I cannot recall, in the last five years, Barack Obama ever identifying the Iranians, Hezbollah, or the late Hugo Chavez as among our “enemies,” in the fashion that he once urged Latino leaders to punish conservatives at the polls: “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” If only the president would treat those who don’t like the United States in the same manner that he does those who do, he might bring great clarity to his now listless foreign policy. Indeed, why waste his rich vocabulary of teleprompted invective on fellow Americans, when there is an entire world out there that wishes the United States ill?
Imagine if Obama declaimed of the Iranians in Tehran that “those aren’t the kinds of folks who represent our core American values,” in the manner he once attacked John McCain for calling for border security in 2008. Could not a worldly Obama at least go after the intolerant Saudis for spreading Wahhabi-hatred worldwide and for sending subsidies to radical Sunni terrorists, in the detailed way he once deconstructed rural conservative voters of Pennsylvania? He might have taken apart these dogmatic religious absolutists in the following manner: “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” All such invective seems to sum up current Saudi society far better than it does the people of Pennsylvania. Could not the president finish by noting that their madrassas encourage divisions and discourage cooperation, just as he boldly lectured an Irish audience about the problems with Catholic parochial schools?
As far as these hyper-rich Persian Gulf sheikdoms go, could not the fearless Obama urge these “fat cats” to share their riches with poorer countries, in the manner he once sermonized to Americans in no uncertain terms: “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody”?
Egypt? Could not no-nonsense Obama say of Mohamed Morsi and his destruction of that country that he “was acting stupidly,” in the fashion he did with the Cambridge Police Department? Could not Attorney General Eric Holder be enlisted to talk down to the Libyans, who will not turn over the killers of our government personnel, by claiming they are abject “cowards”? Many Islamists in Nigeria are slaughtering Christians; could not an empathetic Obama express solidarity with the victims the way he did so poignantly with Trayvon Martin: “If I had a son, he’d look like a slain Christian Nigerian”?
American politics is historically a rough-and-tumble business, characterized by invective and slurs. What is different with the Obama administration is not that it goes after its critics, but rather that it does so in an extreme fashion that it does not employ for those abroad who oppose the United States at almost every turn. Diplomacy is one thing, but being far harsher with domestic than foreign critics is a peculiarity we have not seen since the Nixon era, when an “enemies list” did not reference Red China or Leonid Brezhnev’s Russia as much as those who worked for the Washington Post.
Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.