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Resetting the Reset Button [Victor Davis Hanson dissects 0's pathetic diplomacy]
NRO ^ | December 04, 2009 | Victor Davis Hanson

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, it’s time for Obama to make another fresh start

 Obama wanted to set our diplomacy on a new track.

And that’s just what he has done.

 

    After ten months of “Bush did it” diplomacy, the Obama administration needs to reset its reset button.

 

EUROPE
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 Obama’s diplomacy.

Germany bowed out on further stimulus. Sarkozy lectured us about utopian rhetoric without action on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The British press is collating a daily litany of our snubs and slights — and is beginning to conclude that, in Obama’s 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, she’d 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 Russia’s 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.

Don’t expect more European troops in Afghanistan. The NATO allies believe that our hearts aren’t 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 Obama’s 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.

ASIA
India and China — one-third of the world’s population — have not fallen for the hope-and-change trope. China won’t 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 administration’s support for outsourcing, free trade, nuclear development, and India’s 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 didn’t Obama’s new Middle East outreach — stamped with Bush culpability, recognition of Islam’s brilliance, monotonous promises of friendship, and emphasis on Obama’s 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. Obama’s cozying up to Syria has achieved nothing other than bolstering Damascus’s 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 Obama’s apologies for his own country as being as much a character defect as proof of any new accommodation. And while Obama repents for America’s misdemeanors, most leaders in the Middle East have no intention of apologizing for their countries’ felonies.

LATIN AMERICA
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 Venezuela’s 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 world’s 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 don’t 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.

DEAN OBAMA
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 Taliban’s and Saddam Hussein’s, 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 everyone’s 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.



TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: vdh; victordavishanson

1 posted on 12/04/2009 8:26:11 AM PST by Tolik
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Victor Davis Hanson:

Just a partial list: 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?
Obama’s Prissy America - Why does Obama’s 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
America’s 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 Palin’s First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obama’s record
Thoughts About Depressed Americans
Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Just a partial list. Much more at the link:  http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index
2 posted on 12/04/2009 8:27:54 AM PST by Tolik
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To: neverdem; Lando Lincoln; SJackson; dennisw; kellynla; monkeyshine; Alouette; nopardons; ...

 

  Ping !

Let me know if you want in or out.

Links:   

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/

3 posted on 12/04/2009 8:29:13 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik

VDH Bump.

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.


4 posted on 12/04/2009 8:41:48 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Tolik
You see, it's doubtful that the world can take another three years of this.

It's not "doubtful", it's a slam-dunk.

5 posted on 12/04/2009 8:42:00 AM PST by Madame Dufarge
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To: Tolik

VDH eloquently describes the massive FAIL of the current occupier of the White House. Good read.


6 posted on 12/04/2009 8:58:08 AM PST by afnamvet
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To: Tolik
In general, the Arab world is suspicious of those who trash their own.

In 0bama's case that would be what? Britain?

7 posted on 12/04/2009 9:04:59 AM PST by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (LIBERTY)
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To: Tolik
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

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.

8 posted on 12/04/2009 9:06:39 AM PST by redgirlinabluestate (2012 -- Romney/Pence for Competence...)
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To: Tolik
Thanks for the ping, T

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%.

9 posted on 12/04/2009 9:08:54 AM PST by metesky (My retirement fund is holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: metesky
multiplyed

That would be "multiplied" of course, although I did by a case of multy-ply at Sam's Club last week.

10 posted on 12/04/2009 9:16:30 AM PST by metesky (My retirement fund is holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: metesky
By a case

By??

I quit.

11 posted on 12/04/2009 9:19:09 AM PST by metesky (My retirement fund is holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: metesky

Hey.... English is tuff. Ask any native Texan.


12 posted on 12/04/2009 10:12:35 AM PST by willgolfforfood
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To: Tolik
There's a grim list. There is a very deep undercurrent on the Left that insists that America must be humbled, brought into line with internationalist and socialist ideals. That produces an enormous blind spot with regard to such pumped-up little tyrants such as Chavez and Ahmadinejad, who will happily replace the ideologically-based accusations of hegemony with the real thing. To an academic looking at the whole thing from the outside there's no difference; to the political prisoners being dumped in mass graves there's a world of difference.

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.

13 posted on 12/04/2009 10:21:02 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Tolik
If I ever was elected President, I'd have the following advisors close by:

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.

14 posted on 12/04/2009 11:00:47 AM PST by Night Hides Not (If Dick Cheney = Darth Vader, then Joe Biden = Dark Helmet)
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To: Tolik

BTTT


15 posted on 12/04/2009 11:10:11 AM PST by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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bm


16 posted on 12/04/2009 11:15:05 AM PST by the anti-liberal
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To: Billthedrill
[Obama's diplomacy is] a step forward for celebrity and airy vacuity, a step backward for actual civilization.

What an excellent summation!!!

17 posted on 12/04/2009 11:23:50 AM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: Tolik
We may hope that some old wise men are now whispering to the Obamians to reset their reset button.

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 ?

18 posted on 12/04/2009 12:35:40 PM PST by happygrl (Hope and Change or Rope and Chains?)
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To: Tolik

VDH doesn’t dissect Obama diplomacy, he puts it though a sasuage grinder

What comes out of the end ain’t sausage either


19 posted on 12/04/2009 1:43:48 PM PST by Popman (Election 2010: Congress, your pink slips are coming ...............)
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To: Tolik

VDH *Bump*


20 posted on 12/04/2009 4:09:29 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: redgirlinabluestate
Winning is not everything when you win with a “wolf (Mitt) in sheeps clothing”. Winning then becomes the beginning of your destruction.
21 posted on 12/04/2009 11:08:13 PM PST by liberty or death
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To: liberty or death

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.


22 posted on 12/05/2009 9:43:54 AM PST by redgirlinabluestate (2012 -- Romney/Pence for Competence...)
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To: redgirlinabluestate

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.


23 posted on 12/06/2009 12:20:43 PM PST by liberty or death
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