State of the Union Address on Foreign Policy: Careful Phrasing Conceals Disasters
The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. Our iron-clad commitment -- and I mean iron-clad -- to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.
Really? That’s not what I hear from people all over the world. It is the absence of American leadership they feel, sometimes to their great cost. Ask the Poles, and the Czechs, and the Saudis, and the democratic oppositionists in Iran and Syria, and so on. Ask the Peruvians and the Colombians if they feel American leadership is protecting them from Venezuela and other radical forces in the region.
And it is true that military cooperation with Israel is good — which is to say normal, not the greatest in history — but what Israeli leader believes that Obama can be relied on? The ones I speak to usually say something like this: “I never thought I’d see the day when we couldn’t depend on America.”
Incidentally, a number of analyses I've seen since writing this article emphasize Obama's nice sentence about Israel, as if it is of great importance or is some kind of revelation. For goodness sakes, it is standard -- even though he repeated the word "iron-clad" -- and denotes absolutely nothing new. I don't think Obama will do much in regards to bilateral relations, but let's be frank here: Since Obama believes he knows better what Israel's security needs are than do its leaders, then anything he does is "pro-Israel" even if it is against Israel's will. I'm not trying to make any dramatic point here -- again, bilateral relations will continue to be okay -- but to point out the bizarre way Obama's statements get interpreted in order to praise him. The same applies to his standard sentence on keeping all options open regarding Iran's nuclear program.
From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease, from the blows we’ve dealt our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
Think about the kind of mental construct that could produce this paragraph, which is unintentionally revealing. It shows Obama’s pattern of refusing to acknowledge legitimate dissent (all the experts agree with me) and claiming that he knows best (Israel doesn’t know what’s good for itself).
Yes, Mr. President, a lot of people around the world don’t think that America is back or that it still protects their back. And they do know what they are talking about and can cite many specific examples from your administration.
The next paragraph requires no comment from me. See if you can finish it and not be laughing:
That’s why, working with our military leaders, I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget.
Not budget cuts to the military but “saving” money. So that it can be spent on green energy projects?
Image courtesy shutterstock / bjonesphotography