept. 24, Obama ostentatiously presided over the Security Council. With 14 heads of state (or government) at the table, with an American president at the chair for the first time ever, with every news camera in the world trained on the meeting, it would garner unprecedented worldwide attention.
Unknown to the world, Obama had in his pocket explosive revelations about an illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom. The French and the British were urging him to use this most dramatic of settings to stun the world with the revelation and to call for immediate action.
Obama refused. Not only did he say nothing about it, but, reports the Wall Street Journal (citing Le Monde), Sarkozy was forced to scrap the Qom section of his speech. Obama held the news until a day later — in Pittsburgh. I’ve got nothing against Pittsburgh (site of the G-20 summit), but a stacked-with-world-leaders Security Council chamber it is not.
Why forgo the opportunity? Because Obama wanted the Security Council meeting to be about his own dream of a nuclear-free world. The president, reports the New York Times citing “White House officials,” did not want to “dilute” his disarmament resolution “by diverting to Iran.”
Diversion? It’s the most serious security issue in the world. A diversion from what? From a worthless U.N. disarmament resolution?
That’s a big insult coming as it does from the UK.
Barack Obama’s chances of re-election in three and a half years’ time may be evaporating at unprecedented speed, but his presidential ambitions could still be realised in another direction. He would be a shoo-in to win the next Russian presidential election, so high is his popularity now running in the land of the bear and the knout. Obama has done more to restore Russia’s hegemonial potential in Eastern and Central Europe than even Vladimir Putin.
His latest achievement has been to restore the former satellite states to dependency on Moscow, by wimping out of the missile defence shield plan. This follows on his surrender last July when he voluntarily sacrificed around a third of America’s nuclear capability for no perceptible benefit beyond a grim smile from Putin. If there is one thing that fans the fires of aggression it is appeasement.
Despite propaganda to the contrary, 58 per cent of Poles were in favour of the missile shield. But small nations must assess the political will of larger powers. Thanks to President Pantywaist’s supine policies, the former satellite states can see that they are fast returning to their former status. The American umbrella cannot be relied upon on a rainy day. They have been here before. Poles remember how a leftist US president sold them out to Russia at Tehran and Yalta. The former Czechoslovakia was betrayed twice: in 1938 and 1945.
If the word is out that America is in retreat, it will soon find it has no friends. The satellites will pragmatically accept their restored subordination, without openly acknowledging it, and co-operate with their dangerous neighbour, ushering in a new generation of Finlandisation.
Bringing unstable states like Georgia into Nato would be a liability, not a defence. The crazy notion of a US-Nato-Russian combined defence policy has all the staying power of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. Ronald Reagan, assisted by Margaret Thatcher, implemented the sensible principle that Russia, from the time of Peter the Great, respects only strength and steely political will. A pushover in the Oval Office is the best news Russian expansionists have heard since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Barack Obama is selling out America and, by extension, the entire West. This is a catastrophe for America and the wider world.
Imagine this: a former Secretary of State goes to Russia to celebrate (in her mind) American weakness. What makes this frightening is that Obama appears to be likeminded.
Madeleine Albright said during the meeting that America no longer had the intention of being the first nation of the world.
Ms. Albright started her speech in Russian. “Hello and thank you! It’s a pleasure for me to be here,” she said in Russian. Albright wrote in her autobiography that she was trying to learn some Russian during the 1960s.
The former US Secretary of State surprised the audience with her speech. She particularly said that democracy was not the perfect system. “It can be contradictory, corrupt and may have security problems,” Albright said.
But nothing like Russia, Maddy. Not by an order of magnitude.
America has been having hard times recently, Albright said.
“We have been talking about our exceptionalism during the recent eight years. Now, an average American wants to stay at home – they do not need any overseas adventures. We do not need new enemies,” Albright said adding that Beijing, London and Delhi became a serious competition for Washington and New York.
Friendly relations with India reached their highest levels under Bush. Meanwhile, the UK is slowly rotting from within — and by the by, the UK was our strongest partner in the “adventure” that rid the world of Saddam Hussein.
“My generation has made many mistakes. We give the future into the hands of the young. Your prime goal is to overcome the gap between the poor and the rich,’ the former head of the US foreign political department said.
Yeah, why not bring back communism — it worked wonders.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at the Corner notes how the web site for the US mission to the UN has been redesigned to exclude the American flag, then shows us how France, Russia, the UK, China and others proudly display their flag and colors.
Conservative foreign policy is unabashedly pro-American, unashamed of American exceptionalism, unwilling to bend its knee to international organizations, and unapologetic about the need for the fullest range of dominant military capabilities. Its diplomacy is neither unilateralist nor multilateralist, but chooses its strategies, tactics, means and methods based on a hard-headed assessment of U.S. national interests, not on theologies about process. Most especially, conservatives understand that allies are different from adversaries, and that each should be treated accordingly.
These sentiments bear repeating because the fundamental principles underlying conservative foreign and national-security policy have never been stronger, and the consequences of deviating from them have rarely been so clear. The Obama administration’s first few months already provide compelling evidence of the enormous costs of embracing the alternative worldview of the European and American left. Of course, that was equally true when the Bush administration all-too-frequently deviated from conservative precepts, especially in its failure-ridden second-term. In many ways, unfortunately, the Obama administration is a continuation of the second Bush term, only worse.
Former President George W. Bush’s mistakes resulted from sleep-walking away from conservative values, whereas President Obama openly repudiates them, both believing in and fully understanding what he is doing. (more…)
Watching President Obama apologize last week for America’s arrogance – before a French audience that owes its freedom to the sacrifices of Americans – helped convince me that he has a deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions. His nomination of former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh to be the State Department’s top lawyer constitutes further evidence of his disdain for American values.
This seemingly obscure position in Foggy Bottom’s bureaucratic maze is one of the most important in any administration, shaping foreign policy in the courts and playing a critical role in international negotiations and treaties.
Let’s set aside Koh’s disputed comments about the possible application of Sharia law in American jurisprudence. The pick is alarming for more fundamental reasons having to do with national sovereignty and constitutional self-governance.
What is indisputable is that Koh calls himself a “transnationalist.” He believes U.S. courts “must look beyond national interest to the mutual interests of all nations in a smoothly functioning international legal regime. …” He thinks the courts have “a central role to play in domesticating international law into U.S. law” and should “use their interpretive powers to promote the development of a global legal system.”
Koh’s “transnationalism” stands in contrast to good, old-fashioned notions of national sovereignty, in which our Constitution is the highest law of the land. In the traditional view, controversial matters, whatever they may be, are subject to democratic debate here. They should be resolved by the American people and their representatives, not “internationalized.” What Holland or Belgium or Kenya or any other nation or coalition of nations thinks has no bearing on our exercise of executive, legislative, or judicial power.
Koh disagrees. He would decide such matters based on the views of other countries or transnational organizations – or, rather, those entities’ elites.
Too bad Russia, Iran, France, China, Syria — or any nation for that matter — believes this. Transnational progressives have spent way too long in the world of theory and far too little time in the real world.
Read all of Santorum’s column. For more on transnational progressivism, read this.
President Obama is rapidly replacing the Bush Doctrine with the Soros Doctrine, implementing the foreign policy tenets of the principal financier of the American left.When Charlie Gibson peered pedantically down his nose at Sarah Palin last fall, asking “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?,” I could not help but wonder whether anyone in our esteemed mainstream media would have the intelligence or the temerity to ask candidate Barack Obama whether he agreed with the Soros doctrines.Too late now.Soros doctrines reign in the Obama White House and we’re about to learn firsthand whether they represent the ideology of choice for a safer U.S.A.
Krauthammer (who was himself the first to use the term, “Bush doctrine”) delineated four distinct and superceding elements to Bush foreign policy:#1 (pre-9/11) – unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty, the Kyoto protocol and other international initiatives, which were deemed by President Bush harmful to U.S. interests.#2 – the “with us or against us” speech to Congress nine days after 9/11, which quickly resulted in the 7-point ultimatum given to President Musharraf of Pakistan, demanding his withdrawal of support for the Taliban.#3 – in the wake of our invasion of Iraq, President Bush gave his justification for preemptive war for defensive purpose.#4 – enunciated in President Bush’s second inaugural address, that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to aid the spread of democracy throughout the world.The bottom line for America is that we know for certain the Bush Doctrines kept us safe for seven whole years, kept our IslamoFascist foes magnetized in Afghanistan and Iraq and kept other enemies balanced on their toes with the full knowledge that any belligerent move would be met with U.S. force.
- The United States should use its position of financial and military might to “lead a cooperative effort to improve the world by engaging in preventive actions of a constructive character.”
- The United States should increase foreign aid to all who need it. Soros believes that by giving grants, as opposed to loans, to developing countries, we make friends and give people what they need, thereby decreasing the incentives for making war against us.
- Terrorists have always been with us, Soros insists, and terrorism requires “police action,” not wars based upon “imperialist intentions.”
- Only an international body (such as the U.N.) can solve the problem of terrorism as it is an inherently international problem.
- The Bush Doctrine of holding host nations responsible for their support and protection of terrorist entities shuts down the necessary diplomatic channels, which would otherwise lead to joint solutions.The bottom line is that George Soros is an internationalist; he always has been. He has even said that the only thing the U.S. does for him is issue his passport, which is itself an obsolete instrument of the even more obsolete nation-state concept.
Carol Browner, who’ll run the new White House office of climate and energy policies, isn’t new to Washington. The public will recognize her name from the years she served as Environmental Protection Agency administrator under Bill Clinton.
The public, however, knows little or nothing about her work with Socialist International, a group that describes itself as a worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor parties that envisions a “new, democratic world society” and typically takes anti-U.S. positions.
Within its declaration of principles there are clear signs it’s comfortable with using the authority of the state to establish a global socialist regime.
Equally as telling are its member groups, including Nicaragua’s Sandinista National Liberation Front, Democratic Socialists of America, and socialist and labor parties from dozens of nations.
Browner was linked to Socialist International through her leadership post on the group’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society. The Washington Times reports Browner was also listed as an individual member of Socialist International.
In her role as a White House aide, Browner should be looking out for U.S. interests. Yet, according to the Times, Socialist International’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society not only wants America, as well as other developed nations, to cut their current levels of consumption. It has called for a “fair approach” to global warming and climate change that “must be centered on solidarity and aim to reduce the disparity between the developed and the developing countries.”
Reducing the disparity will come, of course, at the expense of wealthy nations. Socialists dream of an egalitarianism that is reached not by lifting the fortunes of everyone but by redistributing wealth downward. They pretend to be interested only in taking care of the planet. But another purpose seems to be containing or even shrinking thriving economies. They are little more than socialists disguised as activists.
It’s scary to realize how profoundly dumb the editors of a major newspaper can be. Oy!
If former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton went to Bizarro World, his counterpart there would be Susan Rice. Inhabitants of DC Comics’ fictional planet are the polar opposites of their earthly doubles, and it’s hard to imagine anyone who would represent a clearer break with the Bush administration’s foreign policy strategies than Rice, whose selection as U.N. ambassador was announced Monday by President-elect Barack Obama.
Rice is a liberal multilateralist, and Bolton, who spent a tumultuous year at the U.N. before resigning when it became clear that he wouldn’t be confirmed by the Senate in 2006, is a conservative unilateralist.
Or maybe a clear-eyed pragmatist who could a spade a spade, and who realized his job was to represent the interests of the US, not be popular.
Bolton’s appointment was President Bush’s way of thumbing his nose at the U.N. The ambassador’s bullying, arrogant approach rendered him ineffective as a diplomat, but it did please a conservative wing of the Republican Party that has long despised the U.N. in the same way, and for many of the same reasons, it despises big government: It’s bureaucratic, slow and rarely gets much done. Yet it’s also utterly indispensable. Warts and all, it is the world’s only meaningful bulwark against nuclear proliferation, human-rights violations, genocide and wars of conquest.
Oh, where to begin?
- How can something that “rarely gets much done” be indispensible?
- The UN has never stopped genocide, even when, with Rwanda, it had 90 days advance warning that it was about to happen. All it did was rescue its “peace keepers.”
- Did the UN get Libya to give up its nukes? No, it was the sight of Saddam being toppled that gave Khaddafi religion.
- Did the UN prevent death in the Balkans? No, the Dutch UN peacekeepers turned over their charges to Serbian murderers (and got medals from the Dutch government.)
- Did the UN’s Oil for Food program help Iraqis? No, it enabled Saddam to siphon off billions of dollars he used to buy arms and maintain rule. When UN member states cheated on the UN sanctions, what price did they pay? None.
There’s only one bulwark: the USA.
Powerline writes about the Sally Field’s of American foreign policy
Other than the racial angle, the thing that has Barack Obama’s supporters most excited is the prospect that, thanks to ascension, America will once more be liked and respected around the world. Those aroused by this prospect can be divided into two categories. The first are the folks who believe, with the naivety only a certain type of liberal can possess, that a gesture (the election of Obama) can transform, lastingly and without cost, the way the world views us. These people are fools.
The second category are those who believe that Obama will take substantive positions that please foreigners and that, in particular, he will back measures that limit U.S. sovereignty. These people are on to something.
In the November 17 issue of the National Review (not available online to my knowledge), John Fonte of the Hudson Institute identifies four “transnational power grabs” that Obama is likely to push for They are: the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Rights of the Child Treaty, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the International Criminal Court. Agreement by the U.S. to these arrangements would make us more popular with foreigners, but only at a cost to our national security, our right of self-governance, and our rights under the Constitution.
As Fonte explains, the Law of the Sea Treaty could result in maritime disputes involving U.S. defense forces being arbitrated by an international panel composed of 21 judges, some of whom would be chosen by the likes of China, Russia, and Cuba. The Rights of the Child Treaty would require uniform penal codes for minors in all 50 states. It would abolish the death penalty and life imprisonment for everyone under the age of 18. And it would limit parental rights, for example by granting children the legal right to correspond with anyone, anywhere, without interference from their parents.
According to Fonte, CEDAW would likely result in the imposition of gender-based preferences in multiple spheres, including elective offices. He says the U.N. committee that monitors compliance with CEDAW has called on the Republic of Georgia to return to its Communist-era policy of gender quotas in public offices. Britain has be told to adopt the “comparable worth” standard of “equal pay” under which bureaucrats set pay rates. Fonte also warns that CEDAW would also provide a method for “overturning a vast array of federal and state laws that [feminists] do not have the votes to defeat through democratic means.”