President Obama accepted the ridiculous Nobel "Peace" Prize yesterday and gave a speech. Everyone with a clue, which leaves out those who worship The One or believe it was a good idea for the Nobel people to award this to Obama, knows that the Europeans were trying to influence U.S. foreign policy, especially as it relates to the War on Terror. But I don't let The One off the hook either for accepting it, which he shouldn't have done. Be that as it may, he should have something along the lines of the title of the post. It's in quotes, so someone has said it before. But I won't say who.
I didn't watch or listen to the speech (except for excerpts) because I get a headache listening to The One. But I did read it and I didn't like it, just like I don't like most of his speeches. I've read the critiques from those on the left and the right who liked it or liked parts of it, along with those who didn't like it; I think the best assessment from someone in the latter camp came from Victor Davis Hanson, although my gut reaction to it was more along the lines of what NRO reported as John Bolton's take on the speech. Here's my take.
I agree with Hanson that there were a couple of good parts (he doesn't list them). One is that at least Obama recognizes that he hasn't done hardly anything to deserve the award (which is why the Nobel people should be chastised vehemently for awarding it to The One). Plus, he said this while discussing the post-WWII world:
Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions – not just treaties and declarations – that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.
The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest – because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
That's the first time I've ever heard a leftist indicate that the U.S. was not some imperialist power bent on world domination. Obama also made a point of recognizing and saying that there are those who have to be fought since negotiations with such people or governments can be fruitless.
But that's about it for the decent things he said. The rest was pure Obama-speak and mindless leftist drivel. He creates a conundrum when he says the following:
I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.
Yet earlier, he takes a veiled swipe at President Bush:
But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I...am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek;...
Hanson rightly notes that Obama didn't use the word Iraq once; plus, The One's only reference to it was when he mentioned the U.S.-led coalition that kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. The fact of the matter is that Iraq under Hussein after Desert Storm was to endure a dozen more years of the kind of humanitarian disaster Obama says would require military intervention, and that's on top of the international sanctions placed on Iraq (which were making Hussein wealthier at the expense of his own people) that Hussein was ignoring. So this dig at Bush was completely uncalled for especially with what The One said later about when to use military force.
But during the worst part of his speech, The One trots out the usual leftist trope about how peace occurs, pretty much ignoring his own words that I quoted above. He breaks it down in three meaningless approaches:
- Developing alternatives to violence to battle those governments and entities that break international rules
- A just peace must be based on the civil and political rights of the people
- A true peace includes freedom from want
The second item is about the closest Obama gets to being right. But even when discussing this, The One doesn't think at all to mention either the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights, just the meaningless Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed after WWII that every tyranny in the world is allowed to blatantly ignore. Obama deliberately misstates history trying to make his point. He discusses Nixon's visit with Mao Tse-Tung in China helping to bring that country to become more free than it had been been since the Communists took over; the only thing that helped the Chinese was Mao's death. The One blatantly distorts how Reagan handled the Soviet Union by saying Reagan embraced Gorbachev's perestroika. Reagan did no such thing; Reagan called them every name in the book, recognized that perestroika was nothing more than a false front to keep the Communist regime in place, and dared the Soviet government to meet with the U.S. on Reagan's terms, not theirs.
With his first point, as I mentioned earlier, The One complete ignores his own words. He is right that the world must stand as one when dealing with recalcitrant regimes (like the one Saddam Hussein had in Iraq), but gets the wording all wrong. He would have been better off quoting this from The Godfather:
If you'd come to me in friendship, then this scum...would be suffering this very day. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then they would become my enemies. And then they would fear you.
Friendship is great amongst allies, but respect is what is required; it also is required from competitors and foes, and you don't get that respect without spreading the right amount of fear. Instead, Obama keeps putting out a toothless meme that will do nothing but maintain the status quo or make things worse.
The freedom from want that is Obama's third point is typical Marxist claptrap. Even in as free a country as the United States, there is no freedom from want. What the Constitution provides is a way to avoid that want, a method by which all the people can do things for themselves while under the protection of the Constitution and the laws of the land. The One's point is nothing more than the typical Marxist garbage of government redistributing property from the haves to whom the government determines are the have-nots. In the end, there aren't enough resources to make everyone economically equal, so what ends up happening is that the vast majority of the people will become poor, except those running things, and beholden to the government. In other words, a return to serfdom. Roger Scruton at The American Spectator puts out a piece that should be required reading (if you haven't done so already) which explains in detail the folly of Obama's point about "freedom from want".
Despite the fact that it was better than most, this was pretty much a typical Obama speech, full of the statism and leftist folderol The One puts out on display, along with the usual falsification of history he provides. I think when Obama is a very old man, he might actually understand the nature about the country he is leading now, what it is the United States is about, and has been about for the last 200-plus years. But then again, maybe he won't. After all, look at Jimmy Carter, the former President The One most resembles.