A Further Perspective

Say Goodbye to the Statue of Liberty

The president is ticked off at the French.

By 11.14.13

Wikimedia Commons

This just in from the Obama White House: The Statue of Liberty, the colossal neoclassical statue on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric August Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, as a gift to the United States from the people of France, will soon be toast.

French toast.

Over the heated objections of Chuck Schumer and other leading Democrats, and against the languorous advice of Jean-François Kerry, his French-speaking Secretary of State, President Obama is now prepared to order the immediate dismantling of the statue for shipment back to France in early 2014.

“As far as I’m concerned,” the president told a top aide, “they can take back the Eiffel Tower as well.” Informed that the Eiffel Tower was actually in Paris, he shot back, “Whatever. Do you take me for some kind of idiot? My job is to do the policy. Your job is to take care of the details without wasting my time.”

Thus spake the president — despite a Harvard Law degree, surely the most geographically illiterate president in American history. Among other miscues, he once claimed he had visited “all 57 states”; he lamented that he did not speak the “Austrian language” (difficult to do when there is no such language); he called for moving more of the Army’s Arabic translators to Afghanistan (not part of the Arab world); and he recently discussed deepening “our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina; or Savannah, Georgia, and Jackson, Florida,” all of which are found on the East Coast, not the Gulf of Mexico.

Whatever. The president is a no-nonsense policy man and he was mightily displeased when he and Monsieur Kerry (still trying to fill Hillary’s pumps) were unable to get the French to go along with a plan to relax economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for some very iffy promises from Iran to slow the development of nuclear weapons. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius publicly called the U.S.-backed plan “a sucker’s deal.”

So now it is time to get tough with France — if not Iran, or Syria, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The imminent return of the 127-year-old statue of the robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, will no doubt remind many people of Obama’s earlier decision, upon moving into the White House, to return a bust of Churchill to the British government. But that was a small treasure on private display, not a national monument of gigantic proportions. And who can forget, or wants to forget, the words on the plaque found inside the pedestal of the statute:

Give us your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

All of this makes the return of the statue the most dramatic expression to date of the five-point Obama Doctrine. Under this doctrine, as defined by Daniel Pipes at the National Review, the Obama administration is firmly resolved to: “Snub friends, coddle opponents, devalue American interests, seek consensus, and act unpredictably.”

The 2,500 residents of the Falkland Islands (almost all of whom speak English, not Falklander — in case the president is reading) may be the next to feel the full weight and impact of this new doctrine.

Mr. Obama tipped his hand recently when he referred to the Falkland Islands as the “Maldives.” Never mind that the Maldives are thousands of miles away from the Falklands — in the Indian Ocean. What the president meant to say was the Malvinas — the term used by the Argentinians and a code word for those who believe that Argentina should be awarded ownership of the Falklands for no other reason than geographic proximity (though the two are separated at their closest point by 300 miles of ocean).

After the Argentinian forces invaded and occupied the Falklands in April 1982, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dispatched a task force that confronted the invaders and secured their surrender after 74 days of naval, air, and land battles, which killed about 650 Argentines and 250 Britons. Ronald Reagan’s government provided a good deal of military and other support to the British in defending the Falklands as a sovereign territory under British protection.

Don’t expect Obama’s government to do same in the event of another Argentine invasion. There will be no nonsense from this president about supporting an old ally and defending liberty in the south Atlantic.

(A correction to this artcle has been issued.)

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About the Author

Andrew B. Wilson, a frequent contributor to The American Spectator, writes from St. Louis.