Krauthammer on Obama and “leading from behind”

April 29, 2011

I wrote about this amazing statement of an Obama Doctrine a few days ago. Well, it’s more accurate to say I sputtered in disbelief at it. In today’s Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer actually analyzes it in a penetrating article I could emulate only in my dreams. The whole piece is a must-read, but here is his discussion of the administration’s perceived need to lead from behind because the world hates us:

It is the fate of any assertive superpower to be envied, denounced and blamed for everything under the sun. Nothing has changed. Moreover, for a country so deeply reviled, why during the massive unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan and Syria have anti-American demonstrations been such a rarity?

Who truly reviles America the hegemon? The world that Obama lived in and shaped him intellectually: the elite universities; his Hyde Park milieu (including his not-to-be-mentioned friends, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn); the church he attended for two decades, ringing with sermons more virulently anti-American than anything heard in today’s full-throated uprising of the Arab Street.

It is the liberal elites who revile the American colossus and devoutly wish to see it cut down to size. Leading from behind — diminishing America’s global standing and assertiveness — is a reaction to their view of America, not the world’s.

Other presidents have taken anti-Americanism as a given, rather than evidence of American malignancy, believing — as do most Americans — in the rightness of our cause and the nobility of our intentions. Obama thinks anti-Americanism is a verdict on America’s fitness for leadership. I would suggest that “leading from behind” is a verdict on Obama’s fitness for leadership.

Leading from behind is not leading. It is abdicating. It is also an oxymoron. Yet a sympathetic journalist, channeling an Obama adviser, elevates it to a doctrine. The president is no doubt flattered. The rest of us are merely stunned.

Three points, nothing but net.

RELATED: More Krauthammer — “Decline is a choice.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Creative smuggling: We build a fence, they fly over it

April 29, 2011

Cartel smugglers may be walking pustules who profit by selling poison and wreak havoc on their own nation(1), but give hem credit for adaptability: Border-control advocates have been screaming for years about building a fence along the Mexican border? Fine The drug-smugglers will just find another way across — or over:

The visiting British pilots were training near a naval air station one night this month when their helicopter came within about 150 feet of an ultralight plane flying without lights. The ultralight darted away toward Mexico without a trace.

The near-disaster over the Southern California desert was an example of drug smugglers using low-flying aircraft that look like motorized hang gliders to circumvent new fences along the U.S. border with Mexico. The planes, which began appearing in Arizona three years ago, are now turning up in remote parts of California and New Mexico.

And in a new twist, the planes rarely touch the ground. Pilots simply pull levers that drop aluminum bins filled with about 200 pounds of marijuana for drivers who are waiting on the ground with blinking lights or glow-sticks. Within a few minutes, the pilots are back in Mexico.

“It’s like dropping a bomb from an aircraft,” said Jeffrey Calhoon, chief of the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, which stretches through alfalfa farms, desert scrub and sand dunes in southeast California.

The Border Patrol has erected hundreds of miles of fences and vehicle barriers along the border and added thousands of new agents, so drug smugglers are going over, under and around.

I particularly like the “bombing run” aspect.

While the use of ultra-lights is perhaps the most unusual development in the chess match along the border, it’s not the only one: cartel smugglers also use tunnels under the border and boats on the Pacific coast to go around it.

In one sense, it’s an illustration of markets in action: with demand so high in the US, the cartels are going to do their darnedest to make sure they get their goods to the buyers.

Move and counter, thrust and parry.

AFTERTHOUGHT: If drugs are being passed over the border via ultralight, what –or who– else is making it across?

TANGENT:

(1) In fact, that’s just what they are.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dear Mr. President: Don’t mess with Nikki Haley

April 29, 2011

Because you don’t stand a chance.


Lara Logan: “They raped me with their hands.”

April 29, 2011

CBS reporter Lara Logan was gang-raped by hundreds of Muslim men while covering the mass demonstrations in Egypt’s Tahrir Square last February. Today she recounted her experience in an article in the New York Times:

“There was a moment that everything went wrong,” she recalled.

As the cameraman, Richard Butler, was swapping out a battery, Egyptian colleagues who were accompanying the camera crew heard men nearby talking about wanting to take Ms. Logan’s pants off. She said: “Our local people with us said, ‘We’ve gotta get out of here.’ That was literally the moment the mob set on me.”

Mr. Butler, Ms. Logan’s producer, Max McClellan, and two locally hired drivers were “helpless,” Mr. Fager said, “because the mob was just so powerful.” A bodyguard who had been hired to accompany the team was able to stay with Ms. Logan for a brief period of time. “For Max to see the bodyguard come out of the pile without her, that was one of the worst parts,” Mr. Fager said. He said Ms. Logan “described how her hand was sore for days after — and the she realized it was from holding on so tight” to the bodyguard’s hand.

They estimated that they were separated from her for about 25 minutes.

“My clothes were torn to pieces,” Ms. Logan said.

She declined to go into more detail about the assault but said: “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”

A weakness of the article is its failure to address the role of Islam and Islamic law(1) in fostering attitudes and beliefs that reduce women to the status of chattels under the control of men, subject to punishment –including sexual assault– for acting in an un-Islamic manner. And, based on the example of Muhammad, who, we are told in the Qur’an, gives us a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for all time, women taken prisoner may be enjoyed and used as one would one’s property. The interview dances around the topic, hinting at it by mentioning countries and regions, but never gets to the heart of the problem. For example:

While Ms. Logan, CBS’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, said she would definitely return to Afghanistan and other conflict zones, she said she had decided — for the moment — not to report from the Middle Eastern countries where protests were widespread.

And yet Afghanistan is Islamic and a place where women are treated brutally. To say one would return to Afghanistan, but not “the Middle East” is to draw a distinction without a difference; it ignores the common thread, Islam, and its codification and sacralization of millennia-old tribal attitudes toward women.

When Logan says this shows “the oppressive role of men” in the society, she’s right, but leaving it at that is to turn a blind eye to the elephant in the room.

Another part of the article bears mentioning:

Before the assault, Ms. Logan said, she did not know about the levels of harassment and abuse that women in Egypt and other countries regularly experienced. “I would have paid more attention to it if I had had any sense of it,” she said.

Before we go any further, understand this is not a criticism of Lara Logan, but an observation regarding the parochial naiveté of the journalistic profession overall, which seems to think it can parachute into any troubled part of the world and play the role of “untouchable outside observer.” Not only do these MSM reporters seem to have only the most superficial understanding of the areas they cover, but it’s as if they think the fact that they’re journalists gives them some sort of protection against the anti-American (anti-Western, anti-Jewish, anti-women, &c., &c.) prejudices and rages rife there. While Logan’s example is by far the most horrific, CNN’s Anderson Cooper was also attacked in Tahrir Square, and the NYT’s own Lynsey Addario was sexually assaulted while covering the rebellion in Libya.

There are no “safe passes,” and women especially need to understand the situation they are walking into.

Meanwhile, it’s good to see that Logan is recovering.

LINKS: Earlier posts about Lara Logan. My blog-buddy Sister Toldjah posted about this.

TANGENT:

(1) And before someone says “religion had nothing to do with this” or “Islam respects women,” you’re wrong.


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