Obama’s Isolationism Unveiled


Health Care Reform and the recession have kept America’s attention firmly riveted on the new administration’s domestic direction.   But something much bigger is happening in the world, and it is going largely unnoticed.

The sole superpower is withdrawing from world affairs.

It is quickly becoming clear that President Obama’s foreign policy has a simple but astonishing goal: to rid us of both enemies and allies.

The policy of appeasement of our enemies has been painfully obvious.  In facing Iran, North Korea, and now a newly revanchist Russia, Obama has offered goodwill, apologies, and concessions, in the expectation that these will appease them and ensure good behavior in the future.  It didn’t work for Chamberlain and it is unlikely to work for Obama.   But there it is.

The flip side has been less obvious, but it, too, is emerging.  Israel has received more of Obama’s pressure and condemnation than any of the nations that seek to push her into the sea.

The “moral equivalence” approach, where the smallest failings of democracies are equated to the greatest atrocities of tyrants, has been seen before from the left.  But here we have something even worse:  harsh condemnation of Israel for adding bedrooms in the West Bank without even a balancing concern about Palestinian shelling of Israeli homes.

During the campaign, Candidate Obama was asked to name America’s closest allies; he slowly reeled off Britain, France (yes, France), and Canada.  He did not mention Israel. It was excused at the time as a mental oversight.

And ghosts of the far Democratic past are reminding us that we have seen this before.

“Elder Statesman” Jimmy Carter blasts Israel as an apartheid regime (when not busy condemning Republicans of blanket racism).  And Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski yesterday suggested that the US should shoot down Israeli jets if they cross US/patrolled Iraqi airspace on a mission to destroy Iran’s fast-developing nuclear weapons program.  Shoot them down!

This reminder of the Carter foreign policy inclinations should be enlightening.  Remember that the present brutal, fanatical, genocidally Jew-hating Iranian regime came to power during Carter’s (and Brzezinski’s) watch (in 1979). As was the case with the late, lamented (by some) Saddam Hussein’s brutal aggressive regime in Iraq (also in 1979).  And who can forget the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (also in 1979) and Carter’s effective response?

Indeed, there is much to learn from the Carter/Brzezhinski foreign policy.  But these particular gentlemen never learned it, and anyway ought to have been shamed into perpetual silence on world affairs long ago.

Yet Obama continues on in the same path – outreach to enemies, pushback to allies.  Why?    There are two possible answers.  One is cowardice, the other ideology.

Now, cowardice (like racism) is a hefty charge, and not to be thrown around lightly. It amounts to being nice to those who are itching to fight with you, while venting your frustration on those closest to you.  It is the pattern of the Bully, and there are few things uglier.  (And for the record, I don’t think this is the motivator here.)

The other explanation is ideology, specifically the ideology of isolationism.  We generally reserve the label for Republican policy in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, but it appears equally applicable here.  Back then (and it continued well into the Roosevelt years) we intentionally distanced ourselves from our allies in the recent World War.  We rejected all efforts to respond to aggression overseas.  And we limited our active diplomacy to high-minded disarmament schemes.

So this stuff is nothing new.  But back then it was properly condemned as “turning our backs to the world”, while today it is seen as the highest kind of international outreach, the noblest level of diversity.  “All nations are equal, and we love you all equally.  So don’t expect us to take sides in any of your petty quarrels.”

It is of course not just Israel who is on the receiving end of this two-sided doctrine.  The retreat on missile defense in Europe is being seen properly in most places as craven appeasement of Russia, who objected to anything that would limit Iran’s western “outreach” or reinforce the independence of Russia’s former colonies in Eastern Europe.  But the message was two-fold:  Russia must be appeased, but similarly Poland and the Czech Republic must be reminded that we have no stake in ensuring their independence. Poles and Czechs, like our other allies, are on their own.

Similarly in the America’s, we reach out to Venezuela’s Castro clone Chavez while distancing ourselves from strong ally Colombia.  In Honduras we stand up for the rights of a budding Chavez clone to make himself president-for-life.  Everywhere the same:  outreach to anti-American regimes, pushback to American allies.  The goal?  To make them all just “other nations”.

In a sense, this has been leftist doctrine consistently since the McGovern repudiation of the “Truman Democrat” foreign policy in 1972.   It can be seen in the left’s repudiationof the Bush overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  That was offensive on two fronts; it overthrew an enemy, and it threatened to create an ally!

Obama explains it all in beautiful rhetoric – some of the best we have ever heard.  But it is all just words, until we see the reality of the actions that result.  Around the world we are starting to see these results.

Here stands our sovereign lord, the king,

Whose word no man relies on;

Who never said a foolish thing,

And never did a wise one.

I cannot imagine any policy less wise than spurning your best allies while embracing your worst enemies.  Any ally that relies on the word of America today appears headed for a fall.


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