Self Hypnosis

Barack Obama is enthralled with the power of his own rhetoric to point of narcissism, but why not – he rose to the presidency of the United States while being entirely unblemished by accomplishments (that one is on us, the voters).  He took a bath dealing with our allies in Europe for all of his groveling (he got none of the items on his wish-list).  And now, dealing with people who make our hard-liners look warm and fuzzy, he was punked by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and excoriated by Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega while he sat smiling in the room.  Stalin had a term for Obama-like sycophants – “useful idiots”.

Too harsh?  Well, let’s take him at his word.  By being humble (Blame America First Syndrome) and declaring (the fiction) that there are no senior partners in our international relationships, previously hostile states may be more willing to engage us in serious dialog.  Two things: first, does he really think that his eloquence can persuade a nation to act against its own interest?; and second, I’ll ask the now famous Democrat question of George Bush – what’s the Exit Strategy?  How will we know when the effort has failed?

The former is sophomorically naïve and the latter is the curse of chattering class – dialog never fails.  Both are indistinguishable from what our enemies would have us do: they buy time to continue objectionable behavior, provide domestic cover (i.e., propaganda), and elevate asymmetric actors to respectable parity.  Useful idiot.

Example: DPRK launched an ICMB test and then re-opened its heavy water reactor in response to the UN’s do-nothing protestations.  Why?  So they can start the “negotiations” all over again, getting concessions all over again (plus buying time to work on their missile and nuclear programs).

Example: Iran created a crisis (convicting an Iranian-American journalist of espionage) so they can later “solve” it and claim a unilateral “good will” gesture for which Obama will thank them (or not).  Net effect: two to six months of diplomatic activity not centered on Iran’s nuclear activity (read: two to six months of unimpeded progress).

Something to watch: Russia does not want Turkey to delve any further into the West for fear that Ankara will provide an alternate route for Caspian and Central Asian gas and oil to Europe, negating Moscow’s stranglehold on European energy.  They will do something to sandbag the Washington-Ankara rapprochement started during Obama’s European mea culpa tour.

Something to watch: Hizbollah and/or Hamas will commit some atrocity against Israelis basing it on some perceived slight of political correctness (toward “Palestinians”) in an attempt to deepen the schism between America and Israel.  The isolation of the Netanyahu government is a no-loss situation for the mullahs.  If Israel blusters but does nothing (the reigning Islamist view of the West), Netanyahu is discredited; if Israel strikes Iran, the mullahs are more than willing to sacrifice a thousand or so of its citizens for world condemnation of Israel (which would surely follow).

6 thoughts on “Self Hypnosis

  1. In your us [U.S.] against them [the rest of the world] paradigm there is only one rational approach to diplomacy. Basically, it’s return to the Bush Administration’s strategy which was no diplomacy. Forget diplomacy. It’s “squishy”and it doesn’t work. Threats work. It’s the only way to keep control over and around the rest of the world. The only way to deal with rogue nations that taunt and insult us is to keep them in line by displaying our military might and demanding that they comply with our demands or risk being shunned by the “civilized” world. And if that doesn’t make them fall in line, there’s always the possibility of military retaliation from the “coalition of the willing”. Isn’t that the term? And do you think that coalition still exists? I prefer Winston Churchill’s approach: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Which I believe is what the Obama Administration is trying to implement.

  2. Actually, the Bush administration never held that “no diplomacy” was their approach, only that there were situations where diplomacy had demonstrably failed, and to continue a failed approach (remember that one?) was a fool’s errand. The major problem with diplomacy, as practiced, is that it moves far too slowly for the real-world tempo of events today. It’s not diplomacy that is ineffectual, but the way in which we go about it.

    A nation’s foreign policy isn’t about “control[ing] over and around the rest of the world”, but about advancing and protecting the interests of the nation in question. Iran and DPRK provide textbook examples. They both use talks as a way to buy time to do what the talks are designed to stop. We seem fetishized by the notion that talking will solve all conflicts, even with those whose sole purpose is to destroy one of the interlocutors. By the way, all coalitions are coalitions of the willing.

    Mr Obama doesn’t remind so much of Churchill’s keeping his enemies closer as Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace in our time”.

    • In how many nations, in the mold of Iran, has war-making wkoerd?Iraq? Hundreds of billions of dollars and six years and not yet.Afghanistan? Hundreds of billions of dollars and about eight years and not yet.How many resources have we devoted to war-making solutions? (answer: Trillions of dollars)How many resources have we devoted to peace-making solutions? (answer: Much less)In reality, places like Sudan, Rwanda, Iran, Iraq, etc, are tough situations with no good answers, most likely. I’m suggesting we’d be smarter to quit putting most of our eggs (and dollars) in the war-making basket.If you want peace, you must prepare for it and work for it and plan for it. If most of your tools are hammers, most of your solutions will be hammer-based. We need to devote more energy to more diverse solutions. That’s what I’m saying. There are many good examples and ideas in those pages I’ve linked to. Check them out.And what is different about Iran than, say, the contra terrorists? Than white South Africans? Are you saying that White Africans and Latin Americans can be reasoned with but Persians can’t? Surely not.

  3. Sorry Libby, I don’t see it that way.  First, Mr. Obama may be able to successfully negotiate a political campaign, but when it comes to actually being a leader, he is definitely “wet behind the ears”; it’s no secret that he either allowed himself (or worse didn’t know) to be played by Calderon and Chavez.  If perception is power, then the world sees the U.S. and our President at best as a weakling, and at worse young and naive and way in over his head.

    Don Corleone, he is not, more like Fredo maybe, and unfortunately we all know what happened to him Wink

  4. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called then Sen. Obama’s stance on Iran as “utterly immature” and comprised of “formulations empty of all content.” As of right now it appears President Sarkozy called it to several decimal.

    • It seems to me that, for diplomacy to truly fcuntion properly, all parties involved must desire it so. But, perhaps I’m too linear in my approach…One of the tenets of nonviolent direct action is that all parties have their self-interest at heart. Diplomacy is the art of making a group see how it is in their best interest to cooperate with the desired outcomes.For less than rational and rogue-ish types, the threat of violence against their people is often not a huge incentive to cooperate, in fact, it serves their best interest to be belligerent against such threats. We need to wage peace in a smarter way than we wage war if we hope to be most effective.

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