Free Markets, Free People


Foreign Policy – why isn’t it working?

Jackson Diehl has a theory:

I recently asked several senior administration officials, separately, to name a foreign leader with whom Barack Obama has forged a strong personal relationship during his first year in office. A lot of hemming and hawing ensued.

The hemming and hawing which ensued points to the fact that this president has done nothing to forge those sorts of “strong personal relationship[s]” that are so necessary to moving a country’s foreign policy forward. Diehl points to a few suggestions from the administration officials of foreign leaders with whom Obama may have a “strong personal relationship”. Diehl’s examination of each finds the claim to be unlikely. Unsurprisingly one who isn’t suggested is Britain’s Gordon Brown.

The bottom line of course is forging those sorts of relationships is vital to the conduct of foreign policy. Diplomacy is about friends, neutrals and enemies. Friends are THE vital component in forging alliances and the coalitions necessary to deal with the world at large. And without them doing what is necessary to advance your nation’s best interests becomes exponentially harder. A perfect example of that shortcoming playing out is our attempt to increase sanctions on Iran (something we’re apparently now backing away from somewhat). No one is willing to really back our desire to make it tougher on Iran. And if Britain is, given our Falklands gaffe and other slights, they’re probably less likely, or at least less enthusiastic about doing so. Russia has flatly said it’s not at all interested. And recently, so has Brazil.

If you can’t take the time to forge the relationships necessary to advance your country’s best interest, who’s job is it? Well, on a peer to peer level, it’s no one else’s job but that of the President. And, as we watch the stories coming out about these relationships, we find them to be, at best, cordial. And in many cases, they’re less than that.

Diehl ends by emphasizing why this failing to cultivate these strong personal relationships has an effect that can be the difference between success and failure in foreign policy:

Still, it’s worth wondering: Would Sarkozy have fought French public opinion and sent more troops to Afghanistan (he has refused) if he had been cultivated more by Obama? Would Israel’s Netanyahu be willing to take more risks in the (moribund) Middle East peace process if he believed he could count on this U.S. president? Would Karzai cooperate more closely with U.S. commanders in the field if Obama had embraced him?

The answers seem obvious. In foreign as well as domestic affairs, coolness has its cost.

The aloof, “you must come to me” attitude that Obama cultivates isn’t at all useful in the arena which is his exclusively – foreign policy. He talks about “engagement”, but he’s not apparently talking about himself. Engagement with foreign leaders is critical to his ability to successfully conduct the business of the US. A disconnected “leader” focused internally can’t do that. Again, Obama’s leadership is found wanting and wanting in a critical area that could find the next person to hold his office in a very bad relational situation with our allies that will take years to repair.

~McQ

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57 Responses to Foreign Policy – why isn’t it working?

  • I don’t think its people skills that are at work here.

    Having good professional relations can make things a bit more expedient, but its actions/inactions that are getting the less than desired action/inaction as a result.  Our lack of support with the Brits over the Falklands is a deliberate act with an actual effect that undermines the Brits.  That matters more than Obama playing darts with Brown over a couple of beers.

    Sorry to go off over this, but ‘people skills’ particularly in charming people is the reason Obama was elected.  After Bush’s presidency, I have to agree communications skills are necessary.  But I’m far from being in the market for another charmer as POTUS.

    • Disagree – people skills are what drive relationships and then negotiations. Secondly it is his primary job – foreign policy/affairs I mean. Just as in politics, it only makes sense to solidify the base (strong personal relationships with allies) which then enables allies reach out to the “neutrals” and enemies with a united front. Given the debacle that has been the Iranian sanctions attempt, that’s not at all the case and Brazil saw no downside to saying “no” to the US request.

      • Relationships with allies are professional.  A relationship with Brown is personal.  Your blending the two and actually justifying just about Obama’s only campaign selling point.

        I fully believe Obama has the skills to personally smooze Brown and has simply chosen not to.  But the UK’s disappointment with us and the potential loss of her full support in the future would still be the same.  Obama’s lack of smoozing Brown perhaps only slightly accelerates the UK’s realization of new US policy.

        • No – relationships with allies are professional at the diplomatic level. However relationships between allied leaders are more personal. That’s how they get things done more quickly and despite “professional” diplomats. Obama has none of those sorts of relationships despite his “only campaign selling point.” Thus he has no one to turn too that can help ease the way with other leaders to get what he wants done.

          • Bruce, as a former FSO who served overseas in five countries [including France], you are very spot on when you say personal relationships are key at the very Chief-of-State or PM level.   Sarkozy is a case in point just as much as Brown.   Schmoozing the anti-social Brown would have to grind Obama’s tooth enamel, but Sarkozy would be an intellectual repartee exercise which Nicolas would probably enjoy, moreso than his dialogues with the slapstick GWB….
            Just finished Game Change and am reminded again of Obama’s remark that “this is so damn interesting, but too bad we’re right in the middle of it….” or words to that effect about the campaign.    Diplomacy is hard work and personal diplomacy takes a lot of sweat equity in the ego-displacement dept.
            I’m not sure BHO has come down to earth enough to actually commune with the other leaders on this planet.

             

          • Obama’s been a big ball of disappointment.  He hasn’t delivered.

            He dragged his feet on what to do with Afghanistan to the point where Brit officials were starting to openly and candidly criticize his lack of decisiveness and how it was undermining the effort.

            He snubbed the Brits on several occasions.  Meeting with them is a professional courtesy and exists outside smoozing.  He’s also snubbed Sarkozy.

            He committed to the wrong side on Honduras.  He’s been a paper tiger with Iran.  He’s kissed Russia’s ass.  Befriending and engaging poor allies and enemies and ignoring traditionally good allies.

            These are all policy decisions and its why Obama is ineffective.

            When it comes to the US public, its his policies that has burned out his approval rating.  Extending the financial bailout, the auto bailout for example.  The healthcare issue has been a big ball of screwup.

            His smoozing skills have likely kept him afloat to this point.  Anyone else would have been finished the second they screwed over Medicare recipients.

            When all you have is a pile of crap in box, delivering it with a smile will buy you a few moments.  Its why he won’t engage the Brits.  He doesn’t have anything good of consequence to tell them.

    • God doesn’t need People Skills JP, he’s the President, “he won”.   That should have been enough.  Adoration was supposed to carry him through.

      He’s not that charming, Bill Clinton is more charming.  The American people were told he was charming, told he was articulate, told he was a super genius (if not some sort of magic genii).  Now that they have him home and have taken him out of the box they find out he sits there and doesn’t do much except give speeches when his string is pulled.   They’re beginning to realize the commercials should have had the ” Obama cannot walk on water or heal the sick” disclaimers normally required for slickly packaged toys to avoid law suits.

      • “He’s not that charming, Bill Clinton is more charming.”

        Ain’t that the truth. Although I despise them both, there is no question who I would rather attend a ‘beer summit’ with. At least Clinton wasn’t/isn’t boring. I am convinced the reason Obama’s famous beer summit may have been a success is that both sides were ‘scared straight’; the thought that they might have to attend another one is a great deterrent. 

        • I never anticipated a President, short of  a Jimmy Carter redux, who would make me wish fondly for Bill Clinton to return.   Yet here we are…..as the Chinese say, “…interesting times”.

    • I agree with Bruce on this. I don’t see any people skills with Obama. He’s a cold fish, as far as I can see.

      I don’t think he won the election due to people skills. Giving prepared speeches is not the same thing.

      John Lott was on Mark Lavine’s show, and he knows Obama from the University of Chicago. Obama pretty much would not talk to Lott, due to the difference of political views. That shows a lack of people skills, someone with good people skills would have engaged.

      Another example was Obama’s “stupid cops” statement. Can you see Bill Clinton saying something like that?

      Giving Gordon Brown NTSC DVD’s. WTF?

      The “I won” statement.

      People skills includes engaging those you disagree with. Getting past the personal when required. Realizing how to approach an issue from a people perspective. And dealing with individual leaders and developing common ground and mutual understanding.

  • You make a fair point, and we’ve seen examples of the other way (Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and all that) but overall, he’s done an exceedingly poor job on this front.

  • Jimmy Carter failed to forge strong personal relationships with our NATO allies.

    Just saying.
     

  • Our foreign policy isn’t working primarily because, to the extent that Imeme cares much about it at all*, his core beliefs are:

    1.  The US has been fundamentally wicked in the past and we must apologize and atone for our misdeeds;

    2.  Our problems abroad, especially with regard to the WoT, Iran and the Israeli / Palestinian problem, are due to our arrogant, unilateralist foreign policy especially as practiced by George Bush, and that the way to solve these problems is to take a softer, multilateralist, more humble approach;

    3.  We must cultivate a new set of friends even at the cost of stiffing our existing allies.

    The problem is that this approach does nothing to engender respect and indeed undermines our standing in the world.   To borrow from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass.  It just doesn’t work.

    So, it’s no wonder that Imeme, who has no trouble bullying, sidelining and otherwise dissing Republicans and democrats who won’t toe his line, can’t bring himself to say “boo” to countries that are actively hostile to us, and they treat us with contempt as a result.

    —-

    (*) Foreign policy is a distraction from his primary goal of remaking our country. Cf. Woodrow Wilson.

  • Bwaahahahaha – Dan rather – “(Obama) couldn’t sell water melons if you gave him state troopers to flag down traffic.”

    Now the context here is Rather saying that’s what the Republicans are going to claim about Obama.  Interesting though that the thought is going through his mind that Obama isn’t doing well leading and really interesting that he’s suggesting  Obama might be inclined to sell, of all things, watermelons, in the first place.

    God I love these guys.

     

  • Part of the job of diplomats and politicians is to snuggle up and be BFF’s with people who they despise and who they know despise them. You don’t actually have to like them, but if you can’t at least fake a sincere friendliness towards someone you want to influence you don’t belong in the big leagues. Part of being a good or effective leader is occasionally suppressing your own opinions and attitudes.

    Just a thought, but has anyone ever heard the work ‘articulate’ used to describe a  white politician? Or that his accent transcends his race?

    • Note that someone with real good people skills can act it so well that the person he is dealing with does not have a clue he is actually despised. More often, both people actually “get it”, but the knowledge doesn’t go past them. In Obama’s case, the issues between him and . . . quit a few people . . . is common knowledge.

  • I think Krauthammer put it best when he said that Obama just doesn’t care that much about foreign policy:
    Obama has no intention of being a foreign policy president. Unlike, say, Nixon or Reagan, he does not have aspirations abroad. He simply wants quiet on his eastern and western fronts so that he can proceed with what he really cares about — his domestic agenda.
    Too bad the eastern and western shores had other ideas.


     

  • LOL!  You’re a hoot.   There has been no one more ineffective at foreign policy than George W. Bush, but somehow now when Obama’s arguably been making improvements on many levels, you nitpick faults.  He’s not cultivating deep personal relationships (you mean, he hasn’t looked in Vladimir Putin’s eyes and seen his soul)?   I mean, that’s what you want, after a year?!
    As a foreign policy analyst, I think Obama’s done a very solid job, and really don’t see anything major to criticize on foreign policy.   The things you try to point to in your apparent ODS mode are things that not only weren’t any better under Bush, but reflect the fact that the US unipolar moment is over and power and interest shape foreign policy far more than “deep personal relationships.”   Frankly, I think you don’t understand foreign policy.   You just criticize the Democrats for things that were as bad or worse under Bush, and look to blame persons rather than looking at the underlying power structure and set of interests.   The US simply is not as important on the world stage as it once was –  and that is probably good for us and the world.

    • There has been no one more ineffective at foreign policy than George W. Bush

      >>> Depends on what your idea of “effective” is Scott. Bush got a pretty good coalition of allies to go along with Iraq and Afghanistan for example.

      But I know why you think he was bad, because he didn’t cozy up to leftist dictators or knowtow to the U.N.

      The facts are Obama has alienated our friends, and has not turned one former enemy our way. Explain how this is an improvement?

      • LOL!  Bush bribed tiny countries to contribute tiny contigents, and most pulled them out reasonably fast.  Moreover, anyone who with a straight face could claim Iraq as a foreign policy success for Bush really is over the top.
        Bush did look into Putin’s eyes and see his soul, though.   Obama is doing well with foreign policy so far, he’s not alienating anyone (especially not the way Bush alienated almost all of Western Europe his first term, and help destroy Tony Blair’s Prime Ministry), and diplomatically we’ve had numerous successes.   His policies on Iraq and Afghanistan have been well received, and good will abroad is higher than it’s been in over a decade.    The world does not reflect GOP talking points.
        Also, if you really think a President can somehow magically turn “former enemies” our way, you don’t understand what you’re talking about.   States are “enemies” based on interests and actions.   To turn enemies “our way” Obama would have to give in to them, which he has refused to do.   Ironically, Bush’s foreign policy got much better after 2006 when he realized Iraq had been a failure, and it had been a huge mistake to diss western Europe thinking they’d come around and embrace us after “easy success” in Iraq (which was the neo-con expectation).   Bush was getting high marks from me for his foreign policy by 2008, though the damage done in the first term could not be overcome.  Obama hasn’t altered a lot from Bush’s foreign policy at the end of his second term, there has been continuity.   That’s not bad.

        • LOL!  Bush bribed tiny countries to contribute tiny contigents, and most pulled them out reasonably fast. 

          >>>> WHich is MUCH better than Baracky got for Afghanistan…..

          Moreover, anyone who with a straight face could claim Iraq as a foreign policy success for Bush really is over the top.

          >>>> You mean like Joe Biden? Well we do agree there at least.

          You saw those Iraqis voting the other day? Guess they’re over the top also.

        • Yes, tiny countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Poland, Turkey, Australia and Spain.  Actually, pretty much all of Europe sent troops to Afghanistan.  Russia and China helped out, too.  But those are all tiny countries.
           

          • Afghanistan was handled OK, it was Iraq where Bush fell down.  But note that after 9-11 there was natural sympathy for the US, countries offered to help right away, Bush didn’t have to build much of a coalition there.

        • Sadaam Hussein,  who threatened to plunge the Middle East into violence and conflict (again) as well as destabilize the world economy, has been removed and replaced by a nascent democracy. How unfortunate. Much less successful than Obama’s Honduras policy. Or his Iran policy. Or…

          • Saddam Hussein was impotent by 2003, he didn’t have the power to plunge the area into violence and conflict.   But now Iraq’s Islamic democracy is close to Iran, and riddled with violence and problems.  But the reason you engage in foreign policy is because of your own country’s interests, and the Iraq war was a fiasco and a long term disaster for the US, probably worse than Vietnam.

          • No, actually, Scott, 9/11 was the dawn of the age of asymmetrical warfare. Hussein’s ability to project conventional power had been contained, but you might have missed that he had a worldwide intelligence network and enough money on hand to launch a thousand 9/11′s.

            That was, in fact, what everyone knew after 9/11, along with the fact that we got off easy. It was a good thing that George Bush realized that there was no longer time to wait out Hussein and gamble on what he would do on the day he got out of the wrong side of the bed.

            Add to that that the case against Hussein’s regime was the most thoroughly adjudicated case against a rogue regime in the history of the UN, and even an academic simpleton can understand why Hussein had to go. If for no other reason than to demonstrate that the collective security capacity of the UN needed to be taken seriously by all potential state sponsors of terrorism as the age of ultra-serious asymmetrical warfare began.

          • Erb:
            Saddam Hussein was impotent by 2003,

            He wasn’t impotent, he was actively suppressed.   Devastating sanctions that punished the Iraqi People far more than the dictator and also at the cost having troops stationed continuously in SA.

            Both large sources of resentment for the ME.  And either the sanctions and continuous military presence to suppress Saddam’s forces would have fallen apart letting Saddam be free to resume his bad behavior, or by now they would have been coined to leverage massive resentment against the US.  (Meanwhile Europe made out with cheap oil and it isn’t a surprise Europe’s support was lacking for regime change).  Continuing that path was the path to another Vietnam.

        • “Saddam Hussein was impotent by 2003,”

          Sort of like Germany in 1933.

    • but reflect the fact that the US unipolar moment is over and power and interest shape foreign policy far more than “deep personal relationships”

      Please try to be slightly less gleeful about your mistaken idea. It’s less assertion than wet dream of yours.

    • <blockquote>The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey <a href=”http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/08/poll-obama-dems-losing-ground/”>released</a> Monday finds that by a 10-point margin — 51 percent to 41 percent — Americans think the standing of the U.S. dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama’s presidency.</blockquote>

    • “As a foreign policy analyst”
      LOL!

    • that is pretty bad that you repeat this nonsense. Bush was very effective. He got two major coalitions together, he got coalition help in Africa for aids relief, and put a diplomatic and economic barrier around N Korea.
      Obama has pretty much gotten laughed at.

      • Eight years, and you posit North Korea as a major Bush success?!!!  Aids relief for Africa?  A coalition of mostly small states with small contingents, bribed and who ditched us when Iraq went bad is a success?   You damn the Bush administration more than I do if that’s all you can come up with!
        Let me help:  The Bush administration did an effective job of reversing foreign policy after 2005-06 when the reality of the failure in Iraq hit, and the recognition that the US had become ineffectual and disrespected on the world stage.   The choice of Robert Gates for DOD was a major move, and Condi Rice as Secretary of State helped bring  a realist approach back into vogue.   The US actively worked to improve relations with Germany, France, and Western Europe, and significantly redefined goals in Iraq from the original neo-con fantasy.   In Afghanistan Bush dropped the ball, but Obama seems to be on top of that.   So Bush was wildly ineffective and made numerous mistakes in his first term, one of the first foreign policy Presidents ever, doing significant harm to the US.
        But in his second term he learned, recognized reality, and made changes that some Presidents would have been too proud to make.   I gained respect for Bush in his second term, and think Obama isn’t really veering much from Bush’s playbook in 2008.
        Your problem — and the main error politicized blogs make right and left — is that it’s a partisan witch hunt.   It’s no concern for the truth, just trying to attack the other side.  Sadly, I think you guys are so much into the partisan game that many of you have lost the capacity for clear, rational analysis of issues like this.

        • Shorter version:  ODS looks a lot like BDS — and is just as rational.

          • In your eyes, any criticism of “The One” becomes something akin to a blood feud.  I am waiting for your first “You People are just a bunch of Racists!” rant and then we will know beyond any doubt that you are drunk on the koolaide.

            You call Kyle8 out for positing some success by Bush regading NK and Africa.  Can you show anything accomplished by Obama?  Anything?  He went to Copenhagen for the Climate Summit – anything there?  No.
            Has Obama been able to cobble together any sort of coalition for any purpose at all?

            Tell you what there Erb.  All you are doing is chanting “Neener Neener Neener Neener” about how bad Bush was.  Come back in defense of your Messiah when he has done something except alienate our allies and befriend our enemies. 

            Small steps, there Erb!

        • A coalition of mostly small states with small contingents, bribed and who ditched us when Iraq went bad is a success

          >>> That’s ok, the Democrats also ditched us when Iraq had problems. Lucky for us, Bush went for the surge and won the thing.

          • Bravo, Shark, and that’s the way the history books [at least the ones used in Texas high schools] will view the outcome 10-15 years from now after the ditching Dem tsunami has receded and we can rebuild our foreign policy.

          • The surge certainly didn’t win anything.   And note what it was — it was a surrender of the original policy goals in favor of accepting Iranian influence, making peace with rather than defeating the Sunni insurgents, and recognizing the original goals could not be met.   But if Iraq ends with the US being able to leave soon, Obama will get considerable credit.

    • LOL, silly silly silly, chuckle.

      Discovered new words on the Internet did you?
      Here’s another for you to scribble down on a  postit note next to your monitor in response to you being a foreign policy analyst.
      ……LMFAO,  Scott, you’re such a twit.


      (Oh, LMFAO is all you need to copy, you don’t need to copy down “Scott, you’re such a twit”).

      Hey did you see how well we’re doing with China?  Mr Foreign Policy analyst?

  • “I recently asked several senior administration officials, separately, to name a foreign leader with whom Barack Obama has forged a strong personal relationship during his first year in office.”

    That’s true, but how many world leaders has he fugged over? Like Gordon Brown of the UK, for one. But, wait – Obama has played footsie with Raul Castro of Cuba and Boss Hugo of Venezuela.

  • After much thought I do not believe this is right.  Personal relationships in foreign leaders are not all that important, and at any rate usually follow after some sort of joint action.  The ideology of the leaders is often even more important.
    The problem Obama has is twofold. The other leaders looked him over early on and decided he was nothing but a bag of hot wind. They also assume he won’t be around for long.

    • Personal relations can be quite important, though of course they must be based on some sort of shared goals and values.  For example, imagine World War II with Churchill and Imeme instead of FDR, or the ’80s with Neville Chamberlain instead of Iron Maggie at Number 10.

      In The Guns of August, Tuchman writes a bit about how the relationship between Britain and France rapidly changed from one of historic animosity to alliance in a very short period due in large part to the personal diplomacy of Edward VII.  Yes, there was the added impetus of an increasingly militant Germany to push the two countries together, but it seems reasonable to me that Edward’s personal diplomacy played a key role in changing the nature of the Anglo-French relationship.  During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent Dean Acheson to talk to De Gaulle because of their existing personal relationship.  The crisis might have gone very differently had he gone himself or sent LBJ.

      Otherwise, I entirely agree with you: leaders around the world seem to have taken Imeme’s measure and decided that he’s a lightweight who can either be dismissed or rolled like a drunk.

      • “Personal relations can be quite important”

        In some idealogies, Erb’s for example, individuals are of no consequence. Only the forces of history affect the world. It’s all so scientific, you know.

      • Individuals matter in history, but foreign policy is less about individuals than structural factors and long term decisions.   Close personal relationships can be good or bad — Putin seemed to pull the wool over Bush’s eyes.   The idea that after a year somehow Obama should be out forging close personal bonds is misguided.
        De Gaulle was going to support Kennedy in any event.  The British and French came together because their colonial race was over, Germany was ascendant, and it fit the rules of British diplomacy at the time — Britain was the holder of the balance.
        If Churchill and FDR had not been leaders in WWII, those who had would now be considered great.    Finally Neville Chamberlain, who was far more accepted in the conservative party than Churchill, was expecting war the military had told him that they would not be ready until 1943.   Appeasement was NOT meant to just give in to Hitler to avoid war at all costs; rather, it was meant to undo what the Brits saw as the injustice done to Germany at Versailles.  It was to appease only the legitimate interests of Germany to be an equal.   It would have been a good policy in the 20s, or with leaders other than Hitler.  Hitler, however, wanted war, even if he said he was like Bismarck and wanted only equal treatment for Germans.   Chamberlain (and the conservatives, who were more afraid of fascism) tested Hitler to see if he was telling the truth.  In March 1939 they knew war was inevitable and started to prepare in earnest.
        I have no idea why some of you want to assert that leaders around the world consider Obama a lightweight.  It sounds like wishful thinking on your part.

        • “I have no idea why some of you want to assert that leaders around the world consider Obama a lightweight.”

          Could it be because he is?  Much like yourself!

  • To have a strong personal relationship with his foreign counterparts, Obama would have to show that he is interested in the actualities of the world.

    Obama’s main interest in the world is Obama. What he believes within that narcissistic involution, however, is based in his radical anti-Americanism, which he must hide, or pretend to hide. So, you see him showing disrespect for the Brit PM as a way of showing disrespect for the U.S.

    If you start making a list of the things he has done to show, directly or indirectly, his hostility toward the country he putatively leads, I think that the picture that takes shape is rather daunting.

    “No, no, no, God damn America!”

    You don’t stay with something for twenty years unless you love it and want it.

    “Just get the power, Barack.”

    • The lunatic fringe speaks again.  Reverend Wright!  Socialism!  Anti-Americanism!   Under the beds, in the White House!   Oh wow, how painful it must be to live in these times with such delusions!

      • You have such a way with people there, Erb!  It is no wonder most of us turn from y0u in disgust and consider you a raving f*ckstick!

        • What’s funny SShiell is that what I say is mild compared to insults hurled at me.   But it’s OK when people who think like you put down someone who has a different opinion than yours.   But if someone with a different opinion of yours has a mild put down of someone who thinks like you (though you are far more reasonable than that McPhillips fellow), then the person is a “raving f*stick.”   I find this all funny — but it fits in with my current research too, which goes more in the psychological-media direction than my past work.

          • For your research, Scott, I recommend the works of James Cone, the “theologian” whose teachings were the basis of the church Barack Obama dedicated himself to for 20 years.

            And you know, you don’t stay with something for 20 years unless you love it and want it.

            “No, no, no, God damn America!”

            Socialism. Anti-Americanism.

          • “But if someone with a different opinion of yours has a mild put down of someone who thinks like you…”

            Oh stop whining. Actually, it’s not the put downs anyone objects to, it’s the flagrant hypocrisy of you running on for years about how you are too logical to engage in ad hominem attacks. That and the fact that your put downs are trite, unimaginative, and boring. 

            “my current research too, which goes more in the psychological-media direction than my past work.”

            What, too many rejection notices? Your peer reviewed and refereed work not getting published? Greater opportunity for BS in the new field?

      • Yes, Scott, I know. We are all supposed to ignore, as the mainstream media did, that Barack Obama belonged for twenty years to a “black theology” Church in Chicago. We are invited as well to ignore that “black theology” or “black liberation theology” is a mixture of Marxism and racist black nationalism.

        We are invited further to believe that Barack Obama was indifferently attached to this Church and merely napped in its pews on Sundays, even though he saw Jeremiah Wright as his mentor and named his second book after the title of one of Wright’s sermons.

        Certainly, Barack Obama could only have been a cafeteria “black theology” penitent, and always left the Marxism and racism off his plate.

        Yes, we must believe that. We absolutely must.

        • It would certainly have to be a matter of belief and faith, rather than logic.

        • You’re pre-occupation with Wright is pathological.  To think Obama somehow thinks like him is really over the deep end.   Oh well, you can have your fringe conspiracy theories…reminds me of the nutcases who thought Hillary Clinton had some guy (David Foster?) killed.

          • Your avoidance of fact is pathological.

            If , say, Lindsay Graham was a congregant for twenty years at a racist Christian Identity church and only left when it became a news story, would you be inclined to believe that he worshipped there only out of habit?

            You don’t stay anywhere you could just as easily walk out of for 20 years unless you love it and want it.

            Deal with Obama’s pathology, Scott.