Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Obama and America's Royal Allies
We might as well begin with the United Kingdom which, while not our oldest, has certainly been our closest and most important ally. Despite being widely celebrated in the UK, with even conservatives like Tory MEP Daniel Hannan voicing support for him, Obama made it clear as soon as he took office that he was no great friend of the British. His first act upon moving into the Oval Office was to remove and send back the bust of Sir Winston Churchill that his presidential predecessor had placed there. In their first exchange of gifts, Obama sent the Queen some off-the-shelf items from the White House gift shop and an iPod loaded with his own speeches in an act which even many on the left thought arrogant and in very poor taste. These acts caused more than a few to recall how Obama had, in the books he enjoys writing about his favorite subject -himself-, related stories of how his grandfather in Kenya was supposedly tortured by British colonial authorities during the Mau Mau terrorist insurgency and whether the President might just have a strong anti-British grudge he is nursing. However, there is much more to it than mere symbolic gestures as those above.
Finally, we have Obama’s latest effort to insert himself into the debate over Britain staying in or leaving the European Union with Obama very publicly urging British voters to vote to stay in the European Union. This, of course, is just the sort of behavior that would infuriate Americans on the left and/or the right if it were done by a foreign leader in regard to an American issue. I am a big fan of the U.K. and as much as I wish that the British would feel the same about the U.S. the fact of the matter is that Britain should tell Obama to mind his own bloody business and not try to tell them how to vote. They should be concerned with what is best for Britain, not what is best for America (that is for Americans alone to worry about). Furthermore, I cannot regard this as yet more evidence of simple bad manners since I am very, very much of the opinion that staying in the EU is bad for Britain and so, taken along with his history in office, cannot dismiss the notion that Obama is purposely advocating something that has had and will have a very negative impact on a country he clearly dislikes. It is no surprise that more than one prominent figure in the ‘Brexit’ crowd such as Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage (UKIP MEP) have finally been compelled by this to state openly that Obama has been consistently anti-British during his time in office.
This has greatly alarmed the Arabs and never have they expressed more diplomatic outrage at the United States than after Obama’s notorious “deal” concerning the nuclear program in Iran. This called for the release of billions of dollars to Iran, the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran and left little room for doubt that they will inevitably obtain nuclear weapons. Since the agreement, and in spite of it, they have also been buying more and more conventional weapons from the Russians. Of course, when it comes to Iran, the enemy they like to talk about the most is Israel but since the Islamic Revolution they have made it clear that they are the enemies of the Arab Muslims as well, referring to the Sunnis as the “heretics who hold Mecca”. Obama’s deal with Iran and his overall indecisiveness in the region so infuriated the Saudis that they turned down a temporary seat on the UN Security Council on the grounds that, thanks to Obama, it doesn’t matter anyway. By clearing the way for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, Obama has set the stage for a nuclear arms race in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia and Egypt sure to obtain their own nuclear arsenals to counter that of Iran.
The Japanese applauded this but it was actually only a re-statement of what was already well established. What many, in all their rejoicing, failed to note was that Obama followed up that comment with the completely asinine statement that the U.S. took no official position on the territorial dispute over the islands between China and Japan. I seem to have been the only one to find this outrageous but I hope I am mistaken in that. Either way you look at it, this was an immensely outrageous thing for Obama to say. By that statement, Obama could only mean one of two things; either he meant that the Senkakus are Japanese territory and we will defend them but that could change at any time depending on how this dispute unfolds, or he just casually announced that he was pledging America’s sons and daughters to possibly give their lives in defense of a cause which he is not even sure is the right one! In any case, it shows that Obama’s attitude toward Japan has been one of tepid support and unfriendly meddling. An aide to Prime Minister Abe went so far as to say that relations were better when there was a Republican in the White House.
The Obama State Department has since then made numerous statements and taken actions which have all offended and aggravated our friends in Thailand and all because the military government is out-of-step with Obama’s liberal worldview of how things should be done. And it cannot be said that this has nothing to do with the King, a great man revered in Thailand who was born in America and supported the United States during the Vietnam conflict. The King officially appointed the Thai general who led the coup to the office of prime minister in 2014, effectively giving it his endorsement and was totally correct to do so. Not only is the meddling of Obama unseemly and uncalled for, it is also putting him on the wrong side. The military took action because of the violent acts of radical leftists who were upset that their favorite government had been brought down, a government that was marked by corruption and criminal behavior on a rampant scale. By being so critical of the current government in Thailand, Obama has offended a long-standing friend and pushed them closer toward Communist China which is ever looking to increase its influence in Southeast Asia, made all the easier since Russia abandoned Vietnam in favor of the Chinese. Thailand is our only solid friend in the region and Obama, in true, holier-than-thou, Wilsonian fashion, has needlessly antagonized them and made things worse for Thailand as well as the United States.
It is not terribly dissimilar from his actions in regard to the republican government in Egypt where Obama pushed for the removal of an official Arab ally because he did not meet his lofty, liberal standards, only to then see the country fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood (an organization so radical even Arab monarchies like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have labeled it a terrorist organization). If Obama knew anything about Thailand he would know that the occasional coup is not exactly unprecedented and not the harbinger of disaster as it often is in other countries. He would know that the U.S. military and the Royal Thai military have worked closely together for decades and that the leaders of the Royal Thai Army are not power-hungry tyrants-in-waiting but are largely honorable men, loyal to their King, who want the best for their country and took action to save it from the disruptive, even terrorist and disloyal elements that were threatening it.
There are other issues that could be highlighted, such as Obama’s killing of the Keystone XL pipeline, even going so far, as he did with BP, to invoke national bigotry by constantly complaining how the pipeline would primarily be to the benefit of Canada rather than the United States but, then again, that was when Stephen Harper was in office and I’m sure now that little Justin Trudeau has taken over his opinion of Canada has greatly improved. However, I think the case has been well made. President Obama has certainly been bad for this country and his constant habit of “reaching out” to our enemies while snubbing or taking sides against our allies, has certainly been well demonstrated and had negative consequences. The only problem I have in pointing this out is that, while it upsets me a great deal, from numerous on-line comments I see on a daily basis, I am also constantly having to face the dilemma that there is so much mindless anti-Americanism out there as to mean that in this twisted, upside-down world where many people seem to hate their friends and admire those who want to kill them, that maybe Obama’s antagonistic attitude toward our royal allies will have the opposite effect that it otherwise would have. I hope that is not the case and hope that there is a silent majority out there who wants to be friends rather than enemies but, if that is not the case, change may soon be coming with the next presidential election.