Conrad Black explains Obama's global retreat....
Far from being irresolute, as some critics charge, President Obama is a resolute isolationist bent on withdrawing America from the world stage, to the degree public opinion permits:
The president’s critics mistakenly accuse him of irresolution. He is very resolute: He has renounced any serious American involvement in international-security matters. He said in his national-security statement on February 6 that “hard choices” impended, and that it was imperative to avoid “the overreach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear.” This was just a matrix for an attitude, or policy (to put it grandiloquently), of complete acquiescence. This theme was elaborated on by national-security adviser Susan Rice the following week at the Brookings Institution, when she gave the Obama line, “We insist upon investing in the foundations of American power: education, health care, clean energy, and basic research,” as if any of that has anything to do with countering terrorism or international aggression. After the crushing rejection of the last mid-term elections, Obama has gone into a crouch, threatens preemptively to veto anything in the path of his retreat from the world, has presented an insane program of increased borrowing and spending that was dead on arrival in the air as he delivered it in the State of the Union message, and has strapped himself into a fuel-efficient time machine and fluttered back to the piping isolationist days of Herbert Hoover, when Hitler came to power and Japan invaded China. He couldn’t even send Attorney General Holder, who was in Paris anyway, to the January 11 anti-terrorist march in that city.
Further, ". . . this abdication by Obama has had no consensus of support, and no serious public discussion; and it has been executed behind a smokescreen of false purposefulness":
What has muddied the waters is that the administration periodically claims it is doing something about these outrages. Last summer, when the force of public opinion would not allow President Obama to pretend any longer that none of it was happening, or that if it was, it was virtually on another planet, he dusted off the Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon doctrines and said that the United States would help indigenous elements resist terrorism and aggression in selected places (and helpfully added that “this is American leadership at its best”). But he never goes beyond a hesitant and arm’s-length definition of assistance . . . . Now we have wars in which blankets and medicine and even limited ordnance may be supplied, and air attacks on enemies of civilization take place, but no weapons of self-defense are provided to Ukraine, and little direct assistance to any of these victims of aggression.
Finally, O's retreat comes at a time when there is in Western Europe--in stark contrast to relatively resolute leadership in Canada, Australia, Israel, India & Japan--a vacuum of able leadership, thus amplifying the negative impact of America's retreat:
And finally, the extreme confusion caused by this retreat, which a majority of Americans and most foreigners except terrorists and mountebanks like Putin hope will be reversed with a new administration, is being effected at a time when Western leadership is almost as weak in the other major countries as it is in Washington. If de Gaulle, Adenauer, Thatcher, or even Pompidou, Mitterrand, Kohl, or Blair were in office in France, Germany, and Britain, some degree of continuity would be possible. But it is the misfortune of the West, and of those hundreds of millions of people elsewhere who depend on the West, that all of the traditionally leading Western countries are, for different reasons, having crises of leadership and policy coherence.
America's retreat comes when there is no successor mediating power to take its place, as America supplanted an exhausted Britain after World War II. Black sees public opinion eventually rallying the West when, before Obama's term ends, one or more crises come to a head and force change. CB thinks the West "fatigued, but not degenerate and defeatist." But reassertion of Western power will come, he believes, only after a "violent provocation" of sufficient magnitude.
Bottom Line. American power--and, hence, Western power--is crumbling so rapidly that matters will come to a head before Obama exits the Oval Office.
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