Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Obama Administration--A Study In Split Personalities

While the President was busy in the Middle East playing peace envoy to the democracies and benevolent sheikdoms which practice the religion of peace, his Secretary of State was busy balancing the scales by going after China for human rights violations. Apparently, too much accomodationist footsy-playing is not going to be allowed in the Obama administration. At least not all at the same time.

In most administrations, Democrat or Republican, there is usually some coherent pattern of foreign diplomacy. Some administrations were very organized, others less so, but it was usually possible for the layman to pick a country, check its history, and come up with a pretty good guess as to what United States policy would be regarding that country at any given time. But just like Obama's domestic policy, there is no apparent method to their madness. In other words, if you don't like Obama's foreign policy, wait five minutes.

At the very time that the President was de-Christianizing America to prepare for future relations with our progressive brethren in greater Islamistan, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was sending dispatches to Beijing and making speeches demanding that China account and atone for the Tiananmen Square massacre. Not wishing to allow the Chinese leadership to mistake her serious intentions, she figured she might as well throw in a whole host of complaints about human rights violations to boot.

In the Middle East, the President seems to be oblivious to the fact that he is attempting to make nice-nice with primitives who want nothing more than to see us dead. Remember when The President in Independence Day asked the alien what he wanted from us? The alien replied, "I want you to die!" The alien was not as good at playing "deceive the dummy" as are the autocrats and theocrats in today's Middle East. Ahmedinajad might actually give an honest answer, though.

A murderous regime in Iran is now nuclear, or close to it. And it is working on better delivery systems to be aimed at Israel, Europe and eventually America. But for now, their capabilities are highly doubtful, and though dangerous, they do not as yet have the ability to vaporize most of humanity before rushing off to get their seventy-two virigins. Iraq is almost pacified, but the gay holocaust continues apace. Afghanistan is a military nightmare again, and the Taliban are resurgent there and in the unsecured regions of Pakistan. The perfect time for an American President to kiss the Koran, bow to the Saudi king, and throw his arms open to the wonderful world of wacky Islamists. Obama thinks that this is the time to talk peace, not to demonstrate American strength and resolve before it's too late.

Meanwhile, back at the giant pagoda in Beijing, there is a repressive regime which should be called to account for its ongoing human rights violations. An accounting is indeed long overdue, but I have to question both the timing and the intensity. After nineteen years, State suddenly couldn't wait a little longer? China is also the nation that owns a huge chunk of America's assets, is competing with us throughout the world in development and ally-collecting, and it is already nuclear and capable of delivering. And right now, the world is facing a North Korean madman, armed with rockets and at least some working nukes. Kim Jong Il is happy to produce delivery sytems for Iran while threatening nearby Japan and neighboring South Korea with nuclear annihilation.

China is perhaps the only nation in the world which would have any influence in getting North Korea to back down. So this is the perfect time to bitch-slap the Chinese leadership. China says that 241 people died at Tiananmen Square during the democracy demonstrations. Most western journalists and military experts place it closer to a thousand or more. A tragic but true fact remains. Those martyrs to freedom would not be any deader if our State Department had waited a little longer for a more opportune time to exercise America's moral disapproval.

Wang Dan, a top Chinese student leader at Tiananmen who spent seven years in prison for his activities and now runs anti-government websites from American soil says: "The Chinese government eventually will have to face the past." He also expressed surprise that Secretary Clinton chose this very time to demand it. Today, June 4, is the twentieth anniversary of the massacre. An auspicious day, of course. But a good day to tick off the only half-friendly government of any importance in mainland Asia beside South Korea? Not to my mind.

I seriously wonder if the President was even warned in advance that Clinton would take this action. With The One out of the country, it would not surprise me if it turned out that the much-ignored Secretary saw an opportunity to get back into the limelight. Or perhaps she simply got her advice from the Vice President who garbled his instructions from the President. Obama may have told Biden to have Clinton ask for China's help, and Biden delivered the message as "Tell China to go to hell."

The Republican party may be in disarray, but at least it can't be blamed for the current policy of sailing the Ship of State around in circles.


Skinners 2 Cents said...

The only time we hear our elected officials voice concern about human rights violations in China is from this side of the Pacific.

They seem less concerned about these violations when they have an audience with Chinese officials. It never seems to come up it's always bad timing.

Who is really going to stop China from being China. The only way to really stop China from being China is all out war or a trade embargo. Neither is likely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future.

I guess we could try using some celebrities that's been effective in the past.

Captain Soapbox said...

Most excellent piece Lawhawk.

The way I see it is that Obama has a split personality on policy, on the domestic front I think he knows exactly what he wants to do and how to get it implemented, but as far as international diplomacy goes his lack of understanding of history is not only apparent but dangerous.

Obama is a neophyte when it comes to foreign policy, and his lack of experience is blindingly obvious in the back and forth nature of the statements that come out regarding international affairs. In fact the only consistency I've seen out of the man is:

1) The US was a blight on humanity and he has to apologize to all and sundry for any perceived slight America may have done to them.

2) Islam is good, Muslims are misunderstood, and people need to cease being so Islamophobic.

3) Israel needs to quit building Settlements and give the Palestinians land, or else.

That's it, on every other issue the guy is all over the map. Going from no pre-condition negotiations with Iran, to having conditions, to maybe not having conditions, to oh well they surely need peaceful nuclear power even though they're sitting on vast oil and natural gas reserves. Oh but don't get any ideas about having nuclear power here in the US now you hear!

My alarm bell went off like the the dinnerbell at the Ponderosa fairly early on. In a NATO meeting in Germany the people at the meeting asked the US representative what the US policy on the Iranian nuclear program was. The reply? Well we really don't have one yet, we'll get back to you in 60 days or so. As if that didn't come up, repeatedly, on the campaign trail which meant he never had to worry his haloed head over about Iranian nuclear policy. It's pretty much gone downhill from there.

He's been like that with pretty much every nation he talks to or decision about foreign policy that's come down the pike. He's in over his head to the point where he can't even coordinate people that may, may mind you, have somewhat of a clue about the issues at hand.

Captain Soapbox said...

Skinners2Cents, I bet we could come up with a pretty good list of celebrities to send to China. My only request is that we insert a condition in the agreement where the Chinese have to keep them.

I'm frankly surprised that any mention of Chinese human rights violations was issued at all, and it definitely looks a little strange when Geither spent the week over there with his hat stretched out for some cashy money.

Unknown said...

Skinners2Cents: Like you, I'm not holding my breath for China to behave like a reasonable western democracy. But over the past few years, it has become at least less of a totalitarian communist dictatorship, and though they have tested us on multiple occasions, they are no longer openly hostile. I wouldn't trust them as far as I can throw them, but it seems to me that this was not really the time to demand they make an overnight switcheroo in policy. We could use their help in addressing the North Korean situation, or at least not their open opposition. Their leadership can be very vindictive when pushed, and may not consider their own interests when they feel they have lost face resulting from an American dressing-down.

The celebrity ploy might work, but they had better be Obamanuts, and not former Hillary supporters. Of course I suspect we both have tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Unknown said...

Captain: I agree. The Obama administration is doing one of the worst things any world power can do--sending mixed signals. I expect in the next few days to see him trying to clarify his remarks for Israel. Even his pro-Islamic stand is being dodged and weaved and in the end, no foreign power is going to rely on anything he says.

One thing that we can count on this President believing is "if it's good for Obama, it's good for America and the world." It's the companion piece to his belief that if he says or does anything, then it is automatically the right thing. And when it all goes horribly wrong, he will firmly believe that it's because lesser people just couldn't comprehend his brilliance.

Writer X said...

Clinton's timing is so suspect. I wish she were doing it for all the right reasons but her track record (and obvious ego) says otherwise. She and President Obama must have a bet on who can ruin the US first.

StanH said...

If you can’t dazzle them with brains then baffle them with bull$hit. I believe they’re schizophrenic approach to everything, is the key to understand their perceived brilliance, Machiavelli would be pleased. It’s all slight of hand if you will, don’t listen to what they say but watch what they do, and if you step away and observe, it’s not to tuff to understand, they don’t have a damn clue. However as good ‘60s egalitarians there is a road map, that you Lawhawk could teach us all chapter and verse. Everything’s had got to be fair/equal, peace at any cost, “if it feels good do it,” community property/spread the wealth, anti-establishment, on and on. IMO ‘60s radicals are firmly in charge look back to the ‘60s and maybe some understanding of today can be found. Like we’ve hit on before Lawhawk, you could do post on a conservative “rules for radicals” like David Horowitz an understanding for the laymen in 2009 to understand, and counter the ‘60s radical, The Woodstock Nation, The Age of Aquarius, and thus understand the Obamnation, “turn on, tune in, and drop out.”

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I think there is method here. Both the left and the right have been critical of China, and when Obama kissed their rears so that they would keep buying our debt so that he could spend your grandkid's grandkid's money, he was roundly criticized for failing to criticize China.

So what he does now, is he sends the very diminished, nearly irrelevant Hillary Clinton to go make the criticim now, while he's on the other side of the world. This way, he can placate his critics by saying that he did criticize the Chinese. But if the Chinese get upset, he can tell them in private -- hey, Hillary did it while I was busy in the Middle East and I had no idea she would say that. I'm sorry she was just a jerk.

It's plausible deniability.

Unknown said...

Andrew: You have a great deal more faith in the ability of the Obama administration to organize and strategize than I do. It could be a set-up for plausible deniability, but I have trouble conceiving of Hillary Clinton preparing her own path to being thrown under the bus. A noble warrior is willing to fall on is sword for the greater good. Hillary is definitely not a noble warrior. She is more likely to be able to figure out what Obama is up to than the other way around.

I'll concede that you could be right. But I'm more likely to think that it's a falling-out among thieves, or just a major misstep. In the case of the Obama administration, the whole is considerably less than the sum of its parts. I'd like to think that this administration is purposely trying to keep our enemies dazed and confused. But that would require me to believe that either Obama or Clinton actually cares about America's national security. That stretches my imagination too far.

AndrewPrice said...


You could be right that it's a rift between Hillary and Obama. We'll have to wait and see.

When I said that I thought this was part of a plan, by the way, I didn't mean to imply that Hillary was in on it. I think that Obama has played her from day one and I think he is willing to keep playing her. And if he is using her for plausable deniability (as I suspect), then I'm pretty sure he told her what to say and that she will be quite shocked when he rebukes her (if she ever finds out).

Unknown said...

Andrew: I see your point. I think they're playing each other, and rather clumsily. But there is one thing that Hillary needs to realize. If this is truly a power play, and if Obama really is setting her up, she can't win. He is the President, and she will get the worst of it, no matter how hard she tries to get the upper hand. But planned or just pure lousy organization, I'm going to enjoy the likely bloodbath.

PS: I like my Biden "garbled instructions" theory best. At least it's the most fun.

Unknown said...

StanH: Sorry to be so late getting back to you. You have me thinking. "Rules for Recovering Radicals." What a concept. I'll check with David Horowitz to see if he's got time to give me any input for this magnum opus. We used to write some pretty good stuff when we had our stint with Ramparts Magazine. It was a political humor magazine for us lefties. Ah, the good old days. The best shot I got at the Kennedys before exiting Ramparts was a satire feigning a political visit to some Massachusetts farms. Teddy spots some cows out in the pasture and shouts with glee: "Ooh, Bobby, look! There's moo-moos on the lawn!" He hasn't gotten any smarter over the years.

StanH said...

That would be funny! “Rules for recovering ‘60s radicals,” an exposé in worn out leftist logic, a road map if you will, to look into the past to understand Barry and his hair brained throng of misguided nit-wits. You would be an interpreter, people (squares) would read your column and go, oh… that’s what that meant. Your perfectly positioned in beautiful SF to give reports from inside the enemy wire, harrowing insights into what’s coming to your town. And like a modern day Svengali you would seem to tell the future, freaky.

Unknown said...

StanH: As soon as I've collaborated with Horowitz on "Rules for Recovering Radicals," I'll start working on the Thesaurus. "How to Speak Radicalese as if You Were Actually There by Someone Who Was." The sequel to the original book will be "San Francisco Diary--Meditations of A Recovering Radical in the Heart of Enemy Territory."

It will all be Saul Alinsky meets William L. Shirer on the Road to Damascus. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"

StanH said...

That would be wonderful stuff indeed, ha. “This is Lawhawk reporting from the front line in the demise of America. High atop my perch on Nob Hill overlooking the zany streets of San Francisco. As acting head of the American resistance, boss of the Wheelbarrow, Bread, and Beer Syndicate, and Big Chief of Smoke Island, formally known as Alcatraz. All free Americans visiting the City by the Bay be sure to stop any of the conveniently placed Cigar Store Indians for directions, coupons, and merchandise.”

Captain Soapbox said...

Don't forget the complimentary kaffiya with any purchase over $10 too.

I've often joked about writing "The Protocols of the Youngsters of Zion" but then realized that'd be giving too much of the playbook away for free.

I kid! Or do I...

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