Obama among Friends

Ironies have come thick and fast during the Obama occupation, but seldom as thick as this: while a guest of one of the most racist nations on the face of the earth, Barack Obama has found it convenient to berate a private American citizen for racism.

Malaysia is one of the most racially mixed of modern societies. During the days of the British imperium, it became home to, in addition to the native Malay tribes, British planters and officials, Hindu and Sikh guest workers, and Chinese businessmen. This mix remains in place today, with over a third of the population being of non-Malay origin.

In response, the Malaysian government has (According to Thomas Sowell, who has studied the country as intently as any man alive) instituted one of the most cumbersome, intrusive, and obnoxious affirmative action systems currently extant. This system is intended to support the native Malays and is aimed largely at the Chinese, who are as successful in business there as they are everywhere else. But secondary targets are the Sikhs, Hindus, and whatever Europeans remain. The Malaysian affirmative action system takes the standard road of reserving all government-associated positions for Malays while making difficult for minorities to succeed at anything else.

The result has been social tensions often amounting to open violence, including riots, demonstrations, drive-by shootings, and arson. The last wave of incidents peaked only this winter, with a church fire-bombed and numerous pleas for an end to ethnic tentisons. The government has made minimal efforts to address the problem.

To top things off, both government and Malayan society have turned Islamist over the past decade, up to point of adapting sharia as the basis of national law. (Along with a ban on non-Muslims using the term "Allah".) This, needless to say, has added considerably to discriminatory pressures.

It’s anybody’s guess as to how this will end. Malaysia has a violent history. A communist-inspired rebellion known, with customary British understatement, as the “Malayan Emergency” lasted nearly twenty years before being put down in the early 1960s. It largely involved Malayan Chinese, who were – you guessed it – tired of being oppressed by the colonial bureaucracy.

That Obama should find it necessary to visit this racist thugocracy is bad enough. But that he should take the opportunity to attack a private citizen for “racism” is something else together. Whatever one might think of Donald Sterling, he deserves a more dignified hearing than to be dressed down by a man being hosted by the Asian equivalent of apartheid South Africa.

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