All Quiet on Martha's Vineyard

Lately, President Obama has been hacking his way across the lush landscape of Martha’s Vineyard. Meanwhile, some traditional Islamist jihadists, along with a few British malcontents, have been hacking their way across an arid desert that once belonged to Syria and Iraq.  A few days ago they each took a break from slicing to issue a statement.

All of this is what the pundits are calling “bad optics.”  A severed head is seldom easy on the eyes, but once upon a time, Obama could move mountains and lower sea levels, not to mention avert the public murder of a fellow countryman.  It’s generally much easier, however, to keep a punctual tee time than it is to negotiate with people more extreme and ideological than even the Tea Party; and so James Foley becomes another American citizen or ally the president cannot rescue, along with Meriam Ibrahim, Saeed Abedini, Chris Stevens & Co., and Dr.  Shakil Afridi.  As a last resort he should have renounced his citizenship altogether, and perhaps secured a Rose Garden reception for his folks.

“Folks” as in his parents, not the folks detained and “tortured” at the Guantanamo facility a younger Obama pledged to close.  This confessional strategy has changed few hearts over the last six years, but perhaps in another decade or so ISIS will take its cue and apologize for “beheading some folks” and the president can get to work on lowering those sea levels.

Whether they stop rolling heads once the president stops rolling golf balls and returns from vacation is anybody’s guess.  Notwithstanding, Obama’s fault or not, America no longer bestrides the world stage, and it is doubtful whether it can withstand the tumult abroad that it is incapable of restraining.  The national psyche has long been underpinned -- throughout the Revolution, the settling of the West, the Great Depression, the Second World War -- by a determined attitude of grit and sacrifice, which will certainly be needed again to face the looming perils of renewed terrorism.  But far from readying this generation to tighten its belt, the White House, through its cavalier dismissals of our tenuous standing at home fiscally and abroad (e.g.  the Benghazi fiasco), has encouraged it to loosen the belt entirely.

As an example, take the attempted contraception mandate.  If asking the citizenry to take responsibility for their own sexual activities is too great a demand, so will be nearly any other call to self-sufficiency.  Perhaps we can pass the tab indefinitely to the Chinese and unborn generations.  But the survival spirit of independence serves not merely to pay the bills, but to weather the storms that are beginning to blow very close to home, and that the president seems unlikely to stave off.

So as Russia, China, ISIS, and Hamas all carry out their plans of action quite effectively, America watches aimlessly, with no doctrine, no coherent policy, not even a line of any color - red or otherwise.  Our adversaries don’t know what our next move will be, but neither do we.  Nor, it would seem, does our leader.  Fore!

Lately, President Obama has been hacking his way across the lush landscape of Martha’s Vineyard. Meanwhile, some traditional Islamist jihadists, along with a few British malcontents, have been hacking their way across an arid desert that once belonged to Syria and Iraq.  A few days ago they each took a break from slicing to issue a statement.

All of this is what the pundits are calling “bad optics.”  A severed head is seldom easy on the eyes, but once upon a time, Obama could move mountains and lower sea levels, not to mention avert the public murder of a fellow countryman.  It’s generally much easier, however, to keep a punctual tee time than it is to negotiate with people more extreme and ideological than even the Tea Party; and so James Foley becomes another American citizen or ally the president cannot rescue, along with Meriam Ibrahim, Saeed Abedini, Chris Stevens & Co., and Dr.  Shakil Afridi.  As a last resort he should have renounced his citizenship altogether, and perhaps secured a Rose Garden reception for his folks.

“Folks” as in his parents, not the folks detained and “tortured” at the Guantanamo facility a younger Obama pledged to close.  This confessional strategy has changed few hearts over the last six years, but perhaps in another decade or so ISIS will take its cue and apologize for “beheading some folks” and the president can get to work on lowering those sea levels.

Whether they stop rolling heads once the president stops rolling golf balls and returns from vacation is anybody’s guess.  Notwithstanding, Obama’s fault or not, America no longer bestrides the world stage, and it is doubtful whether it can withstand the tumult abroad that it is incapable of restraining.  The national psyche has long been underpinned -- throughout the Revolution, the settling of the West, the Great Depression, the Second World War -- by a determined attitude of grit and sacrifice, which will certainly be needed again to face the looming perils of renewed terrorism.  But far from readying this generation to tighten its belt, the White House, through its cavalier dismissals of our tenuous standing at home fiscally and abroad (e.g.  the Benghazi fiasco), has encouraged it to loosen the belt entirely.

As an example, take the attempted contraception mandate.  If asking the citizenry to take responsibility for their own sexual activities is too great a demand, so will be nearly any other call to self-sufficiency.  Perhaps we can pass the tab indefinitely to the Chinese and unborn generations.  But the survival spirit of independence serves not merely to pay the bills, but to weather the storms that are beginning to blow very close to home, and that the president seems unlikely to stave off.

So as Russia, China, ISIS, and Hamas all carry out their plans of action quite effectively, America watches aimlessly, with no doctrine, no coherent policy, not even a line of any color - red or otherwise.  Our adversaries don’t know what our next move will be, but neither do we.  Nor, it would seem, does our leader.  Fore!