When Obama said that “we must put away childish things” he was not just talking about our domestic over indulgence. Obama told radical Islamists that those “who blame their society’s ills on the West-know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” This is a message that the leaders of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas will not be happy to hear.
And Obama went on to say:
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles…we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort….We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
These are indeed strong words.
So again, TNR editor Marty Peretz is right. Obama is at once taking away many of the talking points of the Republican opposition, while at the same time “upsetting many of Obama’s liberal enthusiasts.” And Schoenfeld too makes the point that if Obama succeeds in gaining conservative allies, he could fracture their movement, co-opt some of their best minds, and “help turn the Republicans back into the stupid party for years to come.” But we must await Obama’s actions. For now they are just words.
For now, I wish our new President well in his effort to unite our nation. I hope he intends to move in the direction his words suggest that he will.