Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Year of Obama

(The politics of the playground or why peer pressure is not good foreign policy.)

Foreign policy can be seen as a playground or a schoolyard full of children, only without any teachers or authority figures to control the chaos. It is a lot like the Lord of the Flies. There are rich kids and poor kids. Strong kids and weak kids. Those that try to force their will on others and occasionally those who stand up for others. There used to be two big kids on the playground and everyone else had to choose a side or try to find a corner off by themselves. The two kids had radically different ideas of how to interact with others and how to stay healthy.

Twenty years ago, one of the kids became too unhealthy to hold its position and the world was left with one rich kid powerful enough to control a lot of what went on in the playground. It used that power to try to protect other kids from bullies and yes, protect its own interests on the playground. However, as is often the case the other kids resented that and accused the big kid on the block of being a bully. They had long ago formed a club to protect all the interests on the playground, but lacked the courage to tell true bullies and violent kids they couldn’t belong. Now that club existed largely to protect bullies and try to get the rich kids money away from him.

The basic role of any government in this “playground” of a world is to protect its citizens. Other may argue for additional roles, but anyone should acknowledge this basic function. The problem today is twofold. The US has elected a leader who is immature and cares about peer pressure, and the US has elected a leader who believes that that other super power who withered away 20 years ago had a better plan than the United States for how to rule its citizenry.

As a result, we have had a year of a President who has seen his primary tasks as running around the world telling all who will listen how bad we are instead of protecting our interests, and doing all he can at home to take away freedoms left and right trying to have the government take over as much of the private sector as possible.

This would all be fine if he were just a private citizen expressing and trying to forward his private views. He is not. He has taken an oath as President to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” In that task he has failed woefully.

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