Is Obama a fool? Yes, if one gives him the benefit of the doubt

Early last week, I wrote a post about President Obama called “He Cuts Quite a Figure, Part One.” The topic was Obama’s jaunts around the world “giving flowery speeches in which he apologizes for America while, in the interest of balance, he suggests that we’re not the only nation that has sinned.” I focused especially on Obama’s trip to Russia. I reported, based on sources in Russia, that the Russians were amused by Obama’s high living while in Moscow and delighted by his willingness, and even eagerness, to make concessions.
When I wrote “Part One,” I already had Part Two in mind. There, I would discuss how the Russians apparently now have stiffed Obama by refusing to support sanctions against Iran.
Before I was able to write Part Two, my three favorite commentators — Scott, John, and Charles Krauthammer — each commented on Russia’s “stiffing” of Obama. Scott was sure that that the Russians had, indeed, fooled Obama. John held out some hope that Obama had gotten some meaningful concession, as yet unknown, from Russia in exchange for abrogating missile defense arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic that Russia had forcefully opposed. Krauthammer concluded:

[W[hen the Obama team clownishly rushes in bearing gifts and “reset” buttons, there is nothing ulterior, diabolical, clever or even serious behind it. It is amateurishness, wrapped in naivete, inside credulity. In short, the very stuff of Nobels.

I’m with Scott and Krauthammer. But I understand why it’s difficult to believe that the U.S. president could be so amateurish and naive.
Obama, though, has told us. During a debate against Hillary Clinton last year, Obama explained why he was willing to negotiate with loathsome, anti-American dictators without precondition. According to Obama, this kind of dramatic, counter-intiutive appraoch is necessary because American has been so arrogant in recent years.
At the time, I thought Obama was just resorting to Bush-bashing as a means of responding to Clinton’s forceful attack on his naive approach to foreign policy. But it now seems clear that Obama meant what he said.
How else can one interpret Obama’s campaign to “reset” our relations with Russia (a campaign announced, ironically enough, by Hillary Clinton, in incorrect Russian)? The clear implication is that we were too arrogant in our past dealings with Russia — hence, the need for us to hit the “reset button.”
But the button was a mere symbol. It had to be backed by action that would demonstrate that we have overcome our arrogance. Hence, the unilateral concessions.
If Obama believes that the thuggish, autocratic, expansionist Russian regime is more sinned against than sinning in relation to the U.S., then he is anti-American. If he doesn’t believe this but elects to act as if it were the case, then he is a fool.

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