November 9, 2010
Obama's Ignorance of World Affairs on Full Display in India
When George W. Bush was sworn into office, he was mocked by his political enemies as a parochial idiot who had no understanding of world affairs. That proved untrue. By contrast Barack Obama was touted as a multicultural "citizen of the world" whose childhood residence in Indonesia, adult trips to Pakistan and Kenya, and Harvard degree were supposed proof of his sophistication. Obama subsequently disproved this belief by making reference to "speaking Austrian" during a European speech and sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Russia to "press the reset button," (the word "reset" in Russian was misspelled) a stunt so stupid that a high school girl at a Model UN conference probably wouldn't do it.
Now, in his quasi-imperial trip to India, Obama has made ridiculous P.C.-inspired statements that managed to offend both India and Pakistan and reveal an astounding ignorance of South Asian politics and history.
First, Obama told an Indian audience that he supported India's bid to gain a permanent seat (and veto) on the UN Security Council. Aside from the fact that this is unlikely to happen, the idea greatly offends Pakistan, a sworn enemy of India since both countries became independent in 1947. While Obama's support for an Indian seat on the Security Council was greeted with applause in India, it was immediately denounced by Pakistan. Pakistan is our "ally" in the war on terror, but it is very unstable, partially ungovernable, and likely harboring Osama bin Laden. Obama gratuitously offended it by supporting its #1 enemy, India. How can this possibly help our efforts in the Af-Pak theater of war?
Second, Obama contradicted centuries of Indian history when he told an Indian schoolgirl that Islam is a "religion of peace" and that only "extremists" corrupt it. According to The Hindu newspaper, Obama said Islam is "a religion that reaffirms peace, fairness, tolerance. I think all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted by violence." This must be an astonishingly false statement to Indian ears and to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of Indian history.
India has had virtually non-stop conflict with Islam since it was first invaded by Muslims in the seventh century. Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan have been in a virtual state of war since 1947, when British India was partitioned along religious lines, resulting in nearly a million casualties. Today, both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed powers. There have been at least three shooting wars since 1947 and constant low-grade war over Kashmir. The attack on the Indian parliament by Muslim terrorists in 2001 and the Mumbai Massacre, perpetrated by Pakistani Muslims in 2008, are not the result of "extremists" who "distort" Islam but merely the latest incidents in centuries of war and conquest India has suffered at the hands of the "religion of peace."
It's clear that the Obama foreign policy isn't based on sophistication or even a basic knowledge of world affairs. It's based purely on fatuous P.C. sentiments that meet with approval in faculty lounges, but are downright dangerous to American security in the real world.