Obama’s Cuban Missile Crisis moment

Weren’t we told that Obama was the second coming of John F. Kennedy (as well, of course, of Honest Abe, both Roosevelts, etc.)?  Well, in the past weeks, Obama got his 3 a.m. phone call and his modern Cuban Missile Crisis and, I have to say, he’s no JFK:

Obama's Cuban Missile Crisis moment

Just by way of contrast, from Obama’s favorite paper of record:

New York Times on Cuban Missile Crisis

Barack Obama is both right and wrong (but mostly wrong) when he talks about Russia

pb-130617-obama-putin-meeting.photoblog900The past hundred years have seen two worldwide ideological wars:  The Cold War and the current war between the West and Islam, which Norm Podhoretz calls World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism.

In both of these wars, the world has been a battle ground between opposing forces, one of which seeks to enslave the world’s citizens before a socialist or theocratic government, and the other of which seeks to prevent that enslavement.  (I was going to say “seeks to maximize individual freedom,” but I don’t believe that we can say that anymore about America and we never could say that about Europe.) The fact that the Islamic war has been going on intermittently since the 7th century, with innumerable individual Muslim nations leading the charge, doesn’t change its essential ideological nature.

The same hundred years have seen two worldwide “regional” wars, as well as uncountable small regional wars.  The worldwide ones were, quite obviously World Wars I and II.  Some people are a bit confused about WWII’s inclusion in this category.  While Hitler definitely had an ideology, he was not seeking to spread that ideology.  He simply wanted to expand his nation as far as possible, bringing some geographical regions into Germany, and enslaving others to Germany.

World War I was also about zones of power rather than advancing an ideology throughout the world.  The myriad other 20th and 21st century regional wars have pitted communists against non-communists, but the warring nations, rather than seeking to spread their ideology, were simply working to expand their regional power bases.

Which gets me to what Obama had to say about Russia, where he managed to be both sort of right and entirely wrong.  Since Putin first zeroed in on Ukraine and the Crimea, Obama has been on defense about the fact that Mitt Romney, all the way back in 2012, accurately predicted that Russia would be a geopolitical foe.

Understandably, Obama cannot now concede that Romney was right.  (Much as I dislike and distrust Obama, I think any president in his shoes would never acknowledge that his former opponent was right and would do anything and everything to spin the situation.)  So Obama spins and spins and spins with the inevitable result — the more he talks, the more foolish he appears:

[Obama:] With respect to Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges.

Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neigbors, not out of strength, but out of weakness.

Ukraine has been a country in which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the breakup of the Soviet Union. And we have considerable influence on our neighbors. We generally don’t need to invade them in order to have a strong, cooperative relationship with them. The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bare these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more.

So my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is: Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.

To the extent Obama’s logorrhea disclaims a new Cold War, he’s correct. Putin may mourn the old Soviet Union, but he’s not backing a new Cold War strategy of using guile, stealth, and proxy warfare in order to spread communism throughout the world. He’s a strong Russian nationalist who has no ideology he wants to market. In terms of ideological warfare, our enemy remains Islam, which wants to take over the world with a ferocity that even the communists couldn’t muster.

For Obama to dismiss Russia as a mere regional power, however, and to state that this power base is a “weakness” reveals Obama’s profound historical ignorance and intellectual insularity. It’s as if, in his mind, when the Cold War ended, all possible wars ended. In reality, throughout history, countries seeking regional dominance have successfully wrecked havoc on the world. After all, as they increase their geographic scope, they increase the “region” in which they operate.

In ancient times, Persia wasn’t selling ideology. It was just spreading its wings, seeking Persian lebensraum, an effort that saw it work its way across the entire Aegean until the Spartans stopped it. It’s regional reach managed to go from Persia itself to almost the entire known world. The same was true for both the Greeks and the Romans. While they thought that their ways were best, they weren’t selling an ideology when they conquered. They wanted power and wealth, aka Greek and Roman lebensraum. The Mongol hordes? Ditto. Louis XIV’s France? Ditto. Napoleonic France? Ditto. World Wars I and II, as mentioned above? Ditto.

None of the above aggressor nations conquered a nearby “region” and then stopped voluntarily. Each was emboldened by regional victories and sought to expand the territories it controlled. All were stopped only when their reach exceeded their grasp or when they met a foe more implacable than they were. For Obama to assume that Putin, having stretched his wings a little bit in the Ukraine, will now stop his territorial aggression is woefully or willfully naive.

For Putin, this expansion is a marvelous offset to his problems at home. Dying, aging population? Get a new population. Weakened, corrupted economy? Prop it up with wealth acquired using arms against other nations. An increasingly unpopular, undemocratic rule? Become a successful warrior king and watch your poll numbers shoot up.

The fact that Putin’s armed conquest is unsustainable in the long run (all warrior conquerors have a reach that exceeds their grasp), doesn’t mean in the short run that it won’t be successful. For a time that can run into decades, Putin will control vast swathes of reasonably productive land — something that will give him power far beyond his region. He’ll be able to meddle in Western Europe again. He’ll hold over the world the threat of an alliance with China. He’ll continue to be a power player in the Middle East, especially since Arab nations will always ally themselves with the strong horse.

America’s endlessly naive peace party, which has Obama as its perfect leader, has always assumed that if America makes nice with the world, the world will suddenly become a nicer place.  That this isn’t how the world works eludes these peace makers, as it did after World War I and during the Cold War and during our current World War IV.

Since time immemorial, the world has been a balance of powers. If one power weakens, other step up to fill the vacuum. The world is in bad shape when the dominant power is evil and the world is in good shape when the dominant power is less evil. I would say America is the best dominant power ever to have walked the earth (with the Pax Britannica probably a good second), but we don’t even need to award a dominant power with the label “Best Dominant Power Ever.” It’s enough to know that civilization advances (wealth, health, and innovation) if a particular reigning dominant power is simply better than the alternatives.

It’s not quite clear what Obama’s thinks, but both his ideas are wrong.  He either loathes America so much that he believes, contrary to the entire weight of history, that she has been an evil dominant power or, as I said, he’s so naive and stupid he believes that, if a dominant power voluntarily departs the scene, peace will reign eternal.  Either could explain his deliberate decision to remove America from the world stage, despite global success under her mostly benignant leadership and his conscious refusal to acknowledge the forces of evil hastening to fill the vacuum America has left in her wake.

When I think about the American Lefts’ moral and historical blindness, I keep being reminded of the rebooted Twilight Zone, which ran for two seasons in the mid-1980s. One of its episodes was called A Small Talent for War:

An ambassador (John Glover) from an alien race arrives, claiming that his race had genetically engineered the people of Earth. He tells the quarrelsome members of the United Nations Security Council that his race is displeased over Earth’s “small talent for war”, having failed to produce the potential that the aliens had nurtured. When the alien ambassador announces that his fleet will destroy Earth, the Security Council earns a 24 hour reprieve to prove Earth’s worth. With survival at stake, the Security Council negotiates, and the General Assembly acclaims, an accord for lasting global peace and presents it to the alien ambassador.

The global peace agreement brings great humour to the emissary. The aliens were, in fact, seeking a greater talent for war, as they had genetically seeded thousands of planets to breed warriors to fight for them across the galaxy. Humanity’s “small talent” for war (crude weapons, petty bickering over borders) is not significant enough to be of any use to them, and he laughingly states that – worst of all – the people of Earth long for peace. As the ambassador calls down his fleet to destroy the Earth, he thanks the Security Council for an amusing day and their “delightful sense of the absurd”, and his parting comment is “…as one of your fine Earth actors, Edmund Gwenn, once said, Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

Humans are never closer to animals than when it comes to their passion and ability for war. Only two things stave off war, especially when these two things operate simultaneously: free trade between nations, so that peace is more beneficial than war; and a dominant world (or regional) power that acts defensively, not offensively. It’s only Twilight Zone script writers and Democrat Party members who think that we will erase war if we successfully stifle the free market and then create a power vacuum that any tin pot tyrant can fill.

Friday morning wrap-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve ranted here before about the fact that, when discussing the Left’s insistence that government should be able to give the Pill to young girls, no one mentions how dangerous hormone-based birth control devices are.  It seems, though, that people are finally waking up to the fact that there’s a price to pay for messing with women’s hormones.

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Walt Disney was a futurist because he believed that the future would be a wonderful time that would see Americans, and people around the world, enjoying better living through technology. Obama is a futurist too. He envisions a barren, parched wasteland with bazillions of starving people, among whom will be history professors passing judgment on today’s events — hence Obama’s perpetual concern with “being on the right side of history.” What Obama doesn’t grasp is that the world’s bad actors are not futurists. They are “here and now” -ists. Putin, in true George Washington Plunkitt fashion, saw his opportunity and took it, history be damned. What Putin understands, which Obama doesn’t, is that the victors get to write the history.

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Back in August 2008, David Goldman foresaw the Russian (and American and Israeli) future. George Bush is not without guilt on this one. America as a whole, has been naive and credulous in dealing with Putin. In 2008, though, no one could have envisioned an American leader quite as bad as Obama. Goldman’s 2008 article posited Russians playing chess and Americans playing Monopoly. Obama, however, has been playing Chutes and Ladders.

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In any event, whether the West is playing Monopoly or Candy Land, the Onion has a wonderful satirical piece in which Putin expresses his gratitude.

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We all know (and the Left knows too) that Paul Ryan is not a racist for pointing out exactly what Obama pointed out: that American black men live within a damaged and damaging culture. Where Ryan failed, though, was his decision to bob and weave when the usual race-baiters labeled him as a racist. He apologized for being misunderstood and met with black leaders and did the usual sackcloth and ashes routine. What Ryan should have done — what every person of good will should do when the race-baiters call him names — was to come out swinging: “I am not a racist. You are the racist because you refuse to allow anyone to talk about the welfare state’s massive failures. Etc.” The moment anyone apologizes on this one for anything, even using the wrong punctuation, the race-baiters win.

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On the subject of racism, affirmative action is one of those racist Leftist evils. While it may have had some merit in the first years after 1964 (and I doubt even that), it’s become poison in the decades since then. For more than fifty years, it’s told both whites and minorities that the latter need not try as hard because the system will raise them up anyway.  This is a terrible message. Up until affirmative action, disfavored American groups raised themselves up by working twice as hard and by competing head-on with the entrenched classes. That’s the way to break racism (or anti-Catholicism or anti-Semitism). You try harder; you don’t try less hard. According to John Fund, it might be that some people are finally figuring this out.

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Incidentally, affirmative action is why Obama got elected and it’s one of the reasons he will never be impeached. With that kind of job security, Obama doesn’t need to work hard and can, during the hours he does deign to work, go about freely de-valuing America.

***

I liked 300. A lot. I didn’t get to see the end though. With only 10 minutes to go, the liberal friend with whom I was watching it said, “This is disgusting,” turned the TV off, took out the disk, put it in the Netflix mailer, and that was that. I liked the movie for precisely the reasons Andrew Klavan liked it. I also fail to see how any sequel could work. The Spartan stand at Thermopylae was a unique moment in history. Any subsequent film will just be about a battle, not about an idea.

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My son said that kids at his school are saying that the endless coverage about the missing Malaysia Airline is to cover for the debacle (from America’s viewpoint) in the Ukraine. Smart kids. The DiploMad says the same thing.

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Daniel Greenfield has an extended, thoughtful, detailed, accurate, depressing rumination on the death cult lying at Islam’s heart.

Wednesday evening round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThis has been a crazily chaotic day.  I got thrown off my stride by my morning swim (phase 2 in physical therapy for my knee, now that I’m off the perpetual motion machine), and just couldn’t catch up anymore.  Throw in a few unexpected demands on my time and — voila! — I’m doing my round-up early in the evening instead of first thing in the morning.  Still, proving that there’s always room for a cliched phrase, better late than never.  So, here goes:

A friend sent me the following link in the mail and it was so eerily close to the way real events are playing out, that it took me a second to realize that it’s satire (and pretty damn funny satire at that): On Defense Cuts, Obama Just Comes Right Out And Says He Wants The Terrorists To Win

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Perhaps we’ve reached a stage where the best we can hope for is that Israel will have our back, rather than vice versa.  At least today, Israel had its own back (can I say that and still make sense?), capturing a massive arms haul — Syrian missiles, shipped out from Iran, and headed to Gaza. Thank God the Israelis still have the sechel to watch out for their own interests.

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And speaking of Israel’s interests, if the last twenty-two years have shown us anything, it’s that participating in peace talks isn’t working. The reason, of course, is that the peace talks are all directed at a “two-state solution,” but the Palestinians, as well as the surrounding Arab and Muslim states, have no interest in a two-state solution. Yoav Sorek says that it’s time to stop chasing this chimera and create a new paradigm: a one-state solution — Israel — that the Palestinians have to learn to live with.

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If you’re girding your loins against the possibility of a Hillary victory in 2016, maybe it’s time to stop girding and start working incredibly hard for a good conservative candidate, instead of the usual lousy conservative candidates. I say this because Hillary is also a lousy candidate and the only way in which Republicans can lose if she’s the Democrat candidate is if they put up another McCain.  (What do you bet that the Republicans put up another John McCain?)

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Here’s a scary thought: I already suggested that Obama has gone round the bend. What if Putin has done the same? The world is scary enough with one madman in power. What’s it going to be like with the last two great powers of the 20th century both headed by malignant narcissists whose already tenuous grip on reality has been destroyed by the bubbles in which they surrounded themselves?

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Maybe none of it matters anyway, at least when it comes to Russia. I’ve noted before that Russia is in serious decline and this article provides the facts behind my conclusions. Whether Putin’s move on the Crimea is crazed or calculated, it can only buy a small amount of time for a country that will be eaten by China in the next few decades. (And considering its population, China will have a credible “lebensraum” argument, won’t it?) Ultimately, Putin will have gained nothing for his own country, although he will have succeeded in providing more evidence that Obama is feckless and unreliable, and may have caused several thousand, or even several hundred thousand, deaths along the way. Given the two delusional men at the helm of two declining nations, the last thing we want is a fast-walk to military confrontation.

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If Snowden had merely shown how the U.S. government routinely collects very scrap of data it can about American citizens, he would have deserved the “hero” title that the far Left and far Right placed on him. But considering that he mostly stole 1.7 million sensitive files touching upon national security, and then headed for the Chinese and, after that, the Russians, it’s clear that he’s the biggest traitor in American history. I’m putting more and more credence in the theory that he was a massive traitor all along, and that he stole the “spying on American” stuff only to provide himself with cover.

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Walt Disney Co. is free to demand that everyone and everything with which it deals support gay marriage. And people who disagree with that position are free to stop dealing with the Walt Disney Co. I really like Disneyland and Disney World, but it won’t be the end of the world for me if I never go to either place again. I bet the same is true for a lot of Americans. I’m not suggesting a formal boycott. I am pointing out, however, that in this information-rich world, we no longer have to deal with companies that spend our money in ways we dislike.

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Jonah Goldberg supports Obama’s initiative to help black youth, even if it’s manifestly discriminatory for the federal government to extend aid to one racial group while ignoring others (not that this has ever stopped the feds before). Jonah is right that America’s black youth are in desperate straits and need all the help they can get. My only concern is that it was the federal government that got America’s black youth in this situation in the first place, thanks to Leftists’ belief that blacks cannot manage without government support. It seems to me that the federal government is the last entity that should be trusted to get blacks out of this miserable cycle of violence, drugs, and poverty. Remember Frederick Douglass’s words (emphasis mine):

In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us…. I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! … And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! … Your interference is doing him positive injury.

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Not only did I enjoy Ace’s take on Obama’s manifestly unconstitutional decision to amend Obamacare again, but I loved the Photoshop you’ll find at that link. (BTW, Obama’s action is unconstitutional because only Congress can amend a law. This is banana republic stuff.)

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Did I say “banana republic stuff”? I did, and I meant it. Michael Ramirez has his own comment on what Barack Obama has managed to do in five short (although they seemed very long) years.

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The NAACP says “stand your ground” laws are part of “institutional racism.” Think about that for a moment. The laws simply say that, if your choices when faced by an assailant are to cut and run or to stand and fight, you can stand and fight (especially when cutting and running carries risks). They are facially neutral laws that apply to anyone facing a threat, black or white. What the NAACP is implicitly conceding is that the only/primary threatening parties in America — the ones who will be on the wrong side of “stand your ground” — are black. Wow! Is that racist or what? It seems to me that the NAACP is guilty of a bit of institutional racism itself.

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There are two writers out there who make just about everything interesting . . . and when the subject matter is inherently interesting, they’re off into the stratospheres of wonder for their readers. Enjoy the Diplomad’s Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy; Putin Confronts the West and Sultan Knish’s A Maddow in MSNBCland.

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Boehner’s bad: He freely concedes that all he cares about is opening up America’s borders. Who cares that the voters don’t want that? Remember, our elected officials are no longer our servants; they are our masters.

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Muslims bomb the Boston Marathon and Boston, home to the American Revolution, does what the Left does best: it backs down. That’s the word from Runner’s world:

A decade long tradition will be missing from this year’s Boston Marathon. Due to the new, stricter security guidelines released by the Boston Athletic Association last Wednesday, ruck marchers will not be allowed to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boylston because they are considered “unauthorized participants.”

Active members of the military have participated in ruck marches at the Boston Marathon for years. Donning full fatigues and carrying 40-pound rucksacks on their backs, ruckers march the length of the course in support of families of fallen soldiers.

Muslims don’t have to defeat America on the battlefield. If they scare us enough, we’ll unilaterally declare defeat and turn ourselves over to the enemy.

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And finally, Danny Lemieux posted the following quotation on his real-me Facebook:

“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

– Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
(publ. 1776-1789)

It’s funny how we spend our adolescent years desperately trying to shake off our parents’ care, which we feel comes with too many strings attached, and then spend the rest of our lives trying to get someone to care for us, strings or not.

Kerry’s negotiating desperation re Putin would be funny if it wasn’t so scary

John Kerry's Right To Be StupidAs I was driving home from the swimming pool today, I heard that Russia’s representative was refusing to accede to John Kerry’s request that the Russians sit down for face-to-face negotiations with the Ukrainians. My first thought was that the report was way too polite. Kerry’s not requesting, he’s begging.

My second thought was that this is what happens when the President of the United States spends five years making it plain that America will not use its power and, worse, that the president’s word cannot be relied upon. Kerry has no leverage.

As for my third thought, I didn’t actually have a third thought.  Instead, I’m borrowing from a friend, who forwarded his thoughts on the matter to me:

Obama and Kerry attempting to use diplomacy with Putin is like trying to use reason with robbers during a home invasion. As they are talking, he’s filling his pockets and getting the tactical advantage. If he gets away with this who’s next? Further, why would anyone choose to negotiate over something they can simply take?

All of the above would be amusing if it was written into a lunatic novel.  (By the way, if you’re looking for a wonderful, clever, laugh-out-loud funny lunatic novel, I highly recommend Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls: A Novel of International Intrigue, Pork-Crazed Termites, and Motherhood.)  But this is isn’t a lunatic novel.  It’s real life, and Obama has managed to destroy in five years almost 70 years of American influence.

A Ukraine round-up

Russian Ukraine invasionI’ve read so many excellent articles about the Ukraine, I wanted to pass them along:

Every time a Leftist media rag has a momentary epiphany that Obama isn’t the messiah, all I can think is “Too little too late.”  Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that those epiphanies don’t make a point.  Such is the case with the WaPo’s observation that Obama’s foreign policy is built upon a fantasy of the world as it should be, rather than the world as it is.

The fact that Putin may also be living out a fantasy, as Angela Merkel surmises, is irrelevant.  Putin is living out his fantasy with guns and tanks, which makes him an extremely dangerous fantasist.

In any event, it’s not clear to me that there’s anything fantastic about Putin’s plan.  As every Russian leader has wanted since at least Catherine the Great’s time, Putin needs a warm water port, this time to export Russia’s energy reserves.  He also knows that, while his nation is in demographic and economic decline (a) selling reserves will at least offset the economic losses and (b) aiming a gun at people unwilling to fight back is a good way to offset a demographic drop.

Apropos that warm water port, a liberal asked me “Why is Putin doing this?”  My response aside from the obvious “because he can,” was “because he wants a warm water port.”  The liberal sneered at me that this isn’t the 19th century anymore.  I suspect that he hadn’t read that Lurch er . . . Kerry said exactly the same thing.  Instead, this is just a default Leftist sneer.  In fact, as I noted above, a warm water port is an excellent thing for the Russians and Putin knows it.  He is therefore following State Craft Rule 101:  act in your own self-interest.  As Tom Rogan explains, no airy-fairy theory in the world will override this number one rule of governance.

(I can’t resist an aside here, which is that Obama’s policies have not been to America’s self-interest, unless our nation’s self-interest demands bankruptcy, security weakness, and cultural collapse.  This means that because he’s clearly following a game plan, his self-interests are at odds with America’s.  He sure is some president.)

Everyone acknowledges that nobody is going to run for their guns to defend Ukraine.  David Goldman astutely points out that Ukraine has never had a history of true independence, that it lurched from one oligarchy to the next, that it’s completely bankrupt, and that no one has a real interest in engaging with Russia over it (as Putin knows).

Still, the U.S. and the world are not entirely helpless.  While it’s unlikely that America or the EU can pry Putin away from his warm water port, they can constrain him.  Timothy Snyder, who wrote the devastating Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, thinks that Europe has a lot of soft power that it can bring to bear on a nation whose leisure class loves to travel to and spend money in Europe.

I wonder, though. What Europe wants above all is cheap energy — and Putin’s Crimean takeover promises them that. I think the EU will huff and puff for a while, and then wallow in the black gold flowing its way.

That’s my two cents. Drew, at Ace of Spades, didn’t futz around with two cents worth of links and thoughts. He goes all out in an excellent post that I see, after reading it, heads in much the same direction as mine, only with much more data and analysis.

The Diplomad ties everything up in a neat package with a very important observation:  our foreign policy will continue to fail unless we, at home, create a true commitment to liberty.  As long as the weak, America-hating, internationalist, Islamophilic, socialist Obama controls the government, that’s not going to happen.  We therefore have to hope that we can weather a few more years of Obama at the helm and then hope even more that a true leader runs for the White House and that the American people have the sechel to elect him.

One more thing.  Remember the young Kerry who included in his Congressional testimony during the Vietnam War a reference to “Jen-gis Khan”?  Jen-gis Khan!  Huh!  It took  a moment for most people to realize that Kerry was speaking about a historical figure everyone else in America called (and calls) “Gen-gis Khan”?

That snotty reference to a commonly named figure warned us long ago that Kerry is a self-involved, arrogant, elitist poseur.  Knowing what we know about him, are we surprised that, while the rest of American is focused on Kiev, Kerry is focused on Kyiv?

 

Sleepy Saturday round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI’m wondering how the gun-grabbing crowd is coping with the horrible news out of China: terrorists with knives killed 28 and injured 113. One can’t help wondering whether, if some of those hundreds of people trapped in the train station had possessed a legal gun, if the terror wouldn’t have stopped soon after it started.

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Years ago, Dennis Prager said on his radio show that, when a couple both marry as Democrats, and then one becomes a Republican, it’s reasonable for the remaining Democrat to feel betrayed.  I agree with that, but would add an addendum:  What if, as Reagan said, the “converting” party did so, not because he left the Democrats, but because the Democrats left him?

This question isn’t far-fetched.  In a WaPo piece, Andrew Kohut, who founded the Pew Research Center, says that the Democrats have shifted way left.  If you’ve become a Republican, and your partner still gives his or her entire allegiance to the Democrats, your partner has shifted way left too.  The only reason no one has remarked upon this seismic political and ideological shift is that the people leading the shift are also the people controlling information, in politics, the media, and education.

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The Three Monkeys Press (aka The New York Times, which, like all media outlets, has adopted a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” policy during the Obama administration) has a video preparing Americans for possible outbreaks of Leftist politics at the Oscars by saying that the Oscars have a “long history” of political outbreaks.  What the Three Monkeys Press fails to acknowledge is that the politicization of the Oscars started when the Left became ascendant in Hollywood.  Before that, it was just an entertainment awards show.  Since then, every two-bit Leftist in Hollywood starts palpitating with excitement at the thought that, if he or she can get near the microphone, he (or she) can have a bully pulpit into American homes.

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Since we’re talking about American debasement, let me round out this short round-up by pointing to the fact that, with Russia poised to invade Ukraine, Obama had more important things to do than attend a national security meeting.  While we’re watching the worst of the 1930s and the 1970s unfold before our eyes, Obama is happily re-living his behavior on the night of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Will Americans ever wake up or have we slid so far down the infamous slippery slope that the Left can indeed fool all of the people all of the time?

Thursday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFor reasons that make no sense to me, in the past week my daily readership has almost trebled. I suspect a bot has targeted my site but, when I allow myself to pretend that it’s actual people checking out my site, I feel really quite good. And now let’s see if I can make all of my real and robotic readers feel good with some interesting links:

It turns out that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the only thing exciting the Left right now, from Obama on down to the most insignificant Facebook user, is gay marriage. Syria? Sad, but boring. Ukraine? A little scary, so best ignored. North Korea? Really scary, so best ignored. Economy? We have a Democrat president, so we pretend it’s good. But gay marriage? Wow! That’s a hot issue, so hot that it should be the administration’s most pressing issue, the states’ most pressing issue, and social media’s most pressing issue.

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Putting gay marriage aside, what sensible people should be excited about is the fact that the current administration has deliberately chosen to subvert the law and to use supposedly non-partisan administrative agencies (most notably the IRS) to destroy the current administration’s political opponents. Bradley A. Smith spells it out, and there are smoking guns everywhere. Unfortunately, true believers on the Left are just going to look at that evidence and say, “Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” They’d do that even if Lois Lerner got her immunity and spilled the beans.

Few on the Left have Democrat Prof. Jonathan Turley’s insight or integrity:

And what we’ve been seeing is the shift of gravity within that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable, and I think that’s what the president is doing. I think that we’ve become a nation of enablers. We are turning a blind eye to a fundamental change in our system. I think many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period.

Incidentally, I wonder if Mr. Smith has been reading my blog. To conclude his masterful summary demonstrating administration complicity with the IRS, he wrote this:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

If that seems familiar to some of you, I wrote the same thing (although at greater length) back in May 2013.

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Hillary Clinton spoke in Florida yesterday to defend Obamacare. For a good analysis, go here. The short version is that she’s adopting the Democrat party line, which is that Obamacare is slightly flawed, but should be fixed, not undone. I’ll just chime in quickly with a little extra info that may explain why many people will be inclined to save, not jettison it: the venue at which she spoke was a massive annual medical technology convention. The wealth concentrated there — wealth created because Obamacare has mandated computerizing all medical records — probably equals the wealth of several small and mid-sized countries. Exhibitors weren’t just giving away pens and mouse pads. They were giving away Kindle Fires and other fancy swag. Follow the money….

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I love it when my politics and my dieting efforts converge: No Girl Scout cookies for me this year. The Girl Scouts are absolutely free to continue their leftward drift. I just don’t have to help fund it. If I had my own personal Marine Sergeant Major monitoring my diet, none of this would be an issue.

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Just a reminder that if you want a bird’s eye view of probable election results, check out Scott Elliott’s Election Projection. Working on a state-by-state basis, he has amassed a vast and highly accurate database of predicted election outcomes.

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North Korea is one seriously scary place. It’s scary inside, because it is a vast, brutal concentration camp. I mean, think about it: It’s so bad that the UN has actually taken time off from persecuting Israel to castigate North Korea for a few days.

It’s also scary outside because it’s got a vast armory of conventional weapons aimed at South Korea, and a probable armory of nuclear weapons aimed at God knows where. Andrew Keller recommends actually enforcing sanctions against it, so that the West is no longer complicit in propping up this government. (Our excuse for propping it up, starting with Madeleine Albright, is always that we’re preventing mass starvation. We haven’t done anything of the sort.  The NoKo government just takes the money, buys caviar, and lets the people starve anyway.) My only worry with Keller’s recommendation is that North Korea is not the kind of country that will go down easy. It seems to me that one of its last gasp efforts will be to take large parts of the world, or Asia, down with it.

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I don’t understand why people are so fussed about reliably Left-leaning Ronan Farrow winning a journalism award after only two days on air at MSNBC. After all, Barack Obama won the once-prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, not because he actually did anything on the job, but simply because he got hired. Eric Wemple illustrates that in the modern journalism world, everyone is good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, entitled to endless accolades and awards.

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Eric Holder was briefly hospitalized for chest pains, but seems to be okay. I wonder if he had a panic attack, which can mimic a heart attack. He’s got a lot of balls in the air now, and it must be nerve-wracking to keep them spinning. You know what I mean: Urging state Attorney General’s to refuse to enforce their own state laws regarding gay marriage; arranging for gun-running into Mexico, and then having to cover it all up; hiding administration documents about everything from the IRS to Benghazi; working to turn felons and illegal aliens into registered voters; and so on. I’d be stressed too with all of that on my plate.

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In a typically thoughtful, detailed post, Daniel Greenfield examines Obama’s decision to put America into a forced retreat from the world stage. His last paragraph reads like the final epitaph for a once great nation:

Post-American America exists to destroy itself. Until that changes, it has nothing to offer the world except membership in a suicide pact.

Obama’s despicable role in the Ukraine (or, rather, his absence of any role, other than some meaningless Kabuki theater) perfectly illustrates how he’s got America crawling away on her hands and knees, with her national butt nicely poised in the air for some final kicking.

The Left assured us in 2008 that the world would be a better place without all that nasty American influence. The world’s citizens are discovering what you and I already knew: The world is a much less nice, stable, safe place without an American influence. Moreover, the Left’s talk of compassion was a fake.  For example, even as apocalyptic scenes play out in Syria, the Left manifestly doesn’t care.

America’s lousy media and lousy sense of proportion

A couple of days ago, I wrote a lengthy post in which I argued that, during Democrat presidencies, the media constantly elevates non-essential information to top status, thereby keeping America’s attention away from the fact that things are going badly wrong.  During Republican administrations, the press focuses exclusively on hard news, always reported to the administration’s detriment.

Today’s Drudge Report perfectly exemplifies what’s roiling the world (Putin) and what’s roiling the media and the Left (a proposed Arizona law that would allow people who practice traditional religions to refuse to provide their services to gay weddings, which they see as a direct affront to their faith):

Drudge 2-26-14

The bizarre juxtaposition is even more apparent if you look at the Drudge Report on a smart phone:
photo

They’re rattling sabres in a way that presages another Cold War or, worse, a hot war, while our chattering class is incensed that traditional religionists don’t want to be driven into bankruptcy because, while they do not want to be active participants in what is to them a deeply offensive event.

The American media has found its fiddle, even as the world burns down around our ears.

To achieve partisan political goals, the American media destroys the precious right and moral mandate given to it by the Constitution

paparazzi-440x240When our Founders (rightly) insisted upon a free press, they could never have envisioned the wounds the modern American media inflicted upon itself and, by extension, upon the American body politic.  The Founders’ goal was a press that zealously kept watch on politicians, keeping them honest and reminding them that they were the people’s servants, not their masters.  Instead, we have a media that selectively watches some politicians, while following a “don’t ask, don’t tell” standard as to others.  And during those eras when the press’s preferred political party is in power, it turns its energies to attacking and destroying people, both private citizens and celebrities, who have the misfortune to catch the media’s eye.

As I hope to demonstrate below, some of the worst media scandals ever took place during the Clinton presidency.  While the mainstream media (as opposed to the paparazzi/tabloid media) carefully averted its eyes from the Clintons, it savaged Tonya Harding, Richard Jewell, and Princess Diana.  Please remind me if any such “assault by media” events happened during the Bush years.  I can’t think of any, and am not surprised at that memory lapse, since the mainstream media’s entire energies were directed towards discrediting George Bush.

Beginning with 2008 election cycle, the media once again reversed course:  it kept up the attacks on Bush, as well as targeting any Republicans who looked too close to winning the prize (can we say “Sarah Palin”?), and began once again focusing its energies on non-political inessentials — a pattern that it has kept to through the present-day.

My whole theory about the ebb and flow of tabloid and political reporting depending upon which party is in power began when I watched ESPN’s The Price of Gold, a documentary that examines Nancy Kerrigan’s infamous knee capping back in 1994, six weeks before the Lillehammer Olympics (and a few months before triumphant Republicans were able to seize Congress because of America’s horror at Clinton’s far-Left agenda.)  Within a few weeks of the attack, the FBI had figured out that Kerrigan’s main on-ice rival, Tonya Harding, a powerful, scrappy poor kid was somehow involved.  There was no question but that her husband and three conspirators actively carried out the attack.  Harding subsequently pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by failing to give the FBI information after the attack, but she’s never admitted to being complicit in the attack herself.

If you get the chance to watch The Price of Gold, you should.  Kerrigan refused to participate (although her husband appears twice), but Harding finally got the chance to tell her story.  The documentary intertwines interviews with people who knew Harding and Kerrigan, fellow Olympic figure skaters, media people involved at the time, and Harding herself, as well as contemporaneous footage showing Harding from a little girl on ice right up until her demeaning post-Olympics career as a boxer.  Separate from whether she was involved in the assault, Harding emerges as a very sympathetic figure.  Unlike most American skaters, she pulled herself up by her own bootstraps, training in a shopping mall, suffering hunger and parental abuse, and eventually ending up in an abusive marriage.  Despite this, she turned herself into one of the world’s top skaters.

KERRIGAN AND HARDINGOnce Harding had hauled herself into the upper ranks, she discovered blatant class discrimination from two sources:  the skating powers-that-be and the media.  The skating world, still in thrall to Sonja Henie, demanded that, in addition to being powerful athletes, women skaters had to look like fairytale princesses.  Nancy Kerrigan conformed nicely to these demands.  Not only was she exceptionally pretty, she was also a powerful athlete.  Thanks to her looks, she got lucrative endorsements, which enabled her to pay thousands of dollars for a classy princess costume, and to have the best training money could buy.  Harding, on the other hand, was attacked for her homemade costumes and energetic rock music routines.

As for the media, they could have championed the working class heroine, but they didn’t.  With the Olympics nearing, the narrative was set:  beautiful princess facing challenge from ugly stepsister.  Yes, Harding was scrappy and self-made, which even the media recognized was admirable, but she simply wasn’t photogenic.  The press besieged her, but not in a respectful way.

After the attack, all Hell broke loose when it came to the media.  Keep in mind that, when the media went after Harding, never leaving her alone for a single second, no one knew whether she was innocent or guilty.  Indeed, we still don’t, although people close to Harding have their guesses.  The absence of proof or knowledge didn’t stop the media from making it impossible for Harding to train or to do anything else.  It was clear when Harding made her disastrous appearance at the Lillehammer Olympics that she was destroyed, not by a guilty-conscience (and, again, we don’t know if she had a guilty conscience), but by being hunted relentlessly for six weeks.  It probably wasn’t a coincidence that this debacle took place as Clinton was plummeting in the polls thanks in large part to his healthcare initiative.

There was another media frenzy in 1994 as well, which was also a distraction from actual news about Clinton’s myriad policy failures:  The OJ Simpson trial.  For nine months, the media provided wall-to-wall coverage of the trial, allowing it to keep to a limit any meaningful political coverage.

Richard JewellTwo years later, the media engaged in even more shameful behavior in the case of Richard Jewell, the hero who saved so many lives at the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics.  After first lauding him, the media then tried and convicted him, at the same time stalking and harassing him unmercifully.  When he was definitively cleared, the media hounds just slunk away into the night; their work was done.  That was the same year, as you recall, was that Clinton caved on gay rights, enacting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military.

And then there were the Bush years.  Please remind me of any famous media scandals during the Bush years that did not involve attacks on George Bush or his policies.  I can’t think of any.

With the lead-up to the 2008 election, the media once again took its eye off politics and started the scandal watch again.  It continued to savage Bush, and added Sarah Palin to its list of people it had to destroy.  Headlines became pure fluff.  Hard news — about the attempted Iranian Green Revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Syrian Civil War, the economy, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, etc. — was quickly and inaccurately summarized to make room for the really important stuff.  The MSM primarily devoted itself to attacking Republicans, lauding Democrats, worshipping Obama, supporting gay rights, demanding massive changes to the military, climate change, closed bridges, and Miley Cyrus and her ilk.  Whitney Houston, who killed herself directly or indirectly through years of drug abuse got more coverage than Chris Kyle, a true American hero who got murdered.

A good example of the media’s bizarre focus is Alec Baldwin.  Baldwin has always had a famously combative relationship with the media, especially the paparazzi.  He’s now taken to the pages of The Vulture to reveal that he’s not a gay-bashing monster but is, instead, a compassionate fellow who is a victim of media and gay attacks.  It makes for an enlightening read, although not in the way Baldwin intends.

I should say here that I hold no brief for Baldwin.  As 30 Rock showed, he’s an extremely talented comic actor — and that’s the only nice thing I can say about him.  He’s an angry, combative, whiny, hate-filled man who  believes himself to be an intellectual.  (Which reminds me of the response the Jewish mother gave to her son when he proudly showed up wearing his “captain” outfit for his new yacht: “Sammy, by me you’re a captain and by you you’re a captain.  But tell me — by captains are you a captain?”  With regard to Baldwin, one is tempted to say, “Alec, by you you’re an intellectual, and by Leftists you’re an intellectual.  But tell me — by actual smart people, are you an intellectual?”)

172144-alec-baldwinNevertheless, despite all that is really unpleasant about him, Baldwin makes some good points in his extended, almost maudlin rant.  First, he’s right about the attacks gays are making on free speech.  It doesn’t excuse his obscene, abusive language, but Baldwin has vaguely figured out that the speech police are out there.  Indeed, he rises to a certain level of sardonic wit when he calls Anderson Cooper (who I always think looks as if he’s lived his life in a deep sea cave) “the self-appointed Jack Valenti of gay media culture,” for demanding that the media “vilify” Baldwin.  Baldwin doesn’t see or doesn’t care about the way gay issues suck up all the media’s air time to the exclusion of coverage about Benghazi, the IRS, North Korea, Fast & Furious, etc.

Baldwin also makes a couple of good points when he talks about the paparazzi and MSNBC.  Of the press, he accurately — indeed, in an almost low-key way — describes its behavior:

And this isn’t the days of Rona Barrett and Ron Galella, who were viewed as outcasts or peripheral at best. Paparazzi today are part of a network that includes the Huffington Post and, much to my dismay, even NBC News, in their reliance on tabloid reporting.

Photographers today get right up in your face, my wife’s, my baby’s. They are baiting you. You can tell they want to get into it with you. Some bump into me or block the entrance to my apartment, frustrating my neighbors (some of whom may regret that I live in their building).

The other point Baldwin makes that is worth noting is his attack on MSNBC.  Putting aside the obvious sour grapes, he confirms what all of us have always suspected — MSNBC is run by Leftist businessmen who employ minimally intelligent talking heads to operate as an attack machine, rather than a news agency.  (Baldwin concedes that Rachel Maddow isn’t stupid, but thinks she’s a “phony,” whatever he means by that conclusory word.):

Phil Griffin is the head of MSNBC, and when I saw that Griffin didn’t have a single piece of paper on his desk, meeting after meeting after meeting, that should have been my first indication there was going to be a problem. Phil is a veteran programmer who knows well the corridors and chambers of television programming—and couldn’t give a flying fuck about content.

Three wise monkeysEven as the media has spent the Obama years obsessed by Alec Baldwin, gays, and Miley Cyrus, what about the way in which it’s performed its core function under the First Amendment, which is to ensure open and honest political discourse in America?  I don’t think I need to start preaching to the choir here.  You can amuse yourself by comparing coverage of Bridgegate to the media’s announcement that Hillary Clinton’s entire past, up to and including Benghazi, is off limits.  After all, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Or you might want to compare the microscope placed on Sarah Palin (including reporters going through her garbage or Andrew Sullivan’s increasingly insane theories about her son Trig’s parentage) versus the three monkeys approach the media took to every facet of Barack Obama’s history (“hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”).

The profound damage the media is inflicting on America with its slavish devotion to the Democrat Party came to mind when I read an article about the Ukrainian media’s role in the current uprising.  The article shows two things:  (1) that a media complicit with the government is terribly damaging to the rights of the people and (2) that a media that backs away from that same government can then destroy it (and that’s true whether or not it’s a government that deserves to be destroyed).  Both of these are useful lessons for America.

Lidia Pankiv, a Ukrainian journalist, was invited to speak on a talk show on Inter, the most popular news station in Ukraine.  Andriy Danylevych, the show’s host, wanted to do a human interest story with her about how important it is for reconciliation to occur instantly between, on the one hand, a government that governed against the will of the people and then tried to kill them and, on the other hand, the people themselves.  Pankiv was expected to tell a heartwarming story about how she calmed down riot police attacking civilians and how she ended up engaged to one of those riot police.  Pankiv, however, wasn’t going to talk about reconciliation.  Instead, she had a message for her compatriots about the media’s complicity in tyranny (emphasis mine):

Lidia PankivYou probably want to hear a story from me about how with my bare hands I restrained a whole Berkut unit, and how one of the Berkut officers fell in love with me and I fell in love with him. But I’m going to tell you another story. About how with my bare hands I dragged the bodies of those killed the day before yesterday. And about how two of my friends died yesterday. . . . I hate Zakharchenko, Klyuev, Lukash, Medvedchuk, Azarov. I hate Yanukovych and all those who carry out their criminal orders. I came here today only because I found out that this is a live broadcast. I want to say that I also despise Inter because for three months it deceived viewers and spread enmity among citizens of this country. And now you are calling for peace and unity. Yes, you have the right to try to clear your conscience, but I think you should run this program on your knees. I’ve brought these photos here for you, so that you see my dead friends in your dreams and understand that you also took part in that. And now, I’m sorry, I don’t have time. I’m going to Maidan. Glory to Ukraine.

When the show’s host tried to derail this conversation, the other guest instead agreed with what Pankiv had to say (emphasis mine):

Danylevych immediately tried to return to the night’s topic of reconciliation. But he was stopped by guest Konstantin Reutsky, a human-rights activist from Luhansk. Reutsky agreed with Pankiv, saying that Inter journalists had “lied and distorted information about Maidan over the last three months.” Danylevych tried to interrupt Reutsky, who went on to say that the protestors had tried for months to avoid bloodshed. “But what happened yesterday is a point of no return,” Reutsky continued. “After that you can no longer say, ‘Sorry, we got carried away, let’s turn the page and start afresh without offense.’ What happened yesterday is impossible to forget.” Danylevych, after shouting down Reutsky’s further attempt to discuss the crimes committed by the government, changed the topic. But a chief media mouthpiece of the regime, owned by the president’s oligarch backers, had been exposed. Hours later, the president fled his palace.

John Fund, whom I quoted immediately above, draws one conclusion:

As someone who reported from Eastern Europe during the fall of Communist regimes there, I recognized a recurring pattern in the collapse a quarter century later of the regime in Kiev. Regimes can stay in power in an age of mass media only if they have enough murderers willing to gun down people in the street.

Ukraine uprisingThere’s more to add than that, though.  Certainly it’s true that, when the blood really starts to flow, the media can no longer hide what’s going on, and the government can hold out only if there are enough people willing to stomach the bloodshed of their fellow citizens to fight them to the death (e.g., Syria).  What struck me most strongly about what happened in Ukraine, though, is the way in which a corrupt, complicit media propped up an administration that was governing against the will of the people.  The Ukrainian government hadn’t resorted to physically attacking its people in the months leading up to last week’s uprising.  Instead, it simply lied to the people and it was able to do so because the media covered for it.  (I wrote those words before Putin stepped up his game against Ukraine.  Putin understands that when a once great power is governed by a paper rat — Obama doesn’t rise even to the level of a paper tiger — the bad actors of the world no longer have anything to fear.)

If you’re now thinking about Obamacare and other events in the Obama administration, you and I are two minds with but a single thought.  The media has turned on its head the Founders’ belief that a healthy democracy can survive only with a media that rigorously keeps politicians honest by accurately reporting what’s happening in the political world.  Our media has utterly failed in its constitutional responsibility.  When Obama ran for president, it covered for him, telling the world that no one had any right even to ask Obama about his personal history, political record, and peculiar group of friends.  When Obama pushed for Obamacare, the media relayed his lies without comment and avoided covering anything negative.  In Benghazi, the media carefully didn’t ask any questions that might have exposed Hillary’s and Obama’s lies.  With the IRS scandal, the media simply buried the whole matter as quickly as possible.

The American media is Ukraine’s Inter.  No, I take that back.  The American media is worse than Inter.  Ukraine doesn’t have a First Amendment.  Its press has no constitutional right to be free nor does it have the moral mandate that flows from that extraordinary right to be the people’s watchdog.  In most of the world, it’s always been a given that the press is the government’s mouthpiece — and, as Putin’s Russia shows, it can be deadly to try to break free from that relationship.  In America, however, the media had something unique in world history:  a signed, written contract granting it freedom from the government.  The American media did something extraordinary, though:  it shredded that contract, threw the pieces to the wind, and willingly put its neck in the government’s yoke — provided that the government was run by a Democrat.

In the past thirty years, the American media has managed to turn itself upside down.  Instead of being a government watchdog and the people’s protector, it has become the government’s lapdog and the people’s persecutor.  Moreover, it has done this to achieve blatant partisan outcomes:  it uses its power to install and maintain Democrat Party governments and it deflects attention from its misbehavior by attacking a select few in order to divert and deceive the masses.

 

 

Barack Obama : the president as spectator to the world’s democratic uprisings

Obama mouth taped shutFrom the time he hit the campaign trail in 2007, Barack Obama made it plain that he considered America to be too big for her britches when it comes to international matters.  Looking at imperfect nations, you could see him mentally scolding America — “Haven’t you done enough already?” — for bringing so much pain and suffering to the rest of the world.

In the years since his election, Obama has reacted strongly to only three international issues:  climate change, gay rights, and Libya.  The first two are pet issues of the Left.  As for Obama’s enthusiasm about invading Libya . . . well, that continues to mystify me.  Obama’s silence has been most pointed and damaging when it comes to naturally occurring democratic movements within a despotic state.

It’s one thing (usually a stupid thing) for America to waltz in and take out a tyrant; it’s another thing entirely when the nation’s own citizens are yearning to be free, and are willing to face their own government’s guns to gain that freedom.  Under those circumstances, every person who believes in individual liberty should speak up — especially the president of the nation that has long represented itself as the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Obama, however, will not speak.

When brave Iranians challenged the mullahs, Obama was silent.  The mullahs tightened their hold.

When the Muslim Brotherhood filled the power vacuum in Egypt, Obama was silent.  A year of repression ensued.

When brave Egyptians challenged the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama was silent.  The country is now once again under a military dictatorship.

When brave Syrians challenged the tyrannical Assad regime, Obama was silent.  Had he spoken up sooner, a violent, bloody civil war — violent and bloody even by civil war standards — might have been avoided.  When the civil war took a chemical turn, Obama spoke up, only to retreat quickly when called to make good on his words.

When brave Turks challenged Erdogan’s increasingly totalitarian, Islamist rule, Obama was silent.

Today, Obama continues this familiar pattern.  Ukrainian citizens, horrified at the realization that their government is trying once against to drag them back into the Soviet orbit (we know how well that went for them in the 1930s and beyond) are battling in the streets.  Obama is silent.

And in Venezuela, citizens worn down by the repression and poverty of Chavez’s and Maduro’s hard-core socialism are rising up in the streets.  Obama is silent.

Since WWII, people around the world knew that if they sought freedom and called upon America for help, America would help.  Sometimes the help was military, sometimes financial, and sometimes it was moral.

This aid wasn’t for America’s benefit — at least it wasn’t directly for America’s benefit.  To the extent that democracies tend to be the most peaceful form of governments, it was always to America’s benefit to encourage democratic governments around the world.  Nevertheless, America’s first motive was often altruistic.  Because we were the world’s most powerful free nation, we believed that we had a moral obligation to wield that power beneficently.  Sometimes America’s road to Hell has been paved with those good intentions, but our craven retreats from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all revealed that the post-American vacuum is often infinitely worse than the American occupation.

We’ve learned from our experiments in Iraq and, especially, in Afghanistan, that countries that have always had dictatorships, especially tribal and/or theocratic dictatorships, do not benefit from removing the existing dictator, because another one will always come along.  I therefore wouldn’t recommend interceding directly in a Muslim country ever again. Instead, we should be doing what Saudi Arabia did for Wahhabism:  establishing and funding institutions throughout the Muslim world that are dedicated to teaching the principles of freedom.  This generation may be lost, but perhaps we can save the next one and, along the way, save ourselves too.

Things are different, though, when the cry for freedom (or at least for less tyranny) originates within a country.  Had Obama immediately given moral support to internally grown democratic movements in Iran, Egypt, and Syria, he might have been able to turn the tide.  American moral support in Venezuela and Turkey would have fallen on especially fertile soil, because both are countries that have known some form of democracy.

Obama, however, considers that there is no such thing as beneficent American power.  To him, America’s strength is, by definition, malignant and destructive.  He truly believes that the Iranians are better off under the mullahs, the Egyptians under the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrians under Assad, the Turks under Erdogan, the Ukrainians under Putin, and the Venezuelans under Maduro.  Judging by his complicit silence, there is no tyranny worse than that of being behold to the United States.