Obama’s U.N. speech, Afghanistan, and 91 years ago today

Barack Obama’s first speech to the United Nations this week wasn’t exactly greeted by plaudits from the thinking political right. The Heritage Foundation’s Foundry Blog had this to say Thursday morning:

Hubris, Weakness, and Naïveté at the U.N.

“The United States elected 43 presidents before the current occupant graced the office with his presence. We fought, and won, two world wars, liberated millions of people worldwide from tyranny, and worked cooperatively with other sovereign nations to rebuild entire continents. Some might even say the character of our nation is well established considering we have been a democracy for just over 230 years now.

Not President Barack Obama, who told the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, ‘For those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.’ 230 years versus just nine months. No wonder, the New York Times reports, were UN delegates not only applauding Obama, but snapping photos of their hero like tourists.”

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had this to say on the Fox News Special Reportshow on the day of the big speech:

“This speech hovered somewhere between embarrassing and dangerous. You had a president of the United States actually saying: ‘No [one] nation can or should try to dominate another.’

I will buy the ‘should try to’ as kind of adolescent wishful thinking. But ‘no [one] nation can dominate another’? What planet is he living on? It is the story of man. What does he think Russia is doing to Georgia? …

Obama’s speech is alarming because it says the United States has no more moral right to act or to influence world history than Bangladesh or Sierra Leone.

It diminishes the United States deliberately and wants to say that we should be one nation among others, and not defend the alliance of democracies that we have in NATO, for example, or to say – as [did] every president who goes before Obama – that we stand for something good and unique in the world.”

Click here to read his entire comments.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told National Review Online’s Robert Costa that the speech was –

“a post-American speech by our first post-American president. It was a speech high on the personality of Barack Obama and high on multilateralism, but very short in advocating American interests.”

Costa also quotes Bolton saying this:

“It was a very naïve, Wilsonian speech, and very revealing of Obama’s foreign policy,” says Bolton. “Overall, it was so apologetic for the actions of prior administrations, in an effort to distance Obama from them, that it became yet another symbol of American weakness in the wake of the president’s decision to abandon missile sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, and his recent manifest hesitation over what to do in Afghanistan.”

NRO’s Robert Costa includes his own take:

“In Obama’s world, despite his rhetoric about ‘defending American interests’ and not apologizing for it, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE IS DOING! We should be getting used to this by now; Obama spouting soothing rhetoric that disarms his critics while going ahead and doing exactly the opposite while daring someone to call him out. Bolton has this guy’s shtick down cold.”

For more on Obama’s speech, read another National Review post “Bitter Harvests to Come” byVictor Davis Hanson. It’s devastating.

Tough, plain language when it comes to foreign policy isn’t an option. Barack Obama is at a fork in the road regarding this nation’s policy in Afghanistan. The sad fact is that very few Republican leaders or Republican candidates know how to even address the issue in town hall meetings or on the campaign stump. What we hear is mostly banalities and platitudes resulting from ignorance.

It’s pathetic, but a sign of the times. Most of our Republican political leaders learned no lessons from their inability to lead public opinion when it came to Iraq – now we’re already seeing history repeating itself.

Speaking of history – if you attended public schools or one of those colleges or universities that teach the “new math” version of history, chances are you weren’t taught about the largest and deadliest battle in American history. It began September 26, 1918, and you can learn more about it here and here.

Lastly, should you have any travel plans in your future, if you’re anywhere near one of America’s overseas military cemeteries, you absolutely should visit them. Visit the American Battle Monuments Commission website at www.abmc.gov to learn more.

©2009 John Francis Biver