Victor Davis Hanson
Our military is rushing anti-missile batteries to
As in the case of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, the U.S. both gives
the most aid to a devastated
Our Predator drones continue to be the judge, jury and executioner of
suspected terrorists in
What's gone wrong with Obama's dream of multilateral cooperation?
For starters, the world's tensions were not caused by, and remain far
Obama also has apparently confused what people say with what nations do.
The world's masses -- most of them young, poor and non-Western -- may
applaud a hip, post-racial
But, unfortunately, national leaders themselves do not behave like excited concertgoers or European intellectuals. Instead, they have only long-term self-interests -- not temporary emotional crushes -- and so seek to expand their influence whenever they can.
Obama better understand that difference. A world without strong U.S. leadership really would become a far more dangerous place where the strong do as they please and the weak obey as they must.
After World War II, a reluctant America guaranteed a global system of
secure trade and encouraged free-market capitalism and democracy. Both
communist and fascist tyrants fought those efforts, eager to expand
totalitarianism beyond their borders. And envious allies and neutral
countries that benefited enormously from the American-enforced system
resented the high profile of
All that responsibility was unpopular and costly for
And if allies sometimes derided America, privately they were mostly
relieved that there was some sort of policeman -- and that it was us and
not an authoritarian China,
After winning the cold war,
Obama for practical and idealistic reasons may believe that America no longer can afford or should play that pre-eminent role; he may even believe that such prominence was never really needed and was mostly counterproductive.
That diffidence often certainly seems the message from Obama's serial apologies, bowing, attacks on prior American foreign policy, and suggestions that tensions abroad are caused by misunderstandings -- many of them our own -- rather than irreconcilable differences in national character and objectives.
But he should at least admit that in such a vacuum of American power and influence, the natural order of things abroad would be chaotic.
Let us hope that Obama learned that tragic fact when events heated up
in 2009. Promising to close the detention facility at
Implicit in all this braggadocio is a growing suspicion abroad, rightly or wrongly, that a more naive, more unsteady America is broke, tired and unwilling to confront challenges as in the past.
Right now the world's bad actors confidently see "hope" for a vast "change" in the old world order -- but not the kind Obama once so boldly promised.
Deficits in a Growing Defense Budget
The Obama administration released its second defense budget on February 1 amidst talk of rebuilding the American defense establishment. But Todd Harrison, a defense budget expert, says while the administration's reform rhetoric is laudable, its defense spending plan doesn't allocate money to seriously rebuild the military to deal with such threats as irregular warfare.
America Rides off Into the Sunset
Victor Davis Hanson
National leaders have only long-term self-interests and so seek to expand their influence whenever they can. Obama better understand that. As such, a world without strong U.S. leadership really would become a far more dangerous place where the strong do as they please and the weak obey as they must.
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(C) 2010 Victor Davis Hanson