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The New World Disorder [VDH]
National Review ^ | 1/21/2013 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 01/22/2013 8:06:03 AM PST by Servant of the Cross

With a diminished team at State, Defense, and the CIA, Obama can be Obama.

John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, and John Kerry will be confirmed. The three will provide a force-multiplying effect on the Obama foreign policy of disengagement. The chameleon Brennan will be very different from David Petraeus at the CIA; Hagel is no circumspect Leon Panetta; and there was a reason why the appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state was greeted with praise in a way John Kerry’s will not be. The trio is less competent than their predecessors, but also perhaps more representative of a country on its way to a $20 trillion national debt and a “lead from behind” foreign policy of managed decline.

Let us take stock of the world since 2008. Reset with Russia was an abject failure; and relations with Vladimir Putin have never been frostier — and pettier, as even the U.S. adoption of Russian orphans has now ended. Nothing is more counterproductive than to lecture a proud rival nation from a position of looming financial and military weakness.

China remains China: an enigma, as liberals wait for its new wealth to translate into political reform, while conservatives expect instead that Chinese profits will more likely lead to a powerful authoritarian military eager to challenge America. The more Obama talks of global arms reduction and a nuclear-free world, coupled with a lower U.S. profile, the more likely South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan will be to make contingency plans to go nuclear.

Not since the end of World War II has the Mediterranean world been such a mess. On the northern shore, the insolvent Spain, Italy, and Greece threaten to bring down the entire European Union. None of the three can continue to borrow as before, nor apparently can they cut back enough to remain solvent. None has a military to speak of — in a neighborhood increasingly dangerous.

To the east, Syria is on its way to becoming Somalia — but a quagmire much closer to Europe. The West goes back and forth, sometimes fearful that the thug Assad won’t go, sometimes worried that what would replace him would be far worse. Likewise, Mohamed Morsi’s new Egypt is now a mix of Iran and Haiti, a theocracy ruling over a wrecked economy, a nonexistent tourist industry, and a massive flight of capital and expertise. In a year, Morsi may pull off the impossible feat of making Hosni Mubarak look good. Why we continue to give sophisticated weaponry to this fascistic, anti-Semitic ex-professor from southern California remains unexplained. Turkey is an Obama favorite; but why is not quite clear, as it clamps down on internal dissent, becomes increasingly Islamist in the imperial-Ottoman sense, and grows as hostile to Israel as it was once friendly.

Leading from behind turned Libya from an odious but secure dictatorship into a chaotic terrorist haven. Hostage executions now characterize Algeria. The understandable intervention by the French in Mali to stop an Islamic takeover is nonetheless the sort of unilateral “neo-colonialist” operation that they used to smear Americans for — a fact that is mostly ignored by American liberals and seen with Schadenfreude by conservatives. Obama has forged an odd domestic coalition that supports his deliberate diminution of American power abroad: liberals who like the savings abroad in order to splurge at home and who resent the use of raw power; conservatives who are in no mood to support intervention given the demagoguery they suffered over the war on terror and Iraq. The result is that nothingness has become the new Obama foreign policy.

Relations with Israel have reached an all-time low, but will further descend with the ascent of John Brennan at the CIA and Chuck Hagel at Defense. Both will let Obama at last be Obama, and he, by admission, alone knows what is in Israel’s best interests. The Iranian nuclear weapon is a matter of when, not if; the only mystery is how clever will be the foreign-policy establishment’s post-facto rationalizations about how Iran can be contained. But if a nuclear Iran is supposed to be managed like nuclear Pakistan, what neighbor will play the role of India to keep it in check?

After all that, no wonder the Obama administration is now “pivoting” toward Asia. Let us hope that the Sea of Japan does not turn into another Mediterranean. In any case, new American oil and gas drilling on private land, Obama’s own personal story, his thinly disguised distaste for European traditions, and the demographic reality in the U.S. of a relatively smaller European-American population make the changes easier to take for a people exhausted by European ankle-biting, Islamic terrorism, corrupt oil intrigue, and the one-election, one-time “Arab Spring.” Goodbye, Mediterranean.

Our war on terror is now reduced to euphemisms and symbols about moderate Islam — masking a deadly escalation in targeted assassinations via drones. That paradox is quite sustainable because the American progressive media decided that waterboarding three confessed terrorists for information about future terrorist plots was an intolerable crime, whereas rendering 3,000 suspected terrorists mute through remote-controlled Hellfire missiles is not. Because we no longer have a truly honest and independent press, the limits of tolerance for U.S. mishaps have expanded as never before. Losing an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, with no real idea of why they were so vulnerable or, indeed, why they were all there in the first place, is a curious artifact, not a scandal. Al-Qaeda was declared on the run by the Obama administration — an ironic truth, because it is metastasizing in new directions, to Algeria, Libya, Mali, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen, even as we declare jihadism to be a personal journey.

The George McClellan–like plan for leaving Iraq and Afghanistan on strict timetables, after much lost American blood and treasure, perhaps will bring a sense of release to Americans who are tired of both those ungrateful places. Yet soon some disturbing videos of what our abdications wrought — reminiscent of Saigon in 1975 or Kurdistan in 1991 — may usher in as much moral embarrassment for us as joy for our enemies.

Looming behind these changes in U.S. foreign policy is the reality of borrowing nearly $6 trillion in four years, with another $4 trillion scheduled in the Obama second term. That massive indebtedness — known as “investments” or “stimulus” — will weaken U.S. influence and eventually ensure huge defense cuts in the manner of the 1990s. As it is now, behind almost every current American foreign initiative is the reality that 40 cents on the dollar are borrowed to pay for it — a fact well appreciated by our opportunistic enemies in waiting.

As the U.S. slowly withdraws, in the manner of the British before and after World War II, all the old hot spots that have receded in our memory — Cyprus, the Aegean between Greece and Turkey, the Falklands, the 38th Parallel, the Persian Gulf, contested islands off Japan — will become news again. If Afghanistan does not return to its pre-9/11 status as a terrorist haven, then Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen will have to do.

In short, interested parties rightly assume the U.S. cannot or will not intervene abroad. They envision making opportune territorial adjustments during this remaining four-year window of opportunity — just as China invaded Vietnam, Russia went into Afghanistan, Communists infiltrated Central America, and Islamists stormed our embassy in Tehran in the waning years of the Carter administration.

Will the world lament the consequences of a U.S. retreat? Not likely.

A theme of Western philosophy from Plato to Tocqueville has been the people’s preference for equality, rather than greater freedom and prosperity with the attendant cost of inequality. The idea of an America more or less the same as other countries — imperiled by debt, class tensions, and festering social problems, and without a global footprint — will be welcome news to most of the world, even as their own neighborhoods become much poorer and more dangerous places.

Indeed, the worse the U.S. performs, and the lower the American profile abroad, the more the world likes Barack Obama — almost as if to say, “At last, they’re just like us.”

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: disorder; leadingfrombehind; newworlddisorder; newworldorder; nwo; obama; obamacabinet; vdh; victordavishanson; world; worlddisorder
The interloper has not only fundamentally changed America, he has also fundamentally made the entire world less safe.
1 posted on 01/22/2013 8:06:22 AM PST by Servant of the Cross
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To: Servant of the Cross

So the New World Order will be replaced with the New World Disorder?

2 posted on 01/22/2013 8:17:31 AM PST by NonValueAdded (If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you've likely misread the situation.)
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To: Servant of the Cross

Forget the world! My own neighborhood is no longer safe, and now they’re talking about wanting to take away our ability to defend ourselves from the ghetto thugs who are invading?

FUBO. FU straight to your Marxist Muslim, buttf$&%ing Hell!

3 posted on 01/22/2013 8:20:38 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: Servant of the Cross

And Kerry is nothing but a traitor, pure and simple!

4 posted on 01/22/2013 8:24:11 AM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: ConorMacNessa

Kerry is a lazy SOB, he isn’t about to do a real job..fortunately. Maybe his impact will be limited.

5 posted on 01/22/2013 9:02:12 AM PST by Oldexpat
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To: Servant of the Cross
Hanson says: "A theme of Western philosophy from Plato to Tocqueville has been the people’s preference for equality, rather than greater freedom and prosperity with the attendant cost of inequality. The idea of an America more or less the same as other countries — imperiled by debt, class tensions, and festering social problems, and without a global footprint — will be welcome news to most of the world, even as their own neighborhoods become much poorer and more dangerous places.

"Indeed, the worse the U.S. performs, and the lower the American profile abroad, the more the world likes Barack Obama — almost as if to say, “At last, they’re just like us.”

"Progressive" pundits yesterday gloried in President Obama's 2nd Inauguration emphasis on "equality."

Clearly, the oppressed individuals who have flocked to America's shores for over 200 years have not looked for "equality." Rather, they were on a search for the opportunity to exercise their Creator-endowed, therefore unalienable, individual right and opportunity, under a system of self-government, free from the restraints of artificial laws, to the "pursuit of happiness."

This Administration's attempts at selling "equality" as a proper goal of America's federal government reveals either extreme ignorance of America's founding principles, or it reveals an outright attempt to "change" the very limitations and prohibitions on government authority and power provided by the Constitution it swears to uphold.

Ordinary citizens in the founding period understood that an appeal to "equality" represents a threat to liberty and a grave danger of tyranny in a Republic--yes, as Dr. Franklin stated upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, "A republic. . . if you can keep it."

For verification of the level of understanding among citizens of that day "Of the Nature of Equality in Republics," we might consult "The Founders' Constitution," Volume 1, Chapter 15, Document 51, The University of Chicago Press here, click on "Equality," and then on #51--the Nathaniel Chipman essay by that name.

Reading Chipman, even a high school student might understand that the kind of "equality" envisioned by America's so-called "progressives" is not a legitimate goal of America's federal or state governments. Such "equality" requires coercive action incompatible with liberty. It is a limiting concept--not one that promotes opportunity or freedom.

Here are excerpts from Chipman's essay:

"Some of the most eminent writers on government, have supposed an equality of property, as well as of rights to be necessary in a republic. They have, therefore, prescribed limits to individual acquisition. The Reason given is, that riches give power to those who possess them, and that those who possess power, will always abuse it to the oppression of others. If this be a good reason for limiting the acquisition of riches, there is equal reason for limiting the improvement of bodily strength and mental abilities. Such a step would be an abridgement of the primary rights of man, and counteract almost all the laws of his nature. It would, perhaps, could it be reduced to practice, place the whole human race in a state of fearless quietude; but it would be a state of tasteless enjoyment, of stupid inactivity, not to be envied by the lowest tribes of the animal creation.

"If such be the principles of a republican government, it is a government out of nature. Those have made a wiser choice, who have submitted to the less tyrannical principles of absolute monarchy. These are not the principles of a republic. They are the principles of anarchy, and of popular tyranny."

. . . .

"Let us not, in a Republic, attempt the extreme of equality: It verges on the extreme of tyranny. Guarantee to every man, the full enjoyment of his natural rights. Banish all exclusive privileges; all perpetuities of riches and honors. Leave free the acquisition and disposal of property to supply the occasions of the owner, and to answer all claims of right, both of the society, and of individuals. To give a stimulus to industry, to provide solace and assistance, in the last helpless stages of life, and a reward for the attentions of humanity, confirm to the owner the power of directing, who shall succeed to his right of property after his death; but let it be without any limitation, or restraint upon the future use, or disposal. Divert not the consequences of actions, as to the individual actors, from their proper course. Let no preference be given to any one in government, but what his conduct can secure, from the sentiments of his fellow citizens. Of property, left to the disposal of the law, let a descent from parents to children, in equal portions, be held a sacred principle of the constitution. Secure but these, and every thing will flow in the channel intended by nature. The operation of the equal laws of nature, tend to exclude, or correct every dangerous excess.

"Thus industry will be excited; arts will flourish, and virtuous conduct meet its just reward, the esteem and confidence of mankind. Am I deceived? or are these the true principles of equality in a democratic republic? Principles, which will secure its prosperity, and, if any thing in this stage of existence can be durable, its perpetual duration."

(End of excerpt)

6 posted on 01/22/2013 9:27:11 AM PST by loveliberty2 ( -)
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To: Oldexpat; ConorMacNessa
Is President Obama Liberalism's Gorbachev?

It's that incompetence thing that has me somewhat gladdened at this point.

Obama and his minions will likely not be half as damaging as they'd like to be, because their inherent competence deficit is the elephant-in-the-room-sized "bubble," which is about to burst.


7 posted on 01/22/2013 9:35:50 AM PST by Agamemnon (Darwinism is the glue that holds liberalism together)
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To: loveliberty2
Great post. I think this sums it up nicely ....

Clearly, the oppressed individuals who have flocked to America's shores for over 200 years have not looked for "equality." Rather, they were on a search for ......


8 posted on 01/22/2013 9:38:06 AM PST by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: Servant of the Cross

He missed the war that is about to go hot any day. China verses Japan. US policies have placed Japan into a very weak position. The Chinese own lots of worthless US debt notes. They will take it out on Japan.

9 posted on 01/22/2013 9:47:30 AM PST by justa-hairyape
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To: Servant of the Cross
A sobering essay; thanks for posting.

There is, to be honest, very little that indicates that 0bama even has a foreign policy, or ever intended to. Agree or disagree with the Bush policies with respect to the Middle East, at least the observer has to admit that he had them. Whatever else we make of this hodgepodge in Libya, Egypt, and now Syria, a coherent policy is nowhere to be seen.

Part of this is that from day one 0bama treated foreign policy as a subordinate concern to be farmed out to an equally unqualified political opponent in Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be run as a fiefdom somewhere beyond the borders of progressive domestic policy. It could be worse, of course, and apparently in the nomination of John Kerry, 0bama is proving to the skeptics that it will be.

One article of faith held by the international Left is that a disengaged America will be somehow better for human rights than one engaged in Pax Americana. We are seeing that tested today, and so far the results appear somewhere between feckless and disastrous. As near as I can tell even the aims of the proliferation of international socialism are not being advanced, far less the aims of legitimate U.S. foreign policy. The thugs though, they're doing fine.

10 posted on 01/22/2013 11:06:25 AM PST by Billthedrill
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