Friday, February 20, 2009

Karl's Weekend Reading

We are making up for no weekend reading last week to oodles of reading this week. Enjoy!

The assessments of Obama's foreign policy are rolling in and they are not good. At least as it relates to Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Venezuela. Not all is lost. Our relations with Canada are intact after Obama's promise this week to leave current trade agreements alone. For now.

Kim Zigfield at Pajama's Media comments on the first month of failures in Obama Hopelessly Adrift on Foreign Policy? Specifically, what Obama did not say about Russia in a recent press conference:

Not a word from Obama about the Markelov killing, or about Russia’s equally terrifying litany of race murder, or about the fact that Medvedev’s “election” was shamelessly rigged after all serious opposition had been purged from the ballot, or about the fact that Medvedev support an extension of the presidential term widely viewed as a platform for the return of Russia’s real ruler, Vladimir Putin, to permanent formal power. Not a syllable about how Medvedev has begun abolishing the right to trial by jury, not a peep about Russia’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism, both directly and through Syria and Iran. Nothing about the fact that Russia just booted the U.S. out of a key military base in Kyrgzystan, signed a cooperation pact with Cuba, bribed Belarus into forming an anti-U.S. air defense program and started building military bases in the territory it seized from Georgia in Abkhazia.

Instead, Obama appears to let Russia off the hook, conveniently releasing the pressure of the nuclear arms race at exactly the moment the Kremlin needs him to do so. How can Russia possibly take this statement as anything other than an open invitation to escalate its crackdown on democracy and its efforts to dominate its neighbors?

Charles Krauthammer continues in his Townhall article, The Biden Prophecy:

With a grinning Goliath staggering about sporting a "kick me" sign on his back, even reputed allies joined the fun.
I would like to think the supine posture is attributable to a rookie leader otherwise preoccupied (i.e. domestically), leading a foreign policy team as yet unorganized if not disoriented. But when the State Department says that Hugo Chavez's president-for-life referendum, which was preceded by a sham government-controlled campaign featuring the tear-gassing of the opposition, was "for the most part ... a process that was fully consistent with democratic process," you have to wonder if Month One is not a harbinger of things to come.

We are starting a new label called "Crisis as a Means". The following three articles discuss Obama's modus operandi - crying wolf to pass unpopular legislation.

One of our favorites at Townhall, Laura Hollis, writes The New Americans: Peasants by Choice:

This time, instead of our leaders inspiring us with uplifting – and historically true – accounts of America’s exceptionalism (yes, that is the right word), and the can-do attitude of the average American, our current government fills the airwaves with doom and gloom, and warns of impending “crises” and “catastrophes,” unless we sell ourselves to the government, which will take care of us by taking everything we have, denying us control over our own lives, and promising goodies that cannot be paid for. This is not stimulus; it is “stealfromus.” It is not security; it is slavery.

It is self-serving deception of the highest sort, completely and resoundingly refuted by history. Our Founding Fathers never saw the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, Cambodia, or the Sudan. And didn’t need to. They knew enough of government to know that a people dependent upon any form of government would be a people enslaved by it. Nothing in the 200+ years since they lived has proven them wrong.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at the NRO, The Audacity of Irony:

Bush was pilloried for supposedly hyping al-Qaeda in order to create a security state. Obama trumped that by proclaiming that the present recession is a catastrophe, a disaster, a Great Depression. He ceased his scare-mongering only when he had exhausted the vocabulary of doom. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” bragged Rahm Emanuel, reminding us that the envisioned Obama socialism could take root only if a climate of fear was created.

Thomas Sowell coins the phrase "Amateurism in Action" in his IBD Editorial - Obama Rushes to Capitalize on Emergency:

The urgency was real, even if the reason given was phony. Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, let slip a valuable clue when he said that a crisis should not go to waste, that a crisis is an opportunity to do things that you could not do otherwise.
Think about the utter cynicism of that. During a crisis, a panicked public will let you get away with things you couldn't get away with otherwise.
A corollary of that is that you had better act quickly while the crisis is at hand, without congressional hearings or public debates about what you are doing. Above all, you must act before the economy begins to recover on its own.

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