American retreat ISO moral restoration....
Charles Krauthammer sees Obama's appeasement strategy. CK riffs off O's Crusade tirade at last week's prayer breakfast, which included a gratuitous selective sally against India:
This passivity — strategic, syntactical, ideological — is more than just a reaction to the perceived overreach of the Bush years. Or a fear of failure. Or bowing to the domestic left. It is, above all, rooted in Obama’s deep belief that we — America, Christians, the West — lack the moral authority to engage, to project, i.e., to lead. . . .
There is, however, nothing really new in Obama’s selective condemnation of America and its democratic allies. It is just a reprise of the theme of his post-inauguration 2009 confessional world tour. From Strasbourg to Cairo and the U.N. General Assembly, he indicted his own country, as I chronicled at the time, “for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness (toward Europe), for maltreatment of natives, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantánamo, for unilateralism, and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.”
The purpose and the effect of such an indictment is to undermine any moral claim to American world leadership. The line between the Washington prayer breakfast and the Ukrainian grief counselors is direct and causal. Once you’ve discounted your own moral authority, once you’ve undermined your own country’s moral self-confidence, you cannot lead.
Of O's reluctance to supply Ukraine with adequate lethal weaponry, limiting aid to humanitarian supplies, CK notes that America was once the "arsenal of democracy"; now, he writes we are "its linen closet."
WSJ pundit Dan Henninger sees Obama as an exemplar of "leftist realpolitik:
It is a mistake to think that Mr. Obama’s passivity or indecision are sufficient explanation. What is on offer here is the American left’s version of realpolitik. The decision by the Obama White House not to deploy American resources is thought-out, brutal and unapologetic. . . .
There is an important difference between left-wing realpolitik and the conservative realpolitik normally associated with Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft. The conservatives’ version was about making choices among competing uses of American military resources abroad. Left-wing realpolitik has no serious interest in the world beyond America’s borders. . . .
Leftist realpolitik—melting guns so it can churn more butter—may survive a pullout from the world in normal times. But it’s not going to hold for the next two years, not at this pace, not with Islam’s jihadists using social media to make all of us party to the de-civilizing of the world.
His obsession with the Muslim world--more accurately, multiple Muslim worlds he ignorantly lumps together--stands in stark contrast to his silence on the growing exodus of Jews from Europe. In 1939 nearly 60 percent of world Jewry lived in Europe; today it is but 10 percent. The former was of course due to the Nazi Holocaust; the latter is due to Islamic militancy and multicultural P.C. that handcuffs police and paralyzes political leaders. It is no coincidence that Obama disdains Israel. And secure in his acuity, he disdains intelligence briefings too.
What, then, can we make of this?
Our charlatan president is seized of two deep-seated delusions: in the domestic context he sees himself as emperor; in the global context he sees himself as messiah. He also lives vicariously as a liberal scold cum Hollywood hero. And his delusional view holds that military force is inevitably counterproductive.
And, as Bret Stephens notes, his postmodern antics degrade the dignity of the presidential office:
George Washington did not shake hands as president and would grip the hilt of his sword to avoid having his flesh pressed. The founding father understood that leadership in a republic demanded a careful balance between low populism and aristocratic lordliness. Personal comportment, the choice of clothes and carriage, modes of address: these things mattered. And so we have “Mr. President” as opposed to “His Highness.” Or “George.”
With Barack Obama —you won’t mind, Señor Presidente, if we call you Barry?—it’s another story. Dignity of office? How quaint. In this most self-infatuated of presidencies, the D-word is at best an accessory and more often an impediment to everything Barry has ever wanted to be: Cool. Chill. Connected.
So it was that, hours after the U.S. confirmed the murder of Kayla Jean Mueller at the hands of Islamic State, Mr. Obama filmed a short video for BuzzFeed, striking poses in a mirror, donning aviator shades, filming himself with a selfie stick and otherwise inhabiting a role that a chaster version of Miley Cyrus might have played had Hannah Montana been stuck in the White House after a sleepover with the Obama girls.
Stephens tartly concludes: "President You Do You has all the time he wants to film BuzzFeed clips while surfing the arc of history. Not everyone is so fortunate."
In a similar vein, on Fox News Special Report George Will called Obama "pathological re his inability to call terror Islamic:
What they said is they were Egyptian citizens. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in the room where the White House semanticists meet every morning and figure out how they could possibly describe what happened without offending those who did it? I think the phrase they should come up with is ‘Non-Islamic Randomness.’ That would explain just about everything that they have to deal with. At this point, it is beyond burlesque; it’s pathological, it’s clinical, their inability and unwillingness to accurately describe things. The secret of decent, strong communication is specificity. Man got into the car and drove around the corner. The man got into a light gray Buick and drove around the corner, tells you more. Why can’t they say what specifically happened?
It is hard to place much faith in a public that by one recent poll thinks climate change a greater threat (23%) than a nuclear Iran (16%--though less of a threat than the 52% that consider terrorism the top security threat).
Amidst all this, columnist George Will offers a more optimistic take, urging critics to "curb your pessimism." Thus:
The world might currently seem unusually disorderly, but it can be so without being unusually dangerous. If we measure danger by the risk of violence, the world is unusually safe. For this and other reasons, Americans should curb their pessimism. . . .
[A] sense of proportion, which pessimism impedes, should prevent 2016 from being a competition in alarmism. Pessimism . . . may be a natural inclination: Imagine the good things that could happen to you today. Now imagine the bad things. Which list is longer?
So we should try, I suppose, to, per Johnny Mercer's classic lyric,
. . . accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, don't mess with Mr. In-Between.. . .
Which may, alas, require, oft ignoring the news. . . .
Bottom Line. The president, put simply, sees a more just world order likely to emerge if American influence is reduced, it having been used, in his view, more often for ill than good. It will take positive regime change at 1600 Penn to begin reversing his catastrophic course.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, National Security, Foreign Policy, Conservative Politics