President Obama gave the commencement speech at West Point this morning. The subject of the speech was foreign policy. The White House has posted the text here. The White House has also posted the video here and uploaded it to YouTube; I have posted it below. Please check it out.
I find it difficult to imagine the mental nullity required to draft and revise this speech. You almost have to feel sorry for Obama’s speechwriters at this point. In year six of the Age of Obama, he’s still yammering about closing Gitmo. (Applause.)
The New York Times summary of the speech is here, the Washington Post’s is here. Watching the speech live this morning, I thought I had a vision of the Obama doctrine. These are its leading elements as I observed them.
You listen to the Supreme Leader while he flaps his lips at great length. The Supreme Leader stares soulfully into the teleprompters to his left and to his right. He pauses after each sentence, either to overcome the boredom that has set in or to imply that you need time to absorb the deep thought he has just uttered.
The quantity of words spoken dwarfs the meaning of what is said. The express meaning of what is said is pitifully small. Acres of grain have been harvested to produce the straw men consumed.
We can infer the importance of laying down rules that hamstring the assertion of American power abroad. Libya, Russia, Syria and Iran represent triumphs of Obama foreign policy. And that is good because there are more coming where those came from.
Quotable quote: “We can’t call on others to make commitments to combat climate change if a whole lot of our political leaders deny that it’s taking place. We can’t try to resolve problems in the South China Sea when we have refused to make sure that the Law of the Sea Convention is ratified by our United States Senate, despite the fact that our top military leaders say the treaty advances our national security. That’s not leadership; that’s retreat. That’s not strength; that’s weakness. It would be utterly foreign to leaders like Roosevelt and Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy.” Insert groans here.
One more: “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.” Translation required, but I’m leaving that to you.