‘Uncontested Arrivals’ and Obama’s Foreign Policy
By Roger Kimball
I am holed up in in beautiful Antigua (Lat. 17.07 Long. -61.81) for a few days with a small cadre of serious thinkers helping to sort out the world’s problems. In this super-connected, technological age, no place, not even this tropical paradise, can be out of contact with the long-running circus of fatuous incompetence being run from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. The latest reminder of the clownish antics which our masters in Washington give us in lieu of leadership comes from the great Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard. In a few short paragraphs, tells us everything we need to know about “Obama’s Fantasy-Based Foreign Policy.”
The latest exhibition of stunning incompetence, of course, is the little dance Obama, Susan Rice, and John “reporting for duty” Kerry are performing while Vladimir Putin conducts the invasion by, er, the “uncontested arrival” of Russian troops in the (formerly) “Autonomous Republic” of Crimea. In a way, the Obama administration’s routine is funny, in a Keystone Cops sort of way. The comedy palls however when you realize that the Obama-Rice-Kerry vaudeville act is being performed as an excuse for foreign policy. As Hayes reminds us, team Obama just doesn’t understand the way the world works. They are completely out of touch with the unpleasant realities of power politics. They believe evil is confined to their domestic rivals, whom they propose to regulate and police into conformity, employing where necessary the suited, bureaucratic Gauleiters from the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service to establish what an earlier age called Gleichschaltung, that “coordination,” that “bringing into line” that made Deutschland and its satellites such a place of fun and frolic from 1934 until 1945.
The spectacle of bumbling incompetence on view in the Obama administration’s response to the unfolding drama in and around Sevastopol is hardly an isolated occurrence. On the contrary, from almost the moment he assumed office in January 2009, Obama has assiduously avoided promoting U.S. interests. A full litany might begin with his notorious speech in Cairo early on in his first term. He looked forward to a “new beginning” with the Muslim world, but, as Andy McCarthy and others warned “Obama, Obama, There Are Still a Billion Osamas!” “For five years,” Hayes points out, “the Obama administration has chosen to see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is.” It is a depressing narrative.
In this fantasy world, the attack in Fort Hood is “workplace violence.” The Christmas Day bomber is an “isolated extremist.” The attempted bombing in Times Square is a “one-off” attack. The attacks in Benghazi are a “spontaneous” reaction to a YouTube video. Al Qaeda is on the run. Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” The Iranian regime can be sweet-talked out of its nuclear weapons program. And Vladimir Putin is a new, post-Cold War Russian leader.In the real world, it was a pen pal of the late jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki who opened fire on soldiers at Fort Hood. The Christmas bomber was dispatched from Yemen, where he was instructed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Times Square bomber was trained and financed by the Pakistani Taliban. Benghazi was a deliberate attack launched by well-known terrorist groups. Al Qaeda is amassing territory and increasing its profile. Assad is a brutal dictator, responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Syrians. The Iranian regime is firmly entrenched as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and remains determined to lead a nuclear state. And in Russia we face a Cold War throwback willing to use force to expand Russian influence.
And here’s the kicker. It’s a double whammy: “And Vladimir Putin, it turns out, is who we thought he was. Unfortunately, so is Barack Obama.”
It is sometimes said that a people gets the leaders it deserves. What did we do to deserve this?