Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: President of the World ...deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is
Posted on 04/15/2009 7:25:03 AM PDT by Tolik
Given Obamas performance on his recent trip, three developments were quite astounding.
First, despite this fresh climate of atonement, there was a complete absence of a single apology from any other foreign leader odd for the new shared spirit of multi-polarity and reciprocity.
Not a word came from Britain about colonialism. Nothing from Germany on the Holocaust, or its trade with Iran. Not a peep from France about Algeria or Vietnam.
Turkey was mum on the Armenian killings and its own tough anti-Kurdish policies. Russia said nothing about the 30 million murdered by Stalin or its present assassinations abroad, much less its leveling of Grozny or its destruction of Afghanistan. Nothing came from China about the 70 million who perished under Mao or its present role in subsidizing North Korean nukes or its violation of global copyright laws. We wont hear anything in the New Asian Hemisphere about Muslim Uighurs or Tibet.
Second, there was no other example of He did it! about supposedly inept predecessors. Mr. Medvedev said nothing about Putins brutish rule. Sarkozy and Merkel did not trash the shady Chirac or Gazproms bought lobbyist Schroeder, and their role in harming the Atlantic alliance. Gordon Brown was quiet about Tony Blair and Iraq. China did not mention a reset button. The new Berlusconi did not trash the old Berlusconi.
Third, we saw no concrete evidence of any help or hope and change from any foreign leader. Zilch. There were expectations of American concessions, but nothing new or helpful from anyone else.
Instead I think a number of astute foreign leaders rivals, enemies, and friends alike have already drawn the following conclusions.
I. An Obama visit
A vast entourage will descend on your capital in campaign mode. Most of your functionaries will wish to get a photo-op with the rock-star president. The American president at some point will request a town-hall meeting, press conference, or open-air handshake session with the crowd. All this is largely for domestic consumption back home, and is designed to offer an antidote for the concessions or apologies that follow. It is quite successful in generating temporary goodwill toward the new Obama administration.
II. Im sorry.
Obama will apologize for almost anything one can imagine. First comes the generic lamentation about Bush, the need for a reset button, and Americas characteristic arrogance. Then there are the we are at fault lines on spec, tailor-made for the country in question.
If you are Turkish and Islamic, you get a threefer: the morally equivalent reference to the American treatment of the Indians, the pledge that we are not at war with Islam (forget that no president ever said we were), and the reminder that we are not a Christian nation.
In Europe, you receive apologies for Bush, Iraq, and the financial meltdown. Each leader gets a unique version of Obamas somewhat narcissistic Them, not me either a strain of something like Bush did it or Every American except me is arrogant. We can console ourselves only that Obama has not contextualized or apologized to the Somali pirates yet.
III. Youre Right!
Differences that your country has with the United States will be resolved in your favor. Foreign leaders already sense that Obamas success hinges on his hope and change ecstasy back home which cannot for long sustain stories of difficult diplomacy and public manifestations of international trouble and acrimony, of anything really that suggests he is not mesmerizing the world in the manner he did the American electorate.
Europe? Take your pick. No more combat troops to Afghanistan; an international financial czar; no additional financial deficit stimuli; no Guantanamo prisoners on European shores; American acknowledgment of culpability for the financial crisis; no mention of Europes own reckless lending, protectionism, or pre-September 2008 declining GDP. But goodwill aplenty.
China? It gets praise when it ridicules the dollar, but offers no help on North Korea. Nothing new about trade violations. Hope is expressed that they will still buy our growing debt.
Russia? Let us count the ways. No more missile defense for Eastern Europe; no mention of Russias human-rights violations or its policy of serial assassination abroad; de facto abandonment of advocacy for former Soviet republics autonomy; Russias energy blackmail is Russias business; no help with de-nuclearizing Iran.
Turkey? Yes, Europe must let you in the EU. The new Danish NATO supreme commander must apologize for defending free speech and, as relish, hire some of your generals; continued American assurance that we are not a Christian nation.
The Islamic World is not to be inconvenienced by any mention of radical Islam, or 9/11, or of the endemic pathologies that nourished al-Qaedism in the first place such as gender apartheid, religious intolerance, autocracy, statism, and tribalism. Instead there is plenty of Bush-bashing, courting of Iran and Syria, caricatures of the war on terror, and talk of Iraq as a mistake.
Then comes the separation. Obama makes it clear to any host or foreign leader that both he and his vision of America are strangely exempt from Americas past, from Bush, and from our innately arrogant nature. That is accomplished in a number of adroit ways. There is evocation of his once-taboo middle name Hussein to win affection in the Middle East, but also to suggest a more Third Worldish resonance such as I am one of you too who has grievances against them.
He is beginning to mention the novelty of his racial heritage a lot, usually in the context that we are now in a new world of Obama, and that his very presence is a rejection of the old and illiberal America.
That the veteran Colin Powell and Russian-speaking Condoleezza Rice ran American foreign policy the last eight years, in a way unthinkable in Europe, is never voiced. Suggesting that China would have an Uighur foreign minister, that Saudi Arabia would have a Christian foreign minister, that France would have an Algerian foreign minister, that Germany would have a Turkish foreign minister, or that Russia would have a Chechen foreign minister is as absurd as suggesting that a Powell or Rice was never a big deal.
So what Obama leaves out about America is telling. He touches on slavery, lack of voting rights for blacks in the South (although he conflates this issue and implies to foreigners that African Americans could not vote in the North as well), our past treatment of Native Americans, and the dropping of the bomb against Japan.
These transgressions are rarely put in any historical context, much less referenced as sins of mankind shared by all of his hosts (the pedigree of murder, exploitation, and rapine of his foreign interlocutors is quite stunning). We dont hear many references to the American Revolution, or the great tradition of American ingenuity embodied by Bell, Edison, or the Wright brothers.
We hear nothing about our Gettysburg, or our entry into World War I. Iwo Jima and the Bulge are never alluded to. Drawing the line in Korea and forcing the end of the Soviet monstrosity are taboo subjects. That we pledged the life of New York for Berlin in the Cold War is unknown. Liberating Afghanistan and Iraq from the diabolical Taliban and Saddam Hussein is left unsaid. The Civil Rights movement, the Great Society, affirmative action, and present billion-dollar foreign-aid programs apparently never existed. Millions of Africans have been saved by George Bushs efforts at extending life-saving medicines to AIDS patients but again, this is never referenced.
V. Whats Next?
At present the world is watching, probing, and digesting the Obama presidency. But it has already concluded that Obama is nourished by applause and will work to maintain it not merely for personal gratification, but because he realizes that loud public endorsement is essential to his perpetual candidacy, given its absence of experience and sagacity.
Those abroad are also reassured that the American media, so heavily invested in hope and change, will do almost anything to transmogrify American embarrassments into Obama successes. Meanwhile, the contours of the new world order are clear. Iraqs democrats are snubbed; Irans cutthroats are courted. A Saudi royal receives a bow; the British queen, a presumptuous squeeze while her prime minister receives unplayable DVDs.
Pakistan released Dr. Khan and wants us to idle our Predators. Iran is adding to its centrifuges. North Korea will ready ever-more missiles. Syria lectures on the putative peace it is begged to participate in. The former Soviet republics will fall back into line, closing American supply bases or bracing for the next Putin push. Israel gets a Charles Freeman nomination; Gaza a billion U.S. dollars in aid.
The odious governments of Cuba, Libya, and Syria quite logically have now expressed warmth of some sort for Obama and expect similar treatment in return. Russia fears little challenge to the reestablishment of its 19th-century influence. Pirates in Somalia, though slightly fewer in number today, likely have little to fear going forward.
Europe had better prepare for its own defense. So should Japan. They may get more expressions of outrage when crises loom, more calls for U.N. action, but not much more than that. Expect a world of more nukes, not fewer in direct proportion to Obamas calls for their entire elimination.
In short, we have a return of Jimmy Carters postnational idealism, but this time with the charismatic face of a Ronald Reagan. For 40 years we have had well-meaning moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism taught in our schools, and we are now learning that all that was not just therapy, but has insidiously become our national gospel. The world is hearing a deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is now offered in mellifluous cadences by a messianic president who not so long ago in more unguarded moments called for more oppression studies and reparations.
President Obama will get his much-needed praise and adulation abroad, and Americans will finally be somewhat admired for a while. And thereafter, there will be real hell to pay either abject U.S. appeasement as the world heats up, or some sort of frantic eleventh-hour hyper-response to restore stability and lost deterrence.
The Politics Of Blame Victor Davis Hanson: The Postnational, Postmodern, Post-everything Presidential Trip Victor Davis Hanson: President Obamas First 70 Days. It really does all make sense Victor Davis Hanson: G-20 Outtakes. Europe Got Obama, Now What? Obama is moving to the left of Europe Victor Davis Hanson: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part Three of Three [The Good] Victor Davis Hanson: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part Two of Three [The Ugly] Victor Davis Hanson: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part One of Three Victor Davis Hanson: American Mob Rule. We need a Socrates in Washington right now Victor Davis Hanson: Thoughts About Depressed Americans Victor Davis Hanson: Bush Did It. What a difference an election makes [Brilliant Parody] Victor Davis Hanson: Dr. Obama: First, Do No Harm. Let nature do its work Now You Tell Us, Mr. President! Victor Davis Hanson: The "Depression" for Us Idiots HANSON: Maxing out a crisis card Now, Obama Tells Us? Victor Davis Hanson: Europeanizing Europe. They may have got more than they bargained for [Obama] Victor Davis Hanson: Fast and Thick in the Age of Obama NOW OBAMA TELLS US? The "They Did It" Presidency (Victor Davis Hanson, Mark Steyn, Andy McCarthy) Oh, the Debts We Will See! (What's in store for us and our children after this Stimulus/Budget) 5 Reasons Wall Street Is Worried Have-It-All Californians Squander Blessings In Era Of Complacency Victor Davis Hanson: Obamafusion [Why is Wall Street Worried? Let us count the ways] Accounting for California's suicide Obama: The Great Divider Victor Davis Hanson: More on Rush Accounting for Californias Suicide Victor Davis Hanson: The Great Divider? [five modest recommendations to Obama - that he won't use] Victor Davis Hanson: The Triumph of Banality [Obama's talent for dishonesty in political discourse] Victor Davis Hanson: Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Let me know if you want in or out.
Links: FR Index of his articles: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/keyword?k=victordavishanson
His website: http://victorhanson.com/
NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp
The recent Spanish boast that its courts may indict American officials for supposed transgression of the human rights of enemy unlawful combatants at Guantànamo hasn't earned much of a response from the Obama administration.
But it should. If the administration thinks that the Spanish postmodern indictments are a sort of a surrogate way of tweaking the Cheney-Rumsfeld orb, they are sorely mistaken.
Under Obama we are obliterating, by Predator-missile attack, suspected jihadists (and anyone in the general vicinity near them) in Waziristan the last time I looked, it was a foreign country something a little bit more discomforting to them than rendition.
And blowing the brains out of suspected piratical kidnappers in international waters might be seen, in the now hyper-legalistic universe of Western transnational jurisprudence, as something a little more extreme than bringing detainees out of their Koran- and Mediterranean-food-stocked Guantànamo jail cells for interrogations. I know I'd prefer to be shown some upsetting nudie magazines as humiliation to make me talk than have a bullet take apart my skull.
Once Team Obama chose to trash Bush as a Constitution-shredder, while blinking and nodding at Spanish theatrics all the while either not changing, or, in fact, stepping up Bush-era anti-terrorism measures it put itself in a soon-to-be untenable position that even a fawning media won't long be able to ignore.
Who knows what's in our future a Spanish indictment of "judge-and-jury" Barack Obama for ordering the executions of Pashtun and Somali suspects in foreign or international territories, without an arrest warrant, habeas corpus, rights to counsel, and recourse to appeal?04/15 09:35 AM
In Europe this month, our president apologized for our arrogance. He apologized for us causing the world economic troubles. He apologized for George Bush, Gitmo, the war in Iraq, the trouble between Muslims and Everyone Else and for the despicable evils of Capitalism.
Europeans love American Presidents who slam Americans.
But the teleprompter rolls on......
Socialism sounds humane. Its not. Its for killing unborn babies, population control, and eugenics, its for spreadin misery by taking wealth away from people who earn and giving to those who want, and it has never worked.
"Obama will apologize for almost anything one can imagine. First comes the generic lamentation about Bush, the need for a reset button, and Americas characteristic arrogance. Then there are the we are at fault lines on spec, tailor-made for the country in question...In Europe, you receive apologies for Bush, Iraq, and the financial meltdown. Each leader gets a unique version of Obamas somewhat narcissistic Them, not me either a strain of something like Bush did it or Every American except me is arrogant. We can console ourselves only that Obama has not contextualized or apologized to the Somali pirates yet."
Obama's psychological personality disorder includes a combination of shame, entitlement, grandiosity, and narcissism. Like other Adult Children of Dysfunctional Parents...someone else is to blame. He's a shakedown artist who uses the shame and blame routine.
Apologies for the pirates are already emerging. As one liberal opined, picking up where Franz Fanon left off, "What you have to understand about the economic problems in this part of the world is..." They're just "troubled youths" suffering from colonialist oppression, you see. They hijack ships for reparations, Obama hijacks a country.
Just brilliant. He must be seething with frustration. I know I am.
America is being politically anesthetized by Obama.
How about ‘The Great Apologizer’??
You’re too kind.
My thoughts are not for print.
Here was a people whom after their works thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion: and in this palace is the last information respecting lords collected in the dust. The Arabian Nights.
In a land that the sand overlays the ways to her gates are untrod
A multitude ended their days whose gates were made splendid by God,
Till they grew drunk and were smitten with madness and went to their fall,
And of these is a story written: but Allah Alone knoweth all!
When the wine stirred in their heart their bosoms dilated.
They rose to suppose themselves kings over all things created
To decree a new earth at a birth without labour or sorrow
To declare: We prepare it to-day and inherit to-morrow.
They chose themselves prophets and priests of minute understanding,
Men swift to see done, and outrun, their extremest commanding
Of the tribe which describe with a jibe the perversions of Justice
Panders avowed to the crowd whatsoever its lust is.
Swiftly these pulled down the walls that their fathers had made them
The impregnable ramparts of old, they razed and relaid them
As playgrounds of pleasure and leisure, with limitless entries,
And havens of rest for the wastrels where once walked the sentries;
And because there was need of more pay for the shouters and marchers,
They disbanded in face of their foemen their yeomen and archers.
They replied to their well-wishers fears to their enemies laughter,
Saying: Peace! We have fashioned a God Which shall save us hereafter.
We ascribe all dominion to man in his factions conferring,
And have given to numbers the Name of the Wisdom unerring.
They said: Who has hate in his soul? Who has envied his neighbour?
Let him arise and control both that man and his labour.
They said: Who is eaten by sloth? Whose unthrift has destroyed him?
He shall levy a tribute from all because none have employed him.
They said: Who hath toiled, who hath striven, and gathered possession?
Let him be spoiled. He hath given full proof of transgression.
They said: Who is irked by the Law? Though we may not remove it.
If he lend us his aid in this raid, we will set him above it!
So the robber did judgment again upon such as displeased him,
The slayer, too, boasted his slain, and the judges released him.
As for their kinsmen far off, on the skirts of the nation,
They harried all earth to make sure none escaped reprobation.
They awakened unrest for a jest in their newly-won borders,
And jeered at the blood of their brethren betrayed by their orders.
They instructed the ruled to rebel, their rulers to aid them;
And, since such as obeyed them not fell, their Viceroys obeyed them.
When the riotous set them at naught they said: Praise the upheaval!
For the show and the world and the thought of Dominion is evil!
They unwound and flung from them with rage, as a rag that defied them,
The imperial gains of the age which their forefathers piled them.
They ran panting in haste to lay waste and embitter for ever
The wellsprings of Wisdom and Strengths which are Faith and Endeavour.
They nosed out and digged up and dragged forth and exposed to derision
All doctrine of purpose and worth and restraint and prevision:
And it ceased, and God granted them all things for which they had striven,
And the heart of a beast in the place of a mans heart was given. . . .
. . . . . . . . When they were fullest of wine and most flagrant in error,
Out of the sea rose a sign out of Heaven a terror.
Then they saw, then they heard, then they knew for none troubled to hide it,
A host had prepared their destruction, but still they denied it.
They denied what they dared not abide if it came to the trail;
But the Sward that was forged while they lied did not heed their denial.
It drove home, and no time was allowed to the crowd that was driven.
The preposterous-minded were cowed they thought time would be given.
There was no need of a steed nor a lance to pursue them;
It was decreed their own deed, and not a chance, should undo them.
The tares they had laughingly sown were ripe to the reaping.
The trust they had leagued to disown was removed from their keeping.
The eaters of other mens bread, the exempted from hardship,
The excusers of impotence fled, abdicating their wardship,
For the hate they had taught through the State brought the State no defender,
And it passed from the roll of the Nations in headlong surrender!
It’s not just abroad. This idiot Obama is melting down the economy and passing totalitarian laws as fast as his little pen can sign them. The reaction will not be pretty.
Hansen nails it again. Good read.
Mullah Hopenchange can go stuff his “America REALLY Sucks” schtick in all major orifices.
A sobering analysis of the bozo we have elected.
Don’t want you to miss this one.
We all know Obama has no qualms lying and the appeasement sh*t is his lying to the Europeans for goodwill — and that is all he got for all his negative comments about America (Europeans know he is a chronic liar and gave nothing of substance). This means that things have not changed and Hanson is right: prepare of 11 hour measures when things heat up. Obama will go into frantic mode when the goodwill go down the toilet and there are hard choices.
“At present the world is watching, probing, and digesting the Obama presidency. But it has already concluded that Obama is nourished by applause and will work to maintain it not merely for personal gratification, but because he realizes that loud public endorsement is essential to his perpetual candidacy, given its absence of experience and sagacity.”
Our country elected a narcissistic man-child.