Friday, May 21, 2010

As Good as Carter?

I do believe I mentioned early in the Obama presidency that the logical consequence of screwing friends and sucking up to enemies is that we'll have fewer friends and more enemies--it's all about the incentives.

Charles Krauthammer explores the fruits of nuanced, smart, outreach, where even a NATO ally (Turkey) sides with Iran against us:

This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It's the perfect fulfillment of Obama's adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world. Hence his foundational declaration at the U.N. General Assembly last September that "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation" (guess who's been the dominant nation for the last two decades?) and his dismissal of any "world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another." (NATO? The West?)

Given Obama's policies and principles, Turkey and Brazil are acting rationally. Why not give cover to Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions? As the United States retreats in the face of Iran, China, Russia and Venezuela, why not hedge your bets? There's nothing to fear from Obama, and everything to gain by ingratiating yourself with America's rising adversaries. After all, they actually believe in helping one's friends and punishing one's enemies.

When we run away, our enemies pursue. At some point, we run out of room to run. But our leaders remain clueless and think that more talk can solve all problems.

So what crisis will prompt President Obama his Carteresque moment of clarity about our enemies? President Carter, at least, was capable of learning (then, anyway--not today), and our defense spending started to edge back up by the end of his presidency. Can President Obama learn as well as even President Carter could?

It is sad when matching Carter is my best-case scenario for our current president. But there you go.