Saturday, February 14, 2009

Group Hug

The election of Barack Obama was supposed to usher-in the age of Aquarius, where American's enemies sang to "the music of swords being hammered into plowshares." In the Wall Street Journal, Brett Stephens looks at how that's working out:
- North Korea. A constant liberal lament about the Bush administration was that its supposed hard line on Pyongyang had yielded nothing except five or six North Korean bombs.

So what is Kim Jong Il to do now that the Obama administration is promising a friendlier approach? In late January, Pyongyang announced it was unilaterally withdrawing from its 1991 nonaggression pact with the South.

Satellite imagery later showed the North moving a Taepodong 2 missile -- potentially capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast -- to a launch pad. "The missile is pointing at Obama," Baek Seung-joo, a director at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul, told the L.A. Times. "North Korea thinks that with such gestures they can control U.S. foreign policy."

- Pakistan. Perhaps the most unambiguous of the Bush administration's successes was rolling up the nuclear proliferation network of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, who was kept under house arrest for five years.

But if some latent fear of the 43rd American president prevented the Pakistani government from releasing their dubious national hero, that fear clearly vanished with the arrival of the 44th. Mr. Khan was released last week, ostensibly by order of a Pakistani court, plainly with the consent of the government. So far, the Obama administration has done little more than issue a muted statement of concern.

- Russia. At the Munich conference, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov praised the "very positive" tone set by Mr. Biden. And Mr. Ivanov's tone? Less positive. Russia will continue to build military bases in Georgia's breakaway republics. It will press ahead with the fueling of the Bushehr reactor.

Russia also won't hesitate to complicate the U.S. position in Afghanistan -- and then lie about what it has done in a manner worthy of the late Andrei Gromyko. "There is no correlation between the decision of the Kyrgyz republic and the loans that the Russian federation granted," Mr. Ivanov said, referring to Kyrgyzstan's oddly timed decision to close an airbase used by the U.S. to supply Afghanistan after securing a $2 billion Russian "loan."

- The Arab street. "I have Muslim members of my family," Mr. Obama recently told Al-Arabiya. Yet so far his efforts at outreach have been met with derision from Arab hard-liners and "liberals" alike.

"We welcomed him with almost total enthusiasm until he underwent his first real test: Gaza," wrote Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany in a New York Times op-ed. "We also wanted Mr. Obama . . . to recognize . . . the right of people in occupied territory to resist military occupation." In other words, the price of Arab support for Mr. Obama is that he embrace Hamas and its terrorist tactics.

And so it goes. True, Mr. Obama has made the U.S. popular in places like Montreal and Berlin, where our unpopularity never mattered much to begin with. But foreign policy is not about winning popularity contests. And woe to the president who imagines he needn't inspire fear among the wicked even as he embraces the adulation of the good.
As Best of the Web's James Taranto says:
With its friends, America now seeks "even greater cooperation and understanding between nations." To its enemies, "we will extend a hand." In exchange, the other nations of the world will

Hey, isn't that a squirrel over there?


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OBloodyHell said...

I offer once more my own analysis of Obama' Planned Foreign Policy -- I believe this thread make it clear that my analysis, originally release a couple months ago, has been shown to be Spot On...
In a newly released policy brief, Obama details the following steps to be taken whenever another country acts directly and seriously against US interests, no matter their economic, political, or military significance:

Under Obama, a first instance means they'll be give a Stern Talking To.

And if they're found to do it again, it will come with a Firm Reprimand.

A third offense will produce a Disappointed Sigh and a Heartfelt Expression of Disappointment.

A fourth occurrence will require a Long Sit Down Over Tea.

Fifth and sixth events will result in a Consideration of Sanctions and a Deeper Consideration of Sanctions, respectively.

The seventh time will result in a Public Call For A Committee On Sanctions.

The eighth offense will result in an Open Request For Sanctions and Determined Foot Tapping of Impatience.

Note: Obama has not yet announced how his foreign policy will deal with the Ninth and Tenth events in this sequence, but I think it's clear that, whatever form it takes, he will make a similarly Discerning Show of Determination to express his Supreme Dissatisfaction with the nation in question.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

OBH, interspersed with those actions will be his criticising Republicans for ruining his diplomacy with all their intemperate statements.

Think Dead Parrot Sketch: "they were just about to be good when you scared them."

OBloodyHell said...

> Think Dead Parrot Sketch


Except that about the only way they WOULD be good is if you pushed a million volts through 'em.

Carl said...

Silly me--I thought the sole compensation for 4 years in the wilderness would be that Republicans couldn't be blamed for everything.

OBloodyHell said...

> that Republicans couldn't be blamed for everything.

Don't be silly. "The Absent Are Always At Fault" applies, here, along with "Always Blame Your Predecessor"

Standard Bureaucratic rules, Carl. What were you thinking? The Dems are, first and foremost, fans of bureaucracy. It is the be-all end-all of all things.