Already mentioned below my outrage that RealClearPolitics would publish, let alone solicit, such drivel. Before we get started, here’s who the guy is.
He attended Harvard University, where he was on the staff of The Harvard Crimson, and graduated with honors in 1976. He has been a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and has served on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School.
Think he’s been a frequent guest on NPR too. Standard Obama Orc. Why would anyone care what he has to say? Only me. Because I can’t let it stand without subjecting it to a flamethrower. Here’s his spine numbing apologia for the worst president in U.S. History. I’m the one in Italics.
Is Obama To Blame for the World’s Crises?
The world is a hot mess. I always borrow my best lines from TMZ. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a passenger jet over Ukraine. Iraq is under siege from Islamic radicals, the Taliban is rebounding in Afghanistan and civil war grinds on in Syria. True.
Israel is fighting in Gaza. Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program have come up empty. China is bullying its neighbors. Also true.
When trouble flares up around the world, U.S. presidents get blamed. No shit, Sherlock. We’ve been holding it all together for a hundred years. Funny what happens when dad leaves home and the office for a Vegas hooker. The latest polls show that only about 36 percent of Americans approve of Barack Obama’s handling of foreign affairs — down from 51 percent in May, 2011, after the death of Osama bin Laden. Yeah. Odd, ain’t it. You’ve got that old snapshot of Dad looking intent in his Santa suit by the Xmas tree, but when you finally learn what he was intent on was a stripper dancing by the fireplace, your perspective changes. Especially since you’ve learned by hard experience he’s never been near the Xmas tree since. Not even on the day the tree fell down and killed some of his employees. While he was in Vegas.
Republicans have not been reluctant to place responsibility on him. “Obama has presided over a recent string of disasters that make even (Jimmy) Carter look competent,” wrote Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush. “The world is on fire — and Obama’s foreign policy legacy is in tatters.” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina charged that “his policies are failing across the globe.” All right. Granted that his critics are Republicans and must therefore be wrong, I’m sure we can find a counter-argument. Let’s see. A policy of universal apology to every dictator for everything they’ve done to abuse their people, coupled with a total shutdown of U.S. Operations in Iraq and an announced withdrawal date in Afghanistan, couldn’t have done anything to embolden our enemies and cause them to ignore weak American statements that are never backed up by anything but cheers from Leonardo Di Caprio.
The indictment implies that had the administration been tougher or smarter, Ukraine would be intact, Syria’s dictator would be gone, Iraq would be stable, Hamas would surrender, China would be a gentle lamb and Iran would give up its nukes. No. It implies that the usual behaviors of dictators and tyrants would have been less vicious, reckless, and costly. America has been a century long cop, not a miracle healer. But when the cop puts his gun on the ball washer at the first tee, people get the wrong idea. Assads kill 100,000 rather than 1,000. And Putins grab the whole Crimea and half of Ukraine, not just rivals off the street with Glock-bearing thugs. Also, just maybe, they don’t feel blasé about murdering 300 civilians who were just passing through. What else? With a status of forces agreement forcefully negotiated, Iraq might not be falling apart and crucifying and exterminating Christians, and Iran might not be jeering as they ramp up their nuke program confident of no penalty now or ever. Do matters of degree mean ANYTHING to you, Steven?
Conservatives say Obama thinks he’s king. But they seem to confuse him with God. We don’t think that. Trust me. Only he’s confused that way.
It’s easy to forget that planet Earth has always been a turbulent locale. Really? During the Reagan administration, often fondly recalled as a golden age, there was endless strife hither and yon: civil wars in Central America; Americans taken hostage in Lebanon; a U.S. military barracks blown up in Beirut; and Libyan terrorists bombing a Pan Am plane. Bad things happened back then? Not only hither? But yon too? Shucks, I just plain forgot, Steve. The world always behaves when you’ve got a Repub to tell’em to sit in the corner till they’re ready to straighten up. Of course, a massive and growing navy, Air Force, army, and ballistic missile network working on SDI don’t hurt none when it comes to standing up at the TelePrompTer and saying how very disappointed we crackers be with what youse did yestiddy. Do it?
The Soviets shot down a South Korean passenger jet. South Africa’s minority white government tried to suppress a black revolt. Did the Soviets shoot down a jetliner? Damn. I’ll bet Reagan said it was a sad accident and probably nobody’s fault before he adjourned to one of Nancy’s fancy state dinners. And revolt in South Africa? We all know how much Reagan hated black people. Pullease.
Reagan may get credit for causing the collapse of the Soviet Union, but tranquility didn’t follow. Of course tranquility was the whole point. Reagan was a total failure at that. He settled for getting the quivering fingers of totalitarian nonagenarians off the buttons of the thousands of ICBMs aimed at every American city, town, and hamlet. What an oaf. (Or half an oaf, which is better than none.) It wasn’t long before Iraq invaded Kuwait, Yugoslavia erupted into bloody ethnic conflict, civil war broke out in one African country after another, famine ravaged Somalia, Palestinians rose up against Israeli rule, and Pakistan and India fought a war after acquiring nuclear weapons. Because none of these situations was brewing, stewing, and simmering before Ronnie politely asked Gorby to please “Repaint this Wall, in appropriate Russian colors.”
And the 21st century? It did not turn the world into a serene oasis where America consistently got its way. Awwwwww. It didn’t? Good intentions don’t always lead to perfect results? Why the best parents never try to restrain their children in any way. The 9/11 attacks, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are still fresh in our minds. The Russian invasion of Georgia, al-Qaida’s migration into Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, Israel’s war in Lebanon, the civil war in Sudan — those are easy to forget. They are? You’re even better at forgetting than us Reagan sots are. Like, who can forget the time when Georgian rebels brought down that American Airlines 747 with one of the Kardashians on it? Oh. Sorry. Senior moment here. Which probably accounts for why I don’t remember the Al Qaida migration either. I thought the Sun King had Al Qaida pretty much neutralized, wiped out, and waiting submissively at the 19th green. My mistake.
North Korea cheated on a nuclear deal under Bush. Iran took major strides in its own nuclear quest. Thank God they’ve stopped THAT shit. Vladimir Putin gutted Russian democracy. China tried to intimidate its neighbors.
When was this era of harmony that Obama has somehow forfeited? It never happened. And it’s not likely to emerge under his successor. Even at the height of our post-Cold War power and influence, nasty events happened all the time, and we couldn’t stop them…
Yet the belief persists that the difference between a bad outcome and a good outcome is a willingness by the U.S. government to exercise leadership or show toughness or otherwise get involved. Like the way it didn’t matter what we did in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or the Cold War. In practice, our interventions often exact a terribly high price for a dismal result. Like three victories, one tie, and a loss, which if I read it right is enough to win a World Cup in futbol. If there are two ways to get a dismal result, maybe we should choose the one that doesn’t cost us thousands of lives or billions of dollars. And giving up more easily is always a good thing too. 440,000 lives in WWII, 60,000 apiece in Korea and Vietnam, and far less than that in Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost like a cop who’s been getting better at walking his beat, right before he retires and turns it over to the ascendant gangs.
We like to think we can easily shape the world to suit our preferences. But as the 19th-century historian Henry Adams pointed out, chaos is the law of nature, and order is the dream of man. I’m sure you like to think a lot of things, but it would be a huge help if you learned how to think in the first place.
Sorry if I’ve been impolite. But I’ve no more use in my life for Harvard Crimson slop.
RCP, I’m about done with you too.
Sell out pretending to be objective in your presentation, and I’m done.
It’s an Instapunk Rule.