Obama reduced to zero—by his own ideology

It’s not just his domestic political critics who call Obama “Zero.” The famed “international community,” where he was touted as commanding an almost mystical awe and as wielding his greatest influence, also treats him as a zero, as even the liberal mainstream media have been reporting.

The lesson is that liberal U.S. presidents never learn their lesson. As liberals, they believe that America has too much influence and power, and that this has created resentment toward us on the part of other nations, and that therefore progress in international relations requires that America’s influence and power be reduced. But as U.S. presidents, they seek to influence world events, and if America’s influence and power has been lessened—if, indeed, the liberal U.S. presidents themselves insist on America’s lessened influence, how can they, uh, have any influence?

It’s a contradiction that liberals can never resolve. Liberalism posits equality as the most important of all values. But equality is incompatible with power, because power by its very nature is unequal, and requires inequality.

With that background in mind, see the editorial in last Friday’s Washington Times, which, after overviewing Obama’s various international initiatives, concludes that the current President of the United States has no meaningful influence on world events at all.

Obama’s international strikeout
International influence recedes as president fails to deliver

Margaret Thatcher once said that being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. At the Group of 20 summit in Seoul, President Obama asserted that the results of the midterm elections have not diminished his power internationally and that in some ways, he is even stronger, thanks to the friendships he allegedly has developed with world leaders.

World leaders may indeed like Mr. Obama on a personal level, but that has little to do with his stature as a national leader. Machiavelli’s dictum that it is better for a head of state to be feared than loved still applies, and it is clear that there is no reason for any country to fear the affable Mr. Obama.

The president again casually confirmed his belief in the decline of America’s “outsized” influence in world affairs, noting, “We are now seeing a situation where a whole host of other countries are doing well and coming into their own and naturally they’re going to be more assertive.” The president thinks this greater assertiveness is “a healthy thing” but did not elaborate for whom it was healthy—certainly not the United States. For some inexplicable reason, Mr. Obama welcomes the decline of America’s role on the international stage. It is his most notable accomplishment.

Mr. Obama defended the relative lack of progress at this G-20 meeting by lecturing the press on the importance of maintaining perspective. “We should not anticipate that every time countries come together that we are doing some revolutionary thing,” he said. “Instead of hitting home runs, sometimes we’re going to hit singles. But they’re really important singles.” His Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding, Mr. Obama has yet to prove that he is a power hitter in the league of nations. The world awaits his first home run. Mr. Obama’s Mideast peace effort hasn’t reached first base, he has achieved little of substance in dissuading Iran from pursuing nuclear-weapons capability, his trade policy is a slow-motion train wreck, and his vision of a nuclear-free world remains empty rhetoric.

The question is not whether Mr. Obama’s influence on the world is increasing or decreasing. It is rather whether he has any meaningful influence on important world events at all.

[end of editorial]

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Paul K. writes:

I think that by putting Obama out on the world stage to represent us, we have exposed the gap between our pretense and the actuality. The pretense is that, in electing a black man president, we had shown that America was uniquely poised to lead the world out of the benighted Age of Racism. For this we were to be universally admired and our leadership embraced. Liberals, as well as liberal “conservatives” such as Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan, shared this exuberant hope.

However, among the powers that matter in the world, the Western obsession with overcoming racism is regarded as a naive, self-destructive, and perplexing delusion. That America would indulge this fantasy to the extent of electing a clearly radical and unqualified black man as president is seen as proof that we are in escalating decline. Pretense has triumphed over realism and we are no longer to be taken seriously. That Obama is unpopular and that there may not be another black elected president for some time does not undo the damage.

In the past, government officials of Asian countries have occasionally spoken bluntly about the racial problem in America. For example, 15 or 20 years ago a Japanese minister said that America could not expect to be economically competitive because it is hampered by its large population of blacks and Mexicans. Naturally, he was roundly condemned and the Asians have learned that it’s rude to say such things, however obvious they may be. They may know better than to scoff openly at our president, but it doesn’t change the fact that they know what he represents.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 15, 2010 09:50 AM | Send

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