10 Apr 2009

Throwing the US Under the Bus

Peter Wehner, at Commentary, notes that the United States is in danger of joining Obama’s grandmother and his mentor Reverend Wright under the bus in the role of sacrifices to convenience, discarded or condemned by Barack Obama.

During his maiden trip overseas, we learned many things about President Obama. Among the most troublesome, I think, was the ease and eagerness with which he criticized the country he represents. In the words of the Daily Telegraph, “[Obama’s] speech in Strasbourg went further than any United States president in history in criticising his own country’s action while standing on foreign soil.”

To be sure, Obama did it in the fashion we have come to expect: he both praised and criticized the United States and chastised America and Europe, hoping to portray himself as a detached, disinterested commentator on world affairs. As a matter of practice, he aims his barbs at his predecessors — never by name, always by implication; mostly President Bush but, when necessary, even President Truman. His aides would have us believe that this is simply a tactical matter: Obama is engaging in “balanced” criticism of the United States in order to make us more popular in Europe and the rest of the world. …

What leaves me with a queasy feeling, though, is the growing sense that Obama is willing to denigrate America in order to boost his own personal popularity in other countries. …

At convenient points on his overseas trip President Obama purposefully disfigured reality in a way that reflected poorly on America. That is to say, an American president played up cartoon images of the United States in order to get foreign audiences to applaud him. It is rare for the leader of a nation to revise history in order to make his nation look worse. But for Obama, the upside — making himself look good — is an easy trade-off. One senses that when it comes to Obama, it is all, and always, about him.


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