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As President Obama’s foreign police seems to be falling apart, many conservative critics and commentators wring their hands and wonder why he seems blind to the horrors that fill the newspapers. National Security Agencies are today analyzing an internet video that appears to show the Jordanian fighter pilot shot down by ISIL being burned alive. Why, Obama’s critics ask, doesn’t Mr. Obama see the dangers in Islamic extremism? Why won’t he call it what is: Islamic terrorism?
For many, Obama seems hapless. They thus attribute his policy to incompetence. We often hear that his lack of experience and accomplishment is coming home to roost. That he is just in over his head.
What these critics seem to miss is that they are making excuses for a president who — despite the feigned incompetence — knows exactly what he is doing. Victor Davis Hanson puts paid to the incompetence argument at National Review Online. This may be the most important analysis of Obama yet written:
While I think the symptomology of an ailing, herky-jerky United States is correct, the cause of such malaise is left unspoken. The Obama team — with its foreign policy formulated by President Obama himself, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, White House consigliere Valerie Jarrett, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and present Secretary of State John Kerry — is not in fact befuddled by the existing world. Instead, it is intent on changing it into something quite different from what it is.
Hanson writes that the Obama foreign policy doctrine is grounded in “four pillars of belief.” Briefly summarized, they are:
- That the US, with its history of intervention and (perceived) nation building, has made the world unfair by denying the right of the various nations be as they wish to be.
- That nations will be reasonable if the US doesn’t get in the way.
- That we should seek equality abroad just as we demand equality at home.
- The details don’t matter as long as the goal is ultimately achieved (in other words, a few eggs will have to be broken).
Every conservative pundit and politician must read Hanson’s article. Only when we truly understand Obama’s motivations can we possibly hope to take corrective action. Obama is a radical egalitarian who wants the world to be leveled so that all nations can enjoy equal power to pursue their own goals, regardless of how odious they may be. In this regard, ISIL is nothing more than a movement towards a soon to be realized cultural achievement. Since the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam, it doesn’t much matter if the future is decapitated.
If Iran succeeds in building a bomb, well, for Obama and his sycophants that is actually a good thing since the balance of power in the Middle East can then be finally equalized. Israel is too powerful, and a counter balance is needed. If that means an Islamic state with the power to destroy Israel so much the better. Israel will then have to curb its (nonexistent) bellicosity and thus take its place among all the nations of the Middle East (that assumes that Israel will still exist, but it’s not at all clear that Obama believes that the destruction of Israel would be bad thing).
Hanson is steely-eyed in his analysis as he puts down the media trope that Obama is flailing around or just kicking back until he is out of office. This is delusional. Here, at home, the president has transformed the nation in ways unthinkable just a few years ago. Obama has forced his agenda on the nation through executive action and strong box secrecy. His highest hope is that he achieve such sweeping success in his foreign policy. And when his opponents let him off as a lazy failure they encourage his deliberate recklessness.
We must get this straight. President Obama is not a bungler. He is an ideologue for who only the goal matters. The means are important only to the degree that they can push the agenda along. Obama has fundamentally changed America, and he is hard at work trying to fundamentally change the world.
Image Credit: Chuck Kennedy (White House) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons