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Tom Finneran: Illusion, Delusion, Confusion

Friday, March 07, 2014


Obama may be having a tough time on world diplomacy these days, but here's to hoping he pulls out of the rut.

It has not been a good stretch for the President lately. In fact, it’s been dreadful. I find myself wondering whether anyone in the Obama White House ever speaks candidly to the boss. Rough language, blue language, get-your-head-out-of-your-butt language…the kind of language that might get you fired but at least it gets the boss’s attention. Do you think it happens? I don’t.

The President needs someone to take down the many mirrors in the White House. Too much self-absorption is not a good thing. And too many sycophants—i.e., more than one (but preferably none)—is a dangerous indulgence.

The real world has intruded upon Barack’s world, revealing illusion, delusion, and confusion.

Take the Russian “reset”. It’s been a one-way street from the beginning, with one party taking non-stop advantage of another party who by all appearances is simply desperate to be liked. It reminds me of the cruel advantages taken by some cold calculating testosterone-driven guy who is totally indifferent to the desperate romantic longings of another. Illusion, delusion, and confusion follow. Guess who has the testosterone, and guess who has the desperate longings? Sadly, the world sees and the world knows.

You know things are pretty bad when the Washington Post is running foreign policy editorials using the word “fantasy”. That’s the Post folks, not Fox News. Or when Meet the Press asks the question of its panelists, “Does the world take President Obama seriously?” That question was never asked about Churchill. Or Truman. Or Reagan. Words like “mush” and “weakness” don’t inspire confidence. In fact, they trigger adventurism and aggression.

And, by the way, why were we lecturing Israel this past week on what it must do to address “world opinion”? Screw world opinion. It’s foul, it’s evil, and it’s hopelessly anti-Semitic. Increasingly anti-American, too.

Picking (the wrong) favorites

Israel is not what’s wrong with the world, nor is America what’s wrong with the world. I don’t fancy myself, or my children, or my neighbors contorting ourselves to win the approval of Iran or Russia. I’m with the Jews. And the Christians. And the women. And the gays. In fact, I’m with all those groups who are being robbed, beaten, jailed, and murdered by the world’s bloodthirsty power-mad lunatics.

I’m with the Poles and the Czechs too. Remember them, being left lonely at the altar as Barack made goo-goo eyes with Putin and fondling the “reset button”? Why do we leave allies confused and lonely? Allies are friends, not to be dissed and forgotten, particularly over someone like Putin.

Lonely at the top

I don’t like this feeling of an America adrift. I don’t like illusion, delusion, or confusion. And I don’t like the sense that our foreign and domestic policies are being shaped by arbiters in residence at the Harvard faculty lounge or the New York Times editorial boardroom. These arbiters had very loud and constantly critical opinions of President Bush and his “shoot-first cowboy diplomacy”. It was that boorish Bush impulse they said, that caused a growing disdain for America and brought on its low standing in world opinion. What hogwash. America has not been well liked for many years now. It has more to do with our economic, cultural, and military dominance than it does with our presidents, and President Obama cannot change that fact of human nature.

It’s called envy. Jealousy. Resentment. Everyone roots for David against Goliath. Everyone roots for Avis to beat Hertz. And “world opinion” smirks and smiles when America stumbles or gets stung. Big deal, get used to it and remember that those who smirk will be the first to ask for American assistance when their interests start to get trampled by the world’s bad guys. That doesn’t make them hypocrites. It makes them like little brothers who taunt and bother their older brother until they need him in a scrap with the neighborhood bully. Then he’s their best friend forever, or at least until the fight is over.

The big picture

Many, many months ago, I offered my prayers and best wishes for Barack Obama to be a highly successful president. Those wishes and prayers still hold. My hope in his success is not a matter of his being a Democrat. I’m indifferent on political parties. Rather, it’s more a matter of my being an American who hopes and prays for every American president—Republican or Democrat—to succeed. I want my country to thrive, to prosper, and to lead. I know that if America struggles the world is poorer. I know that if America struggles then the world’s bad actors and bullies fill dangerous vacuums and create nightmares for far too many simple and innocent people. I would have prayed for Mitt Romney’s or John McCain’s success as president as I have so prayed for Barack Obama’s success.

Here’s to you Mr. President. May the illusion, delusion, and confusion cease. And as America moves its clocks forward this weekend, let’s pray that history’s clock is not being set back. Amen.


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