Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Strange developments

When, during the election campaign, Barack Obama said over and over again that his aim was to make the United States loved in the world again, exhibiting once again his extraordinary lack of historical and political knowledge, few people realized that he did not mean loved by friends and allies but by enemies and the worst dictators in the world. Not that they responded with love to his overtures but it is astonishing to see how consistently President Obama and his Administration have pushed aside friends and allied democracies in order to reach out to enemies, who also happen to be tyrannies.

Paul Greenberg writes in the Jewish World Review in an article mostly devoted to the customary Israel-bashing by the UN Human Rights Council, including “both China and Russia, those great exemplars of human rights” and “the Arab bloc, another bastion of human rights”:
These days even the United States, under our new administration, is adopting a softer, gentler tone toward the genocidal regime in Khartoum. For that matter, Washington is moving to "engage" Teheran and Moscow, too. And the military dictatorship in Burma to boot. Any regime that really violates human rights can hope to get a sympathetic hearing from this new crew at the State Department.
Sudan is singled out for mention because the chairman of the UN’s Arab bloc this month is the delegate from that country andis undoubtedly eminently well qualified to speak about human rights.

The article is mostly about the infamous Goldstone Report and repercussions thereof but, for the purposes of this posting, I picked out the reference to the new line in American foreign policy.

It is interesting that Mr Greenberg mentions the Burmese military junta because that is a very unfashionable tyranny. Political wonks and media sages who are happy to give China or Iran a pass, tend to be up in arms about Burma. Come to think of it, they used to be up in arms about Darfur. Whatever happened to that outrage?

So, if the new Administration is ready to defy fashionable opinion over Burma, it really is ready to extend the hand of friendship to all dictators.

Meanwhile, the word is that President Obama is going to give the twentieth anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall a miss. He presumably does not think a trip to Berlin now when he is no longer campaigning for the presidency to be of any importance. Besides, given his predilection for dealing with tyrants and dislike of spontaneous public movements, he may not like those pictures (if he has ever seen them) of people taking the Wall apart.

Michael Barone shows himself to be unimpressed:
PRESIDENT Obama, who found time to go on a 24-hour jaunt to Copenha gen on Oct. 2 to seek the 2016 Olympic Games for Chicago, apparently can't find the time for a 24-hour trip to Berlin on Nov. 9 for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Well, we all have our priorities, and the president can't be everywhere at once, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will surely represent America ably in Berlin.
Mind you, says Mr Barone, when one remembers what the then Senator Obama said in his speech in the Tiergarten about fighting for freedom, defeating the Taleban and Al-Qaeda, standing together against the various threats and compares it with his dithering over Afghanistan and frequently shown preference for enemies of freedom, it might be a good idea for him not to go. Madame Secretary of State, who will be brought out of the closet and dusted off for the occasion, will manage.

Read Barone’s article. Well worth it.


  1. Yes, all those people are thuggish enemies, but any good pinko knows that the US is responsible for it all. "The Devil made them do it." So all we have to do is accede to their perfectly-understandable non-negotiable demands and the entire world will come together in history's largest group hug, all singing Kumbaya. Except for a few tsk-tsk exceptions, such as Jews, who will be dead.

  2. "...the then Senator Obama said in his speech in the Tiergarten about fighting for freedom, defeating the Taleban and Al-Qaeda, standing together against the various threats ..."

    Yes, he did say all that ... I was there to hear it. But it 's also important to note - and it won't have escaped Obama - that the vast majority of his young audience that day REJECTED what he was saying. They didn't want to hear an American leader asking for support. They didn't want to know.

    What ever you might think about Obama, the anti-Americanism of today's youth around the world is a far more frightening phenomenon.


  3. Nick,
    I do recall you saying so at the time and had thought of including your comments in the posting. Probably I should have done but I am saving that for another one about the undying anti-Americanism. It simply is not true that Obama's election has changed anything. What you described was a very frightening mixture of anti-Americanism and a desire to appear morally superior without any hard choices or sacrifices. As I recall you said he was applauded at every rather vague and unfulfillable promise and met with silence when he said anything more concrete.

    What I think of Obama (and it is not a secret) does not make me hate the country or its people. I know the same was true about you and Bush. That, to me, is the sensible attitude. You may not like a politician but that is irrelevant to the country. For all of that, Obama ought to be there at the celebration of the Wall's fall, particularly as it did not just fall - it was brought down by the people.

  4. "For all of that, Obama ought to be there at the celebration of the Wall's fall, particularly as it did not just fall - it was brought down by the people."

    now that I can seriously applaud!

    Re: your reply ... my fear is that anti-Americanism is not just undying but vastly increasing as each generation passes. We are now in the epoch of post-WWII political leadership ... and in fact in some countries our political leadership is post-Vietnam ... it's when the post-fall of the Berlin Wall generation starts taking the reins that I'm really fearful ... becauase they have NO HISTORICAL MEMORY whatsoever and have no idea (or interest in) the problems and sacrifices that made the "Western world" what it is today.


  5. Nick,
    You may be right about the potential increase in anti-Americanism. Of course, with various ever stronger and ever menacing threats to the West, that may turn as, at present, America is the strongest power and will remains so. What you describe is largely a European phenomenon. Other countries are either told that America is the enemy but secretly long to get there or view it with some suspicion but have good working alliances. Australia and India spring to mind. But for us, the outlook is not happy.