On ne peut pas blâmer les États-Unis pour chaque problème dans cet hémisphère. Je suis très reconnaissant que le Président Ortega ne m’ait pas blâmé pour des choses qui se sont produites quand j’avais trois mois. Obama
Obama est la version manucurée de Wright: il est allé à Harvard. Il n’éructe pas, il ne bave pas, il ne montre pas le poing. Il n’émet pas de gros mots à jet continu comme le fait son gourou. Elégant, Il est tout miel – mais les dragées, même recouvertes de sucre, n’en sont pas moins au poivre. Le fond est identique. Wright insulte l’Amérique, Obama demande pardon : dans les deux cas, elle est coupable. Wright est pasteur, Obama est président. Plus encore, cette déplorable Amérique a semé le désordre et le mal partout dans le monde. Au lieu de collaborer multilatéralement avec tous, d’œuvrer au bien commun avec Poutine, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, Bachir al-Assad, et Cie, l’insupportable Bush en a fait des ennemis. Quelle honte ! Il faut réparer les torts commis. L’Amérique ne trouvera sa rédemption que dans le retrait, la pénitence, la contrition, et une forme de disparition. Laurent Murawiec
Quand l’Autriche se moque de vous, c’est que ce n’est pas votre semaine. Pourtant qui peut blâmer Madame Fekter, vu le dédain qu’Obama a montré pour son propre pays à l’étranger, jouant au philosophe-roi au-dessus de la mêlée qui négocie entre sa patrie renégate et un monde par ailleurs chaleureux et accueillant ? (…) Il est particulièrement étrange de voir un leader mondial célébrer le déclin de son propre pays. Encore quelques tournées mondiales comme celle-ci et Obama aura beaucoup plus de déclin à célébrer. Charles Krauthammer
Bref, nous assistons au retour de l’idéalisme postnational d’un Carter mais avec cette fois le charisme d’un Reagan. Pendant 40 ans nos écoles ont enseigné l’équivalence morale, le pacifisme utopique et le multiculturalisme bien intentionné et nous apprenons maintenant que tout ceci n’était pas que de la thérapie mais est insidieusement devenu notre évangile national. Victor Davis Hanson
Et nos péchés à nous alors?
Esclavagisme, génocide indien, oppression des noirs, Hiroshima, torture, manque de respect pour l’islam, Bush …
Après sa triomphale et tout à fait inédite tournée européenne de dénigrement de son propre pays …
Et au lendemain, avant le lavage du linge sale de ses services secrets en public et nul doute sa très prochaine visite au Paradis du travailleur nord-coréen, d’un sommet des Amériques où le pénitent en chef du Monde libre s’est à nouveau excusé pour l’autoritarisme de son pays devant les parangons de démocratie Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales et les frères Castro …
Retour, avec Victor Davis Hanson, sur l’incroyable suffisance avec laquelle notre nouveau messie de la repentance unilatérale et de la contrition préventive vient à nouveau, avec l’interminable litanie des péchés de son propre pays, d’humilier le reste du monde …
Oubliés en effet le colonialisme britannique, le génocide et le commerce allemand avec les mollahs comme, Ségolène, les atrocités françaises au Vietnam et en Algérie …
Impasse totale également sur le génocide turc des Arméniens et les persécutions des Kurdes …
Mépris complet de même pour la pauvre Russie et ses 30 millions de victimes du stalinisme, les assassinats de ses citoyens à l’étranger et sa destruction de la Tchétchénie et de l’Afghanistan …
Négation totale encore des 70 millions de victimes du maoïsme, du subventionnement des bombes nord-coréennes et de la dictature birmane comme de l’oppression du Tibet et des Ouighours …
Indifférence la plus pure enfin pour le financement saoudien ou iranien des jihadistes de tous poils en Israël, Irak ou même aux Etats-Unis et en Europe …
President of the World
The globe is hearing a deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is.
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
April 17, 2009
Given Obama’s performance on his recent trip, three developments were quite astounding.
First, despite this fresh climate of atonement, there was a complete absence of a single apology from any other foreign leader — odd for the new shared spirit of multi-polarity and reciprocity.
Not a word came from Britain about colonialism. Nothing from Germany on the Holocaust, or its trade with Iran. Not a peep from France about Algeria or Vietnam.
Turkey was mum on the Armenian killings and its own tough anti-Kurdish policies. Russia said nothing about the 30 million murdered by Stalin — or its present assassinations abroad, much less its leveling of Grozny or its destruction of Afghanistan. Nothing came from China about the 70 million who perished under Mao or its present role in subsidizing North Korean nukes — or its violation of global copyright laws. We won’t hear anything in the “New Asian Hemisphere” about Muslim Uighurs or Tibet.
Second, there was no other example of “He did it!” about supposedly inept predecessors. Mr. Medvedev said nothing about Putin’s brutish rule. Sarkozy and Merkel did not trash the shady Chirac or Gazprom’s bought lobbyist Schroeder, and their role in harming the Atlantic alliance. Gordon Brown was quiet about Tony Blair and Iraq. China did not mention a reset button. The new Berlusconi did not trash the old Berlusconi.
Third, we saw no concrete evidence of any help — or hope and change — from any foreign leader. Zilch. There were expectations of American concessions, but nothing new or helpful from anyone else.
Instead I think a number of astute foreign leaders — rivals, enemies, and friends alike — have already drawn the following conclusions.
I. An Obama visit
A vast entourage will descend on your capital in campaign mode. Most of your functionaries will wish to get a photo-op with the rock-star president. The American president at some point will request a “town-hall meeting,” press conference, or open-air handshake session with the crowd. All this is largely for domestic consumption back home, and is designed to offer an antidote for the concessions or apologies that follow. It is quite successful in generating temporary goodwill toward the new Obama administration.
II. “I’m sorry.”
Obama will apologize for almost anything one can imagine. First comes the generic lamentation about Bush, the need for a reset button, and America’s characteristic “arrogance.” Then there are the “we are at fault” lines on spec, tailor-made mea culpas for the country in question.
If you are Turkish and Islamic, you get a threefer: the morally equivalent reference to the American treatment of the Indians, the pledge that we are not at war with Islam (forget that no president ever said we were), and the reminder that we are not a Christian nation.
In Europe, you receive apologies for Bush, Iraq, and the financial meltdown. Each leader gets a unique version of Obama’s somewhat narcissistic “Them, not me” — either a strain of something like “Bush did it” or “Every American except me is arrogant.” We can console ourselves only that Obama has not contextualized or apologized to the Somali pirates — yet.
III. “You’re Right!”
Differences that your country has with the United States will be resolved in your favor. Foreign leaders already sense that Obama’s success hinges on his “hope and change” ecstasy back home — which cannot for long sustain stories of difficult diplomacy and public manifestations of international trouble and acrimony, of anything really that suggests he is not mesmerizing the world in the manner he did the American electorate.
Europe? Take your pick. No more combat troops to Afghanistan; an international financial “czar”; no additional financial deficit stimuli; no Guantanamo prisoners on European shores; American acknowledgment of culpability for the financial crisis; no mention of Europe’s own reckless lending, protectionism, or pre-September 2008 declining GDP. But goodwill aplenty.
China? It gets praise when it ridicules the dollar, but offers no help on North Korea. Nothing new about trade violations. Hope is expressed that they will still buy our growing debt.
Russia? Let us count the ways. No more missile defense for Eastern Europe; no mention of Russia’s human-rights violations or its policy of serial assassination abroad; de facto abandonment of advocacy for former Soviet republics’ autonomy; Russia’s energy blackmail is Russia’s business; no help with de-nuclearizing Iran.
Turkey? Yes, Europe must let you in the EU. The new Danish NATO supreme commander must apologize for defending free speech — and, as relish, hire some of your generals; continued American assurance that we are not a Christian nation.
The Islamic World is not to be inconvenienced by any mention of radical Islam, or 9/11, or of the endemic pathologies that nourished al-Qaedism in the first place — such as gender apartheid, religious intolerance, autocracy, statism, and tribalism. Instead there is plenty of Bush-bashing, courting of Iran and Syria, caricatures of the “war on terror,” and talk of Iraq as a “mistake.”
Then comes the “separation.” Obama makes it clear to any host or foreign leader that both he and his vision of America are strangely exempt from America’s past, from Bush, and from our innately arrogant nature. That is accomplished in a number of adroit ways. There is evocation of his once-taboo middle name “Hussein” to win affection in the Middle East, but also to suggest a more Third Worldish resonance such as “I am one of you too who has grievances against ‘them.’ ”
He is beginning to mention the novelty of his racial heritage a lot, usually in the context that we are now in a new world of Obama, and that his very presence is a rejection of the old and illiberal America.
That the veteran Colin Powell and Russian-speaking Condoleezza Rice ran American foreign policy the last eight years, in a way unthinkable in Europe, is never voiced. Suggesting that China would have an Uighur foreign minister, that Saudi Arabia would have a Christian foreign minister, that France would have an Algerian foreign minister, that Germany would have a Turkish foreign minister, or that Russia would have a Chechen foreign minister is as absurd as suggesting that a Powell or Rice was never a big deal.
So what Obama leaves out about America is telling. He touches on slavery, lack of voting rights for blacks in the South (although he conflates this issue and implies to foreigners that African Americans could not vote in the North as well), our past treatment of Native Americans, and the dropping of the bomb against Japan.
These transgressions are rarely put in any historical context, much less referenced as sins of mankind shared by all of his hosts (the pedigree of murder, exploitation, and rapine of his foreign interlocutors is quite stunning). We don’t hear many references to the American Revolution, or the great tradition of American ingenuity embodied by Bell, Edison, or the Wright brothers.
We hear nothing about our Gettysburg, or our entry into World War I. Iwo Jima and the Bulge are never alluded to. Drawing the line in Korea and forcing the end of the Soviet monstrosity are taboo subjects. That we pledged the life of New York for Berlin in the Cold War is unknown. Liberating Afghanistan and Iraq from the diabolical Taliban and Saddam Hussein is left unsaid. The Civil Rights movement, the Great Society, affirmative action, and present billion-dollar foreign-aid programs apparently never existed. Millions of Africans have been saved by George Bush’s efforts at extending life-saving medicines to AIDS patients — but again, this is never referenced.
V. What’s Next?
At present the world is watching, probing, and digesting the Obama presidency. But it has already concluded that Obama is nourished by applause and will work to maintain it — not merely for personal gratification, but because he realizes that loud public endorsement is essential to his perpetual candidacy, given its absence of experience and sagacity.
Those abroad are also reassured that the American media, so heavily invested in hope and change, will do almost anything to transmogrify American embarrassments into Obama successes. Meanwhile, the contours of the new world order are clear. Iraq’s democrats are snubbed; Iran’s cutthroats are courted. A Saudi royal receives a bow; the British queen, a presumptuous squeeze — while her prime minister receives unplayable DVDs.
Pakistan released Dr. Khan and wants us to idle our Predators. Iran is adding to its centrifuges. North Korea will ready ever-more missiles. Syria lectures on the putative peace it is begged to participate in. The former Soviet republics will fall back into line, closing American supply bases or bracing for the next Putin push. Israel gets a Charles Freeman nomination; Gaza a billion U.S. dollars in aid.
The odious governments of Cuba, Libya, and Syria quite logically have now expressed warmth of some sort for Obama and expect similar treatment in return. Russia fears little challenge to the reestablishment of its 19th-century influence. Pirates in Somalia, though slightly fewer in number today, likely have little to fear going forward.
Europe had better prepare for its own defense. So should Japan. They may get more expressions of outrage when crises loom, more calls for U.N. action, but not much more than that. Expect a world of more nukes, not fewer — in direct proportion to Obama’s calls for their entire elimination.
In short, we have a return of Jimmy Carter’s postnational idealism, but this time with the charismatic face of a Ronald Reagan. For 40 years we have had well-meaning moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism taught in our schools, and we are now learning that all that was not just therapy, but has insidiously become our national gospel. The world is hearing a deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is — now offered in mellifluous cadences by a messianic president who not so long ago in more unguarded moments called for more oppression studies and reparations.
President Obama will get his much-needed praise and adulation abroad, and Americans will finally be somewhat admired for a while. And thereafter, there will be real hell to pay — either abject U.S. appeasement as the world heats up, or some sort of frantic eleventh-hour hyper-response to restore stability and lost deterrence.
Update: After this essays was written and published, President Sarkozy stated his impressions of Obama as a world leader: “Obama has a subtle mind, very clever and very charismatic,” the French President said, “But he was elected two months ago and had never run a ministry. There are a certain number of things on which he has no position. And he is not always up to standard on decision-making and efficiency.”
It’s Your Country Too, Mr. President
The Washington post
Friday, April 10, 2009
In his major foreign policy address in Prague committing the United States to a world without nuclear weapons, President Obama took note of North Korea’s missile launch just hours earlier and then grandiloquently proclaimed:
« Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response. »
A more fatuous presidential call to arms is hard to conceive. What « strong international response » did Obama muster to North Korea’s brazen defiance of a Chapter 7 — « binding, » as it were — U.N. resolution prohibiting such a launch?
The obligatory emergency Security Council session produced nothing. No sanctions. No resolution. Not even a statement. China and Russia professed to find no violation whatsoever. They would not even permit a U.N. statement that dared express « concern, » let alone condemnation.
Having thus bravely rallied the international community and summoned the United Nations — a fiction and a farce, respectively — what was Obama’s further response? The very next day, his defense secretary announced drastic cuts in missile defense, including halting further deployment of Alaska-based interceptors designed precisely to shoot down North Korean ICBMs. Such is the « realism » Obama promised to restore to U.S. foreign policy.
He certainly has a vision. Rather than relying on America’s unique technological edge in missile defenses to provide a measure of nuclear safety, Obama will instead boldly deploy the force of example. How? By committing his country to disarmament gestures — such as, he promised his cheering acolytes in Prague, ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Really, now. How does U.S. ratification of that treaty — which America has, in any case, voluntarily abided by for 17 years — cause North Korea to cease and desist, and cause Iran to turn nukes into plowshares?
Obama’s other great enthusiasm is renewing disarmament talks with Russia. Good grief. Of all the useless sideshows. Cut each of our arsenals in half and both countries could still, in Churchill’s immortal phrase, « make the rubble bounce. »
There’s little harm in engaging in talks about redundant nukes because there is nothing of consequence at stake. But Obama seems not even to understand that these talks are a gift to the Russians for whom a return to anachronistic Reagan-era START talks is a return to the glory of U.S.-Soviet summitry.
I’m not against gift-giving in international relations. But it would be nice to see some reciprocity. Obama was in a giving mood throughout Europe. While Gordon Brown was trying to make his American DVDs work and the queen was rocking to her new iPod, the rest of Europe was enjoying a more fulsome Obama gift.
Our president came bearing a basketful of mea culpas. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own people for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness, for genocide, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantanamo and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.
And what did he get for this obsessive denigration of his own country? He wanted more NATO combat troops in Afghanistan to match the surge of 17,000 Americans. He was rudely rebuffed.
He wanted more stimulus spending from Europe. He got nothing.
From Russia, he got no help on Iran. From China, he got the blocking of any action on North Korea.
And what did he get for Guantanamo? France, pop. 64 million, will take one prisoner. One! (Sadly, he’ll have to leave his bridge partner behind.) The Austrians said they would take none. As Interior Minister Maria Fekter explained with impeccable Germanic logic, if they’re not dangerous, why not just keep them in America?
When Austria is mocking you, you’re having a bad week. Yet who can blame Frau Fekter, considering the disdain Obama showed his own country while on foreign soil, acting the philosopher-king who hovers above the fray mediating between his renegade homeland and an otherwise warm and welcoming world?
After all, it was Obama, not some envious anti-American leader, who noted with satisfaction that a new financial order is being created today by 20 countries, rather than by « just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy. » And then added: « But that’s not the world we live in, and it shouldn’t be the world that we live in. »
It is passing strange for a world leader to celebrate his own country’s decline. A few more such overseas tours, and Obama will have a lot more decline to celebrate.
The apology tour continues in Latin America
April 18, 2009
The following passage from Barack Obama’s speech to Latin American leaders will be one of those Rorshach tests for political perspective. Those who hated the Bush administration enough will applaud it; those who think America is usually wrong will cheer; and the rest of us will shake our heads:
I know that promises of partnership have gone unfulfilled in the past, and that trust has to be earned over time.
While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership. (Applause.)
There is no senior partner and junior partner in our relations; there is simply engagement based on mutual respect and common interests and shared values. So I’m here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration.
Obama’s apologizing for being dictatorial … to Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and the Castros. As for “dictat[ing] our terms,” we used to call that defending American interests. When negotiating, people try to get the best terms for themselves. We didn’t send gunboats to Venezuela or Bolivia during the Bush administration, and the only people seizing assets over the last eight years have been the Venezuelans under Chavez.
Once again, we have the new President embarking on the “We Suck ‘09Åç tour, kicked off in Europe, where he felt the need to apologize for the last administration’s efforts to defend America’s interests on the international stage. Obama likes to call this “smart power” and tells us we’ll get more by appearing humble than by pursuing our interests in the normal fashion. So far, the rest of the world has applauded Obama’s performance — and gone on to reject our requests for economic cooperation, combat troops for Afghanistan, partnership with Russia against Iran, and North Korean continuation of the six-party nuclear disarmament talks without launching long-range missiles over Japan.
Buy the T-shirt for the tour, folks, but don’t be too unhappy if they run out. It looks like we’ll have a “We Suck” tour in 2010, 2011, and 2012, too.