Monday, April 27, 2009



At present the world is watching, probing, and digesting the Obama presidency. But it has already concluded that Obama is nourished by applause and will work to maintain it -- not merely for personal gratification, but because he realizes that loud public endorsement is essential to his perpetual candidacy, given its absence of experience and sagacity.

Those abroad are also reassured that the American media, so heavily invested in hope and change, will do almost anything to transmogrify American embarrassments into Obama successes. Meanwhile, the contours of the new world order are clear. Iraq's democrats are snubbed; Iran's cutthroats are courted. A Saudi royal receives a bow; the British queen, a presumptuous squeeze -- while her prime minister receives unplayable DVDs.

Pakistan released Dr. Khan and wants us to idle our Predators. Iran is adding to its centrifuges. North Korea will ready ever-more missiles. Syria lectures on the putative peace it is begged to participate in. The former Soviet republics will fall back into line, closing American supply bases or bracing for the next Putin push. Israel gets a Charles Freeman nomination; Gaza a billion U.S. dollars in aid.

The odious governments of Cuba, Libya, and Syria quite logically have now expressed warmth of some sort for Obama and expect similar treatment in return. Russia fears little challenge to the reestablishment of its 19th-century influence. Pirates in Somalia, though slightly fewer in number today, likely have little to fear going forward.

Europe had better prepare for its own defense. So should Japan. They may get more expressions of outrage when crises loom, more calls for U.N. action, but not much more than that. Expect a world of more nukes, not fewer -- in direct proportion to Obama's calls for their entire elimination.

In short, we have a return of Jimmy Carter's postnational idealism, but this time with the charismatic face of a Ronald Reagan. For 40 years we have had well-meaning moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism taught in our schools, and we are now learning that all that was not just therapy, but has insidiously become our national gospel. The world is hearing a deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is -- now offered in mellifluous cadences by a messianic president who not so long ago in more unguarded moments called for more oppression studies and reparations.

President Obama will get his much-needed praise and adulation abroad, and Americans will finally be somwhat admired for a while. And thereafter, there will be real hell to pay -- either abject U.S. appeasement as the world heats up, or some sort of frantic eleventh-hour hyper-response to restore stability and lost deterrence.

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