Obama's Foreign Policy: Appeasement and Groveling

I was able to watch only the last fifteen minutes or so of the first debate between Senator McCain and Senator Obama. The discussion in this final segment centered on issues connected to American foreign policy and security. Senator Obama tried to demonstrate knowledge of these areas and to portray himself as a strong leader who would confront terrorism and other security threats. He sounded credible on some points, such as his concern over nuclear terrorism and his criticism of the Bush Administration for not catching Bin Laden.

There were other remarks, however, that reveal the foreign-policy revolution Mr. Obama would bring to the White House. For the first time (the less extreme cases of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton aside), America would have a president who believes that his country (1) was born in original sin; (2) is a force of evil on the world stage; and (3) is now obliged to atone for its malevolence.

Mr. Obama would implement a foreign policy that is no longer based on America's concrete interests, but rather on some vague notion of what pleases the "world." As Mr. Obama explained to us during the debate:

It is important for us to understand that the way we are perceived in the world is going to make a difference, in terms of our capacity to get cooperation and root out terrorism. And one of the things that I intend to do as president is to restore America's standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago...

But because of some of the mistakes that have been made-and I give Senator McCain great credit on the torture issue, for having identified that as something that undermines our long-term security-because of those things, we, I think, are going to have a lot of work to do in the next administration to restore that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill...

And part of what we need to do, what the next president has to do-and this is part of our judgment, this is part of how we're going to keep America safe-is to send a message to the world that we are going to invest in issues like education, we are going to invest in issues that relate to how ordinary people are able to live out their dreams.

Do we really need to "send a message to the world"? Is this how foreign policy is to be conducted? Demonstrate to Vladimir Putin, or the Chinese, or the French, or Venezuela, that "we are going to invest in issues like education"?

The "America has to restore its standing" meme is a major component of contemporary anti-American Leftist ideology. While living in Europe in the early part of this decade, I heard Leftists lament countless times that the United States somehow owes it to the world to prove that it is nice, that the bad old days of capitalist exploitation are over.

Oh, don't get me wrong, say the enablers of our atonement. Americans are nice people, but their imperialist war-mongering leaders have destroyed the possibilities for everyone around the world to "live out their dreams."

The beauty of this approach, from the perspective of the Left, is that it is a bottomless pit. If we must prove conclusively that we are a "shining beacon on the hill," then there is no end to the demands. Our enemies, and even our competitors, have no incentive to stop upping the ante.

Under these conditions, it would be impossible to take swift action to punish or otherwise show our enemies that we mean business, that America will not sit idly by while its citizens are killed or harassed. If America is always wrong, it means that our enemies are always right.

The domestic equivalent of this neo-Marxist gibberish is the shibboleth of "root causes." Want to fight crime? Want to put criminals in jail? Sorry, society is responsible because we oppressed them. Same idea in foreign affairs. Want to fight terrorism? Sorry. America is responsible because we oppressed them. They are freedom fighters, as we know in our hearts.

Let us assume that Phase One of the Obama foreign policy dream is implemented: we pull out of Iraq, cease interrogation of terrorist suspects, talk ad nauseam with our most implacable enemies, recognize the UN as a binding source of law, boost foreign aid to unprecedented levels, convict the perpetrators of American "torture" and "war crimes," and sign all the Kyoto treaties one could imagine.

Wait a minute -- those evil American corporations still exploit the Third World. So it turns out that we are not a shining beacon after all. Okay, let's put an end to that. Wait -- we use more oil per person than any other country. Okay, let's stop that. Wait -- we still have some restrictions on immigration. Etcetera.

There is only one possible way that Mr. Obama could carry out his vision: by a systematic policy of appeasement and groveling. How else can one convince the "world" that we are worthy of its love?

Gary Wolf is the author of futuristic novels that portray worlds in which multiculturalism and political correctness have run amok. He blogs at
awolcivilization.com.
I was able to watch only the last fifteen minutes or so of the first debate between Senator McCain and Senator Obama. The discussion in this final segment centered on issues connected to American foreign policy and security. Senator Obama tried to demonstrate knowledge of these areas and to portray himself as a strong leader who would confront terrorism and other security threats. He sounded credible on some points, such as his concern over nuclear terrorism and his criticism of the Bush Administration for not catching Bin Laden.

There were other remarks, however, that reveal the foreign-policy revolution Mr. Obama would bring to the White House. For the first time (the less extreme cases of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton aside), America would have a president who believes that his country (1) was born in original sin; (2) is a force of evil on the world stage; and (3) is now obliged to atone for its malevolence.

Mr. Obama would implement a foreign policy that is no longer based on America's concrete interests, but rather on some vague notion of what pleases the "world." As Mr. Obama explained to us during the debate:

It is important for us to understand that the way we are perceived in the world is going to make a difference, in terms of our capacity to get cooperation and root out terrorism. And one of the things that I intend to do as president is to restore America's standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago...

But because of some of the mistakes that have been made-and I give Senator McCain great credit on the torture issue, for having identified that as something that undermines our long-term security-because of those things, we, I think, are going to have a lot of work to do in the next administration to restore that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill...

And part of what we need to do, what the next president has to do-and this is part of our judgment, this is part of how we're going to keep America safe-is to send a message to the world that we are going to invest in issues like education, we are going to invest in issues that relate to how ordinary people are able to live out their dreams.

Do we really need to "send a message to the world"? Is this how foreign policy is to be conducted? Demonstrate to Vladimir Putin, or the Chinese, or the French, or Venezuela, that "we are going to invest in issues like education"?

The "America has to restore its standing" meme is a major component of contemporary anti-American Leftist ideology. While living in Europe in the early part of this decade, I heard Leftists lament countless times that the United States somehow owes it to the world to prove that it is nice, that the bad old days of capitalist exploitation are over.

Oh, don't get me wrong, say the enablers of our atonement. Americans are nice people, but their imperialist war-mongering leaders have destroyed the possibilities for everyone around the world to "live out their dreams."

The beauty of this approach, from the perspective of the Left, is that it is a bottomless pit. If we must prove conclusively that we are a "shining beacon on the hill," then there is no end to the demands. Our enemies, and even our competitors, have no incentive to stop upping the ante.

Under these conditions, it would be impossible to take swift action to punish or otherwise show our enemies that we mean business, that America will not sit idly by while its citizens are killed or harassed. If America is always wrong, it means that our enemies are always right.

The domestic equivalent of this neo-Marxist gibberish is the shibboleth of "root causes." Want to fight crime? Want to put criminals in jail? Sorry, society is responsible because we oppressed them. Same idea in foreign affairs. Want to fight terrorism? Sorry. America is responsible because we oppressed them. They are freedom fighters, as we know in our hearts.

Let us assume that Phase One of the Obama foreign policy dream is implemented: we pull out of Iraq, cease interrogation of terrorist suspects, talk ad nauseam with our most implacable enemies, recognize the UN as a binding source of law, boost foreign aid to unprecedented levels, convict the perpetrators of American "torture" and "war crimes," and sign all the Kyoto treaties one could imagine.

Wait a minute -- those evil American corporations still exploit the Third World. So it turns out that we are not a shining beacon after all. Okay, let's put an end to that. Wait -- we use more oil per person than any other country. Okay, let's stop that. Wait -- we still have some restrictions on immigration. Etcetera.

There is only one possible way that Mr. Obama could carry out his vision: by a systematic policy of appeasement and groveling. How else can one convince the "world" that we are worthy of its love?

Gary Wolf is the author of futuristic novels that portray worlds in which multiculturalism and political correctness have run amok. He blogs at
awolcivilization.com.