Mark Steyn's column this week deals with a couple depressing topics. The first he addresses is the way the Left has managed to depress small children about the future.
According to an Earth Day survey, one-third of schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 11 think the Earth will have been destroyed by the time they grow up. That's great news, isn't it? Not for the Earth, I mean, but for "environmental awareness." Congratulations to Al Gore, the Sierra Club and the eco-propagandists of the public education system in doing such a terrific job of traumatizing America's moppets. Traditionally, most of the folks you see wandering the streets proclaiming the end of the world is nigh tend to be getting up there in years. It's quite something to have persuaded millions of first-graders that their best days are behind them.
Call me crazy, but I'll bet that in 15-20 years the planet will still be here, along with most of the "environment" – your flora and fauna, your polar bears and three-toed tree sloths and whatnot.
Of course he's right. The Left loves to scare small children for the sake of "the children." And they're good at preying on innocent, undeveloped minds by planting unrealistic fears in them.
But when it comes to realistic dangers, well, the Left doesn't even want to know about it, let alone teach the children.
Next, Steyn discusses some of the dangers that are looming on the world stage.
For example, Hillary Clinton said the other day that Pakistan posed a "mortal threat" to … Afghanistan? India? No, to the entire world! To listen to her, you'd think Pakistan was as scary as l'il Jimmy in the second grade's mom's SUV. She has a point: Asif Ali Zardari, the guy who's nominally running the country, isn't running anything. He's ceding more and more turf to the local branch office of the Taliban. When the topic turns up in the news, we usually get vague references to the pro-Osama crowd controlling much of the "north-west," which makes it sound as if these guys are the wilds of rural Idaho to Zardari's Beltway. In fact, they're now within some 60 miles of the capital, Islamabad – or, in American terms, a couple of I-95 exits north of Baltimore: In other words, they're within striking distance of the administrative center of a nation of over 165 million people – and its nuclear weapons. That's the "mortal threat."
What's going to stop them? Well, not Zardari. Nor his "summit" in Washington with President Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. The creation of Pakistan was the worst mistake of postwar British imperial policy, and all that's happened in the six decades since is that its pathologies have burst free of its borders and gone regional, global and, soon, perhaps nuclear. Does the Obama administration have even a limited contingency plan for the nukes if – when – the Pakistani state collapses?
It would be reassuring to think so. But I wonder.
What's the greater likelihood? That in 10 years' time things in Pakistan will be better? Or much worse? That nuclearization by basket-case dictatorships from Pyongyang to Tehran will have advanced, or been contained? That the bleak demographic arithmetic at the heart of Europe and Japan's economic woes will have accelerated, or been reversed? That a resurgent Islam's assaults on free speech and other rights (symbolized by the recent U.N. support for a global Islamic blasphemy law) will have taken hold in the Western world, or been forced to retreat?
A betting man would check the "worse" box. Because resisting the present careless drift would require global leadership.
And a serious look at Barack Obama's approach to foreign affairs tells us he's abdicating leadership to anyone who's willing to take it. And the most likely to accept that challenge are regional despots with nuclear weapons who, taken together, will destabilize the world because Obama's America isn't going to lift a finger to help.
Since January, President Obama and his team have schmoozed, ineffectively, American enemies over allies in almost every corner of the globe. If you're, say, India, following Obama's apology tour even as you watch the Taliban advancing on those Pakistani nukes, would you want to bet the future on American resolve? In Delhi, in Tokyo, in Prague, in Tel Aviv, in Bogota, they've looked at these first 100 days and drawn their own conclusions.