When News is No News
Here are a few important developments that remain strangely ignored. I say strangely, but most readers understand why some news becomes news and some does not.
1) Iraq. The United States military between 2007 and 2009 crushed al-Qaeda in Iraq. It destroyed cadres of radical Islamists and Baathists. It stabilized the country. It was one of the most stunning military performances in modern history, and helped to destroy the image of a competent and scary al-Qaeda. Yet everything from the recapture of Fallujah to the sheer number of Islamists that were taken out of Anbar Province was largely ignored. It is as if we went to sleep in 2007 with “Iraq is lost” and then woke up in 2010 with “Of course, it is quiet now. Why wouldn’t it be?” — but with little thought of what transpired in between. We know few names, fewer stories of the heroic Americans who turned Iraq around after 2006 — or kept it from imploding from 2003 onward.
2) Chinese Roguery. China’s Communist Party predicates foreign policy on mercantilism — period. Note that Chinese foreign relations favor thugs, especially those with oil or the propensity to do others harm. Most of the world’s bad actors — Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Zimbabwe — are Chinese partners. Yes, almost anywhere there is a crisis, a Chinese diplomat is somewhere in the vicinity. In all the praise of the Chinese miracle and envy of its industry, gleaming airports, and solar panels, few note that to the degree that a nation’s people is unfree and without a say in its governance, that it has natural resources to exploit, and that its government is an enemy of Western-style freedom, so too China will be there in the background. Few care. Maybe it’s all the cash; maybe those old stale Mao suits still win a pass from the liberal media.
3) The Gulf Oil Hysteria. We were told that aquatic life in the Gulf of Mexico would be ruined for generations. Offshore drilling in general was now to become obsolete and synonymous with environmental catastrophe. Drilling was stopped in the gulf. Prophets of doom assured us of the scary Exxon Valdez comparisons. And yet life returned to normal, without much discussion of the absence of permanent damage or why the horror stories proved not so horrific.
4) The Great Obama Flip-Flop. For over a year of hope and change, we were told by Obama that renditions, preventative detentions, and tribunals were anti-constitutional, that Guantanamo was synonymous with a gulag, that Iraq was lost, that Predators were a sort of airborne terror, that KSM and other terrorist killers should be tried in civilian courts — and what happened? Suddenly the world was turned upside down and what was once bad was now tolerable. And not a whimper about why, just the quiet assumption of “that was then, this is now.”
5) The Europe-America Cool-Off. Europe wanted Obama, got Obama, and now its elites are quietly whispering: “Why did you fulfill our childish wishes?” Europe always talks left and anti-American, but silently expects American defense for its own protection, an open economy for its free-trade exports, and our free enterprise private sector to lift the world economy. Now it is being out-Europed by Obama. It is worried that the new U.S. is going to adopt a failed EU socialist model, ignore human rights, cut realpolitik deals with Russia or China, prune its overseas stature, print money, spread debt, substitute UN multiculturalism for the Atlantic alliance, and trumpet a “Pacific president.” There is only room for one Europe, not two — as Europe is learning.