It is sad to contemplate, but Obama lacks the temperament, knowledge and desire to do anything but screw up foreign affairs. The remainder of this post is two quotes from VDH's column yesterday at Pajamsmedia about how clueless Obama is about what is happening in Iran.
"It’s a personal thing that interferes with Obama’s ego, and messianic personal diplomacy. Obama himself is not comfortable with those abroad who emulate American values and seek to have the freedoms and rights we take for granted. The post-colonial industry mandates that the Other is a perpetual victim of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, and racism with justified grievances. Only elite American intellectuals of singular insight and empathy understand the calculus of the oppressed, and so, through apologies, accommodations, and concessions, they alone on our behalf can deal with an Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Ortega, Castro, Morales, Nasrallah, etc. But when we see a purple-finger election, a statue of liberty at Tiananmen, or the current Levi-clad, cell-phoning, English-placard-carrying Iranian grassroots resistance, all the above is rendered null and void. Obama wants to rise above his country; but when his country is not held in disrepute (as is true among the Iranian people), he is an actor without a role.
"People abroad really do prefer freedom and true constitutional government to autocratic grievance mongers who loot their country and brutalize the free. In such conditions, old-fashioned Americans, often inarticulate and perhaps clumsy, but honest in their belief in the universal appeal of human freedom, do better than all the nuanced Kennedy School intellectuals (e.g. They laughed at the reductionist “Tear Down This Wall” and “Evil Empire” and apparently preferred “No Inordinate Fear of Communism”). So a deer-in-the-headlights Obama wonders, ‘Wait, why aren’t they shouting the boilerplate ‘Death to America!’ and invoking, like I did, 1953 and the CIA crimes? Don’t they know the things that we did to them and I apologized for? Don’t they see that I am as separate from the US of the 1950s as they are? What’s this grass-roots rejection of an anti-Western, anti-colonialist indigenous Iranian government all about? (cf. his moral equivalent comparison of Mousavi to Ahmadinejad as equally anti-American)."
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"4) He’s addicted to the ossified Iraqi paradigm of “Bush intervened and caused a mess” (Free Iraq is apparently still equivalent to Saddam’s Iraq), so “I don’t want to follow his lead” (as if vocal support now is the same as shock and awe then). Somewhere in stone a lie is chiseled “Iraq made Iran stronger”. He doesn’t see the footnote: “But if Iraqi democracy survives, it fuels emulation in neighboring Iran and does more to undermine the theocracy than all the F-22s in the world”. Who knows-if Iranian freedom spreads, some nut might praise Bush’s commitment to Middle East freedom in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, and not Obama’s apologetics at Cairo? (Free Shiites in Iraq are far better for Iran than either oppressed minorities under Saddam, or Saddam’s opportunistic dictatorship). Bottom line again: Obama needs to forget Ahmadinejad and talk daily with Maliki.
"5) His entire anti-Bush foreign policy is then in trouble. We’ve heard for eight years a cheap slur of “neo-cons” did it, not that in the dangerous world abroad there are no good choices, but supporting freedom is usually the better alternative if one must choose. If a peaceful democratic revolution succeeds in Iran, then what happens with “outreach” to Putin, Chavez, and Hamas? The new liberal realpolitik insisted that we don’t offer moral judgment, and was framed instead by winning the hearts and minds of tyrants through humbling ourselves and meae culpae. But if these democracies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and an Iran (?) were to succeed, then what? You would not go to Chavez and promise first to talk about shared colonial racist oppression, but rather say to the Venezuelan people, “We stand with you in your struggle to achieve freedom and dignity and to join the other democracies of Latin America”? That is not just in the cards, and so Iran, is well, a monkey-wrench.
"For now, watch the Iranian army and police. If one battalion bolts, then . . ."