Free Markets, Free People


Why The UN Will Love Obama’s Speech (updated)

It appears that today is the day for rather scathing assessments of President Obama in the British press. This one by Nile Gardiner. He points out that the third-world debating club, known as the UN, will certainly deliver a standing ovation to their favorite US president in a while. But, says Gardiner, we should understand the context of that ovation:

Obama’s popularity at the UN boils down essentially to his willingness to downplay American global power. He is the first American president who has made an art form out of apologizing for the United States, which he has done on numerous occasions on foreign soil, from Strasbourg to Cairo. The Obama mantra appears to be – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to atone for your country. This is a message that goes down very well in a world that is still seething with anti-Americanism.

It is natural that much of the UN will embrace an American president who declines to offer strong American leadership. A president who engages dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez will naturally gain respect from the leaders of the more than 100 members of the United Nations who are currently designated as “partly free” or “not free” by respected watchdog Freedom House.

And, frankly, he fits there much better than he does here, because the UN is a palace of speeches with little or no action. It is becoming clear to many of us that the proper job for Barack Obama isn’t President of the United States, where you’re actually expected to turn your speeches into action, but Secretary General of the UN, where speechifying is the ultimate action – well, that and spending donor money, covering up for peacekeepers who rape those they’re there to protect or “oil for food” type scandals, and generally denouncing the UN’s host country.

I mean, as Gardiner points out, Obama’s perfect for the job.

Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership. This is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack.

At a conference in Russia recently, former Secretary of State Madelyn Albright said that the US no longer wants to be first among nations. Barack Obama will make that clear again today, I think. I’m not sure why that’s important to them, but I do know, as Gardiner points out, in the realm of global politics, showing weakness is a very dangerous game to play.

UPDATE: Wow … exactly on form. Obama is becoming predictable. Give me a venue and I can pretty much predict what he’ll say. If it is the UN or a speech before an international group, he’s going to apologize for the US. And of course, Qadhafi will love it.

~McQ

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71 Responses to Why The UN Will Love Obama’s Speech (updated)

  • A strong leader is one who doesn’t feel he has to bully others, who isn’t afraid to admit when wrong, or apologize for mistakes.

    People afraid to admit mistakes, who think they look weak if they apologize, who bully those weaker rather than trying to help and cooperate, are usually considered to be psychological deviants. I would prefer the US act like a healthy, confident state able to admit mistakes even while moving forward to advance our interests. Too long there has been this insane fear that we might “look weak” if we apologize, or that we have to avoid any perception that we may not be infallible. We’ve been acting like a deviant state too long.

    And look where it’s got us in terms of foreign policy, the political economy, and support from others. It is especially dangerous for a state lacking in the power to simply get its way to act like a bombastic a**hole.

    • Erb: “We’ve been acting like a deviant state too long.”

      That’s pure KGB.

      • Remember what Bin Laden said about the strong horse and the weak horse?

        What happened once Clinton showed us to be the weak horse?

      • That’s pure KGB

        Its ironic that they still server a master that no longer exists. Yes there is a KGB, but no longer tied to the Soviet.

        • The KGB is effectively the government of Russia.

          • Yeah, but the left’s endearment to the Soviet Communists is why they adopted this Soviet era propaganda. The KGB may exist, but they aren’t Communists anymore.

            Although in this case, the propaganda is probably similar.

          • The convergence comes in that the KGB leftovers who run Russia and American Leftists still use the same “blame the Americans” propaganda.

            It’s not clear to me that the people in the Obama administration even understand that they are submerged in conceits bred into the American Left, through the generations, beginning in the 1930s, by the KGB.

            Though it would be unfair to blame all of the Left’s idiocies on the KGB, the distinctly anti-American elements, like the sentiment expressed by Erb, are pure KGB.

        • KGB? Gee, jpm, you’re so anachronistic. The Cold War is long, long past, the Soviet Union and the evil that was communism is dead.

          But in those days the US still was a real superpower, so maybe you’re nostalgic…clear enemy, we had dominant power…you’re lost in the past.

          • Yeah, one of the things I’ve been trying to tell you for years, Scott, is that the Cold War is over, and that by constantly repeating old KGB propaganda about the U.S. like “We’ve been acting like a deviant state too long” marks you as an anachronism or an academic, but I repeat myself.

          • P.S.

            But at least I trained you to stop saying that “Castro is still better than Batista.” At least I think you’ve stopped saying it.

            Other than that improvement, counter-operant conditioning hasn’t shown much success in your case. That program “they” laid on you is like a thousand pieces of chewing gum in your brain.

          • Scott, the US still is a superpower. So sorry for your Russian friends.

            More sorry for your students, however.

    • Erb, it is insane to apologize to a bunch of third world deviants. And it is insane to sell this country out in that manner. We have protected and supported their sorry asses all along, and you think it’s fine for the American president to apologize for some nonsense offense?

      Obama should have told the world at Cairo how the US protected Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia, how we tried to feed them in Somolia, how we liberated them in Iraq and Afganistan, how we defended them from Soviet agression in Afganistan, how we defended Kuwait and SA from Saddam.

      He could then go on to apologize for Carter sellng out the Shah to Islamic fundamentalists. To apologize for a true mistake makes sense, to apologize and not point out the good we have done is wrong (if not much worse than wrong, but Ill give Obama the benifit of the doubt even though it is very clear he no longer deserves it).

      • Oh, by the way, Erb might want to take notes on how to debate using actual facts. His typical passive arguments shout “I’m full of BS but maybe I can fool some ignorant fence sitter”.

      • Well, the media reports he gave a stern, tough speech, but not bombastic.

        The fact is Bush’s rhetoric hurt the US and the President immensely.

        A strong country is not afraid of the truth. Your attitude and style, Don, suggest that perhaps you are in need of a good therapist.

        I think you need to learn about how the international system functions, and the real status of American power. The US is in no position to force others to behave as we want, we lack the power. You guys talk about “leadership” vaguely, as if somehow there is some magic thing we could do and the world would be forced to follow. You seem to thrive on bluster and fantasies of strength and being on top of the rest. That day is past.

        Bush tried it. He crashed and burned.

        • The “media reports” what?

          Gosh, I guess you didn’t hear Charles Krauthammer tonight about that speech.

          Bush, by the way, did not “crash and burn.” That’s a figment of your imagination, conditioned as it is by the echoes of old KGB propaganda on how to respond to U.S. leadership in the world.

        • Scott, while you and your Russian friends may not like it, the US is still powerful, and is still the world’s superpower.

          Granted, China and India are going to get a bigger piece of the pie, and in perhaps a decade there will once again be two superpower. But one of them will not be Russia.

          Your understanding of foreign affiars is pathetic, Scott. You are lucky that professors don’t have the same requirment to deliver as doctors or, for that matter, auto mechanics.

          • Most of my friends and my area of expertise is Germany and Western Europe, and in that part of the world the US is seen as having fallen quite far. There are real questions whether it is better to stick with the US, or try to create closer connections with China. Russia matters because of oil, and especially Germany — a country I could be as home in as the US — wants to make sure Russia stays stable so that Central Europe remains stable and secure.

            As I said, I think Russia is weak, and without oil it would be in collapse. Of course it’s not going to be a superpower, that’s one reason the shield in Poland was unnecessary. That’s the point, the Cold War is over, Russia isn’t worth worrying about! The EU, on the other hand, recognizes that military power is exceedingly meaningless, and thus focuses on intelligence/counter-terrorism, and building stronger international ties. Globalization is real, states that try to pretend they somehow are above the rest or powerful enough to call all the shots are going to get a rude awakening. It’s not Russia who will be a major power, but the EU (along with India and China).

          • Erb, obviously oblivious to any historical context whatsoever, makes this try:

            “Most of my friends and my area of expertise is Germany and Western Europe, and in that part of the world the US is seen as having fallen quite far.”

            Imagine a student standing up in Erb’s classroom and trying to give as his basis for an opinion what “most of my friends” think.

            Erb would wet his pants with glee at the opportunity to humiliate the lad.

            Scott: you continue to pursue your “area of experties” assembling what most of your friends think, or what the Left European press says, as the sources for your conclusions, but the deep background on what you think is that somewhere along the line you bought into superannuated KGB propaganda that boils down to “blame it on America,” you know, on the Main Adversary.

            How stupid a person does it take to hold so tightly to so baseless a world view?

        • Crashed and burned? Hardly.

          Most of sub-Saharan Africa was happy with Bush because of his leadership in AIDS prevention on that continent. And Bush’s “crash and burn” managed to get 54 countries allied and participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. We all should “crash and burn” at such a high level.

          I could be wrong, but I just don’t see Obama cobbling together such a broad alliance.

          • LOL! You prove my point by such a meager “defense!” Sub-Saharan Africa, where most think the AIDS initiative did little, and where war and poverty dominates is “happy” with Bush? I mean, HUH? They don’t even know who he is in most cases. And 54 countries? How many provide combat troops in areas with violence now — now that the Taliban is resurgent, the government accused of fraud, and there is real fear of defeat. Isn’t it just Britain, and they’re seriously considering leaving. Some of us warned back in 2001 that you can’t simply create stable democracies without a civil society to sustain them.

            For all the criticisms you guys try to make of Obama, Bush stands as perhaps the greatest failure in American Presidential history. And one reason was because he was so insecure that he thought admitting mistakes or apologizing meant weakness. Secure people do those things. Insecure ones are afraid they might look weak. Bush damaged the US, Obama is trying to repair the damage. You better hope he succeeds.

          • I don’t know why the psychiatric profession was invented if it wasn’t to deal with delusions of that magnitude, Scott.

            You’re even bitter that Bush made a commitment to fight the AIDS plague in Africa.

            I just can’t help but admire the vitality of chewing gum left in your brain from the old KGB propaganda machine. It totally took you over, to the point where you just gave up actually trying to understand international politics (assuming you ever really tried) to devote yourself to the rituals of propaganda.

    • The US does what it has to in an imperfect world. You might want ask all the countries we’ve bailed out of trouble in the last 100 years how that has worked out for them?

      Going around the world on an apology tour, sucking up to despots and disrespecting our allies, has created an impression we won’t even stand up for ourselves, never mind you. Ask Israel & Poland about that one.

      I grew up in a world where merely the impression of weakness attracts confrontation and assault, a microcosm of the larger world. Scott, I can only assume you grew up very sheltered, lucky you. The approach that “we’re all one big happy world family” therapy is far more likely to attract challenges and confrontation, than hugs. This attitude assumes the very best intentions from everyone; it’s dangerously naive at best. To say; Not everyone is onboard with “all you need is love” would be an understatement.

      So long as there are people in this world who either want what you have and/or don’t agree with political/social morays there will be challenges to your standing and/or existence. If you give an impression you’re not ready to deal with them, they’ll be in your face before you know it.

      Has the US been heavy-handed in the past? no-one denies that. When you are as large and powerful as the US it’s hard not to. History proves as world leaders go, no-one has treated their friends or their vanquished enemies better than the US. By all means, walk softly, but your stick had better be large & visible. If you don’t take the bull by the horns, you get gored. Pacifism is for second-rate countries and victims, been there, done that, no thanks.

      • No, I’m realistic. You seem to be riveted with fear. Fear is unhealthy, and it leads to counter-productive actions: consider Iraq. Actions taken out of irrational fear have created a real crisis to the status of the US in the world, and while people can vaguely say ‘the US should lead,’ what the heck does that mean? Do you want us to bomb people who don’t go along with us?

        I’ve been studying international politics for three decades. I’ve taught extensively about the Rwandan genocide, the rise of Fascism in Germany, child soldiers and children in war, and various theories. I’ve spent time with a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, and taught about that. I’ve seen what communism did to rural Russia, and have German-Russian in laws whose family were kulaks, ripped from their land and resettled across the old USSR. So sheltered, no? But those cases are not the norm. War is rare compared to peace. And countries that talk tough without the means to follow through (Bush) create huge problems for themselves. We need to realistically assess our interests, our power, and the nature of a globalized interdependent system, recognizing that cooperation beats conflict. Just ask the countries of the EU — when was Europe better off, the first half of the 20th century when states were focused on self-interest and distrustful of cooperation and losing sovereign powers, or the second half, when they gave some of that up to form a cooperative body, the EU.

        • So you have taught some courses. I have had enough experience in higher education to know that just because you teach something doesn’t mean you actually know something about the subject.

          “I’ve been studying international politics for three decades.”

          It’s rather amusing to see you brag about something like that. Evidently you think you are the only one who reads anything other than the sports section of the paper or anything other than what we can find at our local convenience store or supermarket checkout counter. One would think that in three decades of study you would have found a few sources you could cite, other than The Guardian.

        • Erb:

          “No, I’m realistic. You seem to be riveted with fear. Fear is unhealthy, and it leads to counter-productive actions: consider Iraq.”

          Well, no, Scott, you are detached from reality, and you seem riveted with schoolgirlish spite.

          As for Iraq, the case against the Hussein regime was adjudicated for a decade by the UN Security Council in one of the few instances where it took its business seriously. Even the Russians and the French knew that something had to be done. The concerns were universal, and not the result of unwarranted fear. Hussein was a violent revanchist psychopath with the power of an oil-rich state behind him. His hero was Joseph Stalin, FYI. Regimes like his were the reason that the UN was constituted as a collective security organization in the first place.

          But go ahead, stomp your foot some more. It’s so Left of you.

    • Yes Erb, the other nations love your messiah. But that is because they perceive him to be weak and easily pushed around. They disliked Bush, but respected him.

      Obama’s endless America bashing and apologizing have not cause one single person to like the USA any more.

      • No, Bush did not get respect. He got ignored, US interests got ignored, and the world realized that if the US didn’t want to cooperate, they had no need to acquiesce to American wishes. Bush was powerless to do anything about that — he really believed the US could push others around, and instead he found out the limitations of power.

  • It’s not the apologies that make an administration seem weak, they’re just an indicator of a general philosophy towards foreign policy.

    It’s the part where everyone else walks all over you and you smile and ask for second helpings. We’re not perceived as weak because our President apologizes a lot. We’re perceived as weak because the administration’s actions indicate weakness. And the governments of the world aren’t about to reciprocate when they see an opportunity like the one we are offering them. They’re going to push and see how far we will allow ourselves to be pushed. They’re neither concerned nor interested in apologies.

  • Well let’s do the math: Both are arrogant, busybodies, they think they know how to run your life, better than you do, think more governing is the answer to everything, (if not, than they can tax to death, that which they don’t agree with) everyone is a racist except me, individual responsibility is bad, collective dependance on government is good, down with Capitalism, up with Marxism, support of Israel causes AGW… I think you get the picture. No?

  • Just finished watching it… What a joke.
    Obama now claims that since the US has paid up its dues to the UN, that it is somehow entitled to action on behalf of member nations. Good Luck!

    Obama has gotten himself into such a bind in Afghanistan that He could really use some help from Europe. ( http://www.conservativeblog.thewebinfocenter.com/conservative-blog/obama%E2%80%99s-afghanistan-dilema ) but oops!, He just made Poland and the Czech Republic a lot more vulnerable to attack – so help will surely come from there! And Germans only send beer-swilling mechanics who can’t fight(which might be a good thing, drunk Germans with guns? what could go wrong there?).

    The UN will love the Chosen One because he pays ‘em and because he believes in the European’s ‘all talk, no action’ methodology.

  • Well, we shouldn’t be surprised, should we? We already know he prefers to let Manuel Zelaya violate the Honduran consitution rather than allowing them to carry out their own laws. He should be right at home at the U.N.

  • The U.N. Loves Obama because he is not a racist with antipathy toward people who are different than him. He listens to everyone instead of automatically treating them like animals who are beneath him and worthy of being killed, manipulated, and disrespected. He is a steady handed pragmatist, and it will be hilarious to watch you guys try to paint every little itty bitty thing he does as a catastrophe in the making.

    • Heck Vinny, no catastrophe here – just the same old same old. He’s getting predictable – seems we’re now able to predict the rhetoric depending on the venue. What a surprise.

    • I’m pretty sure that the UN loves him because they know that they can kick him around and get away with it, and because he has no stomach for pushing back when they lean on him. That’s the only reason any nation “loves” another nation. They get quite emotional when they know that they’ve got an easy mark on their hands.

    • >>>The U.N. Loves Obama because he is not a racist with antipathy toward people who are different than him.

      The UN is full of racists, however, many of them are not white. But racists nonetheless

  • I’m fine with Obama’s rhetoric and softer tone. It’s perfectly sensible….IF! The “if” is whether or not he’s prepared to take firm action when/where the situation warrants. Maybe he is…but then again, maybe he isn’t. The jury is still out on this.

    My fear is that he is NOT willing to take firm action on any foreign policy issue. IMO his plan is to do whatever it takes to keep things calm on the foreign policy front…so he can use his political capital to ram through massive, radical change on the domestic front. I don’t think Obama gives a hoot about ANYTHING going on overseas; he’s totally focused on leap-frogging the US toward european-style socialism. It’s really his only priority.

    • JohnRI’m fine with Obama’s rhetoric and softer tone. It’s perfectly sensible….IF! The “if” is whether or not he’s prepared to take firm action when/where the situation warrants.

      I’m not fine with it. History shows that soft rhetoric is tantamount to an invitation for aggression. Consider:

      — During the terrible summer of 1914, British foreign minister Grey spoke “softly” about Britain’s intentions if war broke out in Europe. Result: the Germans thought that Britain would keep out if they violated Beligian neutrality on their march to France.

      — Prior to 1950, President Truman and his advisors spoke “softly” about our commitment to South Korea. Result: the norkies and their red masters thought it safe to invade.

      — President Kennedy and his advisors spoke “softly” about Berlin and Cuba. Results: Berlin Wall and Cuban Missle Crisis.

      — President Carter and his advisors spoke “softly” about opposing Soviet aggression. Result: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

      I don’t support an American president using aggressive or arrogant language, but I firmly believe that a failure to make CRYSTAL CLEAR our determination to oppose our foes, support our friends and stand up for our own interests is a grave mistake that will ultimately cost our country dear.

      I would also add that I have absolutely no confidence that TAO will ever match action to word unless he’s dragged into it kicking and screaming.

      • “I don’t support an American president using aggressive or arrogant language, but I firmly believe that a failure to make CRYSTAL CLEAR our determination to oppose our foes, support our friends and stand up for our own interests is a grave mistake that will ultimately cost our country dear.”

        Obama, in my view, is not only uninterested in any of that, he’s essentially uninterested in the U.S. position in the world. Obama is mainly interested in Obama’s position in the world.

  • “Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership. This is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack.”

    What he meant:

    Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to ignore and bully those animals. Communicating with them as equals is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack.

    And these arrogant, delusional fools actually sit around thinking that people don’t like the US because they are jealous! Lol… The coupes and assassinations have nothing to do with anything to these people. The predatory loans and the bleeding of countries natural resources and the propping up of corrupt governments to the detriment of the people has nothing to do about nothing. The invasions of any country that wishes to free itself from manipulation and the mass murder of civilians is nothing.

    Notice how every US friend becomes the devil in the western press whenever they decide to horde their own natural resources. Saddam was a friend before he was the devil. Look at the Saudi Kings. I bet you if they start hording their oil they’ll turn into Iran overnight in our opinion shaping media in order drum up public support for military action lol. But for now, they are the ‘moderates’ Islamist in our media lol… We don’t here about Sharia law and radical wuhabeeism(or whatever it is) there now do we?

    • Let me guess.

      Recent student of Scott Erb?

    • Thank you for demonstrating the Straw Man Fallacy, Vinny.

      Now, show us some other argument fallacies.

    • Maybe those nations at the UN are YOUR equals. But they’re certainly not ours.

      Not now. Not never. What is this garbage?

      • Yes, Shark, they are not your equals — I think you are a couple steps below them.

        Yet much of the rhetoric — the ‘we’re superior, they’re not equal, they deserve to be bullied, we’re better’ is very, very reminiscent of the rhetoric of 1930s Germany. The master race and those “inferior” and “unequal” folk beneath it. Ah, if it smells like fascism, sounds like fascism…

        • Godwin’s Law!

          Shark wasn’t talking about races, but societies. You’re the one who put racism into his words.

          Geez, Erb, can you ever go an entire day without a single ad hominem?

          You aren’t fooling anyone at this site. Everyone here knows what your pattern: bloviation and prevarication. Once someone calls you on your stupidity, you launch one ad hominem after another.

  • Erb et al are going to have a rough awakening when the non-Western powers take up the reins. Let me know when China apologizes for killing off Dutch settlers in Formosa, or for the centuries of demanding tribute from neighboring states, or for their brutal invasion of Vietnam, their support for the Kmher Rouge, Sudan etc.

    NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Also, the concept of “democracy” at the UN is a joke. Maybe Quadaffi should start at home, first, eh?

    • Again, when I teach on world politics I focus on Stalin’s purges, do a unit on the Cambodian genocide, and Mao’s famines. Just because the US shouldn’t act like a bully, and just because I see the reality of the decline in US power, doesn’t make me think the rest of the world is going to be any better. In fact, I think the US, if it could get off it’s arrogant belief it’s somehow better and more powerful than others, and recognize that it can cooperate and compromise with the EU and other western states with similar values, can do a better job of avoiding the kind of fates you describe.

      • Yes, I know you believe that, that is because you are stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I also think we should stop meddling in the affairs of the rest of the world, that is because I think the rest of the world is crap and we are better off having as little to do with their problems as possible.

        However, unlike you, I am under no illusions as to what would happen. The bad guys of the world would run rampant, while the weak European powers continue their sad decline into irrelevance and eventual demographic extinction.

        I actually think we should dissolve NATO because being closely allied to such weaklings will in no way help us. and will only drag us into wars.

        • Kyle, I think you need to learn more about how the world works. You really don’t understand global affairs you seem to have a simplistic “you gotta be tough or else horrible things will happen” attitude. You really need to educate yourself. Also, you seem under the illusion that the US somehow can stop bad guys from doing bad things. Your tough talk can’t be backed up — the US lacks the capacity.

          • Erb:

            “Kyle, I think you need to learn more about how the world works. You really don’t understand global affairs”

            Yes, Kyle, you need to find out what Scott’s German friends think before you offer an opinion.

          • P.S.

            And, Kyle, don’t forget to consult with your British Airways steward before offering your views on “global affairs.”

      • How about a section on Saddam Hussein? The low estimate is that Hussein killed over one million people out of a population of 20 mil, averaging 50,000 a year. So even in the worst year of the insurgency, 25,000 lives were saved by American action. Last year, more than 40,000 lives were saved by the U.S. military prescence in Iraq.

        • The irony of covering Hussein is that while he was doing his worst atrocities, the US was either supporting him or resisting those who wanted us to actively oppose him. After 1991 his capacity to do evil went down dramatically, and by the time we got involved and unleashed mass death and destruction on Iraq — far worse than anything Hussein had the capacity to do any more — he was a defanged tiger, pretty impotent, not even controlling his whole country. The US has caused far more death than any saved (and you can’t average the numbers — you’re relying on the Iran-Iraq war and violence against the Kurds — but the war ended, and the Kurds were atonomous…that’s a really obvious way to lie with statistics, false averaging).

        • By 2003, Saddam’s capacity to invade other countries, or to assault the Kurds by air was greatly dimished and/or held in check by the continuos U.S. presence. His capacity do do evil was restricted, but that did not stop him. He still deliberatlely starved hundreds of thousands after 1991, as well as executing thousands of criminals to save space in jails. Plus, political agitators still ‘disappeared’ at a high rate. (You can’t claim that because he didn’t have military power, he couldn’t do evil. That’s a really obvious way to lie without statistics – making stuff up).

          • What he could do post-1991 was bad, but not anything a lot of other dictators haven’t done, many with US support. It’s debatable how much US activity kept him at bay, but clearly containment was working. Look at Iraq and the region now — look at the massive decline in American military power, the loss of resources from Afghanistan when maybe things could have been stopped before they started to spin out of control, the distraction from counter-terrorism.

            Consider: almost all specialists in the region were saying it was impossible to create democracy in Afghanistan in the way they tried. The response was to say this was anti-Arab racism, or hold up Japan and Germany as examples. Yet the truth is Japan and Germany had the culture requisites for democratic and economic success, Iraq and Afghanistan are and were far from that point. What if the US had simply overthrown Saddam in a quick war without the social engineering experiment and years of occupation and violence? The result would have been a new dictatorship, supported by the US. Now the left — and myself — would have still opposed it, but it would have been far less damaging to Iraq or the US than the really naive social engineering program to somehow “spread democracy” that was undertaken. I could have understood the logic of installing a new dictator, even if I’d opposed it.

          • By UN estimates Saddam killed over half a million civilians after 1991. Even with his capability reduced, his results were consistent.

  • By the way, quoting something negative about Obama from the Telegraph (which I recall one British Airways steward calling the ‘Torygraph’ when handing out in flight papers) is like quoting something about Obama from the Weekly Standard. It’s pretty much a propaganda outlet.

    • Well, Scott, when you source a British Airways steward as your authority, at least you’re taking a step up from the famous “they” you’ve so often cited in the past (in the form of “most scholars,” of course. You are after all a British Airways…I mean, an academic.)

    • So you also discount anything the NYTimes says about baracky, right? There’s a propaganda outfit for ya…

    • Ah yes, that famed scholarly authority, British Airlines :)

  • ” This is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack”

    Ack! Decline? So Erb is right?

  • It’s obvious Erb is worried about Obama’s performance as president so far. He rarely spends this much time lashing out with the “America is rightfully hated and in decline” schtick. Erb needs to convince himself that everything in his leftist world view is still OK.

    • Well lefties are crazy when they are out of power, and criminally insane when they have power.

    • The problem is a left-right world view. Ideologies are always vast over simplifications of reality, and the problem I see with most of you — as well as a lot of people on the so called left — is your ideology determines how you perceive a situation, and causes you to neglect things that don’t fit or, rather than confront them, just use insult and bravado to avoid dealing with realities that you probably deep down know are true, but don’t want to admit.

    • *shrug* I just got a lot of people replying to me in this thread. I think Obama’s doing fine, especially his effort to plot a pragmatic path despite vicious and often dishonest attacks from the right, and sometimes totally unrealistic demands from the left for some kind of radical reform.

      I’m hoping the O-team gets some work done — Obama and Olympia. Pragmatic compromisers in the face of ideological true believers who have forgotten that democracy is about compromise, tolerance of diverse perspectives, and respectful opposition. The shouting, name calling, and personal attacks we see so much of are un-American, and threaten to unravel us. The biggest error in politics is that people on both sides emotionally convince themselves that the other side has bad intentions or somehow dishonest. No. Most conservatives and most liberals and others all want what’s best, are honest and sincere in their efforts, and can if they try reach effective compromises.

      • Seems one of your new heros, Olympia, has just bailed on ObamaCare. Poor so-called professor from Maine – another hero has fallen, or should I suggest “thrown under the bus” might be more appropriate once Obama discovers his “Token” Republican ISN’T!.

      • Erb:

        “*shrug* I just got a lot of people replying to me in this thread.”

        It’s called batting practice, Scott.

        Always good to take a few swings at the guy throwing with the limp, ah, academic arm before a serious discussion with someone who has command of a few facts and actually knows something about IR.

      • The name-calling, disrespect and class warfare rhetoric used by Obama in his health care speech was ok, because it served the higher purpose of the greater good; so he is excused.

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