Pat Buchanan’s most recent article in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (reprinted on Realclearpolitics.com) equates the foreign policy of Obama with that of Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter. Wilson was a governor and academic prior to assuming the Presidency. Obama was a first-term Senator who spent the majority of that time running for the Presidency and he taught constitutional law in Chicago. Jimmy Carter was also a Governor, but had no academic experience. Not that academia necessarily should be a prerequisite for being President, but perhaps it does hone one’s outlook and ideology. With Wilson, his “foreign policy” was accentuated by a sense of idealism, that all the world’s nations would, after the war to end all wars, hold hands and collectively break into a chorus of “Kumbaya.” Apparently, Obama is carrying through on this great idealistic quest to bring the world’s nations together through a policy of humility and apology and prostrating before the court of world opinion.
There is a sometimes a very large gap between what “the people” see in anyone and what the governments which represent those people see. Whereas it may be appeasing to the public in other countries to see a “new beginning” in Obama, words are one thing and actions are another. The actual implementation of Obama’s grand plans of world peace are a lot harder to achieve in the real world than speaking of these things in his fantasy world. Wilson’s Fourteen Points were a wonderful idea, but they were only that- an idea. Implementation of that idea resulted in abject failure as the United States refused to ratify the League of Nations treaty, a stunning blow to a President who viewed this international body as the referee in international disputes. And even though we belong to the United Nations, when was the last time that organization has done anything truly effective other than standing between two conflicting parties? As Obama will surely find out, if he has not already, is that although there are certainly vast areas of agreements among other nations with the United States (those ubiquitous “communiques”), in foreign policy it is everyone for himself.
Is it any coincidence that since Obama became President, European nations individually have rebuked and rejected Obama-style stimulus? Or that North Korea has fired numerous ballistic missiles in their testing phase AND more ominously, detonated another atomic bomb? Or that Iran has begun uranium enrichment and also test fired ballistic missiles? Or that China, never one to waste a crisis taking a cue from Rahm Immanuel, has been making noise about replacing the dollar with some new currency? Or Australia adopting a defense policy that is less reliant on help from the United States? Or the Taliban establishing control in Pakistan within 30 miles of the Pakistani capital? Is it any coincidence that Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo is no closer to fruition than it was when he signed an executive order after his inauguration? The reason: no country wants these people and those people do not want to be repatriated to their home countries because say what you will, they have it infinitely better on the southern tip of Cuba than they ever would in their home countries. North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuala, the Taliban, Al-Queda, China and Russia (and every other country) have their own agendas and more often than not, there is not necessarily overlap with the United States.
What Obama apparently fails to understand is that he cannot talk North Korea and Iran into abandoning their nuclear weapon aspirations. Nor can he talk Russia into turning the oil and natural gas spigots back on to the rest of Europe when they decide to turn them off in a hissy fit. Nor can he talk Cuba and Venezuala into ceasing the exportation of socialist revolution in Latin America. Nor can he convince Europe into spending vast sums of money they don’t have on American style stimulus. Nor will having a Muslimlike name make Palestinians trust Israelis, and vice versa, any more than any previous President has achieved. Conversely, the cries against Cuba’s admission into the OAS is hypocritical. What has the OAS really achieved within the past twenty years other than providing an extra diplomatic position for the member countries? So at the next OAS meeting, the Cuban delegation will get before the collected leaders and launch into a diatribe against the “colonial, imperialist” Americans while our elected “leader” sits there and eventually apologizes or says, “Its not my fault…I wasn’t born then.” And if you read transcipts from Obama’s speech or listen to them on video, count the number of times this guy uses the words “I” or “me” or some variation of them. Since Obama’s entire political life has been dedicated to above all else Barack Obama, this is not surprising. But, Obama does not represent himself or his party or any faction within that party any more. He represents the entire population of the United States. Is it any wonder that for the eighth consecutive month, voter polling information reveals that Americans view the Republican Party better on foreign policy and national security than the Democrats and, by extension, the Obama HIMself.
Despite the American preoccupation with the economy and the American false sense of security, the world remains a dangerous place. Unfortunately, Obama’s apologies for American actions dating back to the 1700’s is not making the world any safer; at best maintaining the status quo. There are elements out there hell bent on our destruction not because we have troops in Muslim countries or because of former perceptions of colonialism, but because they simply hate the United States. The sooner Obama wraps his head around this basic concept, the sooner we can become truly safe. The sooner Obama understands that his number one priority is to “provide for the common defense,” the safer this country will be. Which comes back to the proviso that academia prepares potential Presidents only for idealism, not reality. If a law school professor in constitutional law can forget the number priority of the President as spelled out in the Constitution, then this country will not be truly safe from outside threats. Oratory on teleprompters and apologies will not accomplish this. In his favor, it is still early in his Presidency and he may extract troops from Iraq and it may become a peaceful country and the Taliban may leave Afghanistan and leave that country in peace and North Korea and Iran may cease their nuclear weapon aspirations and they may cease ballistic missile development and Russia may act like a good neighbor to the rest of Europe and the Palestinians may cease terrorist rocket attacks on Isreal and Israel may cease settlements and may open Jerusalem. And there are probably other maybe’s not mentioned. But, this is looking a lot less like Wilson’s idealism and more like Carter’s stupidity based on some amorphous over-riding principle of “human rights based foreign policy.” This is deja vu all over again. The question at this point is it 1920’s style naivete or 1970’s style naivete.