OBAMA’S SUN HAS SET
IN THE FRENCH CAPITAL
Did you feel that tremor?
It’s the ground shifting under Barack Obama.
The Paris carnage and its aftermath reveal how exasperated people have become with the arrogant blend of incompetence and subversion that’s been on display since the start of this administration.
It doesn’t matter if state governors resisting Syrian refugees are nearly all Republicans. A movement so emphatic, consistent and quick to coalesce reflects a true groundswell of public opinion.
How many people do you know who feel confident there’s no connection between Muslim immigration and increased terrorism risk?
Yes, yes, let’s say it again: The vast majority of Muslims in the U.S. aren’t terrorists or terrorist supporters. But then, the vast majority of Muslims in France aren’t either. And yet, blood has flowed.
Still, give him points for tenacity — Obama’s sticking to his game plan (such as it is). CNBC reported…
“Statements by the governors came as President Barack Obama addressed the G-20 meeting in Turkey. He called suggestions from political leaders that a religious test be applied to refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. ‘shameful.’
“‘That’s not American,’ he said. ‘That’s not who we are. We do not have religious tests to our compassion.’”
Neither is he willing to make any adjustments in tactics against ISIS. From Politico…
“President Barack Obama on Monday dismissed growing calls for a dramatic rethink of the U.S. approach to the Islamic State despite last week’s deadly attacks in Paris, ruling out sending combat troops to fight the terrorist group on grounds that it would not lead to a permanent solution.”
Whatever the strategic merits of combat troops, such an approach would be much too George Bush-like. And after all, Obama did promise to change the country fundamentally.
Nevertheless, when you’ve lost Diane Feinstein, you know things have shifted. Also from Politico…
“Sen. Dianne Feinstein sharply contradicted President Barack Obama on Monday, disagreeing with his claim that the Islamic State is ‘contained.’
“‘I’ve never been more concerned,” the California Democrat and Intelligence Committee ranking member told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Monday. ‘I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding.’”
Worse than that, Feinstein — one of the most stalwart of liberals — raised fundamental questions about Obama’s military judgment…
“‘Candidly, I don’t think bombing runs alone, we have done about 8,000 now, can really make a difference. So we’re going to have to look at some new themes and I think we will have to listen very carefully to our military people and ask for the kind of precise military strategy and tactics that might be able to really contain ISIL and defeat it,’ she said.”
It’s easy to identify two beneficiaries of the Paris atrocity, and neither of them is Barack Obama.
First is Vladimir Putin, who’s looking more Churchillian everyday, compared with the Incredible Shrinking Community Organizer.
Second is Donald Trump, whose all-stops-out immigration reform demands are sounding positively prophetic.
Of course, we mustn’t forget the various European conservative parties. In France, the National Front — whose leader, Marine Le Pen has called explicitly for the annihilation of ISIS — is soaring in polls and expected to sweep the next election.
Rightest parties in other countries are picking up similar momentum. It’s a continent-wide trend that may drive the last nail into the coffin of the European Union. But then, the EU seems more and more like an idea whose time has past anyway.
People are finally getting the idea that what we face is, in the words of British author and journalist, John Bradley…
“a new and terrifying kind of war that is aimed at everything we value.”
Just why it’s taken so many folks such a long time to become convinced is a question for the psychologists. Didn’t 9/11 happen 14 years ago, or have I just imagined it all?
Writing in the UK’s Daily Mail, Bradley observes about Islamist radicals…
“Their motivation for unbridled violence is as simple as it is portentous: to eradicate, or enslave, all of the world’s population that does not subscribe to their extremist interpretation of Islam.”
…and about ISIS, the latest variant of this wicked species…
“…while Al-Qaeda had specific demands that called for the West to withdraw from the Middle East, even if every Western soldier and civilian left the region tomorrow, it would merely galvanize Islamic State jihadis into more hideous acts of barbarity.”
Which means, he says, the Islamist onslaught “will likely last for years, if not decades.”
Well, that’s the new reality, I guess. Though, sad to say, not everyone has signed onto it.
Recent headlines from the Progressive online journal, Common Dreams, demonstrates how hard it can be to give up cherished ideas that sustain ideologically-driven opinions. A selection…
• After Paris, Rights Groups Warn Against Knee-Jerk ‘National Security’ Overreach
• Vowing ‘Merciless’ Response, France Is Accused of Repeating Bush’s Great Mistake
• Critics Warn Against ‘Wars of Vengeance’
• The Poison of Guantanamo Will Spread Until Its Prisoners Are Set Free
• Paris Terror Attacks: France Now Faces Fight Against Fear and Exclusion
Along the same lines, Ben Norton, political writer at the lefty journal, Salon, is still groping for a way to prove that we’re only getting what we deserve…
“The West frequently acts as though it is the principal victim, but the exact contrary is true.
“Never interrogated is why exactly are so many refugees fleeing the Middle East and North Africa. It is not like millions of people want to leave their homes and families; they are fleeing violence and chaos — violence and chaos that happens to almost always be the result of Western military intervention.”
Excusing all the melodramatic language, such points are not entirely without substance. But tragedies have a way of sweeping their causes into the background.
Right now isn’t really the opportune moment to agonize over past failures and mistakes. What’s called for is decisive action.
People are finally focused — most people, anyway.
They should be.
And they’ve pretty much given up hope that Barack Obama has it within him to do anything decisive that can make a meaningful difference.
Unfortunately, this administration still has more than a year to run. Which gives ISIS plenty of time to restage its “Evening in Paris” event over here.
Since Hillary inspires no more confidence than Obama, and the Republicans don’t seem able to put forth a better alternative, I suppose The Donald’s a shoo-in.
That is, if our system is as resilient as we’ve always assumed it is.
On the other hand, we could let anxiety run really wild and ponder the possibility that somebody — somebody with resources and authority — might be out there working up an alternative scheme of national leadership.
I’m not talking about the common Internet meme that Obama’s angling to declare marshal law. For that matter, I’m not necessarily talking about anything constitutional. When anxiety flows over, people start dreaming about the proverbial man on a white horse.
Now that would be changing the country fundamentally!
It’s been reported that the Barack and Michelle have picked out a retirement cottage in Hawaii.
Maybe they should speed up the decorating.
Check out that CNBC report on Obama versus the governors…
Then go to the Politico piece on how no military changes are planned…
…despite Diane Feinstein’s demurral on the question of whether ISIS has been contained…
Linger over John Bradley’s analysis of the ISIS threat and our failure to meet it…
“Shamefully, our politicians have been profoundly naive not to have taken this terror state seriously when it first emerged last year.
“Equally, they have been hopelessly unprepared to rise to the challenge it now poses.”
His sentiments are not what you’d call upbeat…
If Bradley’s piece isn’t sufficiently depressing, spend a few minutes with Ben Norton’s exercise in self-flagellation from Salon…
“Islam is the new scapegoat. Western imperial policies of ravaging entire nations, propping up repressive dictators, and supporting extremist groups are conveniently forgotten.”
(Forgotten? I hear about them all the time.)
“The West is incapable of addressing its own imperial violence. Instead, it points its blood-stained finger accusingly at the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims and tells them they are the inherently violent ones”…
Meanwhile, essayist Chauncey DeVega, host of the lefty “Chauncey DeVega Show” podcasts, has aired his fear that the Paris attacks will only bring on more “incendiary rhetoric from conservatives and their sympathizers” — not toward Muslims, necessarily, but toward certain current Progressive causes…
“‘In recent months, the right-wing media has used language such as “terrorism” and “violent,” or that the latter is “targeting police for murder” to describe the Black Lives Matter movement,’ he wrote in Salon (yeah, Salon again). ‘Such bombastic and ugly screeds — which are wholly unfounded, with no basis in empirical reality — have also been used by right-wing opinion leaders to describe the African-American students who are fighting against racism at Yale and the University of Missouri.’”
There’s just no placating those nasty conservatives.
Writer Christopher Buckley has a good word for Salon: “reprehensible.”…
It’s good to occasionally discover that not everyone on the left constantly views the world through narrow blinders. Kevin Drum, political blogger for the lefty Mother Jones, grasps the current very real anxiety about Syrian immigrants. His concern is political, but he can’t help making this practical point…
“Mocking Republicans over this — as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream — seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. Not just wingnut tea partiers, either, but plenty of ordinary centrists too. It makes them wonder if Democrats seriously see no problem here. Do they care at all about national security? Are they really that detached from reality?”
Damn that common sense! Try as you might to block it, reality just keeps breaking through…
You want to see how high anxiety has risen? Gossip Cop, a site that normally confines itself to critiquing celebrity news about such luminaries as Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian, has taken Madonna to task for her naiveté in declaring before a Swedish audience that to defeat ISIS we must “love them unconditionally.”
Now, this sounds a lot like Jesus’ admonition to love our enemies. Is Madonna finally coming to terms with the faith of her childhood? Hard to say, given the approach-avoidance relationship she’s long maintained with the Catholic Church.
But then…who knows?…