I am a big fan of John Hinderaker over at Powerline, and you can see why if you read one of his latest, this one about the Democrats’ lack of any sort of coherent national security policy. Here is the essence of it:
Democrats are incapable of devising a coherent strategy for dealing with (our problems), and seemingly don’t even try to do so. The charitable explanation is that they are incompetent. But perhaps it is because they aren’t sure what their desired ends are. Do they want the U.S. to win? Do they want us to be powerful, prosperous, influential and successful? That is not a hard question for most Americans, but it is for leading Democrats like Obama and Clinton. If you don’t know the answer to that question, then coming up with a strategy is tough. That, I suspect, is what we have seen for the last six or seven years.
It’s the basic question about the Obama administration (Hinderaker however is focused on Hillary Clinton and her failed Libyan actions): is the long list of foreign policy failures due to stupidity and incompetence, or to some sort of purposeful malevolence?
I think this question is invariably framed too narrowly. I think that we are dealing with the result of the collapse of an entire world view, and that collapse has left the Democrats without any guiding principles. Their old templates, from class struggle to capitalist imperialism, no longer apply to the real world. The most potent forces in play are those the left has never understood. Religion above all.
They used to favor the poor countries, ergo they advocated foreign aid galore and all power to the UN. Neither is working out. They will never forgive us for winning the Cold War, thereby ending their utopian dream that the Soviet Union would truly become the successful incarnation of “real socialism.” And instead of class interest, most people pursue narrower goals, motivated by passions, like religion, which leftists believe archaic. You know, redneck stuff like guns and bourbon. Except that now, religion is the most dynamic force in the world, for good and for ill. This frustrates and angers them, since, unable to make sense of the world, they can’t craft policies that make sense.
The collapse of the old world view is not surprising. Any decent cultural historian will tell you that world views collapse with striking frequency. But our current leftists don’t know this, because they are products of an educational system that doesn’t teach history. Obama is a great example of the ignorance that abounds, even in our “best” schools. From his amazing claim that “Islam” brought printing to the Western world (it was the Chinese, who sold it to the Europeans, and Portuguese Jews brought it to the Middle East) to claims of Muslim “toleration,” his ignorance of history has been demonstrated over and over again. Instead of acquiring some real knowledge, he and his cohorts have been taught to blame us—the West, the capitalists, the Jews, above all, the United States—for the palpably alarming state of affairs in the world. And blaming us, they embrace a seemingly simple solution to the world’s problems: rein us in, deprive us of the capacity to reshape the world, turn us into an unexceptional country, and work with nasty foreign leaders who, the leftists believe, have been wrongly branded as evil. Hence Cuba. Hence Iran.
If you can’t tell your friends from your enemies, you end by adopting your enemies’ view of the world.
Which brings me back to Hinderaker. I think they have answers to his questions. Do they want us to win? Certainly not. Those who want us to win and to flourish are, in the oft-repeated words of the president and his acolytes, “on the wrong side of history.” As Ali Khamenei and Fidel Castro might put it.