[Rushtalk] Obama shrinks away in the face of evil

Carl William Spitzer IV cwsiv at copper.net
Sun May 18 09:33:08 MDT 2014


Obama shrinks away in the face of evil

By Michael Goodwin

May 11, 2014 | 5:46am

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Photo: Reuters



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MICHAEL GOODWIN

Michael Goodwin

As Barack Obama enters the twilight of his tenure, the debate over his
legacy is ­beginning, but one conclusion already seems certain. It can
best be described as “Honey, I shrunk the presidency.”

 

Not since Jimmy Carter was held hostage by Iran has the Oval Office
seemed so inconsequential against the forces of international darkness.
The mismatch is particularly striking because smallness has been Obama’s
choice.

 

Although he is guilty of executive overreach at home, that bully
behavior only sharpens the contrast with a foreign policy that is feeble
when it is not comatose. The president’s estrangement from the demands
of global leadership is giving a green light to tyrants and malevolent
opportunists everywhere.

 

His preference for navel gazing over action was on full display last
week. As Russia and China menaced their neighbors and Islamist
terrorists set off bombs in a half-dozen countries, Obama accepted an
award from Hollywood pal Steven Spielberg for fighting genocide. Passing
up a chance to give a full-throated defense of freedom and Western
civilization, the president lapsed into what The New York Times called a
“meditation” on the limits of his power.

 

That’s far too kind. It was a white flag of surrender and more proof
that Obama lacks the capacity to shoulder the responsibilities that have
belonged to the Oval Office for 100 years.

 

The speech sounded like that of a man who is shocked to find that evil
still roams the Earth, and doesn’t have a clue what to do about it. A
long paragraph of his meandering remarks, released by the White House,
captures his sense of helplessness.

 

“I have this remarkable title right now — president of the United States
— and yet every day when I wake up, and I think about young girls in
Nigeria or children caught up in the conflict in Syria — when there are
times in which I want to reach out and save those kids — and having to
think through what levers, what power do we have at any given moment, I
think, ‘drop by drop by drop,’ that we can erode and wear down these
forces that are so destructive, that we can tell a different story,”
Obama said.

 

If there was a course of action buried in that litany of woe, it ­
escapes me. The sequence amounts to a counsel of defeat.

 

Earlier, he had talked about rising anti-Semitism and the spread of
sectarian and tribal conflicts.

 

“We cannot eliminate evil from every heart, or hatred from every mind,”
he said. “But what we can do, and what we must do, is make sure our
children and their children learn their history so that they might not
repeat it. We can teach our children the hazards of tribalism. We can
teach our children to speak out against the casual slur. We can teach
them there is no ‘them,’ there’s only ‘us.’ ”

 

There you have it. We can teach our children warm and fuzzy things —
assuming they and we are not killed by madmen first. In which case,
there’s nothing we can do.

 

The speech reflects how little Obama has grown in office. He initially
viewed American power as a problem that needed to be checked if the
world was to find lasting peace and harmony.

 

By and large, he followed that bad prescription by deliberately
shrinking America’s global footprint, and the result is the astonishing
chaos we see around us. The vacuum is being filled not with democratic
movements but by al Qaeda, China, Russia and other authoritarian regimes
eager to take advantage of our retreat.

 

Obama’s view of the world was wrong, and his policies are making it more
dangerous and less stable. Yet he is still sounding the call to retreat,
proposing new cuts to the military that would shrink it to pre-World War
II levels.

 

Having failed to listen or learn, Obama surveys the incomprehensible
brutality and sinks into an intellectualized self-pity. Indeed, there is
special poignancy to the fact that First Lady Michelle Obama joined the
Twitter nation over the Nigerian schoolgirl abductions.

 

The photo of her holding a sign saying “Bring Back Our Girls” is
riveting, but also odd.

 

Did she think to push her husband to do something?

 

And you wonder whom she expects to save the girls. The United Nations?
The terrorists themselves? Nigeria’s government?

 

Maybe all of the above, which is to say no one, because, without the
leadership of the United States, there is no one who can maintain peace
and security.

 

This is the result of the choice Barack Obama made. This is what the
world looks like when a president laments evil ­instead of confronting
it.


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