Belmont Club

"Ideology is so yesterday"

Fouad Ajami’s article in the Lebanese Daily Star makes an observation that would be perfectly familiar to readers of the Belmont Club. The administration has abandoned all pretense of supporting democracy in the Islamic world. If those living there find their freedom, it will be in despite of Washington.

the word went forth to the despots in the region that the American campaign on behalf of liberty that Bush had launched in 2003 had been called off … This break of faith with democracy was put on cruel display in the summer of 2009, when the Iranians rose in revolt against their rulers. …

Iran’s rulers took Obama’s measure: The opposition at home could be broken, and the drive for hegemony in the region, and for nuclear weapons, could be pursued without running appreciable risks. … an undeniable truth hovers over Lebanon: the ebb of American power. Five or six years ago, the Lebanese rebellion against Damascus had been emboldened by American power and protection. The “Cedar Revolution” that brought about the withdrawal of Syrian troops was both Lebanese and a child of the American presence and prestige in that country. …

It took the embattled Muslim liberals a while to catch on to the moral indifference of the Obama administration. But catch on they did, and in their unequal struggle with the tyrannies in their midst they have operated on the reasonable assumption that the leading liberal power in the world order had no interest in the promotion of their liberty.

Tunisia came as a bolt out of the blue, and Arab rulers and oppositionists alike now watch and wonder whether this is the first domino to fall, or a case apart.

After a while what is essential becomes visible to the eye. The Epoch Times says that a Chinese pianist struck up the rousing version of a tune from Battle on Shangganling Mountain at the White House state dinner — you know the one which dullards like John Boehner declined to attend, in contrast to the sophisticated set which lapped up the musical program.

The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”

The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists.

The song Lang Lang played describes how beautiful China is and then near the end has this verse, “When friends are here, there is fine wine /But if the jackal comes /What greets it is the hunting rifle.” The “jackal” in the song is the United States.

According to the article, the Chinese government knew full well what music would be played and either they didn’t care or knew their host wouldn’t mind. When President Obama was elected, his admirers believed that that he had an appointment with destiny; that history would remember him as something extraordinary. Maybe history will memorialize him, not in the way his supporters had hoped, but as he deserves to be remembered.


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