Category Archives: International Relations

O-v-e-r-e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d

The United States is over-extended in its global military operations, incurring potential liabilities against our economic and political future. That is one of my chief reactions as American forces strike in Libya today. With planes all the way from Whiteman Airforce Base just a couple miles from Knob Noster, Missouri.

There may be entirely legitimate reasons for taking action in Libya. The armed forces may have the operational capacity to flawlessly execute their assigned mission with minimal casualties or collateral damage. That does not change the fact that we have become the world’s policeman, at an enormous cost to us in terms of lives lost and financial obligations.

Our foreign policy when it comes to the use of force seems completely schizophrenic. Can you imagine if somebody else was president? A year and a half from now, Barack Obama or somebody like him would be bashing the commander-in-chief for dragging us into a needless war. (So long as he’s ordering the bombing, it’s apparently okay).

My opinion on Libya has nothing to do with who occupies the oval office, however. Though the current administration has seemed to handle it oddly – perhaps badly – from the beginning. The fact is we are everywhere in the world. The question is, why?

Why do we still have forces in Germany? Twenty years after the cold war and sixty years after the second world war, shouldn’t Europe be providing for its own defense? Why are tens of thousands of soldiers on the DMZ in Korea? Why do we have bases in Bulgaria, Italy, Brazil, Greece, Australia, Greenland, and Singapore? How about the Netherlands, Portugal, and the Philippines?

There may be perfectly good reasons for any one of these. But it seems strange that there would be a perfectly good reason for every one of them along with the many other U.S. military installations around the world.

I am not against the projection of American firepower abroad. America has done incredible good in the world because of its willingness and ability to use force when others could not or would not do so. So don’t get any ideas that I’m going isolationist or anything of the sort. (Or heaven forbid, liberal).

But I’m definitely not an interventionist, either. Not now. I don’t think we can afford to be. It’s not always our place, either. As the song goes, we’ve got troubles of our own.

I’ve got to think that leaders in China, and perhaps India and other rising powers, silently sit back at times like this and enjoy watching America struggle to manage the entire world and its problems. It weighs us down and gives them free reign to focus on boosting their own fate and fortune.

Our country is massively in debt with no end in sight. And our politicians – our so-called “public-servants” – twiddle their thumbs and farm out the hard work to powerless blue ribbon panels of their old pals. I’m talking about the debt commission a little while back, which has since receded into oblivion.

No, our politicians would rather raise money, court votes, and talk about what country to bomb next rather than deal with problems at hand. These people are children, and it’s ticking me off. The entire country should be demanding that these clowns get to work cleaning up the messes they’ve created.

So, do I think we should go after Ghadafi, aid the opposition, encourage or manage some sort of regime-change, assist in a democracy-building effort, and on and on? Sure, why not. But let’s not act as if we still care about our future. Let’s not act like we’re a responsible country with a responsible government.

In all seriousness, let’s definitely, definitely not lie about why we’re doing it. (Actually, is it possible to lie about why you’re doing something if you don’t know why you’re doing it? As noted earlier, the administration has seemed a bit confused). If we do much in Libya, sure, it’s in part – maybe even in large part – because there is a humanitarian interest at stake and democracy to be promoted. Ghadafi’s an unrighteous tin-pot dictator if ever there was one.

Without a doubt though, it would also be in part because of the significant oil interest at stake. It’s just a fact of life that the world runs on oil and that Libya’s got a lot of it. No problem with that. And definitely, the free flow of that oil is important to ensure.

If if we go in there for that reason though, or if we spearhead an international effort to that end, let’s be honest about it. Let’s treat citizens like adults and say: “Hey, oil is important, we need it, there’s a lot of it here and we want to stabilize the situation so we can keep driving our cars and turning on the lights.”

(Btw, I think Obama realizes it wasn’t the adults in this country who elected him, so I doubt this sort of approach would ever occur to him. But wouldn’t it be ironic if he ended up taking the country to war for oil? That would have to mess with him).

If you haven’t guessed by now, this post is basically off-the-cuff, and I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks. Obviously, there’s a lot to analyze and a lot to consider, and hopefully our decision-makers are doing exactly that. I reiterate my initial point that whatever the merits of action in Libya might be, it is also the case that we are now flung out across the globe.

As global policeman, our guidelines seem murky as far as when we do or don’t take action in any given hot spot. All of this doesn’t seem to be a recipe for continued peace and prosperity, let alone a sustainable solution for long-term American exceptionalism. Somebody – particularly somebody who’s pushing the Libya strikes – tell me why I’m wrong.

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With friends like this…

You don’t make friends of your enemies by making enemies of your friends. President Obama has not yet reached that point, but he seems incapable or unwilling to distinguish between ally and adversary. Here’s Charles Krauthammer‘s take on the matter, in his weekly column for the Washington Post. Unfortunately – and unsurprisingly – we’ve not heard much of this in the mainstream press.

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Filed under Barack Obama, International Relations

Why?

President Obam bows to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

President Obama bows to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

Why does President Obama continue to bow to foreign leaders? To those of  Saudi Arabia, then Japan, and now China.

Did the White House not recognize the negative response that the gesture received from the American people on the first two occasions?

And if so, why does the president continue to bow?

More importantly, why is he doing so in the first place, regardless of whether it is popularly received or not?

It is not the place of an American president to bow to the leader of another country.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

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Filed under Barack Obama, International Relations

Obama’s French lesson

Commentary from the always rational, always eloquent Charles Krauthammer on Obama’s international “diplomacy” this week.

How fabulously foolish our president looks.

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Goldberg on Obama’s U.N. speech

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg dissects the rhetoric from President Obama’s mid-week speech to the United Nations. On foreign policy it is as platitudinous, equivocating, and ego-driven as his much of his domestic policy rallying. This is my own reading and summary of the article, with which I agree – but read it for yourself, you’ll be glad you did.

President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations on Wednesday

President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations on Wednesday

It seems that in Obama’s world, the only moral vision of international comparisons and relationships is that filtered by moral equivalency and political unity. If you disagree, naturally you’re immoral and divisive. Such is the bull-headed piety and arrogance from The One.

Much of Goldberg’s current work focuses on the subject he discussed in his recent book Liberal Fascism, an invaluable contribution to the discourse on present day political lineages and the philosophical origins of the Left. I was particularly glad to read this piece coming from him because it demonstrates his versatility.  It contains a few trademark barbs, treating a reader in the know to subtle yet brutally poignant critiques.

On the defense of Obama’s rhetorical similarity with anti-American voices as realpolitik:

“The problem with this analysis, however, is that most of what Obama said Wednesday was a repeat of what he has said many times before, on the campaign trail, in Berlin, and in Cairo. He has said this stuff so often, some might be forgiven for thinking it is more than just words.” (emphasis added)

Recall Obama’s sneering use of this phrase in a taunt of his campaign critics.

Liberal Fascism author and National Review Online Editor-at-Large Jonah Goldberg

Liberal Fascism author and National Review Online Editor-at-Large Jonah Goldberg

I’ve followed Jonah Goldberg closely since Liberal Fascism, and in my view his work is now attaining levels of energy, insight and eloquence comparable to Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Krauthammer and George Will. Each has their own style and focus, and while Goldberg is much younger he now joins the club. May his career be fruitful for many years.

As an aside, I had a chance to meet Goldberg in Kansas City earlier this year, following a lecture sponsored by Americans For Prosperity. Even at the end of a long night, after delivering a lecture and talking with many guests, he took a few minutes to give a young fan some writing advice. I remain grateful.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Conservative Movement, International Relations

Reality emerges on Honduras “coup”

Context is quickly emerging surrounding the recent power shift in Honduras, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the so-called ‘coup’ wasn’t a coup at all – but rather an effort by Hondurans to preserve their democratic system from a potential left wing despot.

Writes Ray Walser of the Heritage Foundation in the New York Post: A coup to protect a constitution: Honduras ousts rogue president.

And Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, via Real Clear Politics: Obama is wrong.

In Honduras, a president acting illegally has been removed from office and replaced in democratic fashion. The only thing complicating this is that said president was a would-be leftist strongman – and thus enjoys automatic support of  fellow left-wing authoritarians in the region, and apparently, the President of the United States of America.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Central America, International Relations

Obama offers quick support to ousted Honduran leader

The Drudge Report’s current headline reads: OBAMA: HONDURAS COUP ‘NOT LEGAL’

According to the AP story: “President Barack Obama says the weekend ouster of Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya was a “not legal” coup and that he remains the country’s president.”

Zelaya is aligned with leftist dictator and Obama supporter, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.  He has been pushing to remain in power past his current term in office, engaging in illegal actions to do so. In May of 2007 the BBC reported that “Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has ordered all the country’s TV and radio stations to carry government propaganda for two hours a day.” All very democratic, no?

I’m not defending the coup, but I find interesting the fact that Obama would quickly jump to defend – in the name of democracy – a left wing, Chavez-aligned leader in Honduras who was potentially maneuvering to install himself as a dictator, in light of his slowness to react to clear violations of democratic principles in Iran.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Central America, General & Miscellaneous, International Relations