Which One of Us Is Delusional?

 

I don’t believe that the geopolitical instability we’re seeing now is entirely Obama’s fault. There is a limit to what American power can accomplish. But I found his interview with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes terrifying. If you haven’t watched it, I don’t quite have the right words to describe it, so I suggest you do.

That the administration doesn’t realize how terrifyingly out-of-touch he sounded — and is promoting the most-ridiculed moment of it — is likewise terrifying: Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.40.39 Chris Christie summed up a few — only a few — of the reasons to feel puzzlement about this comment:

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) assailed the foreign policy of President Obama in an interview Friday, calling the commander in chief “delusional.”

“I mean, Syria is on fire, Iraq is on fire, Egypt is under martial law, Yemen is on fire, Lebanon is on fire with Hezbollah and Hamas shooting rockets into Israel, and he has put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons,” Christie said on Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends.”

“That’s leadership?” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate added. “That’s success?”

“If he thinks that’s successful foreign policy then maybe he should do all of us a favor [and] start building his library now and leave office early.”

Christie added that he finds Obama’s repeated defense of his decisions in Syria disheartening, given the deteriorating situation there. “It’s a success that 250,000 people have been murdered at the hands of their own government?” he asked, citing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s fight with rebel factions.

“It’s a success that millions of people are running for their lives to other countries in the Middle East and Europe?” Christie also asked, referencing the ongoing flood of refugees fleeing Syria.

And that’s only a part of it, isn’t it.

“Success” may not be a reasonable way to put things: It’s not at all clear to me that the United States could put all these fires out; it is certainly not the fault of the United States that 250,000 people have been murdered in the Syrian civil war. But Obama’s intimation that none of this is really cause for American alarm — and that we should be glad he’s leading on climate change — really does sound actively delusional.

I’m looking at the news with my hands over my eyes these days. Either I’m out of my mind, or the President of the United States is.

I hope it’s me.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Titus Techera: we were all –except fool me– proud of Nixon opening China.

    I’ve often wondered if that was the US’ biggest 20th-century geopolitical mistake.

    Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell!

    They’d banish us, you know!

    • #61
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Claire I wrote an essay on Poland awhile ago. Poland has been on the receiving ends of threats from Russia and the President of the Ukraine reportedly received a threatening phone call from Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin is not a buffoon and when he speaks his words have meaning.

    I’ll put this on a more personal level. As a police officer when someone was so intoxicated they couldn’t move and they threatened to mess me up I knew they couldn’t carry out the threat. When someone was sober and made that threat I never let them reach into a pocket or their waistband. I never allowed them to throw the first punch. Putin is not laying in the gutter intoxicated.

    • #62
  3. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Mountie:So Obama, and Obama alone,now thinks he has a deal with the Iranians and Europeans.

    This remains to be seen. I dislike the deal & would have preferred it abandoned at any step including after it was signed or now or next week. But I do not believe it is the end of the story. American presidents want to achieve things. I do not believe this is the worst thing done by an American president in this generation. I’d say Mr. Clinton’s handling of the rise of Islamic terrorism takes the cake. I’m not pleased with Mr. W Bush’s handling of Iraq or Afghanistan–or Egypt or the Palestine or Syria…

    He reminds me of King Chunute sitting at the Channel willing the tide not to rise.

    Not the point of the story. The king called his Viking chieftains to point out to them that an order against nature or necessity–you can see why the sea would do it for their purposes–is the height of insanity.

    Mention the word détenteand you see Nixon and Kissenger, Glostnost and you see Gorbechav, trust but verify and you see Reagan. And now, delusional and you see Obama.

    I do not think Mr. Obama will receive the scorn heaped on Mr. Carter. That’s alright by me. America is not collapsing, nor has he made things much worse.

    Compared to the high hopes he fed with speeches, this is a massive disappointment, the world of 2015-

    • #63
  4. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    In addition to his delusions, Obama has other serious personality defects.

    He cannot be wrong. His policies have led to the region being engulfed in flames, but that doesn’t mean he was wrong, he says. These consequences, by the way, were predictable and they were predicted by many. In fact, it’s hard to imagine worse outcomes in Iraq, Libya, and Syria than we have had.

    His focus on climate change, something that he absolutely cannot do anything about, is a deflection of monumental proportions. Because he cannot succeed at saving the climate (at least  not in a way measurable in our lifetimes) he cannot fail at it, either. It is the perfect cause for such a man to lead.

    I wish Steve Kroft had asked him, “Do you think you should drop leaflets in the towns of Yazidis and Christians who are being beheaded, enslaved, and crucified by ISIS telling them that their sacrifice will not be in vain, because by ignoring you,  I (Obama) fully intend to ensure that 100 years from now the world will be .1 degree cooler than it otherwise would have been.”

    I wish Steve Kroft would have asked him, “You say that shutting down the government would send a shock through the world economy. If so, do you think it’s worth doing anyway to save Planned Parenthood’s funding?”

    One major Obama defeat on display:  Steve Kroft would not say “ISIL.” He said, “ISIS” over and over again. Good on him.

    • #64
  5. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    A few points. I believe the people on the right who conflate the domestic partisan anger with popular distrust in or anger at the Obama administration so far as foreign policy is concerned are mistaken both as to their argument & their way of arguing.

    If there is any piece of evidence regarding public opinion on foreign affairs in America that seems especially trustworthy or far-reaching at least to right-wing people & which shows the people turning against Mr. Obama, please let me know what it is.

    So far as I can tell, after a brief hysteria, the interest in IS has disappeared.

    Are there public voices who really complain about foreign policy & are acquiring popularity thereby? Are there GOP hopefuls who do it? Party or other institutions or organizations? How is disagreement with Mr. Obama on foreign policy becoming a public matter?

    Now, all this of course, even if it were to go my way in the argument, is no proof that Americans should not care more & be angrier about foreign policy. My argument is this: To a large extent, lack of interest & lack of anger suggest a broad, if not a deep public support for your president. Save for a catastrophe, expect this to continue into 2016 & foreign policy not to be a big deal in the elections.

    Or if you believe a catastrophe is due before January 2017 or that foreign affairs will be a big deal in the elections 0f 2016, please explain how!

    • #65
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Man With the Axe: His focus on climate change, something that he absolutely cannot do anything about, is a deflection of monumental proportions. Because he cannot succeed at saving the climate (at least not in a way measurable in our lifetimes) he cannot fail at it, either. It is the perfect cause for such a man to lead.

    He doesn’t care about climate change.  (I do, but he does not.)  He cares about getting more government money and control.   If he and the Democrats really cared about climate change we’d already have had a net-zero increase in carbon taxes.  But that wouldn’t satisfy the corporate greed of the left.

    • #66
  7. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    This thread makes me want to retreat into a cozy room with a stack of puppy videos.

    • #67
  8. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Titus Techera: If there is any piece of evidence regarding public opinion on foreign affairs in America that seems especially trustworthy or far-reaching at least to right-wing people & which shows the people turning against Mr. Obama, please let me know what it is.

    I would tend to agree, although I don’t think this will last forever.  I don’t think people see the consequences in their own lives, so they care.  But most people have only known a world in which America was a foremost player in world affairs.  If that changes, there will be consequences of one sort or another.  And the longer it goes on, the harder it is to undo.

    • #68
  9. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Titus,

    I don’t think anyone on this thread except you is talking about electoral prospects or support in the general electorate for Obama. This thread is about whether Obama is objectively deluded about what is happening in the world. It’s probably true that most Americans cannot find any of these countries on a map and know even less about what is happening or why they should care.

    That does not mean that they should not care what happens in the middle east. September 11, 2001 is one piece of evidence that they should.

    • #69
  10. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Man With the Axe:Titus,

    I don’t think anyone on this thread except you is talking about electoral prospects or support in the general electorate for Obama.

    You maybe were not around here. An earlier question debated was whether your president enjoys the support of his countrymen.

    This thread is about whether Obama is objectively deluded about what is happening in the world. It’s probably true that most Americans cannot find any of these countries on a map and know even less about what is happening or why they should care.

    I believe that your president gets basically what the possibilities are now. They are admittedly restrained by his mistakes. But I do not believe he is primarily ideological–or not in the sense that GOP politicians would do significantly better.

    Talking about him as delusional has to prove a lot of things nobody here seems at all inclined to begin to attempt to prove.

    Instead, there are exaggerations of the threats & a lot of complaints about the man’s psyche. I think that inasmuch as he rarely does something that really surprises GOP or conservative folks, his psyche seems pretty much ok.

    Unless the GOP or conservatives have good ideas about how to change American foreign policy given the circumstances, it is no use to claim the president is deluded. He may merely be aware of political & electoral & partisan constraints on action in an international situation full of risks & short on rewards.

    • #70
  11. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Man With the Axe: That does not mean that they should not care what happens in the middle east. September 11, 2001 is one piece of evidence that they should.

    Yep. As Trotsky (everyone’s favorite hero here) supposedly said (although he didn’t, really), “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

    • #71
  12. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    DrewInWisconsin:This thread makes me want to retreat into a cozy room with a stack of puppy videos.

    That’s really just the opposite side of the same coin.

    • #72
  13. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Doug Watt – I missed your story on Poland – I did not know that and I’m stunned. My Polish ancestors fled from Russia when it was absorbed into Russia,  to the US – and there is still a threat all these years later?

    Say what you will about George W. Bush, the world knew where we stood. Even though Bush stated in his memoir that he misjudged Putin, Putin respected Bush and our Eastern European allies knew they were protected by the US. So did Israel.

    History is repeating Doug –

    • #73
  14. Steven Jones Inactive
    Steven Jones
    @StevenJones

    When analyzing any Obama policy, always keep these in mind:

    • Obama cannot admit that he has been out maneuvered.

    • Obama cannot admit that anyone is smarter than he.

    • Obama cannot admit that he has been wrong about anything. Ever.

    • #74
  15. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Steven Jones:When analyzing any Obama policy, always keep these in mind:

    • Obama cannot admit that he has been out maneuvered.

    • Obama cannot admit that anyone is smarter than he.

    • Obama cannot admit that he has been wrong about anything. Ever.

    And that is funny.  Not terrifying.

    • #75
  16. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: — but it would be nice to feel that my President, and by extension, the solid majority of my country, understands that these are very unstable times.

    It would be nice, but in this case would probably require you to be delusional.

    Dear Leader doesn’t get it, and most of his acolytes don’t get it.  I seriously think it’s going to take something on the order or 9/11, or worse, to break through to them.  And I think that may be coming soon.

    • #76
  17. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Tommy De Seno: This is truly terrifying-his failure to see the world. Isn’t there an emergency protocol if the President loses his mind where we came remove him expeditiously? I don’t think even Biden is this bad.

    25th Amendment section 4;

    Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

    So it depends on Slow Joe and the Sycophants in the Cabinet to do it.

    • #77
  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Kozak: on the order or 9/11, or worse, to break through to them

    I’m not trying to be a complete downer, but way worse things can happen than 9/11. We got through the first Cold War by luck. We now seem to be entering a period that doesn’t really have a name, but it will. It won’t, I suspect, be called the “Pax” anything.

    • #78
  19. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Titus Techera: But I do not believe he is primarily ideological–or not in the sense that GOP politicians would do significantly better.

    This strikes me as counter to everything that is known about him, including all his actions as president.

    His (stated) ideology is to reduce American power and the American role in world affairs and replace it with international coalitions, institutions, and agreements. To that end he has reduced the army and navy to levels not seen in generations. He has allowed the US nuclear arsenal to deteriorate to the point where the missile bases must share a wrench (he would prefer that we disarm entirely). He announced dates for withdrawing forces without regard to conditions on the ground. He followed through leaving chaos behind. He made end runs around Congress and went to the UN for legitimization. He attacked Libya based on a principle that he does not apply elsewhere, leaving chaos behind. He has let Israel know in a hundred ways big and small that he hates them and will not help them in a crisis. He believes the Iranians though everyone knows that they are liars and cheats and terrorists. He refuses to accept his own responsibility for the rise of ISIS, in that he could have done something and did nothing. He claims that the spread of Russian influence, soon to be hegemony, in Europe and the middle east are “a flawed strategy” that comes from weakness.”  That’s just what comes to mind.

    • #79
  20. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Titus Techera: Instead, there are exaggerations of the threats & a lot of complaints about the man’s psyche. I think that inasmuch as he rarely does something that really surprises GOP or conservative folks, his psyche seems pretty much ok.

    Crazy people are not always surprising. There are many crazy world leaders whose actions are consistent with their lunacy and/or evil.

    I believe that Obama does not see the world as it is, but rather as his ideology demands that he see it, and that makes him deluded. He sees every action by the US that occurred before his miraculous appearance as wrong. He sees all his decisions as right, no matter how they turn out. And as so many have said before, he truly seems to think that he has done what needs to be done about a problem by giving a speech about it. How could he say things like, “I didn’t draw a red line. The world did.” Obama, we all heard you say it.

    Besides all the foreign issues already discussed, on domestic issues he is the same. He seems to honestly think that Joe Biden is the best and most consequential vice-president in history. Why? Because Obama chose him and he must have been right to do so. He said over and over that if you like your health plan you can keep it. When that turned out to be false he denied saying it. Obama, we all heard you say it.

    • #80
  21. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    I give up–apparently, no one else will take issue with the opinion that your president is insane. There is no combination of mistakes & the necessary lies of politicians; there is no possibility that he loves his country; somehow, ideology both messes up his mind beyond understanding & explains his every action. This is obvious–except to half the nation, at least. This being the case, I have no desire to break the unanimity by a foolish, uninformed dissent-

    • #81
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Titus Techera:I give up–apparently, no one else will take issue with the opinion that your president is insane. There is no combination of mistakes & the necessary lies of politicians; there is no possibility that he loves his country; somehow, ideology both messes up his mind beyond understanding & explains his every action. This is obvious–except to half the nation, at least. This being the case, I have no desire to break the unanimity by a foolish, uninformed dissent-

    It isn’t just you.  I think he’s sane.

    He’s driven by hate and has the worst intentions for us and the world, but he is sane enough.

    • #82
  23. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Titus Techera:I give up–apparently, no one else will take issue with the opinion that your president is insane. There is no combination of mistakes & the necessary lies of politicians; there is no possibility that he loves his country; somehow, ideology both messes up his mind beyond understanding & explains his every action. This is obvious–except to half the nation, at least. This being the case, I have no desire to break the unanimity by a foolish, uninformed dissent-

    You asked for argument, but I guess you didn’t really want it.

    He’s not clinically insane. He’s deluded, much like Neville Chamberlain was deluded in thinking Hitler’s intentions were peaceful. He wants to think certain things so badly that no evidence or logic could convince him otherwise. He is so certain of his intellectual superiority to everyone on every subject (this is well-documented) that he cannot open himself up to counter-argument. He is so certain that his motives are pure while his opponents are motivated by political gain that he feels he need not give their positions the time of day. He actually believes that he understands other countries’ interests better than they do. “What are you going to do about Putin in Syria?” “He’s making a big mistake.” That means, I’m not going to do anything.

    That doesn’t mean he needs a straight jacket. He needs to try a little humility.

    • #83
  24. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    I only watched part of it last night but kept wanting Mr. Croft to address him as Barry. We are Americans. We are all equal. Don’t be familiar with me if I can’ be familiar with you.

    • #84
  25. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Titus Techera: there is no possibility that he loves his country

    I honestly don’t think he does, not in the sense that I would mean “I love my country.”

    He certainly doesn’t love is “as it is.” He wants, you will recall, to fundamentally change it. He sees our original sin of slavery as undiminished, perhaps of which it is impossible to be absolved. He sees “the typical white person” as a racist, like the grandmother that raised him. He doesn’t respect the Constitution or the separation of powers. He doesn’t think that the country should be strong because, to him, it is not a force for good in the world, not even with him running it.  

    • #85
  26. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    I’m not trying to be a complete downer, but way worse things can happen than 9/11. We got through the first Cold War by luck. We now seem to be entering a period that doesn’t really have a name, but it will.

    I believe it’s called (or will be called) “World War III.”

    • #86
  27. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Obama’s response to Putin’s actions — that he’s making a mistake and will get stuck in a quagmire — feels like so much whistling past the graveyard.

    (And it’s a very populous graveyard.)

    • #87
  28. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    DrewInWisconsin: I believe it’s called (or will be called) “World War III.”

    There may well be even worse possibilities.  “World War III” was generally assumed to be a bipolar conflict.  This may end up every man for himself.

    • #88
  29. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Titus Techera:

    Mr. Obama is not a leader either, but he has a country behind him, because he is for the most part a decent man & a lawful politician.

    To paraphrase John McEnroe – You cannot be serious! Obama is a small petty man who has governed by fiat since the Republicans won the House in 2010. Just a partial list of his tyrannies would include the serial unilateral changes to Obamacare based entirely on political calculation, the takeover of the internet by the FCC, the EPA attacks on the coal industry and expansion of power regarding waterways, the re-writing of immigration law, the NLRB’s numerous attempts to favor unions over free labor, the theft from the creditors of Chrysler and GM to benefit political allies during the bailout of those firms, the IRS harassment of conservative groups, the continual demagogic attempts to divide the country based on race, class and sex and the many lies (You can keep your Doctor if you like him, You can keep your health care if you like it, The mandate is not a tax, ISIS is the JV squad……).

    • #89
  30. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    Age has its advantages (very few). Having lived through Carter as an aware adult I knew exactly what was coming seven years ago. As a matter of form I waited for some empirical confirmation. When Obama watched for over six months the millions of the Green movement being beaten while protesting in Iran and did nothing that was all the empirical confirmation I needed. He had a chance to be rid of the Mullahs or at least the radical Jihadist Mullahs and he didn’t even lift a finger. This proved beyond all doubt that he had no grasp of foreign policy whatsoever and was living in multi-culti fantasy land.

    That, of course, is being generous. After six additional years of empirical confirmation there is no doubt he is also a Marxist sympathizer and a Jihadist sympathizer. Maybe when he is delusional he is least dangerous.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #90
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