America’s 2012 ?
Vol: 91 Issue: 20 Monday, April 20, 2009
One of the lead stories topping the Drudge Report over the weekend was one by the AP hailing Barack Hussein Obama as ‘the new Gorbachev’. Here’s how the AP sees it:
“While historic analogies are never perfect, Obama’s stark efforts to change the U.S. image abroad are reminiscent of the stunning realignments sought by former Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev. During his short by Soviet standards tenure, he scrambled incessantly to shed the ideological entanglements that were leading the communist empire toward ruin.”
In context, the AP is hailing Barack Hussein Obama’s recent visit to Latin America where he cozied up to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Evidently, the AP just loved Gorbachev and can think of no higher compliment to offer Obama than to say he’s even better.
The AP made a list of all the good things that Obama has done for America in just the last three months:
Admitted to Europeans that America deserves at least part of the blame for the world’s financial crisis because it did not regulate high-flying and greedy Wall Street gamblers.
(And that ‘admission’ benefited America by . . . ?)
Then again, what if he’s wrong? What if the world’s financial crisis wasn’t brought on by a lack of US federal oversight? Ah, who cares? It’s out there now.
Told the Russians he wants to reset relations that fell to Cold War-style levels under his predecessor, George W. Bush.
(The AP writer must be new on the job. Or maybe too young to remember Russia in the 90’s?)
Asked NATO for more help in the fight in Afghanistan, and, not getting much, did not castigate alliance partners.
(Hooray for Obama for giving up against NATO without a fight. That’s the kind of leader America needs. One that puts European concerns ahead of America’s.)
Shook hands with, more than once, and accepted a book from Hugo Chavez, the virulently anti-American leader of oil-rich Venezuela.
(Evidently, Obama also believes that George Bush was the devil incarnate?)
Said America’s appetite for illegal drugs and its lax control of the flow of guns and cash to Mexico were partly to blame for the drug-lord-inspired violence that is rattling the southern U.S. neighbor.
One can see the benefits Obama has brought to American foreign policy in just his first three months. If you are among America’s growing cadre of sworn enemies, you can count on getting Obama’s full attention.
If you were ever America’s friend, (say, for example, Israel) you must be scratching your head and reconsidering your options.
At the news conference ending the three-day Summit of the Americas on Sunday, Obama was asked to explain what a reporter called this emerging “Obama Doctrine.”
He said that first, he remains intent on telling the world that the United States is a powerful and wealthy nation that realizes it is just one country among many. Obama said he believes that other countries have “good ideas” and interests that cannot be ignored.
Second, while the United States best represents itself by living up to its universal values and ideas, Obama said it must also respect the variety of cultures and perspectives that guide both American foes and friends.
“I firmly believe that if we’re willing to break free from the arguments and ideologies of an earlier era and continue to act, as we have at this summit, with a sense of mutual responsibility and mutual respect and mutual interest, then each of our nations can come out of this challenging period stronger and more prosperous, and we can advance opportunity, equality, and security across the Americas,” the president said.
Obama as the ‘new’ Gorbachev? Does anybody remember what happened to the old Gorbachev?
Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev became convinced that the Soviet Union needed to be reformed. (But Gorby was right.)
In this sense, he and Obama have much in common. Obama came to office convinced that America is a flawed state desperately in need of reform.
Gorbachev called his policy ‘perestroika’ meaning, ‘new thinking’. Obama calls his ‘change — no other explanation necessary’.
Gorbachev was, from the perspective of the West, a heroic statesman who led his nation out of the dark ages of Communism into a brave new world of 21st century capitalism.
To the Russians, he was the man who destroyed their country. What he left behind was a shattered body politic, a wrecked economy, and a destroyed military. Russian generals were selling their medals at flea markets (and weapons and nuclear material on the black market)
By the time Gorbachev was done ‘changing’ his country, the only thing left for his successor, Boris Yeltsin to do, was to make the announcement of its political death.
“I think it was irresponsible for the president to be seen kind of laughing and joking with Hugo Chavez,” said Sen. John Ensign, a Nevada Republican.
“This is a person along the lines with Fidel Castro and the types of dictatorship that he has down there in Venezuela and the anti-Americanism that he has been spreading around the world is not somebody the president of the United States should be seen as having, you know, kind of friendly relations with.”
At his news conference Obama said he didn’t think he did much damage to U.S. security or interests by shaking the hand of Chavez.
Mikhail Gorbachev didn’t think he was doing much damage to Soviet interests when he shook hands with Ronald Reagan, either.
While Obama was in Latin America cultivating friendships with guys like Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez, in Jerusalem they must be wondering what they did wrong.
Unless there’s an elaborate diplomatic disinformation campaign going on, the two governments couldn’t be further apart on what to do about the growing threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran.
The London Sunday Times breathless headline, “Israel Stands Ready To Bomb Iran’s Nuclear Sites” made the case that US opposition is the only thing preventing the strike plan’s execution.
It noted that Israel has made public its intention to hold the largest-ever nationwide drill next month.
Colonel Hilik Sofer told Haaretz, a daily Israeli newspaper, that the drill would train for a reality in which during war missiles can fall on any part of the country without warning … We want the citizens to understand that war can happen tomorrow morning .
But if it does, will Israel stand alone? That was never a question before. The issue of the president bowing before the King of Mecca still bothers me somewhere deep inside where I can’t quite explain it.
I listened to some partisan flack on TV try and dismiss it by comparing it to images of George Bush holding hands with King Abdullah during Abdullah’s visit to Crawford.
Men hold hands in the Middle East. It’s a sign of friendship,not fealty. Bush holding hands with Abdullah looks silly to us. But it was equally an expression of equality between the two men.
I’ve looked at the various picture angles of Obama’s bow, trying to read the diplomatic body language.
Mikhail Gorbachev ascended to power as General Secretary in 1985, succeeding Konstantin Chernenko. The USSR was one of two great superpowers, as invincible-seeming as it ever was.
Gorbachev introduced his new thinking platform in 1987. Four years later, the USSR collapsed. Historians credit Gorbachev’s reforms. An American Gorbachev? The last American president?
Amazing how much stuff seems to be pointing to 2012. I’m not saying that I think 2012 means anything specific. I don’t want to be accused of date-setting.
But still . . .