James T. Kirk: Your ship is compromised, too close to the singularity to survive without assistance, which we are willing to provide.
Spock: [speaking privately] Captain, what are you doing?
James T. Kirk: Showing them compassion may be the only way to earn peace with Romulus. It’s logic, Spock. I thought you’d like that.
Spock: No, not really. Not this time.
Nero: [replying to the offer of assistance] I would rather suffer the end of Romulus a thousand times. I would rather die in agony than accept assistance from you.
James T. Kirk: You got it! Arm phasers. Fire everything we’ve got!
—Star Trek (film) 2009
Driven by a need for vengeance, stemming from grievances nurtured over centuries, against those he imagines are responsible for the destruction of his planet Romulus, Nero seeks to obliterate Captain Kirk’s Starship Enterprise. Nero cannot be reasoned with. His negotiating style is kill or be killed. Kirk, using a convoluted logic to arrive at the assumption that he will earn Nero’s goodwill with a show of compassion, offers to help save Nero’s ship, the Narada, from imminent danger. He expects his logic to impress Mr. Spock, a Vulcan from an extraterrestrial species that values logic and reason over emotion. Yet Spock is skeptical; his father taught him that in some cases it is wise to “[p]ut aside logic. Do what feels right.”
Nero’s response validates Spock’s skepticism. Fortunately, Captain Kirk is a quick study: “Fire everything we’ve got!”
Where are Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock today? They were conceived in a time when America believed in itself, and the values it had to offer. The Enterprise was itself a microcosm of America. Its crew was a melting pot of genders, races, ethnicities, and even the bi-special Spock, son of a Vulcan father and human mother. And all of them, while glorying in their respective origins, adhered to a common set of core values that were essentially American: mutual respect, generosity, a strong sense of justice, and a conviction that freedom was written on the heart of every man, and alien.
In the original television series, the Enterprise operated under a neo-con mindset. Though specifically charged not to intervene in the internal workings of other worlds they might encounter in their explorations of space, the crew of the Enterprise could not help themselves. If they happened upon a world where injustice reigned, where people were oppressed, prejudicially misguided or threatened, intervene the Enterprise did. And in each episode, justice was restored to another world.
We loved them for it. But, as Dennis Prager writes, it’s a little recognized rule of life that “[t]hose who do not confront evil resent those who do.” The Enterprise incurred the enmity of its opponents, in much the same way as the sight of Eden instilled in Satan a feeling of “pale ire, envy and despair.” Hence the implacable hatred of Nero, Captain of the mining vessel, a man operates in subterranean realms, much as Satan does—towards the Enterprise. Much as the idea of America and Israel with their optimism, love of life and freedom inspires the hatred of Islamism, with its death-worshiping nihilism. And just as the sight of Netanyahu speaking out bravely and forcefully in favor of freedom inspires the hatred of those who fear to do to do so.
But unlike Captain Kirk, those today who would appease the evil Iranian empire lack the ability to recognize the utter futility of their cringing cowardice. For months, the Iranians have been bitch-slapping Western negotiators trying to arrive at a nuclear deal. At one point an Iranian delegate became so alarmed by the screams of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, he rushed into the negotiating room, there to be reassured by European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, a chief western negotiator, that Zarif was “just shouting and she had gotten used to it.”
The Washington Free Beacon reports that “Zarif’s aggressive behavior is consistent with previous reports claiming that Iranian negotiators tend to treat their Western counterparts—particularly the Americans—with scorn.” And we like it. Said one witness to this abuse, “Kerry said very little after being shouted at by Zarif, except for ‘one or two very respectful sentences.’”
And yet the Obama administration and its minions heaped scorn onto our ally Netanyahu, before, during, and after his speech to Congress last Tuesday. Remarkably, the gracious and respectful tenor of Bibi’s address seemed to enrage the Left even more.
of the Black Caucus rudely spurned Bibi’s address. And it was all about feelings, you see. DeWayne Wickham, dean of Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communications, wrote in USA Today that Netanyahu’s address to Congress “is a personal affront to America’s first black president.” When he asked Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) why Bibi dissed Obama, he was not referring to the content of Bibi’s address, only to the fact that he spoke at all when ordered not to by the petulant man in the White House. Clyburn replied that it was all about racism.
Nancy Pelosi showed up, but we all wished she’d stayed home. Nancy’s face was something to behold—with it’s expression of agony more grotesque even than that portrayed in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”—as she strove to break through the botulim-induced muscular paralysis.
In case we didn’t get the picture Nancy also famously told us how she felt. “I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech — saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States [and] by the condescension toward our knowledge,” she explained. For Pelosi, feelings trumped the existence of Israel.
Nancy wasn’t alone in elevating her bruised feelings to the level of statecraft. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Kentucky) complained, “I resented the condescending tone that he used.” Netanyahu evidently doesn’t know his place.
Interestingly, it was Barbara Boxer, whom the liberal Los Angeles Times declined to endorse during her last California primary on the ground that “[s]he displays less intellectual firepower or leadership than she could,” who made an effort to go beyond emoting and enlist her left brain. Alas, to no avail. It was all so “confusing,” she said. “I think he had circular reasoning.”
Some folks liked Bibi’s speech. The room erupted again and again in standing ovations. His speech also made a good impression on Egyptian journalist, Faisal J. Abbas, editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English. In a March 3 column wherein he urges, “President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran,” he writes:
In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region.
What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Although, the latter never seems to write back!)
And although he did not say so in so many words, I expect that that Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud, was equally pleased with Bibi’s, for according to the Wall Street Journal he told Kerry two days later that “Iran’s influence in the Middle East ‘is really the main concern’ of the Gulf Arab countries.” (I think we can understand him as saying “Don’t bother me about the ‘peace process.’ Please!”)
The problem is that Barack Obama is not Captain Kirk and America is no longer the model on which the Enterprise was based. Captain Kirk’s America—and also Bibi Netanyahu’s America—is what Lee Smith, writing for Tablet, calls “Big America.” That was the America that helped protect the world’s good guys “from lunatics intent on slaughtering [them].” The America that made it safe for countries the world over to refrain from engaging in a dangerous nuclear arms race. The America that understood that “it had a vital interest in taking care of business in the Persian Gulf” so that the flow of oil that helped build and maintain the Big America that stabilized the world order for over 60 years was not disrupted.
Obama loves the idea of “Small America.” The America that opens its doors to the Third World’s poor, offering them free health care, food stamps, welfare, housing, education, Obamaphones, all without asking that they accept American values and culture in return. And to achieve his ends, Obama proposes to hand the Middle East over to the tender mercies of the Romulans and the Klingons, the Iranians and the Muslim Brotherhood. In Obama’s twisted reasoning, these forces of evil are just the thing to keep that turbulent region in line while he builds Small America.
As for the West, haven’t we brought all this upon ourselves? Don’t we owe this much to the rest of the world? For didn’t the West achieve its wealth on the backs of the rest? Our marvelous science, technology, medicine, our great space program that put a man on the moon—we didn’t build that, and Small America understands and embraces this. Bibi—who grew up in Captain Kirk’s America, who lived most of his life in the U.S., graduated from MIT, then worked for a Boston technology company before taking a high-level job at the United Nations, who is steeped in Western history and culture, as evidenced by the many learned references in his address—loves Big America and was blindsided by Small America, which he did not understand.
As Smith points out, “what Obama doesn’t understand is that Big America makes Small America possible.” And just as America stepped in as leader of the free world after the decline of the United Kingdom, a new leader is required to enunciate Big America’s eternal values. Who that will be we don’t yet know. But in the meantime, Bibi is holding the fort admirably.