I asked the person who is perhaps the most worldly wise man I know if he would comment on Obama’s interview with Obama apostle Tom Friedman as related yesterday in the Times article “Obama on the world.” Noting the stupidity of Obama’s comments to Friedman, and Obama’s incessant yammering, I asked my acquaintance what he made of the whole production. He responded with the following comment, which I thought readers might find of interest:
I’ve wondered about this a lot, way before Tom Friedman’s report of this conversation. I’m not sure I’ve figured it out, but I think I’m getting close. Both James Baldwin and Martin Luther King Jr. separately and in other contexts said something about “ignorance allied with power” being the worst imaginable combination.
I think with Obama it starts with ignorance which in his formative years became a required doctrine of the intelligentsia when it came to understanding the way the world works in matters of international security; to be considered politically correct you had to spurn and despise such painfully developed concepts and practices as the balance of power, the necessity of using strength and diplomacy in tandem, etc.
This was allied with a personal drive for High Moralism, the felt need to build a castle around yourself behind a moat of 12-foot thick walls from behind which you could shoot moral arrows at everyone else to demonstrate your superiority and quickly destroy any emerging criticism of yourself. So from this position of invincible ignorance allied with moral perfection and then allied with power, you could become able to cross a line in history to reach a new world shaped by your conviction of your perfected sensibility.
This would mean, 1.) taking the US out of its despicable role of world leadership, which has been immoral and has caused almost all the world’s problems over at least the past century, and 2.) “Transforming” American into a country moral enough to be worthy of you, a kind of big Belgium. As the wicked of the world have refused to fall into line behind this vision, it has made the president increasingly sour and feeling put upon.
At this point he has been forced to do something like take a presidential decision of the kind that all previous presidents have known they would have to take– the “hard decisions” recognized by the president’s hero Reinhold Niebuhr but never recognized by the president. So he has been forced by events to do it. But he didn’t want to do it. And he keeps making it clear that he is determined not to do it in an effective way, to assure our enemies of the many things he will never do, and to sulk about it for the foreseeable future as he relates his unappreciated fate to those who share his feelings, like Tom Friedman.
He then adds a parenthetical postscript: “(this is not unique to the president, it can be seen all through White House personnel and among so many of the younger generations who have never actually had a job or actually done anything connected to the real world)”