by Victor Davis Hanson
NRO’s The Corner
I don’t know whether this was the intent or not, but Obama’s weird trip to Latin America — characterized by constant anti-American outbursts from heads of state eager to blame their own failures on Yanquis — probably killed any notion that any sane American would support either further free-trade agreements or “comprehensive immigration reform” with a continent that seems to blame all of its self-inflicted troubles on what the United States supposedly did last century.
What is strange about the now well-known Obama three-step visits (apologize, then trash Bush, then nod that America was bad before he came along), is that they seem to incite more anti-American choruses rather than fewer, incur more bad will than good, and end with not a single accomplishment, much less concession. (Ortega et. al., as the bullies they are, seemed madder at Obama that he was letting up on Cuba than they were with Bush, who wouldn’t). Does Obama think that the American people really want to hear their country ritually trashed from those anti-democrats — who are, at the same time, jostling to keep our borders open to ensure more dollar remittances and more sanctuary for their own fleeing citizens?
These Victory Column-like foreign campaign stops are now getting stale, and at some point I think Emanuel and Axelrod will see that these magical mystery tours have the potential, in their scripted regularity, to really turn off the American people — and convince bad players abroad that it is about time to test the waters.
Multiculturalism Trumps Morality
The great threat to global morality, to paraphrase Aristotle, is the notion that you can be moral in your sleep — that by condoning any and all, under the guise of tolerance of the other, you are ethical rather than amoral. Take the bankrupt U.N. secretary general Ban Ki Moon, who in Geneva sanctions the uber-racist Ahmadinejad even as he preaches tolerance from his U.N. soapbox. “I fear that today’s economic crisis, if not handled properly, could evolve into a full-scale political crisis marked by social unrest, weakened governments, and angry publics who have lost faith in their leaders and their own future,” Mr. Ban said. Thus he cowardly ignores the concrete moral felony in front of him as he cheaply and easily goes after a putative moral transgression in the abstract.
We have forgotten that the clichés that have been so loudly on display during the recent Obama global tours — such as “tolerance” (for what?), “multilateralism,” “partnerships,” etc. — while often therapeutic, avoid the harder and often tragic choice to stand up to the glad-handing multicultural thug who wants a photo-op with an American president, who in turn wants a photo-op emphasizing how well he is liked abroad and resonates with the global masses — all at the expense of the poor soul thrown into a Cuban jail, or beaten up by the Chávez goon squads, or slaughtered by the Ahmadinejad religious police, or shut down and hounded by the Ortega thugocracy. When all “paths” are equal, there are none better or worse than the others — and we really are on the road to perdition.
©2009 Victor Davis Hanson