I vented my spleen already today about Barack Obama's "We Are the World" speech in Berlin, touching on all the main points he made that set my teeth on edge. Then I read Victor Davis Hanson's analysis of the speech, and it's so good that I think I'll just tuck my tail between my legs and go curl up in my bed. There's a reason these guys make the Big Bucks and I don't.
Here is the first part of Hanson's column:
What disturbed me about Barack Obama's Berlin speech were some reoccurring utopian assumptions about cause and effect — namely, that bad things happen almost as if by accident, and are to be addressed by faceless, universal forces of good will.
Unlike Obama, I would not speak to anyone as “a fellow citizen of the world,” but only as an ordinary American who wishes to do his best for the world, but with a much-appreciated American identity, and rather less with a commonality indistinguishable from those poor souls trapped in the Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, or Iran. Take away all particular national identity and we are empty shells mouthing mere platitudes, who believe in little and commit to even less. In this regard, postmodern, post-national Europe is not quite the ideal, but a warning of how good intentions can run amuck. Ask the dead of Srebrenica, or the ostracized Danish cartoonists, or the archbishop of Canterbury with his supposed concern for transcendent universal human rights.
With all due respect, I also don't believe the world did anything to save Berlin, just as it did nothing to save the Rwandans or the Iraqis under Saddam — or will do anything for those of Darfur; it was only the U.S. Air Force that risked war to feed the helpless of Berlin as it saved the Muslims of the Balkans. And I don't think we have much to do in America with creating a world in which “famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.” Bad, often evil, autocratic governments abroad cause hunger, often despite rich natural landscapes; and nature, in tragic fashion, not “the carbon we send into atmosphere,” causes “terrible storms,” just as it has and will for millennia.
Perhaps conflict-resolution theory posits there are no villains, only misunderstandings; but I think military history suggests that culpability exists — and is not merely hopelessly relative or just in the eye of the beholder. So despite Obama’s soaring moral rhetoric, I am troubled by his historical revisionism that, “The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love.”
I would beg to differ again, and suggest instead that a mass-murdering Soviet tyranny came close to destroying the European continent (as it had, in fact, wiped out millions of its own people) and much beyond as well — and was checked only by an often lone and caricatured US superpower and its nuclear deterrence. When the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no danger to the world from American nuclear weapons “destroying all we have built” — while the inverse would not have been true, had nuclear and totalitarian communism prevailed. We sleep too lightly tonight not because democratic Israel has obtained nuclear weapons, but because a frightening Iran just might.
Obama is bereft of rational thought, and Hanson nails it.
All that remains at this point is to see how the American voters react to what Obama said, and there's no point in judging by my reaction. A snowball has a better chance of surviving in hell than Obama has of getting my vote, and it didn't take this speech to turn me against him.
But I would like to know how the independent and undecided voters feel about Obama's campaign. Did his talk in Berlin sway them? Or is this just one more gabfest that they'll be ignoring, along with all the rest, until October comes along and it's time to start thinking about deciding?
Update (before I crawl to my bed):
For a good chuckle (unless you're missing the humor gene or are a rabid Obama supporter), read Gerard Baker's take on Obama's trip abroad in today's Times Online (UK). Sorry, no excerpts. You need to read it all at once.