I have just read the most astonishing op-ed from the Miami Herald. What is so astonishing about it? Mainly how the author, Frida Ghitis, acts as if the perfectly obvious is suddenly revealed wisdom.
Ms. Ghitis solemnly informs her readers that various sections of the world still hate the United States, even though President Obama is in the White House. How can this possibly be? Because, she says, other countries may have goals that conflict with ours!
What knocks me for a loop is how Ms. Ghitis patiently goes through this indescribably obvious concept, explaining it in small words as if her readers have the same mental development as five year olds. It appears as if she was taken by surprise by the most basic fact that influences foreign policy, a fact that has been obvious since before nations were even formed, and the one truth that makes foreign policy necessary in the first place.
It seems that Ms. Ghitis drank deep the Liberal kool-aide and simply accepted without question the notion that the reason why some other countries were belligerent to the US was because President Bush was talking tough and being mean. Now that Obama is sitting pretty she is shocked, shocked to find that the real world doesn’t operate according to her simplistic notions.
So the author is confused and disappointed that the rest of the world isn’t an obedient lapdog now that Obama is President. But what she has neglected to mention is the fear that is held by those of us who have always had a clear vision of the way the world works.
If the President is shown to be weak, without resolve, and overly reluctant to use force in order to protect the interests of the US and our allies, then those regimes which are inimical to democratic ideals will rightly interpret this as a green light to cause mischief. Diplomacy without at least the implicit threat of force will do more harm than good, as repressive regimes will think the time is right to increase their influence, their power, and the means to threaten and enslave their neighbors.
This goes beyond a simple loss of prestige, as real people can lose their lives or liberty. Toothless bargaining and an overly high regard for diplomacy for its own sake is usually dangerous in our imperfect world.
It has been less than a year since Obama was sworn in, and so far America’s enemies and rivals have done little more than to test the waters. They are interested in finding out if Obama is the empty suit he so clearly seems to be. The question that worries me is what they will do to take advantage of the situation. After all, we are still trying to cope with the myriad problems that sprang up during the Carter administration.
This next year should be interesting in a Chinese proverb kind of way.
(Hat tip to Glenn.)