Thursday, June 25, 2009


Understanding Obama

Clarity, thy name is Andrew McCarthy, who explains for one and all in this NRO piece the reasons that Obama seemed to be on the side of the mullahs for the first few days of the Iranian uprising rather than on the side of the protesters.

Reason Number One: Obama identifies with the mullahs.
The fact is that, as a man of the hard Left, Obama is more comfortable with a totalitarian Islamic regime than he would be with a free Iranian society. In this he is no different from his allies like the Congressional Black Caucus and Bill Ayers, who have shown themselves perfectly comfortable with Castro and Chàvez. Indeed, he is the product of a hard-Left tradition that apologized for Stalin and was more comfortable with the Soviets than the anti-Communists (and that, in Soros parlance, saw George Bush as a bigger terrorist than bin Laden).
I am all too familiar with that particular brand of idiocy. It's the very coin of the idiot left, this pretense to a special virtue found only in the ability to loath one's own society, even when it affords the individual more freedoms than anywhere else on the planet, and even when it means "empathizing" with the monsters now at work beating and murdering Iranians. It's the same idiocy that would have left Saddam in power to keep massacring Iraqis to the tune of some 300,000 a year so they could feel good about hating President Bush; the same idiocy that would see every captured enemy combatant given the very rights he has tried to take from the idiots; the kind of idiocy that confuses itself with sophistication and magnanimity. Not to one's own, you understand, but to the enemy.


Because of obvious divergences (inequality for women and non-Muslims, hatred of homosexuals) radical Islam and radical Leftism are commonly mistaken to be incompatible. In fact, they have much more in common than not, especially when it comes to suppression of freedom, intrusiveness in all aspects of life, notions of "social justice," and their economic programs. (On this, as in so many other things, Anthony Daniels should be required reading — see his incisive New English Review essay, "There Is No God but Politics", comparing Marx and Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb.) The divergences between radical Islam and radical Leftism are much overrated — "equal rights" and "social justice" are always more rally-cry propaganda than real goals for totalitarians, and hatred of certain groups is always a feature of their societies.

The key to understanding Obama, on Iran as on other matters, is that he is a power-politician of the hard Left : He is steeped in Leftist ideology, fueled in anger and resentment over what he chooses to see in America's history, but a "pragmatist" in the sense that where ideology and power collide (as they are apt to do when your ideology becomes less popular the more people understand it), Obama will always give ground on ideology (as little as circumstances allow) in order to maintain his grip on power.

...It's a mistake to perceive this as "weakness" in Obama. It would have been weakness for him to flit over to the freedom fighters' side the minute it seemed politically expedient. He hasn't done that, and he won't. Obama has a preferred outcome here, one that is more in line with his worldview, and it is not victory for the freedom fighters. He is hanging as tough as political pragmatism allows, and by doing so he is making his preferred outcome more likely. That's not weakness, it's strength — and strength of the sort that ought to frighten us.

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