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The Unbearable Smallness of Obama's Vision

Dig this line from Obama's recent West Point commencement address, the one in which he tried to convince the skeptical grads that what looked like his weak failure to lead on every front was in fact strong, muscular leadership. Who were they going to believe, after all? The president — or their lying eyes?

I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.

Wow. Got that? The president has a vision of our nation as a place where we obey international law and live up to the international norm. I know that gets my blood pumping. Just makes you want to suck it up and salute, doesn't it? I mean, I wouldn't want to think America was exceptional for what it stood for — like, oh I don't know; freedom, say — because then we'd have to stand against something too — like the kind of oppression and slavery that actually is the norm in a whole lot of non-western countries around the world... and, increasingly, in western countries where Muslims have been allowed to have their way and opposing them out loud has been outlawed. We'd have to stand up for Americans when they made videos others didn't like and loudly declare that our way — toleration, respect for private property and western law — is morally superior to the savagery of sharia and the travesty of communism. And then maybe some people wouldn't like us anymore. We might "create more enemies than we take off the battlefield," as the president nonsensically fretted in his West Point speech. No, better to show everyone how exceptionally we obey international law and affirm the international norm, whatever the hell that is. Then people will like us and the world will be a safer place. Like it is now. Can't you tell?

Clinton was right — or maybe it was that Bible whose morality he routinely flouted: "Without vision, the people perish." And Obama is a president without vision, or with a vision so puny it's hardly worth the name. All those big windy words — that hopey-changey stuff? Forget about it. Vision-wise? Look around you. The guy's got nothing.