His foreign-policy errors result not from incompetence but from a conscious agenda.
Lots of questions arise about the muddled foreign policy of the Obama administration. Critics suggest that America’s friends have now become enemies, and enemies friends. Others cite incompetence and naïveté rather than deliberate agendas as the cause of American decline, and of growing global chaos from Libya to Ukraine.
But, in fact, there is a predictable pattern to Obama’s foreign policy. The president has an adolescent, romantic view of professed revolutionary societies and anti-Western poseurs — and of his own ability uniquely to reach out and win them over. In the most superficial sense, Obama demonstrates his empathy for supposedly revolutionary figures of the non-Western world through gratuitous, often silly remarks about Christianity and Western colonial excesses, past and present. He apologizes with talk of our “own dark periods” and warns of past U.S. “dictating”; he contextualizes; he ankle-bites the very culture he grew up and thrived in, as if he can unapologetically and without guilt enjoy the West’s largesse only by deriding its history and values.
In lieu of reading or speaking a foreign language, or knowing much about geography (Austrians speak Austrian, the death camps were Polish, the Indian Ocean Maldives are the politically correct name of the Falklands, cities along the U.S. Atlantic Coast are Gulf ports, etc.), Obama adopts, in the manner of a with-it English professor, hokey accentuation to suggest an in-the-know fides anytime he refers to the Taliban, Pakistan, or Teheran. Reminiscent of college naïfs with dorm-room posters of Che Guevara, Obama mythologizes about the underappreciated multicultural “Other” that did everything from fuel the Western Renaissance and Enlightenment to critique Christian excesses during the Inquisition. In truth, what he delivers is only a smoother and more refined version of Al Sharpton’s incoherent historical riff on “astrology” and “Greek homos.” Obama refuses to concede that Islam can become a catalyst for radical killers and terrorists, and he has a starry-eyed crush on those who strike anti-Western poses and have turned their societies upside down on behalf of the proverbial people.
Keep that in mind, and it makes sense that, during the Egyptian turmoil, Obama was intent on ousting the pro-Western kleptocrat Hosni Mubarak and investing in the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the dark anti-democratic history of Mohamed Morsi and the Brothers and their agenda of Islamicizing the most populous country in the Arab world. For Obama, such zealotry is evidence of their legitimacy and the justice of their efforts to overturn the established hierarchies of old Egypt.
Moammar Qaddafi was a monster and a thug. But in fear both of radical Islamists and of the implications for Libya of the Western military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and eager to have Western knowhow rehabilitate his ailing oil and gas industry, he had reached out to the West and ceased his support for international terrorists. But ridding Libya of the cartoonish and geriatric Qaddafi and allowing it to be overrun by stern revolutionary Islamists was again in tune with Obama’s rose-colored view of the Middle East.
One of the many reasons why Obama pulled all U.S. troops out of a stable and secure Iraq at the end of 2011 was that its democracy was, in his eyes, tainted by its American birthing and its associations with George W. Bush. Such a hazy belief that Western influence and power are undeserved and inordinate made it initially impossible for Obama to condemn ISIS as growing and dangerous rather than dismiss it as “jayvees.”
Putin perhaps should study Iran’s PR effort and its aggression in Lebanon and Yemen. If he would only cut out the guns, tigers, and “macho shtick,” and instead mouth shibboleths about the oppressed minorities in Crimea and Ukraine and the need for revolutionary fairness, he might be reset yet again. His crimes were not so much naked invasions of his neighbors, as aggression in the most un-Iranian fashion of a right-wing kleptocrat and thug. Again, nothing Putin has done is all that different from what Iran did in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
No one could quite figure out why Obama bragged of his “special relationship” with Turkey’s prime minister Recep Erdogan. Erdogan, after all, is systematically destroying free expression in Turkey. He has bragged that he got off the bus of democracy when he no longer found any utility in it — and he has openly romanticized the Ottoman imperialists. A once-staunch NATO ally, Turkey has turned into a virulently anti-Israeli and anti-American society that has spiked tensions in the eastern Mediterranean with Cyprus, Greece, and Israel. But, again, the redeeming virtue was that Erdogan was taking Turkey in a new and revolutionary direction, trying to massage the Arab Revolution as its spiritual mentor, and becoming point nation in hatred of Israel. In other words, Turkey was churning and evolving, and, for Obama, that apparently was a good thing.
Without asking anything in return from Cuba — such as releasing political prisoners or allowing free expression — Obama by executive order is normalizing relations with the Castro brothers, who are allied with fascist Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. He keeps saying that 50 years of containment have “failed,” as if successfully curbing Cuba’s revolutionary aspirations abroad was a bad thing, and siding with dissidents in its gulags was counterproductive. For Obama, the Castros are authentic anti-colonialists. They perhaps may have broken a few too many eggs to make their egalitarian omelets, but their regime is certainly preferable to what is envisioned by loud Cuban exiles in America or troublemakers like imprisoned Cuban refuseniks.
When the aging Nicaraguan Communist Daniel Ortega — of $3,000 Manhattan sunglasses fame — dressed Obama down in a 50-minute rant about Yanqui imperialism and neo-colonialism, Obama offered a lame, “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.” Note the message: The problem was not Ortega’s conspiracist diatribe, or his scapegoating the United States for his own self-inflicted pathologies. Ortega’s error was instead having the audacity to suggest that Obama, an American, was guilty by association. Obama thus corrected him only in the sense that the current American president was too young to have abetted American sin, not that America was not sinful. A more savvy Raul Castro, who unleashed another rambling rant reminiscent of Ortega’s, at least made it a point to exempt Obama from association with all his usual anti-American targets.
Keep in mind this juvenile view of the revolutionary non-West, and there is a clarity of sorts in American foreign policy. Honduran leftist president Manuel Zelaya, when he tried to overturn the constitution and earned the wrath of the Honduran Supreme Court, the military, and the National Congress, nonetheless won the support of the Obama administration.
For Obama, in the struggle between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Israel is a Westernized colonial construct and a proponent of Western neo-liberal capitalism. The PA and Hamas, in contrast, are seen both as the downtrodden in need of community-organizing help and as authentic peoples whose miseries are not self-induced and the wages of tribalism, statism, autocracy, fundamentalism, misogyny, and anti-Semitism, but rather the results of Israeli occupation, colonialism, and imperialism. Obama may not articulate this publicly, but these are the assumptions that explain his periodic blasts against Netanyahu and his silence about the autocratic Palestinian Authority and the murderous Hamas.
In such a landscape, the current Iranian talks make perfect sense. Obama was in no mood in the spring of 2009 to vocally support a million, pro-Western Iranian dissidents who took to the streets in anger over the theocracy’s rigged elections, calling for transparency and human rights. He snubbed them as if they were neoconservative democracy zealots. In his eyes, their false consciousness did not allow them to fully appreciate their own suffering at the hands of past American imperialists. In Obama’s worldview, the Iranian mullahs came to power through revolution and were thus far more authentic anti-Western radicals, with whom only someone like Obama — prepped by theHarvard Law Review, Chicago organizing, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s pulpit, and the most liberal voting record during a brief stint in the U.S. Senate — could empathize and negotiate. Why would Iranian idealists and democrats be foolish enough to spoil Obama’s unique diplomatic gymnastics?
Traditional analyses deconstruct the Obama administration’s negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and are aghast at the naïveté — no stop to ongoing uranium enrichment, no open or surprise inspections, no conditions to be met before sanctions are scaled back, no prohibitions against the marriage of nuclear-weapon technology and intercontinental-missile development.
But that is to misunderstand the Obama worldview. He is less worried about a nuclear Iran and what it will do to a mostly pro-Western Gulf or Israel, or to other traditional U.S. interests, than about the difficulties he faces in bringing Iran back into the family of nations as an authentic revolutionary force that will school the West on regional justice. (“There’s incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of Iran, and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody.”) Iran will assume its natural revolutionary role as regional power broker in the Middle East; and, almost alone, it is not beholden to any Western power.
In some sense, Obama views the rest of the world in the same way as he views America: a rigged order in which the oppressed who speak truth to power are systematically mischaracterized and alienated — and in need of an empathetic voice on the side of overdue revolutionary accounting.
The chief danger in Obama’s romantic view of revolutionary societies is that nothing in their histories suggests that these regimes will ever cease aggression or adopt internal reforms. Cuba will still stir up revolution in Latin America and ally itself with anti-American regimes. Iran will still subsidize Hezbollah and Hamas — and, soon, in the fashion of a nuclear power. Turkey will still try to carve out Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influence at someone else’s expense and destroy secular traditions. And one-election, one-time Islamic movements will still attempt to set up theocracies the moment they snatch power. And at no point does Obama ever empathize with thousands of dissidents rotting in Cuban and Palestinian jails, or homosexuals and feminists persecuted in Iran or journalists in Turkey.
The only distinction between these illiberal movements and the unromantic Putin’s Russia is their more wily professions of revolutionary fervor, which apparently have fooled or captivated the Obama administration.
22 thoughts on “Obama and Revolutionary Romance”
Great article. Aptly describes Mr. Obama and his attitudes..
One question, though. I have never heard of the Falkland islands being called the Indian Ocean Maldives.
I’ve heard them referred to as the Malvinas. (If these are the same Falkland Islands that the Iron Lady and the UK took back from Argentina in 1982.)
At any rate, great article.
He’s quoting an Obama screw up in trying to be worldly and a global citizen, only he called them the Maldives, a 13,000 km error.
I’m surprise VDH didn’t mention his narcissistic gift to the English Queen, only a troll could have devised such arrogance. If I was the Queen I would have given him a children’s book on how to reign an empire.
Obama’s wink to Cristina Kirchner that went pear shaped after he blew the attempt to sound sophisticated would be as laughable as his claim that there was a word in ‘Austrian’ for “wheeling and dealing.” Unfortunately, Britain fought a real war to take back the islands from the Argentinian junta who seized them that cost real lives. Although the Maldives gaffe showed Obama to be the pretentious ignoramus that most people already knew he was, it was still a poke in the eye to Britain.
After the Obama’s patronizing gift of an iPod to the Queen coupled with Michelle Obama throwing her paws all over her in flagrant disregard of protocol, the Royal family wanted nothing more to do with these two embarrassing clowns from Chicago. This incident may have been why the Obamas were conspicuously uninvited to Will and Kate’s wedding. LOL!
Brilliant analysis. Finally, someone has the guts and the intellect to connect the dots, not only of Obama’s foreign policy but of his personal world-view as well. Obama is a revolutionary, perhaps the most clever and effective in history. Everything he has done during his Presidency has been motivated by his complete commitment to revolution – that is, changing the structure of everything. And he has been doing it right in front of us in the clear light of day. The most interesting part to me is the help he has gotten from so many other people – the press, the Democratic Party, young people, blacks, Latinos, and women in general. Are they all Revolutionaries too? Do they all want what he wants, or most of them simply the useful idiots that helped Stalin rise and hold power in the Soviet Union? Unless there are historians and political scientists like VDH around in 50 years, we may never know.
in a word, yes. there was a guy awhile back who said America can survive two terms of bho. what he said he was not sure of was, can America survive an electorate that would do it ?
Imagine if we are on a life boat, and a mad man pulls the drain plug! Then imagine press members on the boat saying, “Don’t strike that man down, neither put the plug back in the boat, or we will forever brand you the world’s scariest monster!”
Shakespeare said before doing the right thing, first kill the lawyers… but really, haven’t our mainstream reporters become our lawyers? (I don’t condone violence.)
Imagine if Solomon today said, Cut the baby in two! Would the mainstream media say that man is scary and warring against women?
What surgery can re-install mental-testicular fortitude in our lie-loving and truth-despising J-school media?
Treachery and deceit have been human foibles since the dawn of time. History is full of examples.
Unfortunately, the strongest defense our Republic has had to the “rule of man,” a vigorous free press, has been co-opted by our President. The Mainstream Media pretend to care about such glaring executive usurpations of power as the IRS’s targeting of political enemies to the administration, the de facto amnesty by executive fiat, and the coordinated cover-up of the Benghazi debacle which cost the lives of four brave Americans, but in reality would rather look the other way.
Shakespeare understood how a lust for power and raw ambition could corrupt the soul.
Lady MacBeth: “Who dares receive it other, as we shall make our griefs and clamor roar upon his death.”
MacBeth: “I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock time with fairest show. False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”
Prof. Hanson’s perspective, garnered from observations and analysis of half a dozen decades, and seasoned by his clear understanding of history’s lessons, is as good an analysis as is available from any scholar extant and far better than that of most. That I agree with what he says as a result of similar length of observation and activity involving the left, of course, colors my view. But quite seriously, I can find no other objective explanation for Obama’s behavior that can cover his apparent miscalculations. Clearly, they are not so much miscalculations as acts driven by an ideology so dangerous as to be suicidal. What is even more frightening is that there is a large constituency, emergent from the incredibly bad educational system we have created, which emotionally reverberates with every dimension of his beliefs.
Barak Obama is a creature of the anti-American Left which has ascended to executive power in America. This sad state of affairs has come about by a toxic witches’ brew of political correctness, victimization and race-identity politics, and changing demographics which has festered for decades and has allowed him and his wife to realize their own ambitions. Is it any wonder that US foreign policy has embraced our enemies and shat on our friends?
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair
hover through the fog and filthy air.”
“” Our historic moment “”—-The 3rd coming of the Obama mind or It’s defeat, hinges on the game plan of the Republican Party. The National Review needs to get a message out to the GOP—- Do not cut our own throat’s in the National debates. And hopefully Obama’s full presidential stench still lingers into 2016. California is a microcosm of what will happen to the USA if the GOP fails. Viva the delta-smelt !! Viva the foreign-national criminal invader, roaming the streets with impunity !! Long-live the United States has a laughing-stock of all the hell-bound regimes and their plan’s for conquest. In other words, long-live Hillary Clinton. ( An actual special interest super-pac— Lesbians4Hillary. That narrow-minded selfishness perfectly represents those casting a vote for Bill Clinton’s second fiddle.)
“he ankle-bites the very culture he grew up and thrived in”
He grew up in Hawaii and Jakarta.
I grew up in Hawaii in about the same period. The culture was heavily Asian influenced, or maybe it’s better to say that it was an Asian culture partially Western influenced. One thing I’ve always wanted to hear from Barack was how a white/black fared in Hawaii’s predominantly Asian multicultural society.
You see, there was a widespread hostility to the minority whites from “local” (non-white) children. It was less pronounced in adults, but the prejudice was still there. Ethnic Chinese and Japanese came from self confident cultures. They had some belief in racial superiority, and they sure didn’t see Whitey on top. But blacks were few and far enough between that I couldn’t tell you if they were particular targets of abuse.
But there is one thing I really wonder about. Hawaii was extremely ethnically mixed. There was no “one drop rule” going on. If you were half A and half B, you were half A and half B. You were seen as a mix of whatever your parents were. There was a particular term for this with whites – Hapa Haole, meaning part Haole.
Was Barack held as a Hapa Haole? Black? Haole? I have no idea.
Barack might have interesting things to say about being half Black and half White in a predominantly Asian culture, if he could get off of the “mainland” narrative of Blacks versus Whites.
“Was Barak held as a Hapa Haole? Black? Haole? I have no idea.”
And probably neither did Barry Dunham considering what a chronic stoner he was in high school.
BTW, Maui is my favorite place on earth.
For me, the only relevant question as to who Mr. Obama is (which you barely touched upon): Is he or is he not an Islamist? And if so, is he or is he not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood!
For me, the answer to Qu. #1 is Yes! And I believe the answer to Qu #2 is More yes than no.
After all, he did declare that his intent is to “transform our nation,” without ever explaining into what.
The Obama regime is a case study on how Marxist-Leninist’s, Socialist Revolutionaries, and Third World Nationalists infiltrated the highest levels of the American political system, and waged “the Revolution” from within by implementing Bolshevik-Stalinist type political tactics to try and “fundamentally transform” America from a society based on the consent of the governed and the rule of law, into a socialist one-party dictatorship, without having to resort to violent force and police state oppression. Well, at least not yet.
Obama wages war from within under the cover of the legitimacy offered by a free society and its institutions. However, Obama is as great a threat to America as Lenin was to Czarist Russia. Ultimately, he seeks the economic, cultural and societal collapse of the nation he leads so as to make it into something that can never exist- Utopia. Take the Cloward-Piven Method, which seeks to overthrow the American free-market economy by inundating it with regulation, backdoor nationalization of industry, welfare handouts, debt, and monetary expansion so as to implode the economy, cause domestic unrest, and implement “The People’s Revolution” non-violently, then he seeks to impose a dictatorship after the collapse. It is part and parcel of Obama’s economic strategy.
We are facing war, an internal war by the Obama regime and the apparatus of government, against the American People through political-other-means. No different than totalitarian movements that emerged from supposedly democratic societies in Nazi Germany during the Weimar Republic, or the Bolsheviks in Czarist Russia.
Obama want’s Iran to get the bomb for the same reason that he is reaching out to Cuba, and doing nothing as ISIS slaughters its way across the Middle East, or Vladimir Putin reorganizes the post-Cold War balance of power in Europe: Obama hates America and is trying to destroy it and with it the global status quo. There is no other rational explanation- Obama is a traitor.
A definite “both” in my mind.
It’s seemed obvious to me that President Obama is a True Believer in the particular brand of leftism taught and thought in the elite ivory towers of the University system.
He is also incompetent. Obama is perhaps apt only for the job teaching leftist legal theory and practice at Harvard masquerading as Constitutional Law.
His resume prior to the presidency is a litany of failure and/or mediocrity that would have nicely warned us against electing him had we listened. But at least he can give a nice speech if there’s a teleprompter handy…
Many have pondered the deepest question of Obama’s true mindset and worldview. “Is he purposeful in his actions or merely incompetent?”
The issue has been batted around continuously, with those fascinated in probing this man’s inner sanctum to determine what the genuine point of fact is. VDH gets it correctly and proves my point in adding a key element. Obama, in his childish, romantic ways courts his love interests, that being colonialist / imperialist demigods for the sake of impugning America and its origins. He does this willfully and adamantly. The results of his actions however are another matter. As the scenario unfolds, chaos reigns supreme, with little left to do in its wake.
So, to the answer on everyone’s minds as to whether the “Duce” is incompetent or supremely cunning, the answer has been and always will be — both. Obama in simplest terms is “deviously incompetent” an oxymoron of sorts that not only describes his modus operandi, but that of his entire peer group. Liberalism, progressive-ism, socialism or whatever socio-pathological schism related to it as such is flawed in its very nature to begin with. It is this gnarled root that will never alter, thus handicapping forever the harvesters that dare to pick its withered fruit.
Obama’s foreign policy, as evidenced equally with Obamacare, the IRS offensive, Fast and Furious, amnesty, his economic non-economics, on and on, are all concocted in a deviously incompetent manner, much as the failed enactment of socialism has, goose-stepping through time. Obama and his legions are not surprising in their two-step tango. It is a pirouette ready for the ungraceful fall. First, one must dream, fantasize, wish and hope with an idea concocted usually in the lurid minds of faculty lounge elitists and others of aspiring ilk. If foreign policy is the itch to scratched, the rallying cry is, “Let’s help our revolutionary friends in the Middle East and at the same time make a name for ourselves.”
This is the zenith of deviousness, a willful, controlling desire for government and its leaders, green with tyranny to force themselves upon the stage. It is then that incompetence metastasizes exponentially. Morsi is thrust into power, Libya is laid to ruins and Benghazi smolders with three mortally wounded Americans. Obama and his minions can only throw up their hands at the wreckage and either try their best to tangle the fishing line even further in retrieval, blame Bush or walk away to let others fix the fiasco in order to alleviate negative optics.
This is not to say that the wizardry and hocus pocus of devious incompetence needs to be spooled out in this order. Incompetence can erupt firstly and does consistently as when the Commander in Chief blunders a hard “P” in “corpsman” and media flunkies deviously ignore the reportage. In short, the necessary skills to be deviously incompetent, whether be it Alinsky, Obama or Gloria Steinem, takes nothing more than throwing spaghetti against the wall to see whether it sticks. It is a willful decision, but takes little effort to ignore the responsibility of cleaning up the mess. Sadly, America is in a state of janitorial disrepair because of it.
Obama’s view is hardly “romantic.” Murderous is more like it. He’s out to kill, that’s all.
The re-election of Obama to the White House is an indication that a large portion of the U.S. voting public has the same calm attention to detail as a field rat in a haystack fire.
Look who the Republicans put up against Obama for a second.
An aged John McCain well beyond his best-buy date
Empty-suit rich man Mitt Romney whose points of view blow with the office he is trying for.
Both men ran awful campaigns.
McCain lurched from misstep to tone-deaf misstep. And if it wasn’t him, it was Sarah Palin. Palin was an inspired choice. She had near-perfect liberal credentials, except for her political views. Which is why she was and still is so roundly vilified by the Left. But she also wasn’t ready for prime time and drug he McCain Campaign down with her.
Romney had clear money advantage even without dipping into his own wallet and still lost because it was so easy for the Left to spin a class-warfare caricature of him. Only Romney’s debate performance kept him in the game. That kept the enthusiastic extreme left happily turning out in the unexpected 2008 voting pattern, something that should not have blindsided Romney if his people did their homework as they should have.
“Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” A naïve and preachy president burdens the country with dreams from his father (I like Dr. Hansen’s ankle-biter visual) while an aging woman with ’60’s dreams of her own seeks his soon-to-be vacated office. The feeling is rather like watching the first of the burning Twin Towers while the next airliner heads directly at the second Tower.
Obama is not incompetent. He has succeeded magnificently.
The economy is ruined, national defense kaput, Constitution torn, race relations broken beyond repair.
He is our King now.
[Sing] “Obama Malkheinu . . .”
Anybody want a bust of Churchil? If Britain is not America’s friend and ally, I don’t know who is.