Apparently Barack Obama’s childish foreign policy ideas are scary enough to shake up even those on his own side. Leon Wieseltier at The New Republic is by no means impressed with Obama’s qualifications to be commander-in-chief, due, largely, to Obama’s attachment to the image of himself international “conciliator” when, as Wieseltier sees it, “we are heading into an era of conflict, not an era of conciliation,” specifically, in facing a massive military showdown with Al Qaeda in Pakistan. (“Forever Young”). (Thanks to Wll D for the link). In which case he’s not exactly telling us something we don’t already know. But these are New Republic liberals he’s talking to, and there’s an awful lot they don’t know, what with their heads so stuffed full of facts and figures about global warming. Wieseltier goes on to explain to them:
It is not "the politics of fear" to remind Obama's legions of the blissful that, while they are watching Scarlett Johansson sway to the beat, somewhere deep inside a quasi independent territory we might call Islamistan people are making plans to blow them to bits. (Yes, they can.)
Once again, the glaring facts that Islamists are planning to blow us to bits is boilerplate too those of us who've been living with and repeating this since 2001. We know they can. We watched them do it.
But to the antiwar, it’s-all-our-fault-anyway Left, Wieseltier is uttering something like a heresy. The media, academe, the intellectual classes, and the Democratic Party have all been agreement that it is “the politics of fear” for the Bush administration, or commentators on the right, to point out that we have Islamist enemies who want to blow us up. So dogmatic has the Left been on this point that they even drove Joe Lieberman--one of their own on almost every other point--right out of their party because he refused to stop talking about it. Nor has Hillary escaped criticism for her refusal to repudiate her Iraq war vote, in spite of all the creative triangulating she has done throughout her campaign.
So why does Wieseltier find Obama’s blind spot worthy of notice when he is only one amongst many, many millions who believe the terrorist threat is a made-up diversion cooked up to enrich Dick Cheney’s friends? Probably because he thinks Barack may actually wind up in the White House--the one situation in which a single unchecked liberal can do untold damage in no time flat. So Weiseltier's genuinely shook up about Obama’s utter failure to grasp global realities: (I can appreciate the emotion, as I share the same dread):
One of the striking features of Obama's victory speeches is the absence from these exultations of any lasting allusion to the darker dimensions of our strategic predicament. He makes no applause line out of American defense….
And into this unirenic environment strides Obama, pledging to extract us promptly from Iraq and to negotiate with our enemies. What is the role of a conciliator in an unconciliating world?... There are autonomous countries and cultures out there. The turbulence that I have described is not caused by misunderstandings. It is caused by the interests of powers and the beliefs of peoples. Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, Pyongyang, Islamabad, Gaza City, Khartoum, Caracas-does Obama really believe that he has something to propose to these ruthless regimes that they have not already considered? Does he plan to move them, to organize them, to show them change they can believe in?
Yes, indeedy. As Chesterton wrote somewhere, we can abolish war when we can abolish will. Mankind not being on the verge of abolishing will, (though I think Hillary Clinton hopes to make a start on that as part of her health-care plan), we therefore must face the tiresome necessity of defending ourselves from those who, if we let them, will happily step in and begin making decisions about our fate according to their own ideas.
Until now, the USA has only fought back against global jihadism, (that is, since 9/11), under the leadership of George W. Bush. On this one issue he is the only father figure the Left has ever rebelled against. Just like the bratty thirteen-year-olds (American thirteen-year-olds) with whom their fatuous worldview makes them comparable, they’ve abused Bush, protested at how unreasonable and unfair he’s been, vocally wished he was dead for six long years, and finally stomped up to their rooms to play their records too loud--thereafter slipping peacefully into their smug, European-based dreams with all the calm and confidence of kids nestled in the sweet knowledge that an adult is in charge of the house after all.
(Do you remember, right after 9/11, how all those liberals were rolling there eyes at one another, and passing embarrassed sideways smirks they thought we wouldn’t see: “Goddamn, to think that 3 weeks ago we were whining Al Gore wasn’t given the election--now thank God that pansy isn’t in the White House!”)
And now, with the idea that within a few short months the inexorable planning and violence of Global Jihadists may be the problem of a Democratic president, it's suddenly not so much fun to sneer at "Bush’s war." At least Bush fought his war (our war, my war), not perfectly, but with a will. If it becomes Obama’s war, well, he just won’t take ownership--he may not even vote "present." And that means someone else will step up and claim it--Bin Laden and Zawahiri, just for starters.
Which is why Wieseltier worries.
To which I say, "So welcome to our world."