Obama is nothing if not a self-confident man. There’s nothing that needs to be revised, nothing he would do differently, and nothing he should learn. Back in late January, this is how he evaluated the foreign policy situation:
Obama told me [David Remnick of The New Yorker] that what he needs isn’t any new grand strategy—“I don’t really even need George Kennan right now”—but, rather, the right strategic partners.
This brings us up against that old, old question: Obama, fool or knave? Is he purposely sabotaging our foreign policy, or is he just that naive and puffed up with narcissism? I vote the former, and have for quite some time, but I consider that the latter is a possibility.
In a sense, though, it doesn’t matter, because whether he can’t change his approach or won’t change his approach, it’s the effect of his policies that matter most rather than his intent. Richard Fernandez of Belmont Club comments on the real world consequences of Obama’s foreign policy:
Obama was chosen by unserious people to face very serious thugs like Vladimir Putin. People for whom everything to this point has been a cocktail party and games. And American allies — those who are on the front line — know it.
Stripped of its euphemisms America’s position in the Middle East, Europe and Asia has collapsed and the world is arming up nukes. And the troops in Afghanistan — aren’t they dependent on the route through Russia for logistics? Isn’t that the size of it? Does the situation have the attention of people in the New York Times yet?
Nope not yet.
The intellectual elite who endorsed Obama are a population who’ve never been hungry or felt paralyzing danger. They grew to manhood and old age in the bosom of a Pax Americana and were vain enough to throw away because they felt guilty for the security it provided. They don’t realize they’ve opened the door and the tigers are staring out at them. They’re still thinking in terms of “tests” with the ruffians of the world and instead of realizing that they are playing in a casino for real money.
The sad thing is that this was easily foreseen, and yet it didn’t seem to matter. Way back in April of 2008 Obama foreshadowed what was going to happen due to his attitude:
…[F]oreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.
It’s ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be Commander-in-Chief. Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world. This I know. When Senator Clinton brags ‘I’ve met leaders from eighty countries’–I know what those trips are like! I’ve been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There’s a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then – you go.”
“You do that in eighty countries – you don’t know those eighty countries. So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa – knowing the leaders is not important – what I know is the people. . . .”
“I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college – I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
It was ominous even then to contemplate having a president with that much arrogance and that much naivete. It’s disturbing to realize he was elected despite that, and re-elected despite many bad consequences in the real world already having resulted from such arrogance and naivete in a president.
This is what I wrote at the time:
If there’s a better example of the arrogance of youth, I can’t think of it offhand. The glorification of “self-confidence” as an improvement on knowledge and experience. The description of the trips to foreign countries as meaningless, including those tedious briefings (sort of like a visit to a boring relative—can’t we go out and play now?) The idea that hazy memories of a few years spent in a country—in this case, Indonesia—about forty years ago as a child of six to ten years old would have any relevance to understanding what’s going on in terms of power or politics or economics in that country or any other part of the world today.
Likewise the college trip to Pakistan. Give me a break.
If Obama really were in his teens or early twenties, these sorts of statements might be understandable. And his “foreign policy” experience of living for a while in these countries would at least have the advantage of being relatively recent.
But Obama is now forty-six years old, and will be forty-seven at the time of the election. Not such a child after all. And although youthful exuberance and innocence can be charming even in an adult, youthful arrogance and ignorance never is.
But the real problem is an electorate that didn’t see this all as a grave warning sign that electing Obama would be a very, very bad idea—and an MSM that not only failed to make it clear to them, but that actively promoted the opposite notion.