Monday, September 09, 2013
Norman Podhoretz views Obama's grand Syrian fiasco from a different perspective. Imagine if the country elected a president who hated this country and was doing what he could to bring it down. He could hardly announce that he was planning his country's destruction openly. Instead, he could do everything he could to achieve his objective, while claiming he only wanted to do the best for his people. His friends would rally around him and blame his predecessor, current events or bad luck. His enemies would call him incompetent, in "over his head." But to claim that his actions were the deliberate actions of someone who intended the result he is getting would be classified a lunatic. American presidents, world leaders, just don't do that.
Maybe this time it's different. As Glenn Reynolds frequently says: In the Obama era, it’s not whether you’re paranoid. It’s whether you’re paranoid enough.
Summing up the net effect of all this [Obama's Syrian pratfall], as astute a foreign observer as Conrad Black can flatly say that, "Not since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, and before that the fall of France in 1940, has there been so swift an erosion of the world influence of a Great Power as we are witnessing with the United States."Yet if this is indeed the pass to which Mr. Obama has led us—and I think it is—let me suggest that it signifies not how incompetent and amateurish the president is, but how skillful. His foreign policy, far from a dismal failure, is a brilliant success as measured by what he intended all along to accomplish. The accomplishment would not have been possible if the intention had been too obvious. The skill lies in how effectively he has used rhetorical tricks to disguise it.The key to understanding what Mr. Obama has pulled off is the astonishing statement he made in the week before being elected president: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." To those of us who took this declaration seriously, it meant that Mr. Obama really was the left-wing radical he seemed to be, given his associations with the likes of the anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright and the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, not to mention the intellectual influence over him of Saul Alinsky, the original "community organizer."
After recounting how Obama was transforming America into another bankrupt European socialist state, he turns to the way he's working to erode American power in foreign affairs.
This he did by camouflaging his retreats from the responsibilities bred by foreign entanglements as a new form of "engagement." ... "leading from behind" ....The consequent erosion of American power was going very nicely when the unfortunately named Arab Spring presented the president with several juicy opportunities to speed up the process. First in Egypt, his incoherent moves resulted in a complete loss of American influence, and now, thanks to his handling of the Syrian crisis, he is bringing about a greater diminution of American power than he probably envisaged even in his wildest radical dreams.For this fulfillment of his dearest political wishes, Mr. Obama is evidently willing to pay the price of a sullied reputation. In that sense, he is by his own lights sacrificing himself for what he imagines is the good of the nation of which he is the president, and also to the benefit of the world, of which he loves proclaiming himself a citizen.
Our only hope is that his successor can pull us out of the hole Obama is gleefully digging.