Friday, November 7, 2008

The Sally Field Version of Foreign Policy

After the election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States, I was so excited and thrilled to see that most of the rest of the world thinks we made a great choice. To paraphrase Sally Field, they really like us, right now, they like us. I can’t describe how wonderful I feel knowing so many different countries in the world now like us.

The media and other elites in Europe just can’t say enough good things about our new president. For example, the German tabloid, Bild states, “`The new president will be greeted by the world as a savior. In Germany above all. Everyone has now fallen freshly in love with the new America, the other America, the good America. Obamerica, even. ‘" These sentiments are expressed under the title “Messiah Obama.” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,588920,00.html) I had always thought that Europe was far less spiritually oriented than the US. Now I see that I was wrong. The European have a very strong religious streak, even seeing our new president as the second coming of the Lord. Awsome.



Most European leaders and pundits are looking forward to Obama’s close cooperation with Europe. In an article in Der Spiegel, Chancellor Angela Merkel and others in her government cheered our selection of Obama because he will end American unilateralism in foreign affairs. I’m so happy that the EU will now set our foreign policy. Yes, acting unilaterally is terrible. We acted unilaterally in Haiti after the violence of the Jean-Bertrand Aristide regime. We should have waited for the members of the Organization of American States to step in and stop the slaughter. Still waiting. Maybe we should have sat back and waited for the EU to deal with their mess in the former Yugoslavia. Look at what a great job they did in Srebrenica. Reliance on multilateral action worked spectacularly in Rwanda. The multilateral actions of the EU, UN, and African Union are working splendidly in Darfur. Yes, tying our foreign policy to these organizations is a great idea. What could possibly go wrong?


President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is quoted as saying, "`Obama is my buddy,’" in “Sarkozy Looks to the Obama Model” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,588710,00.html). The article by Stefan Simmons includes the following observation: “`Obama is a model we can grasp’" is the way Zachary James Miller, an Obama fan in Paris, explains the astonishing affection shown by the French, presenting Obama not just as a representative for minorities, but as a messenger of "`hope for everyone.’" Maybe we can take lessons from the French in how to deal with minorities. We all know how well the French deal with their Muslim minorities as seen in the riots in Muslim ghettoes in 2005 and 2006 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9891709/).

Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission looks forward to the US adopting the Kyoto Accords on climate change (this used to be called global warming, now it’s “climate change” – a theory that explains everything) (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,588190,00.html). The Senate, by a vote of 95-0 opposed the accord because it would bankrupt the US economy (http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoSenate.html). I’m certain my fellow Americans will join me in hoping Obama will cooperate closely with our allies in destroying our economy.

Slavenka Drakulic, author of Cafe Europa (a book that criticizes the ex-communist regimes as thoroughly as the new democratic states in Eastern Europe) writes in Der Spiegel that the world would like to see Obama “stop the war in Iraq, divert funding from the military industrial complex and use it to improve the lives of the poor, introduce national health insurance, sit down with Putin and discuss how best to bring peace to the world, persuade China and India to restrict dangerous gas emissions, get rid of the Taliban in Afghanistan, make a deal with Iran, sign the Kyoto Protocol, catch Osama bin Laden and, finally, bring peace to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Of course, all of this should be accomplished in close collaboration with European governments -- and all in the first year, possibly in the first days of his presidency.” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,588190,00.html) Luckily for us, Obama will have the cooperation of the Europeans in achieving these goals. Certainly, our unwillingness to work with them in the past is the only reason these aspirations have failed to be achieved. After all, look at the great job the EU has done solving so many of their own internal problems. If only the US would simply follow the lead of their betters in the EU.

Thierry de Montbrial, director of the French Institute of International Relations, expresses the hope that Obama will take “a friendlier approach to the rest of the world” and be a president who “thinks beyond narrow American interests.” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,588190-4,00.html) That’s right; the last thing we want is an American president who has the nerve to protect Americans and American interests. I supposed it’s too bad that Fred Rogers is dead because, according to Mr. de Montbrial, Mr. Rogers would have made an excellent foreign policy advisor for Obama.

Diego Hidalgo, a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, looks forward to Obama leading the US into “a new and much stronger international governance architecture.” This exceptional level of cooperation and subservience would help Americans realize that the nation state is too out of date to solve the complex problems facing the world – we need a true world government with the Eurocrats in Brussels controling our lives for our own good. Of course, according to Hidalgo, a necessary first step is for the US to join the International Criminal Court (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,588190-9,00.html). I’m sure we all look forward to a glorious future where the US gives up such outmoded ideas as national and legal sovereignty – that’s some serious cooperation.

Finally, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent president-elect Obama personal congratulations – the first time an Iranian leader has done this since the fall of the Shah in 1979. All Americans can agree with President Ahmadinejad that under Obama’s administration the “`hatred of all nations and majority of governments toward the U.S. leaders’" will be replaced with "`an approach based on justice and respect, as well as lack of intervention in the affairs of others.’" (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_IRAN_OBAMA?SITE=VANOV&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT). In particular, I suspect Ahmadinejad expects the U.S. to cooperate with the rest of the world by giving Iran a free hand to develop its nuclear weapons for use against the only democracy in the Middle East – Israel. After the problem of Israel is “solved,” Iran can address, with nuclear weapons, other states that fail to show it proper justice and respect.

Der Spiegel has provided an invaluable service by collecting ten pages of reactions to Barack Obama’s election from across Europe. As you read these passages (noted throughout my text above), you can’t help but be struck by the obnoxious condescension of the European commentators. The frequent use by the European elites of the phrase “American arrogance” reveals their own condescension. It’s hard to tell whether their paternalism is motivated by their continued disregard for Americans in general or Obama’s age. In addition, many of the commentators are positively gushing over Obama’s African heritage. At least nobody said he’s a credit to his race, but you have to wonder if some of their verbiage is overcompensation for an underlying racist attitude.

I guess I’m an idiot because I don’t care about what other countries think about our president. “Cooperation,” the way it’s used in the various observations by the European elites, especially Eurocrats like Wallström and Hidalgo, is double-speak for capitulation and subservience. I hope and pray that Barack Obama will be a great president, and his time in office will result in a stronger, more secure America. I don’t give a rat’s ass what the rest of the world thinks about our president. Since 1945, most of the world has benefitted most of the time from a strengthening America, whether that strength is determined economically, politically, or culturally. A strong America is a benefit to the world, and that strength may, on occasion, be projected without waiting for the UN to decide to stop debating and, instead, act. The alternative to this active foreign policy is mindless isolationism. An isolationist America would let more harm come to the world than an active America – isolationism is no longer in anybody’s best interest.

Thus, despite what some may hope, whether it’s like Bild, thinking Obama is the messiah, or de Montbrial characterizing him as “friendly,” Obama’s real success as president of the US will be determined solely by his strengthening of the US and not him becoming a lackey of the EU or any number of countries who would like to see us “cooperate” ourselves out of existence.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Precisely correct, particularly the phrase "obnoxious condescencion."