Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Well, of course, he should stop apologizing

Barack Obama should stop apologizing for America, says Nile Gardiner and, for once, he is absolutely right. Not because the American government or its various institutions never make mistakes - they do, frequently; not because there are no obnoxious Americans and venal politicians in that country - there are; but because by and large American influence on the world, coming as it does from an Anglospheric frame of mind, has been benign. Think of the alternatives.

Above all, he should not be tempted to apologize for American actions in World War II. In fact, he should not be equating the bombing of Dresden with the death camps in his forthcoming visit to Germany. (It seems that on balance his great uncle, not his uncle, liberated Buchenwald, not Auschwitz. Good to know.) In fact, to avoid such an equivalence he ought not to be going to Dresden at all. Or, maybe, he should also visit London, Coventry, Bristol, Plymouth and one or two other places in Britain, not to mention Warsaw.


  1. Let me get this straight: you actually want to argue that because America is a force for good, on balance, it need not apologize for mistakes.

    So if I'm moral, upstanding citizen and I carelessly spit on your shoe, I needn't apologize because, overall, I'm a really good guy?

    This part is even goofier: "Think of the alternatives"

    So, even if I'm clearly imperfect, as long as I'm better than the worst, I needn't consider contrition?

    What's that all about?

  2. I think McDaddio is missing the point, sure mistakes are made, Obama will never admit the real ones (the democrats causing the bank crisis, they also baled out in Vietnam etc etc) but he has apololgised, by and large to Americas hostile enemies, the leader who has to ondo the damage he is openly doing to the constitution and country there is what demands an apology.

  3. Somehow I don't think defeating Nazi Germany counts as a mistake, McDaddyo. Nor liberating large numbers of people. Nor making films that everybody wants to watch. If any apology is due it is to the people of Vietnam for abandoning them to their very nasty fate but then I can't imagine a Democrat President doing that, can you?

  4. You're contradicting yourself, Helen.

    You say the president shouldn't apologize because America has been a benign force in the world. You specifically point out that mistakes were made (Nixon's pullout from Vietnam?) and that it isn't faultlessness that obviates apology, but the overall record.

    Then you say an apology would be okay, or is even due, if it reflected your ideological view on the Vietnam war.

    Make up your mind.

  5. I have made up my mind but you seem to find it rather hard to understand. No, I do not think apologies are due. One cannot apologize for the past, anyway. To create an impression, as President Obama is doing, that the United States is somehow uniquely evil and needs to apologize for everything is stupid and dangerous at the best of times but is particularly stupid and dangerous when a country's influence has been good and its enemies are seriously unpleasant.

    Is that clear or do you want me to repeat that in words of one syllable?

  6. There have been no mistakes. Only policies that have failed.