SOTU: all about narrative … and fantasy
Another SOTU, another trip to Fantasy Land. I saw it all summed up in one wag’s sentence: “Obama has put Joe Biden in charge of finding a cure for cancer.”
There were some blatant lies and some pure nonsense in the mix last night. One that stood out to me was this:
I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world.
No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead — they call us.
Surveys? Really? That’s his “source” of information.
I wonder if the surveys answered this question posed by David French.
Yet if America is the world’s most powerful nation, why are so many of our worst enemies far stronger and more dangerous than when Obama took office?
Probably not. In fact, much like Hitler’s “paper divisions” weren’t worth the paper they appeared on, I’d guess these surveys are about as worthless.
Claudia Rosett does a yoeman’s job of setting the record straight:
Here’s the real State of the Union, which is inextricably linked to the increasingly alarming state of the world: It is open season on America.
Not that America is by any stretch a lone target. Terrorist slaughter has become a staple of the world news. On the same Tuesday that just saw American sailors seized by Iran, the news was filled earlier in the day with accounts of a terrorist bombing in the historic center of Istanbul (which the State Department at least labeled “terrorist,” as opposed to “workplace violence”). ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and a host of their kindred organizations are bedeviling the civilized world.
And then there are the sovereign-state behemoths: an expansionist China and an aggressive Russia, pushing the boundaries and arming for war — as the U.S. guts its military and turns over its resources to a domestic bureaucracy that is busy regulating America’s old free markets and resulting economic muscle into fading memory.
Obama’s presidency began in 2009 with apologies for America, a “reset” with Russia, a bow in Cairo and an outstretched hand to Iran — promising that this would boost America’s standing and security, and pave the way to more peaceful world. After seven years of American retreat, appeasement, vanishing red lines, diplomatic farce and an implausible nuclear deal with Iran, the clear message to every opportunist on the planet is: grab what you can.
But, as this graphic illustrates, Mr. Obama resides down another road the rest of us can’t afford to live on.
It is, as usual, all about the narrative and before he ever stepped to the podium, we knew that. We knew we’d hear the narrative even when it is so obviously fantasy. Reality is and has been banished from this administration as being unfriendly if not down right hostile to the narrative.
Are we the most powerful nation on earth? Yes, I think so … but that was so before Mr. Obama. I see it as much less of a fact now. The most powerful military in the world? Yes, but again, in decline. And I’m sorry, but there is no nation that I know of that is calling the US for help and certainly not to “lead”. Not with this yahoo in the Oval Office. In fact, as Rosett points out, two very powerful nations are pushing the envelope even as we speak and our answer, thus far has been the chirping of crickets. China has decided to take over the South China sea and has established its first military base in Africa. What have we done or said about that? Nothing.
It’s nice to be considered the most powerful nation on earth with the most powerful military. But it means nothing if that power isn’t used to advance the interests of your nation and its citizens or those of your allies. That doesn’t mean war, it usually means deterrence – maintaining the peace or the status quo in some instances. And it requires leadership, something we’ve been without for the last 7 plus years. Its about drawing limits and enforcing them. We have refused to do either these past 7 years.
The world knows that. That’s why little pop-gun states like Iran feel they can pretty much do what they want without fear of all that power we have. And that means we really don’t have any power at all. That’s been proven any number of times over the years with red lines crossed and the obvious refusal to recognize or meaningfully engage ISIS. At home the refusal to even say “radical Islam” has diminished the stature of this administration domestically as well.
We’re leaderless in a perilous world. Yes, we’re powerful – potentially. But without resolution and the threat of meaningful action that potential means absolutely nothing … except in the narrative.