An odd article by Michael Reagan urging Obama to do … something against Kaddafi
(Note: be sure to see James P.’s response
to Reagan’s remark that Kaddafi is “thumbing his nose” at the U.S. See also my comments about Americans’ unconscious imperialism that is revealed by Reagan’s remark.)
Clark Coleman writes:
Illogical neocon column by Michael Reagan. The encouraging thing is that the commenters are not buying his lunacy.
Here is the column:
Mr. President: Lead or Get out of the Way!
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is getting away with murder because the president of the United States refuses to take action when that’s exactly what is called for. [LA replies: Just wondering, but when Reagan and others who spell the name “Gadhafi,” say the name “Gadhafi,” do they pronounce it with a “G”? I’m sure they don’t. They pronounce it with a “K,” just like everyone else. So why do they spell it with a “G”? Answer: supine obedience to the spelling of whatever publication they favor. And where did that publication get that spelling? From supine obedience to some other publication. It’s the orthological version of Ayn Rand’s hell of the second-handers.]
Gadhafi is thumbing his nose at the alleged leader of the Free World, leaving the crazed dictator free to slaughter his own people in a frantic effort to save his dictatorship. [“Slaughter his people”? He’s engaged in a civil war against rebels in his country, a country with which we have virtually no connection and of which we know virtually nothing. In civil wars the two sides strive to kill each other. It’s unfortunate, but what business is it of ours? I wish one of the pro-interventionists would explain that. If these people had been alive during the 1790s they would have been, like the then-crazed pro-Jacobin Thomas Jefferson, urging President Washington to intervene militarily on the side of revolutionary France against its enemies, including Britain, who were at war with her. (When Jefferson became president himself, he calmed down considerably.)]
It is hard for me to examine President Obama’s current behavior without comparing it to a similar crisis during my father President Reagan’s administration, and the way my Dad handled it.
In August 1981, two Libyan aircraft were spotted by U.S aircraft carrier Nimitz cruising near the Libyan coast. As Time magazine reported at the time, two Hawkeye fighters on surveillance missions detected the Libyan planes and reported them to the Nimitz which sent two F-14s aloft.
They “spotted the Libyans on their radar, and moved in to identify them. As the two flights approached almost head on, one of the Soviet-built Su-22 planes fired an air-to-air Atoll missile at the F-14s. U.S. Forces heard the pilot say in Arabic, ‘I have fired.’
“He missed. The F-14s had seen the Atoll’s smoke immediately and had violently broken away, evading the missile and wheeling sharply around to come in behind the Libyans. U.S. Rules of engagement permit pilots to shoot back if fired upon, and each of the F-14s triggered a single heat-seeking Sidewinder missile, each scoring a hit on a Libyan plane…. The engagement, 60 miles off the coast, lasted no more than one minute. It was the first U.S. military action since the ill-fated attempt of April 1980 to rescue the hostages in Iran.”
Within six minutes Washington was told of the incident, and National Security Adviser Richard Allen and White House Counselor Edwin Meese, who were in Los Angeles with President Reagan, received the news at 11 p.m. local time. They decided that there was no need at the moment to waken the president. Instead, according to Time, “they monitored the news for the next 5½ hours before calling Reagan, who was sleeping in his suite at the Century Plaza hotel.” Meese told Time that “The President was in charge, and if there had been any action he needed to take, he would have been awakened.” Reagan saw nothing wrong with the delay. Said he: “If our planes were shot down, yes, they’d wake me up right away. If the other fellows were shot down, why wake me up?”
Time noted that there was no doubt that the site of the U.S. action was a challenge to Gadhafi’s assertion that he controlled the Gulf of Sidra, and that staging the U.S. fleet exercise there had been intentional. When asked whether the naval exercise was meant as a lesson to Libya, one State Department official replied: “Look at a map.”
Libya’s reaction to my Dad’s determination to show them he meant business when he authorized the fleet’s maneuvers off Libya’s coast, and happily approved of the response by the fleet, was all bluster but no action.
Tragically, Barack Obama’s reaction to Libya’s provocations thus far lacks both bluster and action.
Obama is frozen and is trying to be a community organizer when the world needs a POTUS [President of the United States]. Lead or get out of the way. The world is waiting. [LA replies: “Lead or get out of the way”? What the heck does that mean? That Obama should either use military force to help topple Kaddafi, or else resign from the presidency and hand it over to William Kristol?]
Here are some of the comments disagreeing with Reagan:
- end of initial entry -
Mr. Reagan, I never voted for your dad nor did I or will I vote for the sitting President. I did vote for G.W. Bush twice as well as campaigned for him. With that said, your comments don’t make sense. The incident you used was clearly a self defense situation and we are not involved at this time nor should we be. That is a civil problem in Libya. We have enough problem of our own and don’t need to go and find more. I am an independent and conservative . Thank you very much
Got to disagree with Mike on this one. We’ve got no dog in this fight and anyone who thinks these Middle East uprisings have anything at all to do with a yearning for democracy, I’ll quote Ralph Kramden: Har-dee-har-har. All these goons want to do is replace one moslem strongman with another—probably a more rabid moslem.
There’s also no comparison between now and what happened under Reagan. In the latter case, the US was making the point that the Gulf of Sidra was an international waterway, not a Libyan inlet. Today’s situation is just another civil war. Let them kill each other off and we’ll deal with the victors appropriately.
As for the man-child in the White House, it’s doubtful he even knows where on the map this is all taking place.
This is apples to oranges, pure and simple, Michael. In the case you cited, an American life was at stake while performing a legal operation. That has nothing to do with us getting in the middle of a civil war in a muslim country. In East Tennessee venaculuar, we ain’t got no dog in that fight. Personally, I will revise my opinion when all the supporters of “leadership” in this issue put thier sons and daughters in the military and they volunteer to go in the first wave. The rule is, and I know your father would agree, when the Prresident has to talk to a mother who has lost a child in that conflict, both should know clearly why we had to put America’s military in harm’s way. “leadership” doesn’t pass that test Michael, and your Dad knew that. That’s why I voted for him.
Our country has NO BUSINESS trying to POLICE THE WORLD! Nor do we have any business trying to make other countries live as we do!
The Middle Eastern countries are incompatible with democracy and the idea of individual freedom. The vast majority of these people are Muslims and that cult is directly opposed to freedom of any kind. As long as there are Muslims, those countries will NEVER CHANGE! Quit wasting the blood of our young Americans and our national treasure! It is crazy, and for what purpose!
As in Afghanistan, when someone messes with us and hides our enemies, we should quickly show our displeasure, do our deed, then immediately go home, and leave the Afghans to clean up the mess! Absolutely, NO nation building in any foreign country! No more coddling our enemies, no more trying to BUY FRIENDSHIP! IT DOESN”T WORK … These people only respect STRENGTH!
We have become a pathetic laughing stock of a nation. Our once proud flag represented real Americans that didn’t take **** from Seventh Century Barbarians..
Where is our PRIDE! Get off our bellies, get a president that can’t bend at the waist, and earn world respect once again.
James P. writes:
“Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is getting away with murder because the president of the United States refuses to take action when that’s exactly what is called for.”
It is not “murder” to kill people engaged in armed revolt. No government on Earth would permit such revolt without taking lethal counteraction. In any event, Qaddafi has been “getting away with” killing his own people for 40 years, and this has not prompted action from the United States (n.b., in 1986 we attacked Libya because he killed our people, not his own). Obama’s “inaction” represents no change in US policy.
“Gadhafi is thumbing his nose at the alleged leader of the Free World.”
Qaddafi is not suppressing this revolt in order to thumb his nose at us, but in order to preserve his rule. It really is NOT about us, what we’re doing, or what we’re saying! Does Reagan think that when Hillary says a foreign leader “must” do something, then that leader is obligated to obey? [LA replies: It can’t be said enough how amazing and delusional Americans have become in their automatic, unexamined assumption that everything that happens in the world is about us; either it’s an insult to us, or it’s friendliness and obedience to us. But this is a result of the imperial consciousness I keep talking about. We really think (without putting it explicitly as I am doing here) that America is the only real polity on earth. All other polities are really just incomplete appendages of America, which haven’t yet realized their “true” identity and destiny as appendages and members of the one true polity.]
“It is hard for me to examine President Obama’s current behavior without comparing it to a similar crisis during my father President Reagan’s administration, and the way my Dad handled it.”
The situations are fundamentally different! In 1981 and 1986, the Libyans attacked us; in 2011, the Libyans are attacking themselves! It is insane to contend these very different situations should prompt identical responses from Washington.
“Time noted that there was no doubt that the site of the U.S. action was a challenge to Gadhafi’s assertion that he controlled the Gulf of Sidra,”
When we sent the fleet to the Gulf of Sidra, we were asserting our right to free navigation in international waters, a right that is accepted in international law. We have no similar right under international law to support Libyan rebels, and therefore this analogy is false and irrelevant.
Thanks to James for specifying the sheer illogic of Reagan’s column.
After I wrote the above reply about Americans’ imperial consciousness, I looked up a certain passage in Eric Voegelin’s The New Science of Politics which has an example of what I was talking about. Voegelin tells of how in the 13th century Pope Innocent IV sent an ambassador to the Mongol court asking why the Mongols were invading Christendom and slaughtering its inhabitants. In reply, Kuyuk Khan sent an extraordinary letter to the pope declaring that the Khan was the only legitimate ruler on earth and demanding that the pope and all Christendom submit to Mongol rule.
The Order of God on which the imperial construction was based is preserved in the edicts of Kuyuk Khan and Mangu Khan:
Now of course the American intelligentsia do not see America as an actual empire and are not seeking to create an actual empire, i.e., to submit all polities to American rule. They do, however, see America as a kind of quasi empire, in which all nations on earth conform to the American model. And this explains their unconsciously imperial attitude that I was discussing. When I wrote,
By the order of the living GodThe empire of the Lord Genghis Khan is de jure in existence even if it is not yet realized de facto. All human societies are part of the Mongol empire by virtue of the Order of God, even if they are not yet conquered.
Genghis Khan, the sweet and venerable Son of God, says:
God is high above all, He, Himself, the immortal God,
And on earth, Genghis Khan is the only Lord.
We really think (without putting it explicitly as I am doing here) that America is the only real polity on earth. All other polities are really just incomplete appendages of America, which haven’t yet realized their “true” identity and destiny as appendages and members of the one true polity,
that was very similar to Voegelin’s description of the self-understanding of the empire of the Lord Genghis Khan.
To see Voegelin’s fascinating discussion of the encounter between the Mongol empire and the Western Christian cmpire, each of them claiming to represent the sole order on earth, go to this webpage where there is a scanned copy of Voegelin’s book and read from page 54, second sentence of the first full paragraph (“All the early empires, Near Eastern as well as Far Eastern, understood themselves as representatives of a transcendent order”), to the middle of page 58.
Alan Wall writes:
You really got it right when you wrote:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 12, 2011 05:44 PM | Send
But this is a result of the imperial consciousness I keep talking about. We really think (without putting it explicitly as I am doing here) that America is the only real polity on earth. All other polities are really just incomplete appendages of America, which haven’t yet realized their “true” identity and destiny as appendages and members of the one true polity.
A corollary of said consciousness is that, since all other polities are simply “incomplete appendages of America,” it follows that all their residents are simply incomplete Americans. Thus we have no right to stop their immigrating to the U.S. to become full-fledged Americans.
So this imperial consciousness, ironically, leads to the emptying out of a particular American identity and the ultimate extinction of America. If everybody’s an American, then the term is meaningless.