After fumbling a bit re: the Arab Spring (of which he has been unduly skeptical), Charles Krauahammer is back with another truly superb column this morning, one that reveals his greatness as a columnist. Krauthammer hones in on what has been dubbed the Obama Doctrine, which the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza describes as “leading from behind.”
Krauthammer denies that this is a doctrine. “Doctrines,” he explains, “involve ideas, but…there are no discernible ones that make sense of Obama foreign policy… It’s been a foreign policy of hesitation, delay and indecision, marked by plaintive appeals to the (fictional) ‘international community’ to do what only America can,” he writes.
Krauthammer then utterly demolishes the facile rationalization offered up by an anonymous administration official for this fraudulent “Obama Doctrine”: “The relative power of the U.S. is declining, as rivals like China rise,” this official told Lizza, and “the U.S. is reviled in many parts of the world.”
But “what does China’s rising GDP have to do with American buck-passing on Libya, misjudging Iran, appeasing Syria?” asks Krauthammer. “The challenge of a rising Chinese military,” he notes, “is still exclusively regional. It would affect a war over Taiwan. It has zero effect on anything significantly beyond China’s coast.
“China,” Krauthammer notes, “has no blue-water navy. It has no foreign bases. It cannot project power globally. It might in the future – but by what logic should that paralyze us today?”
As for other countries supposedly hating us, when, pray tell, were we not reviled? asks Krauthammer.
During Vietnam? Or earlier, under Eisenhower? When his vice president, [Richard Nixon], was sent on a goodwill trip to Latin America, he was spat upon and so threatened by the crowds that he had to cut short his trip…
It is the fate of any assertive superpower to be envied, denounced and blamed for everything under the sun. Nothing has changed. Moreover, for a country so deeply reviled, why during the massive unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan and Syria have anti-American demonstrations been such a rarity?
Who truly reviles America the hegemon? The world that Obama lived in and shaped him intellectually: the elite universities; his Hyde Park milieu (including his not-to-be-mentioned friends, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn); the church he attended for two decades, ringing with sermons more virulently anti-American than anything heard in today’s full-throated uprising of the Arab Street.
It is the liberal elites who revile the American colossus and devoutly wish to see it cut down to size. Leading from behind – diminishing America’s global standing and assertiveness – is a reaction to their view of America, not the world’s.
Krauthammer has it exactly right. And that is why concerns about Obama’s alleged “foreign influences” are so misplaced: because in truth, Obama is all too American. But his America is that of the antagonistic and detached liberal academic knowledge class. And, as Georgetown University professor Jeanne Kilpatrick explained back in 1984, they always blame America first.
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