Obama’s new politics of international apology

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The Article

U. S. President Barack Obama should be extremely grateful to his wife for captivating Europeans and the world media with her “shock and awe” sweater campaign. Amidst her triumphant tour, few noticed that Obama was proving to be a major embarrassment to his own country.

In a February address to a joint session of Congress, Obama confidently declared, “there is no force in the world more powerful than the example of America.” Last week, he essentially tossed that same “powerful example” under the bus as he became the first president to criticize America on foreign soil. He grovelled before world leaders in an “America’s example bad, everybody else good” apology tour to the Muslim world.

The word “grovel” is no exaggeration. At the G-20 Summit in London, the (formerly) most powerful man in the world bowed down to Saudi King Abdullah. According to protocol, American presidents don’t bow to other leaders, let alone a Muslim king from a country governed by sharia law, and notorious for its subjugation of women, repression of human rights and financing of terrorists.

He went on to submit to, I mean address, the Turkish parliament in Ankara where he used the middle name (Hussein) that he never uses in America, denied America was a Christian nation, condemned America for its “darker period” (slavery)—without mentioning it was abolished long ago or considering that slavery is a cultural norm in some Muslim countries.

He then gave them a crash course in history saying, the U. S. conveys “our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world—including my own country.” Apparently, history books have missed the fact Islam played a huge role in building America, fighting in its wars, overcoming slavery, fighting for women’s equality and the civil rights movement.

He’s right in saying that Islam has shaped the U. S. (and its policies)—at least since Sept. 11, 2001. Or the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the attacks on U. S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And to Obama’s credit, Islam has shaped the world since dozens were slaughtered at a Bali bar, the London Tube and on a Madrid train.

In France, he declared the U. S. has to “change our behaviour in showing the Muslim world new respect.” He said America had been arrogant, dismissive and derisive. These comments line up with those from his first interview as president (granted to an Arab—not American—network) where he apologized for America’s mistakes and said he wanted to restore “the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world . . . 20 or 30 years ago.”

But who owes who “respect,” based on the events of the past 20 or 30 years? The U.S. has done more to help Muslims than any other nation—including Muslim nations. They’ve engaged in five wars to liberate Muslims from oppressors and genocide (Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.)

After making it clear his America would humble itself to the Muslim world, Obama went to Prague, where he responded to the North Korean missile test with calls for “violations (to be) punished” and a “strong international response.” Then he responded by cutting U. S. missile defence systems, including the Alaska-based interceptors able to shoot down North Korean missiles.

He further emasculated the U. S. by committing to nuclear disarmament and making a personal deal with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to renew dis-armament talks. Obama’s first victory on the road to world peace? Hardly. Just 10 days later, Russia launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a 550 kilotonne nuclear warhead. Russia is pouring millions into renewing its missile arsenal by 2016, but the U. S. interceptor system that protects America from Russian missiles will be long gone by then.

We’re starting to see what America on the world stage will be like under Obama. It’ll be a bit like Alice in Wonderland coming out the other side—everything’s nonsensical, upside-down and bassackwards.

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Joel Johannesen
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