But the Europeans Don’t Love Us

By | October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

John Kerry’s “global test” did not vanish with his hopes for the presidency. It reappeared in the more eloquent but less honest words of Barack Obama. Was Iran building nuclear weapons? Did Iran threaten to wipe Israel off the map? Did Iranian crowds chant “Death to America!” while its leaders nodded approval? Not to worry − our use of force was off the table, because the U.N. and the European “elite” would never agree to it. This was the very essence of a “global test,” but without the telltale words.

Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight,
But Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right.
− Hilaire Belloc, “The Pacifist”

 

President Obama went on to declare that he would order our troops to leave Iraq without fear that genocide or ethnic cleansing would result, because the “international community” would prevent this catastrophe. And when, exactly, did that ever happen? The “international community” was unable to stop genocide in Rwanda or Sudan, or even Bosnia − in Europe’s own back yard. Ethnic cleansing in Bosnia was stopped because America stopped it. Ethnic cleansing in Rwanda and Sudan was not stopped because America did not stop it. Does that tell you something?

Obama seems to think that there is some force in the admonition that the world is watching; but history plentifully demonstrates that when the world is watching, all the world does is watch. − Leon Wieseltier

The “international community” is a pleasant fiction. It is a euphemism for evading responsibility and doing nothing. It is a phony excuse for violating the Biblical command not to stand by idly when our neighbor’s life is in danger.

If you want an example of the “international community,” look at the International Olympic Committee. It saw no problem with the 1936 Olympics in the Berlin of Hitler’s Nazis, and it saw no problem with the 2008 Olympics in the Beijing of the oppressors of dissidents and subjugators of Tibet. We saw bumper stickers urging, “Free Tibet.” But bumper stickers did not free Tibet. A bumper-sticker mentality makes us feel good without doing good. That is the essence of the “international community.”

Rather than Kerry’s “global test” and Obama’s “international community,” consider this fictional but realistic interview from the film “The Wind and the Lion”:

Theodore Roosevelt: The American grizzly is a symbol of the American character: strength, intelligence, ferocity. Maybe a little blind and reckless at times…but courageous beyond all doubt. And one other trait that goes with all previous.
Reporter: And that, Mr. President?
Theodore Roosevelt: Loneliness. The American grizzly lives out his life alone. Indomitable, unconquered, but always alone. He has no real allies, only enemies, but none of them as great as he.
Reporter: And you feel this might be an American trait?
Theodore Roosevelt: Certainly. The world will never love us. They respect us. They might even grow to fear us. But they will never love us, for we have too much audacity. And we’re a bit blind and reckless at times, too.

Which of these quotations is more realistic, the actual comments of Kerry and Obama, or the fictional words of Teddy Roosevelt? Which better reflects the world as it is, rather than as we would like it to be? Which better expresses a practical approach to combating fanatics who want to impose their rule through the use of terrorism?

In the film, Teddy Roosevelt raises a key question: Is it necessary, or desirable, or even possible, for the world to love America? And by extension, is it desirable for a president to be loved by his own people? When is seeking to be loved desirable, and when is it unnecessary, or even detrimental?

Clearly, we need to be loved by our spouses, and children need to be loved by their parents. It is highly desirable that parents be loved by their children, but recall that the Commandment mandates honor, not love. Children need parents who teach and guide them, not pals who befriend them.

This principle also applies to other jobs that include the functions of teaching and leadership. Teachers want to be liked, but their primary job is to teach a subject. Managers want to be liked, but their primary job is to keep the department running. Being liked is often a help in achieving these goals. But pursued too avidly, a desire to be liked can impair the job at hand.

The principle surely applies to jobs that involve responsibility for the lives of others. A military leader functions best when personnel like him, but if he tries too hard to be liked, his role as a leader can be undermined and the mission compromised.

When it comes to a President, this principle applies most of all. Bill Clinton had a powerful urge to be liked, adulated, and even loved. He thrived when things were going well for his presidency. But when things went wrong, he visibly wilted, like a plant deprived of water. And after he left office, he seemed to shrivel, like a plant deprived of sunlight.

This need to be loved guided Clinton’s decisions. When the World Trade Center was attacked the first time, he treated it like an ordinary crime and did as little as possible. When 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in Somalia and some of their bodies dragged through the streets, he promptly withdrew our forces. When terrorists bombed our barracks in Saudi Arabia and bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, he took only minimal action.

And when terrorists bombed and nearly sank the USS Cole, he sent the FBI, as if it were a bank robbery in Fargo. Clinton tried to be the nice daddy who brings home ice cream, but never brings home discipline or bad news. He placed being loved above keeping his people safe. Obama followed a similar path.

Last − and also least − we come to the “international community,” by which we mean the self-anointed European “elite” and the U.N. ambassadors of tyrannical regimes. But why would anyone want to be liked, much less loved, by this gang of self-important windbags and kleptocrats?

If the Truth in Labeling Law applied, the United Nations would be renamed the Disunited Governments − and that is the most polite title. To be disliked, even hated, by a group containing so many scoundrels and poseurs is an honor. Donald Trump understands this, but Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton clearly did not.

For a President, it is best to aspire to be respected by the respectable, honored by the honorable, and feared by all the rest. Anything less is merely a narcissistic desire for adulation regardless of the source.

True, we should listen to the advice of anyone who might have something to contribute. We should accept help if it is offered. We should keep our options open. But the purpose of an open mind is that eventually it will close on something. Being guided by the “international community” is a poor substitute for being guided by moral principles − and having the strength to persevere despite criticism.

Rather than Kerry’s “global test” and Obama’s “international community,” I think I will stick with Teddy Roosevelt and his American grizzly, willing to act alone if necessary, and fierce in defense of its cubs. Yes, that is old fashioned and ‒ until Donald Trump came on the scene – quite out of style.

Obama was much admired for his style, and Trump is much criticized for his lack of style. But American grizzlies care nothing for style. In fact, they are quite impervious to it. They care only for substance.

Who cares if the Europeans do not love us? Why should they have faith in us, when they have lost faith in God and in themselves? We have not lost our faith, at least not yet.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

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