Saturday, September 14, 2013
Mark Steyn on Obama, Putin and American Ineffectualism
Every American ally is cringing with embarrassment at the amateurishness of the last month.
But at this rate, American allies are dropping right and left so fewer are cringing. Meanwhile Obama's an actor who has lost his way in the script and is ad-libbing his lines.
This is what happens when you elect someone because he looks cool standing next to Jay-Z. Putin is cool mainly in the sense that Yakutsk in February is. In American pop-culture terms, he is a faintly ridiculous figure, with his penchant for homoerotic shirtlessness, his nipples entering the room like an advance security team; the celebrities he attracts are like some rerun channel way up the end of the dial: Goldie Hawn was in the crowd when Putin, for no apparent reason, sang “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,” which Goldie seemed to enjoy. In reality, Putin finds his thrill by grabbing Obama’s blueberries and squeezing hard. Cold beats cool.Charles Crawford, Britain’s former ambassador in Serbia and Poland, called last Monday “the worst day for U.S. and wider Western diplomacy since records began.” Obama set it in motion at a press conference last year by drawing his famous “red line.” Unlike, say, the undignified scrums around the Canadian and Australian prime ministers, Obama doesn’t interact enough with the press for it to become normal or real. So at this rare press conference he was, as usual, playing a leader who’s giving a press conference. The “red line” line sounds like the sort of thing a guy playing a president in a movie would say — maybe Harrison Ford in Air Force One or Michael Douglas in The American President. It never occurred to him that out there in the world beyond the Republic of Cool he’d set an actual red line and some dime-store dictator would cross it with impunity. So, for most of the last month, the bipartisan foreign-policy establishment has assured us that, regardless of whether it will accomplish anything, we now have to fire missiles at a sovereign nation because “America’s credibility is at stake.”
That's the problem when a feckless idiot becomes an nation's leader. When he commits a serious blunder the establishment feels compelled to support him even if they disdain him because the country is at stake.
And, of course in John Kerry we have a Secretary of State who is equal to the task of making the idiot Obama look smart in comparison. Trying to simultaneously appeal to both the doves and the hawks he promised a strike that no one would notice, using a phrase that will go down in the history of stupidity: "unbelievably small."
John Kerry, America’s secretary of state, capped his own impressive four-decade accumulation of magnificently tin-eared sound bites by assuring his audience that the military devastation the superpower would wreak on Assad would be “unbelievably small.” Actually, the problem is that it will be all too believably small.
In a swipe at the wanna-bees in the Republican party like Rubio and McCain, Steyn has a message:
America is in danger of being the first great power to be laughed off the world stage. When the president’s an irrelevant narcissist and his secretary of state’s a vainglorious buffoon, Marco Rubio shouldn’t be telling the world don’t worry, the other party’s a joke, too.
At this point, it would be smart for those on the Right to distance themselves from Team Obama instead of trying to cover for him. It's a strategic blunder to pretend that Obama's bluster has to be defended because he's President. Separate the man from the nation; they are not one and the same.