Rightbloggers on Foreign Affairs: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
We all know what domestic policies rightbloggers favor -- tax breaks for the wealthy, persecution of minorities, and so forth -- but we don't usually hear much about their foreign policy preferences except Benghazi Impeach skreee.
But last week was a busy one in that regard, and gave us a good look at what the brethren believe about international affairs. In brief, it is that the White House is both reckless and overcautious; that it has been ever since the Soviets took over the Democratic Party in the 1930s; that our War against Al Qaeda will not be successful unless we aggressively promote it as a Third World War, complete with nuclear weapons; and Benghazi Impeach skreee.
Last week Obama closed several U.S. embassies in and around the Middle East in anticipation of Al Qaeda strikes. You might think rightbloggers would approve -- after all, rightbloggers talk about Benghazi every day, several times a day, and surely don't want another such fatal security lapse. Plus there's the old saw about politics stopping at the water's edge -- ha ha, okay, we're kidding.
Anyways, notwithstanding that the embassies are now starting to reopen with all hands safe and sound, rightbloggers found the closures an outrage, either because they were too defensive, or because they weren't defensive enough, depending on their mood-swings.
While admitting "such preemptive measures are no doubt sober and judicious," Victor Davis Hanson nonetheless thought the closings proved terrorists "increasingly do not seem to fear U.S. retaliation for any planned assaults. Instead, al-Qaeda franchises expect Americans to adopt their new pill-bug mode of shutting down and curling up until danger passes." Then the terrorists all laugh at us from their ratholes, and dream of the day when they can walk the streets without being blown up by our drones.
"President Obama and his administration continue to project foreign policy weakness around the world by announcing the temporary closure of U.S. embassies around the world," dudgeoned Javier Manjarres at The Shark Tank. "...moves like this embolden terrorists... This the kind of thinking that terrorists exploited when they attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi." Quite the opposite, actually, security-wise, but Benghazi Benghazi, also Benghazi. "Obama Shuts Down Embassies as CIA Works Hard to Cover Up the True Story of Benghazi," bank-shot Rush Limbaugh.
When The Daily Beast reported that the closures were inspired by an intercepted Al Qaeda conference call, Elliot Bakker at Western Journalism declared "the leaks... came straight from the White House to bolster President Obama's 'tough guy' image." How'd he know? For one thing, because the Beast cited "three [anonymous] U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence... suggesting the leak came from the President's close advisors." Among rightbloggers, the trustworthiness of the MSM ebbs and flows depending on its usefulness as an assumption -- as was seen a few sentences later, when Bakker said that the Obama agents chose the "undeniably liberal platform" of The Beast because it was "a news organization that they knew would accept the White House version of what happened, rather than ask the tough questions that such revelations raise." Bakker had his chance but, alas, asked no such questions, instead reiterating that Obama was leaking like a sieve and "we are less safe because of the thoughtless way in which the information has been released."
"[Eli] Lake points out that al Qaeda thought its conference calls were secure, but now that the Obama administration is disclosing that we're listening in on them, the terrorists will stop using them," claimed Bryan Preston of PJ Media. "Ditto the courier that we've disclosed intercepting. So we've jeopardized a potential gold mine of intelligence." Now that they've been tipped off that their enemies actually spy on them, Al Qaeda operatives will soon stop communicating altogether, and that'll show us.
We don't know how we missed this one earlier.
On the other hand, Angelo Codevilla suggested that that any overheard enemy conversations were useless: "The terrorists who have bitten us have not chattered, while those who chatter do not bite," he wrote. "...the US government is up against serious people. Unfortunately, it gives proof of unseriousness." Furthermore, Codevilla was sure the terrorists were feeding us "disinformation" in order to spur our "self-discrediting reactions" -- which leads us to wonder why they didn't leak information suggesting that in order to keep the embassies safe U.S. officials had to walk around with their underwear on their heads; that'd be really self-discrediting.
"Regime Leaked the Intercept of Al-Qaeda's Conference Call to Make Obama Look Good," said Rush Limbaugh. "I have never seen the United States so disrespected and held in such contempt. America was once synonymous with freedom. The U.S. under Obama is the laughingstock of the world," said noted international policy analyst Pamela Geller at WorldNetDaily.
Inevitably, Some Guy at RedState accused Obama of making the whole thing up, calling the alleged danger a "Potemkin Embassy Threat." "The only evidence proffered in defense of this ridiculous exercise at playing Chicken Little is the word of the Administration," he huffed, and Some Guy was not inclined to accept it. The "much more simple" explanation, he said, was that the President sought to "put an end to this rising tide of concern about civil liberties" that rightbloggers have recently and suddenly adopted regarding NSA.
Some Guy wasn't the only one. "Al-Qaida Plot Distraction Is Too Well-Timed For Obama," editorialized Investor's Business Daily, who added the "impending terrorist mega-attack looks suspiciously gift-wrapped and well-timed. For one thing, if we're on the eve of a possible '9/11 junior,' what on earth is the president of the U.S. doing going on the Tonight Show for the umpteenth time?"
(Speaking of Obama on Leno, we should note these observances: "Obama lied on Leno, where's the outrage?... I'm tired of living in the pro-Obama, anti-facts Twilight Zone that has taken over our nation's airwaves" -- David Seaman, "Host, 'The David Seaman Hour,'" The Daily Caller; "Leno Wimps Out, Becomes Obama's Willing Accomplice Again" -- Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters; "The Presidency and the Country were Diminished by Obama's Leno Appearance" -- Rush Limbaugh; "Obama's 'Tonight Show' Visit Costly to Taxpayers... The flight time on Air Force One alone was $1.8 million... that does not include two 50-minute flights in California on Marine One..." -- Newsmax, etc. Special credit goes to James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, who spun Obama's on-air remark, "The odds of people dying in a terrorist attack obviously are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately," into a lawyerly defense of rape theoretician Todd Akin.)
"The United States is closing 21 embassies across the Muslim World this weekend due to a terror threat by Al-Qaeda. Obama went golfing," wrote the ever-reliable Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit.
Obama also had a little trouble with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, what with his harboring of Edward Snowden, and backed off an official visit. His rightblogger critics disapproved for many reasons, which mainly came down to Obama Did a Thing.
"How cute. Obama is going to try and play big man to Vlad Putin over Snowden," said Fire Andrea Mitchell. "I'm sure Putin can really give two shits about Obama 'cancelling' the meetings. So much for that reset button thing. Both are communists, I would think they'd get along well."
Oh yeah -- that reset button thing, which is something Joe Biden came up with in 2009, got a lot of mileage. "Obama Pushes Reset Button - Cancels Moscow Summit With Putin," said Jim Hoft. "RESET FAILURE," yelled Pamela Geller. "'Reset' Obama," Said Bridget Johnson at The PJ Tatler. "OBAMA 'RESETS' RUSSIAN RELATIONSHIP BY INSULTING PUTIN," said John Hinderaker at Power Line. "Remember the good old days when the Obama administration promised 'smart diplomacy?'" said Hinderaker. Yet here we are at the brink of a new Cuban Missle Crisis! "We certainly have come a long way from the early days of the 'Hope and Change' administration," added Hinderaker for the Double Meme Score.
No one was more upset than Tommy De Seno at Ricochet. "Obama's Broken Campaign Promise - Refusing To Meet with Putin," headlined De Seno. "Recall," he wrote, "that during the President's 2008 campaign he caused quite a political stir by asserting that he would meet with America's adversaries where his predecessor George W. Bush would not. It was one of the few issues in that campaign about which I actually agreed with Obama."
Obama has met plenty of world leaders, including our enemies -- did De Seno miss Michele Bachmann telling us, "Obama's Friends Are America's Enemies"? -- and he's even met with Putin, but clearly in 2008 Obama was talking about Putin in August 2013, and now that this sacred promise is betrayed, repercussions could be grave, said De Seno: "Before a President has the moral authority to send a soldier to kill someone, that President owes the soldier every effort to diplomatically avoid the situation... Sending a soldier to kill shouldn't be taken for granted. And it should never be done by a President who didn't try make every effort with the opposing leader for fear of the negative coverage a photograph would generate in the New York Times. I'm not asserting here that we are close to having a military conflict with Russia..." Yeah, yeah. Anyway, said De Seno, "I'd prefer a President who would instead relish the opportunity to see Putin after he gave quarter to Snowden. I want a President who would get on the phone and say, 'Hey Vladimir, I'm coming right over.' Can we find such a President?" Well, maybe Herman Cain can run again.
Later Obama downplayed the contretemps: "I know the press likes to focus on body language and he [Putin] has got this kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom," he said. "But the truth is that when we're in conversation together, oftentimes it's very productive."
"Testy Obama takes a swipe at Putin's posture," reported Twitchy.
National Review's David Satter leapt into action: by slouching, Putin was cleverly signaling the Russian people that "Obama is the supplicant and although Putin is straining to be polite, Obama's statements are absurd... it does not pay to avoid the way Obama is treated in public." If Obama doesn't start straightening Putin up, and maybe making him spit out his gum, America might lose the crucial support of Russian nationalists.
Maybe he can run on the GOP line in 2016. He can really fire up the base!
The indignities didn't stop there. "Putin Calls Bush to Wish Him Well After Heart Surgery, Obama Ignores," headlined Jammie Wearing Fool. Well, we know who the real patriot is there!
All this is about short-term global issues, though: What about the long term? Well, for historical perspective, there was Diana West, whose new book American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on our Nation's Character explains that Franklin Roosevelt was a puppet of the Soviets and that's why he made us fight with them against the Nazis instead of with the Nazis against the Soviets, as a true patriot would. This premise, which goes even beyond that of Robert Welch's Bircher bible The Politician, was too much even for some very anti-Commie rightbloggers such as Ron Radosh. But others were all for it, and insisted that Radosh and his publisher, David Horowitz, were trying to blacken West's rep for nefarious reasons that had nothing to do with the outrageousness of her accusations.
"Despite [West's] hyperbolic, exclamation point, italicized febrile style, the awful truth appears to materialize, like a photographic image in a pan of developing fluid," metaphailed Bernie Reeves at American Thinker. True, "scholars are nitpicking her hyperbole and her facts," but they are "restricted by their profession not to dramatize their findings," a drawback in Reeves' view: "West's intensity is what is needed for Americans to grasp that our culture has been hijacked," he explains. "For example, the national media and our major universities continue to ignore the Left's political agenda in which traditional American beliefs have been gradually undermined and replaced with utopian theoretical doctrines born in Marxism..."
You see the point: It may not be much as history, but as propaganda it's first-class.
At American Power Donald Douglas objected to Radosh's "vicious, personal and ad hominem attack" against West. "Any writer/scholar is going to face criticism and pushback against their work," sputtered Douglas. "...it's not wether Diana's book is right or wrong on facts and interpretations... there's a prodigious amount of research that went into American Betrayal, and I'd expect that the work would be seen as advancing an important debate and offering much needed provocation in our current era of official state-sponsored ignorance and the media's capitulation to daily Orwellian lies." (See above.)
The Lonely Conservative countered Radosh's "smears" by telling us Horowitz's FrontPageMag had "purged" a positive review of West's book at its site. "Isn't that how the left operates?" asked Lonely Conservative. "I admire David Horowitz's work exposing the left for who they are, but this just doesn't sit well with me." Substitute "the truth about Obama's birth certificate" for American Betrayal, and you see how this works.
For more rightblogger lessons in history, let us look to a couple of National Review authors. David French celebrated the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by telling us what a bunch of miserable wimps we have become. "In a time when America lacks the strength of will to force an active-duty Army officer (and admitted terrorist) to shave his jihadist beard before appearing at a court-martial," he snarled, "when we wring our hands in guilt over the use of the most precise weapons ever devised against an enemy of unquestioned cruelty and malice, and when we respond to threats with weakness that merely encourages greater violence, it's worth remembering a time when this nation understood the necessity -- the moral necessity -- of decisive force."
Parts of French's essay seem to veer off into ether -- "Food stamps and single-payer health care aren't firewalls against evil," he said at one point, "and we're fools if we entertain that belief" -- but in the main his point was clear enough: "Our nation dialogues with (and funds) Holocaust-denying jihadists and displays little more than worried impotence as a hostile and hateful Iranian regime races towards an atomic bomb," but once upon a time we knew when to push the button.
Later French's colleague Michael Walsh went further, not only cheering Hirsohima and Nagasaki, but also that "every major city in Germany was destroyed and both Hamburg and Dresden were incinerated, the bodies of their inhabitants literally blown apart by the force of the bonfire's incendiary winds: In Dresden, human heads rained down from the sky like bowling balls after the bodies of the victims evaporated in the flames..."
Some readers might wonder if Walsh wasn't more pleased by the gore than by the military outcome (maybe he's read Diana West!), but eventually he got to his point: "We're way too politically correct to do something like that today, of course, and so we fight pointless wars for speechwriter mush about 'human freedom' that are all tactics and no strategy, with no apparent political objectives other than to see 'elections' staged, some schools built, and some cups of tea drunk. But we did not fight to 'liberate' the Germans from Hitler or the Japanese from imperial militarism: We fought them to crush them and eradicate the root of the evil that animated them..."
The conclusion is obvious: We've got to stop namby-pambying around, "liberating" Arabs from those jihadists, and just make the Middle East a parking lot. It doesn't seem like something that could rouse the masses, except toward the exits. But then, when voters already seem disinclined to trust you with their nation's military power, you can say all kinds of things that someone wishing to win elections might keep under his hat; at least it'll help the diehards maintain their faith in these long (and getting longer) wilderness years.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- Voice Letters: Readers Share Their Energy Service Company Horror Stories
Thu., Feb. 11, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 12, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 12, 7:00pm
Sun., Feb. 14, 12:30pm
- Landlords Can't Stop Evicting Latino-Owned Businesses in Washington Heights
- St. Mark's Bookshop May Be Forced to Close This Week as Debt Woes Continue