We're all somewhat familiar with the body language dogs display when they greet each other. The dominant alpha male approaches directly, asserting his authority, while the beta male genuflects, crouches, tucks his tail, and may even end up on his back, exposing his neck in acquiescence, making sure the alpha male knows he has no intention of challenging him. With his "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" opening to the world's dictators, the President is exhibiting classic beta male behavior, in essence rolling over on his back and exposing his throat to them to make sure they know he has no intention of challenging their authority.
Of course, the problem is that he's not simply exposing his throat, he's exposing America's collective throat, sending the message that he's a typical beta male intent on submitting to all the alpha male leaders around the world, and damn the consequences. His response to the discovery of Iran's newest, and heretofore "secret," nuclear facility was, as Daniel Henninger (Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2009) points out, to have our State Department offer to start a direct dialogue with the tyrannical Burmese regime.
The Obama administration has also offered conciliatory gestures to the genocidal Sudanese leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and it has dispatched none other than John Kerry to meet with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. This, of course, is not to mention his somewhat more visible overtures to the world's alpha male thugs: Obama has consorted jovially with Hugo Chavez and his counterpart Daniel Ortega, he's bowed down to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, he's agreed to halt plans to install a missile defense system in eastern Europe to placate Vladimir Putin, and he's offered the aforementioned hand to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, despite the latter's expressed unwillingness to even agree to acknowledge the truly important issue of Iran's nuclear weapons in our talks, all quintessential beta male behaviors.
While we've all been seeking a political rationale for the president's actions, his behavior goes beyond the political to something deeper and more personal: like all beta males, Barack Obama simply does not have the temperament to confront tyrannical alpha males around the globe. In this light, even his inability to work with American allies Gordon Brown and Nikolas Sarkozy is a function of his being incapable of facing down the world's tyrants: to cooperate with our allies would require Obama to display alpha male behaviors, including demonstrating courage, something he's simply not capable of doing. The president's beta-male proclivities are arguably putting the safety of his constituents, the citizens of our country, in serious jeopardy.
Another cue to this unfortunate character trait of the president's can be found in the lack of assertiveness of his oratorical style. While many people insist that Barack Obama is a wonderful speaker, in fact, he exhibits less emotional range when he addresses a crowd than his predecessor, George W. Bush, did. He may have better speechwriters than W, but his delivery is monotonic and his cadences clipped, both signs of a beta male, unsure of himself, putting his words out there more for the purpose of seeking approval than of providing leadership.
The president's characteristic head tilt when he's speaking to an audience or having to deal with a tough question when he's being interviewed (although there are certainly very few instances of his having to do this) is another sign of submissive behavior. It crops up less than a minute in during an interview with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly (YouTube - Barack Obama Interview With Bill O'Reilly Sept 4, 2008 - FNC ) in answer to O'Reilly's question, "Do you believe we're in a war on terror?" After an initial "Absolutely," the Candidate begins to hedge, his head tilts as he explains the difficulty in sorting out the good guys from the bad guys in the Middle East. Like beta males everywhere, Obama is not about to commit to words that he might have to back up with assertive action.
Being a beta male is all about developing strategies for deflecting aggression, and for this reason, beta males do have an important place in society. Within the confines of a social unit, beta-male behavior can help to defuse aggression and maintain domestic peace. But in a world where other nations' alpha-male leaders are constantly probing for even the smallest signs of weakness, having a beta male president has thrown into stark relief the dangers to which this president's unfortunate character trait is exposing his country.
To return to the canine metaphor: It's the height of folly to think that other nations won't be doing everything they can to make President Obama their bitch.
Greg Lewis is the co-author of End Your Addiction Now, recently released by Square One Books. His next book is The Politics of Anger: How Barack Obama and Marxism's Heirs Are Redefining Liberalism in America Today.