March 28 2014
Fanciful Thinking: Obama at Large
Quote of the Day:
That’s the kind of sentiment you expect from a Miss America contestant asked to name her fondest wish, not from the leader of the free world explaining his foreign policy.
--Charles Krauthammer in this morning’s Washington Post
Krauthammer's column is about the naïve worldview embedded in several statements by President Obama.
From his recent actions and statements, we must infer that President Obama, the quintessential product of American higher education, elite division, is not deeply read in history.
America never sought the role that history gave it after World War II to bear unbidden burdens “to assure the survival and the success of liberty,” as movingly described by John Kennedy. We have an appropriate aversion to the stark fact that the alternative to U.S. leadership is either global chaos or dominance by the likes of China, Russia and Iran.
But Obama doesn’t even seem to recognize this truth. In his major Brussels address Wednesday, the very day Russia seized the last Ukrainian naval vessel in Crimea, Obama made vague references to further measures should Russia march deeper into Ukraine, while still emphasizing the centrality of international law, international norms and international institutions such as the United Nations.
Such fanciful thinking will leave our allies with two choices: bend a knee — or arm to the teeth. Either acquiesce to the regional bully or gird your loins, i.e., go nuclear. As surely will the Gulf states. As will, in time, Japan and South Korea.
When President Obama visited the Colosseum yesterday in Rome, I thought he had an interesting and solipsistic reaction. He thought it was as big. Relly relly big.
And it is of course—I gotta say, you notice that. It is also a place important to the building of European civilization. Sacred to European history and culture, you might say. But here is our president’s quote on the ancient edifice:
“This is bigger than some current baseball stadiums,” said Mr Obama, who is a fan of the Chicago White Sox baseball team.
“'I have to check on what it seats. It's remarkable. Unbelievable.”
Isn’t there a more appreciative way to respond to this site of immense historical significance in the development of our culture? Or is European culture like the Cold War—so yesterday. (Well, at least the poster boy for modern education didn't say, "Vespasian, you didn't build that Colosseum." I also loved it that he referred to his "schisms" on several issues with the pope. Does President Malaprop know what the word schism even means?)
I’ve several times called your attention to Walter Russell Mead’s fine essay on how the President’s response to Putin exposes the educational inadequacies of our cocooned elite.
I never cease to marvel that Barack Obama was viewed as the hyper-educated replacement for George W. Bush, who would certainly have been able to muster something better than “it’s big” if given a private tour of the Colosseum.
President Obama, who talks about the "arc of history," but is actually quite ignorant of history, lives in a fantasy world and he is quickly rendering the non-fantasy world a more dangerous place.