Skip to comments.Resetting the Reset Button [Victor Davis Hanson dissects 0's pathetic diplomacy]
Posted on 12/04/2009 8:26:06 AM PST by Tolik
After ten months of dissing his predecessor, embracing our enemies, and abandoning our allies, its time for Obama to make another fresh start
Obama wanted to set our diplomacy on a new track.
And thats just what he has done.
After ten months of Bush did it diplomacy, the Obama administration needs to reset its reset button.
On substantial issues, relations with Europe have not improved. The governments in France, Germany, Italy, and, soon, Great Britain are conservative, and increasingly skeptical of Obamas diplomacy.
Germany bowed out on further stimulus. Sarkozy lectured us about utopian rhetoric without action on Irans nuclear ambitions. The British press is collating a daily litany of our snubs and slights and is beginning to conclude that, in Obamas eyes, the British are not centuries-long invaluable American allies, but pesky, bothersome has-beens, forever culpable for colonial imperialism. If only their queen were a royal Saudi theocrat or a deified Asian emperor, shed win an Obama kowtow.
The Czechs and Poles will never again rely on a distant ally in confrontation with a proximate enemy; they do not need to relearn the lessons of 1939. Autonomous former Soviet republics understand that Russias Putin has a de facto green light to readjust their present-day, ad hoc borders with President Obama about as clear on any future dispute as candidate Obama was about Georgia.
Dont expect more European troops in Afghanistan. The NATO allies believe that our hearts arent in the war, and they fear being part of a humiliating Suez-like defeat. And after preening for a green American president, half of Europe is angry that Obamas soaring hope-and-change rhetoric will not be followed by any concrete cap-and-trade commitment; while the other half is scared that Obama really believes the hocus-pocus science that the world got a recent glimpse of from the corpus of East Anglian e-mails.
India and China one-third of the worlds population have not fallen for the hope-and-change trope. China wont hear our sermons on Tibet, human rights, carbon imprints, or Taiwan not with new American hyper-deficits that will lead us to ask China to cough up trillions in capital to finance new entitlements for Americans that are not accorded to the Chinese people.
India wants to ensure that the Bush administrations support for outsourcing, free trade, nuclear development, and Indias position in Kashmir is not replaced by a moral equivalence in which a democratic English-speaking India is simply unexceptional, and thus indistinguishable from an Islamic, bellicose, and unstable Pakistan.
But didnt Obamas new Middle East outreach stamped with Bush culpability, recognition of Islams brilliance, monotonous promises of friendship, and emphasis on Obamas unique name, heritage, and patrimony at least bring political dividends?
Hardly. Iran has announced an expansion, not the cessation, of its nuclear-enrichment program. We have achieved the paradoxical result of having polarized our democratic ally Israel without winning over the autocratic Palestinians. The Sunni Arab world assumes that a Shiite Persia will go nuclear, and in response the Arabs will probably seek their own deterrent. Obamas cozying up to Syria has achieved nothing other than bolstering Damascuss confidence about re-entering Lebanon and copycatting the Iranian model of nuclear acquisition.
In general, the Arab world is suspicious of those who trash their own. Its leaders interpret Obamas apologies for his own country as being as much a character defect as proof of any new accommodation. And while Obama repents for Americas misdemeanors, most leaders in the Middle East have no intention of apologizing for their countries felonies.
After the loud outreach to Castro, Chávez, Morales, Ortega, and Zelaya, Latin America may truly believe that we have flipped. Imagine! America is now more on the side of socialist, non-democratic leaders who agitate for radical social and economic changes.
But that about-face only means more turmoil, not less, as Venezuelas Chávez weighs the pros and cons of a border dispute with Colombia and leaders in Ecuador and Peru see the tangible advantages of shutting down the opposition, as Chávez has done.
In other words, we will return to the polarization of the 1960s and 70s, when Communist takeovers brought on reaction from right-wing caudillos, now that the United States has withdrawn its accustomed moral support for democratic, free-market reformers and sided more with the foreign practitioners of the same sort of statist, soak-the-rich efforts that are beginning here at home.
A KINDER, GENTLER DIPLOMACY?
But at least our president and his diplomats are showing a kinder, gentler side of American diplomacy? Not really. Messianic moralists and the loudly self-righteous whether a Woodrow Wilson, a Jimmy Carter, or a Barack Obama are seldom tolerant of mere mortals.
Hillary alienated the Pakistanis by lecturing them on everything from catching Osama bin Laden to taxing their own people. Richard Holbrooke hectored the Karzai government, to no avail. George Mitchell has done very little other than to convince the Israelis that America is no longer their ally and that he is George Mitchell, Mideast Czar.
The supposed bad war in Iraq is essentially won and the country quiet; the much-ballyhooed good war in Afghanistan is heating up, with a split-the-difference American battle plan focused more on exit strategies than on victory.
Radical Islam looks forward to a show trial in New York, in which its self-confessed mass-murdering heroes will tell the world why America deserved what it got on 9/11. Meanwhile, for the two years of the presidential campaign, terrorists heard from candidate Obama that the Americans tribunals, renditions, wiretaps, intercepts, drone attacks, and Guantanamo were as illegal and unfair to them as they are still open for business under President Obama. And what a message that is: You Islamists were right that we shredded our Constitution to go after you, but we are going to continue to shred it anyway!
GOOD FOR THEE, NOT FOR ME
The image abroad was supposed to be a new hope-and-change multilateral deference. Instead, there is a new whiny, self-indulgent, and loquacious America, as mixed up and inconsistent in its sermonizing message as it is consistently self-righteous in tone.
We want to protect our new state-run industries at others expense. We want the worlds available capital to finance ever more government entitlements for our own comparatively well-off citizens. We want you to drill for oil and natural gas in terrain we would never consider here in the United States. We want to apologize for the old America, but in the bargain expect the world to listen to our new sermons. We want you to seek democratic reform, but dont ask us to say a word on your behalf when your own thugs push back.
Old friends of America from Colombia to Israel are getting the message that they did something wrong in befriending pre-Obama America; while old enemies like Ahmadinejad and Chávez gloat that at last America understands why they were so hostile in their prior serial trashing of America.
Ronald Reagan told the world that he would side with freedom against Communist aggression and autocracy. George Bush the elder told the world that its borders would stay sacrosanct, and one country could not swallow another. Bill Clinton finally showed that a genocidal dictator could not practice mass murder in the heart of Europe and get away with it. George Bush the younger removed two of the worst terrorist regimes on the planet, the Talibans and Saddam Husseins, and replaced them with constitutional systems, while keeping the U.S. homeland free from another 9/11 attack.
Barack Obama is telling the world that all of the above was far too complex and characteristic of an America that was not listening, but dictating.
Instead, like any good college dean, Obama is now running a faculty seminar on a global scale. We listen to everyones gripes, add in our own personal angst, draw up pros and cons, offer polite, non-judgmental suggestions to all sides, and recommend 50-50 solutions that can be ratified by the newly revitalized U.N. all to be summed up by a bow or two and a soaring address touting our own wisdom and success.
We may hope that some old wise men are now whispering to the Obamians to reset their reset button. You see, it's doubtful that the world can take another three years of this.
Just a partial list: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index:
Just a partial list. Much more at the link: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index
Voting Present on Iran Dean Obama [Victor Davis Hanson dissects 0's West Point speech on Afghanistan] Change We Can Believe In [Victor Davis Hanson: A list of modest suggestions for REAL change] Riding the Back of the Tiger [Victor Davis Hanson on Obama not understanding What Causes Wars...] We Ain't Seen Nothing Yet The New War against Reason - Medieval heretic-hunters had nothing on Obama when it comes to closed-mindedness Circling Sharks Smell American Blood: America should keep quieter abroad and try finding a bigger stick Palin-Odes? What Drives the Fear and Loathing of Sarah Palin? Obamas Prissy America - Why does Obamas tolerant, apologetic America seem so very self-centered? What Bush Inherited, and What He Left Left Behind Who Are They? To Obama, they are responsible for all our troubles. Problem is, they are most of us Afghan Mythologies. We have everything we need to defeat the Taliban. The Discreet Charm of the Left-wing Plutocracy Truman and the Principles of U.S. Foreign Policy. Jimmy Carter rejected the postwar consensus. President Obama appears to be following a similar path Americas Obama Obsession - Anatomy of a passing hysteria The Kitty-Cat Who Roared - The loud reformer Obama himself proves even emptier in his promises than Bush Dr. Barack and Mr. Obama - The backlash is sharp as voters learn that Obama is not the man they thought he was Obama and "Redistributive Change". His real agenda Bullying Israel-only country with which the U.S. has worse relations since Obama took office The War Against the Producers President Palins First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obamas record Thoughts About Depressed Americans Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Let me know if you want in or out.
FR Index of his articles: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index NRO archive: http://author.nationalreview.com/?q=MjI1MQ== Pajamasmedia: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/ His website: http://victorhanson.com/
Instead, like any good college dean, Obama is now running a faculty seminar on a global scale.
Consensus diplomacy, have we really come to this?
The next two years will harvest the result of sowing
these twisted seeds.
It's not "doubtful", it's a slam-dunk.
VDH eloquently describes the massive FAIL of the current occupier of the White House. Good read.
In 0bama's case that would be what? Britain?
This is frightening. WE can't take much more. Certainly not four more years after 2012. In the next election, more than ever before, winning is everything.
There are a lot of gems here.
And how refreshing to get the entire article instead of the excerpts that are all to common now.
Gangster government is re-emerging all over the planet and Zero is playing Professor Patty-cake. What a stooge. The Wilson/Carter analogy is apt but should be multiplyed by, oh... 1000%.
That would be "multiplied" of course, although I did by a case of multy-ply at Sam's Club last week.
Hey.... English is tuff. Ask any native Texan.
Moral equivalency has always been able to cloud that difference by sticking strictly to a discussion of principle. There is, if one squints hard enough, no difference to be discerned between a man killed as collateral damage during our assault on Saddam and 300,000 murdered by his secret police. "It's all the same thing." It isn't, of course, but if one attempts to run a foreign policy on the basis that it is, one gets the inchoate hash that is 0bama's foreign policy.
The real problem is that in publicly making a major objective of foreign policy "to improve America's image in the world" one places the premium on public relations rather than results. Image in whose eyes? Would that be a foreign press and cultural elite imbued with the same ideals? Surely the circular futility of this is obvious, but not, presumably, to the participants.
The result is an America that will not defend freedom but will happily fill the air with the same gooey platitudes as those who have concerns other than freedom, and no intention of defending it. It's a step forward for celebrity and airy vacuity, a step backward for actual civilization.
VDH, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and Mark Steyn...for starters.
An Ivy League education, while not an automatic disqualifier, would certainly be a strike against an applicant.
Anybody who's worked on Wall Street for more than 10 years...fuhgeddaboutit! And that goes double for any alumnus of Goldman Sachs.
First Executive Order? Courtesy of The Bard: kill all the lawyers.
What an excellent summation!!!
Name one. Name a "wise man" in the 0bama adminstration.
You see, it's doubtful that the world can take another three years of this.
So,... what is to be done ?
VDH doesn’t dissect Obama diplomacy, he puts it though a sasuage grinder
What comes out of the end ain’t sausage either
Really? I don’t know about you, but I’d be happy to have someone in the WH who opposes raising taxes, opposes Obama’s stimulus, opposes Cap & Trade, opposes card check, opposes the public option etc. rather than Obama. He supports the GOP platform 100%, I am not sure how much more “pure” you want to go, but good luck with that.
You need to get your head out of the clouds and compare what comes out of “Say anything Mitts” mouth and what he does. I followed him closely many years ago when he nearly took out Kennedy in 94 and what I learned was the guy will say anything to win an election.
You cannot count on him to do anything but blow with the current political wind.
Also the fact that the Rino Republican party would support him is a big reason to oppose him.