Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

02/22/2010 (10:34 pm)

The West Abdicates

Mark Steyn has written a tour de force over at Investor’s Business Daily, juxtaposing the inanity of nanny-state “protection” laws with the Obama administration’s utter failure to act in the face of Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons.

This is a perfect snapshot of the west at twilight. On the one hand, governments of developed nations micro-regulate every aspect of your life in the interests of “keeping you safe…”

On the other hand, when it comes to “keeping you safe” from real threats, such as a millenarian theocracy that claims universal jurisdiction, America and its allies do nothing. There aren’t going to be any sanctions, because China and Russia don’t want them…

In this case, the slow-motion nuclearization conducted in full view and through years of tortuous diplomatic charades and endlessly rescheduled looming deadlines is not just a victory for Iran but a decisive defeat for the United States. It confirms the Islamo-Sino-Russo-everybody else diagnosis of Washington as a hollow superpower that no longer has the will or sense of purpose to enforce the global order…

In Eastern Europe, a nuclear Iran will vastly advance Russia’s plans for a de facto reconstitution of its old empire: In an unstable world, Putin will offer himself as the protection racket you can rely on. And you’d be surprised how far west “Eastern” Europe extends:

Moscow’s strategic view is of a continent not only energy-dependent on Russia but also security-dependent. And, when every European city is within range of Teheran and other psycho states, there’ll be plenty of takers for that when the alternative is an effete and feckless Washington.

Read the whole thing, and weep.

Now the real cost of the calumny of the Democrats in government becomes clearer. The Bush administration may have been able to garner support for putting a stop to Iran’s nuclear intentions in 2007, but they were stymied by the release of the National Intelligence Estimate that claimed — knowledgeably falsely, as we now know — that the Iranians had quit developing nukes back in 2003. It’s quite plain that this was incorrect; it’s only a little less plain that the error was made deliberately. So we can thank government-employed Democrats for the fall of Europe and the Middle East under Russian-Iranian domination, and all the misery that will ensue in its wake. Well, it was plain that they hated America’s influence in the world, and now they’ve put an end to it. Well done, folks. Hope you’re proud. Meanwhile, permit me to renew my call for the re-invigoration of treason laws with teeth.

I’ll send a hat tip to PowerLine Blog, where I first read of Steyn’s diatribe.

11/23/2009 (7:29 pm)

US Foreign Policy: Boy Meets World

wowbowI had a rare opportunity to watch the weekend political talk shows yesterday, and was particularly interested in the talk about President Obama’s trip to China, on which there was general agreement that he had obtained… nothing.

Back during the campaign, Charles Krauthammer observed correctly that President Obama is an academic. It’s not that he’s so deeply involved in academia, but it’s that his approach to the world is theoretical and ideological rather than pragmatic and practical. We’ve noticed this in his approach to remaking the US along neo-Marxist lines; it’s clear that he’s spent a lot of time, decades of time, ruminating and plotting and planning how he might remake American society if he ever obtained enough political power to execute his plans. That’s why, for example, he’s been attempting to make changes at lightning speed, which is a tactic. He’s been thinking about this for a long, long time. His first steps were planned to the hilt. He may be operating entirely out of a pre-envisioned playbook for the remainder of his first term. Whatever one may say about Mr. Obama’s administrative competence — and there are reasons to question it — he has a theoretical agenda borne out of years of rumination, and he knows how to execute it.

Obama’s domestic policies have not entirely met the challenge of practical politics yet. It’s one thing to get one’s people into place and declare several industries nationalized; it’s another actually to assess the results in the real world. Though the fiscal disaster is predictable, President Obama can still advise patience with some credibility (albeit shrinking credibility with the public.)

The same cannot be said about foreign policy. In foreign policy, Obama’s theories have already met realpolitik, and they’re not looking so very good.

The China trip is instructive. It was the Chinese who invited Obama to visit. Then, the Chinese team refused cooperation on every front; no help on Iran, no cooperation on restraining carbon production, no progress on human rights. Oh, and no questions permitted at the press conference. So, why did they invite him? Pretty simple: they invited him in order to snub him. They watched the Russians take a huge bite of him and decided to get a bite themselves. It was symbolic: we have power over him, he has no power over us.

The liberals on the Sunday shows all noted that the result is hardly a surprise given the times. After all, they temporized, China is holding all the cards just now. We need them to buy our debt. They don’t really need our help with anything, except for access to our markets — which they have. What none of these liberals admitted was that the reason the Chinese are holding all the cards has a great deal to do with Obama quadrupling our annual deficit during his first month in office, producing a deficit of $1.4 trillion or so for his first full year in office, and the US now projecting a total of a $12 trillion national debt. The issue is not that China is buying our bonds, it’s that they fear we can only repay in inflated dollars, and they might just stop buying altogether. In fact, that’s already happening — and the Chinese probably did not offer the President any hope on that front, either.

bowoneOf course, China is only the most recent in a series of international embarrassments, embarrassments with President Obama’s full cooperation. Russia gladly accepted our withdrawal of a missile shield for Poland and the Czech Republic, then immediately dismissed any possibility of sanctions against Iran. Obama offered Japan’s Emporer a bow that said “I acknowledge your great superiority,” then badly bumbled a question regarding the US’ use of atomic weapons in WWII. His Secretary of State failed to obtain a freeze on settlements by the Israelis, and consequently Palestinians will not cooperate with Obama’s attempts at a two-state solution in the middle east. Obama and Sec of State Clinton almost literally begged the UK not to release the Libyan terrorist of Lockerbie bombing fame, and lobbied Libya not to hold a public celebration for his return — and failed miserably. The Obama administration failed to convince a single nation to step up to help us house the detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, for which reason President Obama will not close the base as promised. And of course there was the Olympics Committee debacle; apparently President Obama still has not learned to have the outcomes of trips planned before he takes them. I cannot recall a more unrelenting string of foreign policy failures in my entire adult life. But he did get the Nobel Peace Prize.

Obama replies to all this that his approach is deliberate, and that he has “restored America’s standing in the world.” He seems to base this on polls that show that people in the streets in Europe and elsewhere now believe America will “do the right thing in world affairs” where they did not under the Bush administration.

Of course, this raises a question regarding what is the goal of American foreign policy. I always thought the goal was the projection of American interests on the world stage; by this measure, Obama’s first year is a failure greater than any I can recall. Obama seems pleased that a lot of ordinary folks think we’re going to “do the right thing,” without any clear notion regarding what “the right thing” is and without any actual performance. This strikes me as choosing the approval of the crowd over the firm application of moral principle, something unsurprising for the narcissistic Mr. O but also something of which we should be ashamed. What do we care of the opinion of the entire world if what we’re pursuing is the liberty of enslaved individuals, the defeat of tyrants, and the prosperity of the poor? This is foreign popular opinion, and most likely reflects the philosophical disconnect between American core virtues and the vague, amoral socialism that infests much of the rest of the world. The notion that we “lost standing” under Bush is nothing but the assertion that we should let the prejudices of socialists around the world dictate American foreign policy. Of course we “lost standing”: Bush effectively prevented socialism from dominating the world for eight years.

Meanwhile, world leaders seem eager to allow President Obama to grovel before them while they feed him scraps. I would be, too, if I were one of them. But I would not give him anything for all his groveling, and neither will they. I’m sure world leaders will say as loudly as they can that they are glad to be dealing with the Cooperative Mr. Obama rather than the Uncooperative Cowboy Mr. Bush. I would, too, if I were one of them… but it would be a terrible mistake to take that as an “improvement of our standing in the world.” It’s not that; it’s glee at the deliberate self-crippling of a powerful adversary. They’re eating our lunch, they’re drinking our milkshake, and they will continue to do so. Of course they’re going to tell us they like dealing with President Obama.

President Obama’s academic ruminations seem to have convinced him that the reason foreign leaders resist our good intentions is that we’re arrogant with them, and by apologizing around the world, he can win their trust and cooperation. Moreover, he seems to think this will occur because of the force of his personality and their pleasure over his gracious presence. He could not be more wrong. Foreign leaders resist our efforts because our interests do not mate well with theirs. The assertion of American power according to American interests is not, and never has been, “arrogance;” it’s ordinary self-interest, and world leaders understand this, no matter what they may say publicly. The belief, on the other hand, that nations will fall in line simply because of the glowing aura of Obama’s personality, is arrogance too great to be believed, and narcissism too pathetic to permit to have any part in a real foreign policy. The man is a disgrace, and is deeply dangerous.

Meanwhile, because of the flaccid irrelevance of the US on the world stage, nations like Brazil are flocking to make nice to our enemies, while Iran feels comfortable enough to renege on agreements that might limit its nuclear capability. And whatever the man-in-the-European-street says to Pew Research, der Spiegel sounds positively nostalgic for a little of the ol’ Bush stubbornness. They seem to think it was strength.

ramirez-bow

10/14/2009 (3:37 pm)

Decline is a Choice

Charles Krauthammer has written for the Weekly Standard what has to be the most thorough encapsulation of the US’ current international position that I’ve ever seen. It’s long, but in it he captures the heart and soul of President Obama’s foreign policy initiatives: namely, that the President chooses for America to retreat from the hegemony that was thrust on us unwittingly after World War II, and to become just one among many nations. All his policies, both foreign and domestic, are leading us in this direction. Decline, says Krauthammer, is a choice.

So why not? Why not choose ease and bask in the adulation of the world as we serially renounce, withdraw, and concede?

Because, while globalization has produced in some the illusion that human nature has changed, it has not. The international arena remains a Hobbesian state of nature in which countries naturally strive for power. If we voluntarily renounce much of ours, others will not follow suit. They will fill the vacuum. Inevitably, an inversion of power relations will occur.

Do we really want to live under unknown, untested, shifting multipolarity? Or even worse, under the gauzy internationalism of the New Liberalism with its magically self-enforcing norms? This is sometimes passed off as “realism.” In fact, it is the worst of utopianisms, a fiction that can lead only to chaos. Indeed, in an age on the threshold of hyper-proliferation, it is a prescription for catastrophe.

Heavy are the burdens of the hegemon. After the blood and treasure expended in the post-9/11 wars, America is quite ready to ease its burden with a gentle descent into abdication and decline.

Decline is a choice. More than a choice, a temptation.

His analysis of Obama’s foreign policy and its effects are spot-on. He’s entirely correct about the effect of Obama’s domestic policies on American economic dominance. He is correct about America’s decline being chosen and reversible. And, he is correct in noting that America is the most benign hegemon the world has ever seen, and the only one not to instantly and spontaneously produce a counter-force of allied nations to combat it.

I highly recommend this one.

10/09/2009 (3:19 pm)

Why the Nobel Committee Thinks So Highly of Barack

anotherfree

The Nobel Prize committee claims it awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama because of “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” A friend points out that nominations for the Nobel closed as of 2/1/2009, so the extraordinary efforts apparently took place during his first 2 weeks in the White House, or while he was still a candidate. Hmmm…

Regardless, in the category of international relations, the President has spent the 9 months of his presidency touring the world apologizing for the US’ arrogance. Consequently, I found the cartoon to the right apropos of the Nobel committee’s esteem for the President, since it seems likely that the string of foreign misadventures listed in the cartoon are foremost among the arrogant acts for which the President is apologizing, and the sort of thing he will ensure the US will never perpetrate again. We all know how much the Nobel committee, composed as it is of adherents to World Socialism of one sort or another, finds this sort of pugnacious behavior a thorough-going hindrance to its own agenda of World Peace.

This cartoon, like the one in the previous post, is an Australian cartoon apparently not published in the US.

07/07/2009 (1:14 pm)

Administration Endorses Honduran Marxist Takeover

zelayaoasAdding to President Obama’s wrong-headed condemnation of Honduras’ appropriate moves to protect themselves against Marxist takeover, the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the Secretary plans to meet with the deposed ruler, Manuel Zelaya.

Zelaya was removed from office by a unanimous vote of the Honduran Congress after a recitation of various crimes he had committed against the constitution of that nation. He had attempted to extend his rule beyond the allowable single term by first demanding an immediate constitutional referendum (which, according to Honduras’ constitution, required approval by two successive sessions of the Congress,) and then by distributing ballots for the referendum after being ordered to desist by the nation’s Supreme Court. The nation’s military force executed a valid court order when they appeared at Zelaya’s house and ushered him out of the country.

Meeting with a high government official of the US is generally considered an endorsement of a foreign government. For Zelaya to meet with the Secretary of State constitutes a strong endorsement of his legitimacy by the US government.

Clinton’s endorsement follows a declaration last week from the Latin American Organization of American States (OAS) declaring Zelaya’s removal from office illegal, and ousting Honduras from the organization. Honduras responded by declaring that Zelaya could only return to office by invading the country.

Why is the Obama administration endorsing the actions of a man who attempted to subvert his own nation’s Constitution? Perhaps it has something to do with a long, private conversation that took place between President Obama and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. And perhaps this is what was meant when we discovered more than a year ago that the Obama campaign may have been cultivating contacts among South American Marxist organizations even then.

Has the US, under the leadership of Community Organizer Obama, joined the struggle for World Socialism?

05/30/2009 (9:50 am)

Policy That Pleases the World, Opus 3,927,452,038

In the never-ending hit parade of evidence that President Barack Obama has relieved the US of the worldwide embarrassment caused by the Bush Administration, and has restored America’s good reputation in the world, Pravda — the Russian journal and former official organ of the Soviet Communist Party, whose name means “Truth” — published an editorial this week guffawing at the US’ rapid slide into pure Marxism.

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

The author of this piece needs an American editor to correct his grammar and word usage, but does not need anybody to correct his vision. After correctly describing the dismemberment of the institutions of liberty in America, he snorts at the ease with which President Obama has instituted policies that are every bit as oppressive as the Soviet socialism, and has hardly heard a peep from Congress or the American people about it.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America’s short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe…

The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

Brace yourself for repeated misuse of the word “then” where “than” is proper, and go read the whole thing.

It’s granted that policy is not to be constructed solely to suit the opinions of foreign observers, but gee — aren’t you glad that our Messiah President has so quickly restored the world’s good opinion of America?

04/11/2009 (7:37 am)

Next To Face "Chimp" Wrath: the UK Telegraph

geraldwarnerThe Brits are going to be next on Al Sharpton’s Selective Outrage schedule (that’s pronounced shed jool” since this is about Brits) because they called the US President… wait for it… surrender monkey.

No kidding. UK Telegraph commentator Gerald Warner wrote in his column, “Is It Just Me?,” a scathing review of President Obama’s recent international tour entitled “Barack Obama: President Pantywaist – new surrender monkey on the block.” And I note in my thickest, most grating American accent, “Dude, that’s gotta leave a mark.” We all know how sensitive Americans are to suggestions that their President is a monkey of any kind, right?

I can’t fault him, though. He’s correct on all counts. Check this out:

Then came the dramatic bit, the authentic West Wing script, with the President wakened in the middle of the night in Prague to be told that Kim Jong-il had just launched a Taepodong-2 missile. America had Aegis destroyers tracking the missile and could have shot it down. But Uncle Sam had a sterner reprisal in store for l’il ole Kim (as Dame Edna might call him): a multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air.

“Rules must be binding,” declared Obama, referring to the fact that Kim had just breached UN Resolutions 1695 and 1718. “Violations must be punished.” (Sounds ominous.) “Words must mean something.” (Why, Barack? They never did before, for you – as a cursory glance at your many speeches will show.)

President Pantywaist is hopping mad and he has a strategy to cut Kim down to size: he is going to slice $1.4bn off America’s missile defence programme, presumably on the calculation that Kim would feel it unsporting to hit a sitting duck, so that will spoil his fun.

“Multi-megaton strike of Obama hot air.” He gets it, alright. Read the whole thing, it’s only about 500 words.

I remember this from the Clinton years, actually: when the American press refuses to do its job, the European press manages somehow to get the accurate story to their readers. We have to read European newspapers to avoid the Democrats’ reflexive sycophancy.

Land of the Free. Home of the Brave. And now, defender of President Pantywaist.

04/07/2009 (8:01 am)

Global Governance Germinates at G20

Last Thursday, a communique from the G20 summit announced the creation of the Financial Stability Board, a quasi-regulatory organization tasked with monitoring and coordinating “systemically important financial institutions” in all member nations. The member nations are to include all of the G20 nations.

Beginning yesterday, Dick Morris has been trumpeting around the country that this announcement “repealed the Declaration of Independence.” While the announcement of that specific repeal is actually premature — Morris cannot always be taken seriously — he’s correct about the potential impact, and we had all better pay attention. I’ve embedded his video below.

From the Financial Times last Thursday:

On Thursday the G20 issued a communiqué that renamed the FSF (“Financial Stability Forum”) the “Financial Stability Board”, with an elevated mandate to monitor global financial stability and promote medium-term reform, alongside the International Monetary Fund. The G20 also confirmed an earlier announcement that the FSB would expand its membership to include representatives from all the G20 nations for the first time – in effect turning the group into the nearest thing the world has to a prototype of a an overarching global financial regulatory group.

For the moment, FSF officials deny they plan to act like a world regulator. Instead, they insist that Thursday’s announcement merely crystallises a wider shift that has been stealthily, and informally, under way for several months.

When the FSF was set up in the late 1990s, its main role was to allow western financial leaders to discuss global macroeconomic iss-ues. Then it moved into issues of banking regulation and when the credit crisis erupted in the summer of 2007, the FSF was asked to craft recommendations for financial reforms.

One set of reforms duly emerged in the summer of 2008, and the second set was published on Thursday, covering issues such as banking pay and bank capital rules.

However – and crucially – in recent months, the FSF has also quietly assumed a second role, co-ordinating the crisis measures emerging from different nations.

Where Morris has this right is that if (note the word, “if”) the FSB is granted regulatory teeth by each of the member nations, then we will have handed over regulatory control of US banking to a Euro-centric governing board. Where he has it wrong is that the board does not have those teeth — yet. The G20 does not have the authority to commit the US to a new regulatory regime; only the US Senate can do that. Furthermore, previous attempts by the G20 to secure coordination of member nations have fallen flat; a Bloomberg article from last Thursday notes that after the G20 announced its rejection of protectionism at its November 2008 summit, member nations enacted no fewer than 47 new trade restrictions. We can’t assume that the announcement of the FSB will actually produce anything tangible.

So, no, Dick, we haven’t repealed the Declaration of Independence just yet. But the potential is there.

And make no mistake, global regulation is what they intend. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already called together the heads of British banks to make sure they implement the guidelines established by the FSB at the G20 summit meeting. Watch for Treasury Secretary Geithner to attempt something similar in the coming weeks.

As much as five years ago, I was predicting that the next Democrat to take the White House, whoever that might be, would compromise US sovereignty to some sort of international governance. I expected it would be led by carbon allocation to address concerns about climate change, but also considered there might be moves surrendering our sovereignty over pharmaceutical pricing or surrendering our courts to the World Court over some supposed affront committed by our military.

I was wrong about the touchstone issue, and wrong about which international body, but correct about the internationalist intent of the Democrats. The first real effort to secure US cooperation with international governance seems to be occurring over banking, thanks to an international banking crisis. Don’t surprised, though, if those other issues follow. In fact, Spain, a bastion of international socialism, has begun criminal proceedings against six US officials from the Bush administration over “torture.”

I do agree with Dick Morris about this: our reaction should be immediate, loud, and very, very negative. Cooperation is fine, but international regulation is not. National sovereignty is worth defending. The issue is the protection of human liberty; if all nations exist under a uniform government, and that government turns tyrannical, where do we go to find safety? And in fact, the expressions of internationalism have all come from international socialists, and human liberty is absolutely the last thing in the world they want to protect.

We need to keep our eyes open for stealthy attempts by the Obama administration, which has already demonstrated its taste for the stealthy removal of liberties, to introduce approval of this measure in the US Senate under cover of some other measure. We also need to stay alert to spot coercive attempts by the executive branch, which has already demonstrated its taste for coercion and for ignoring the role of Congress, to force US financial institutions to obey FSB regulations even without approval by the Senate. We’re still independent for the time being, but it becomes clearer that if we follow President Obama’s lead, we won’t be for long.

Here’s Dick Morris’ video. It’s cheesy, and the sound quality stinks, but it’s worth listening to the message. 3½ minutes.

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit for being first to the punch on this story. Also, you might want to pay a visit to The Real Barack Obama, which has pulled together a very impressive set of articles discussing the move.

04/06/2009 (12:25 pm)

Foreign Policy That Pleases the World, the Never-Ending Story

strasborgfire21In a remarkable effort to maintain the illusion that George W. Bush ruined the US’ reputation around the world but Our Savior Obama has restored it, the New York Times produced a truly remarkable story over the weekend about riots accompanying the 60th anniversary NATO summit in Strasbourg, France.

Notice the title: “Riots Erupt Near Bridge That Links Two Countries.” What an attention-grabber, eh? Who’s rioting? Where? Why? Who Cares?

Notice the page on which it appears: front of the Europe section, so it will not garner much attention in the US.

Notice the day on which it gets published: Saturday, lowest ebb for newspapers. It’s gone by Monday, even from the Global Edition.

And if you read it, pay attention to the fact that it does not mention at all: US President Barack Obama was there, apparently attempting to drum up support for the US mission in Afghanistan. The Times story was unclear, but these are probably the same anti-war protesters that used to show up wherever President Bush appeared in Europe. Some 30,000 protesters gathered outside the NATO summit conference in Strasbourg, France and across the river in Germany. Arsonists among the protesters set fire to at least two hotels; this was a very serious riot. Chinese news services covered it. The only indication we received was from local testimony published on milblog Mudville Gazette, which noted that President Obama did not divert his team for the five minute drive it would have taken him to reach the Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany and visit wounded American GIs there.

turkeyprotestPresident Obama’s presence was also protested explicitly in Turkey. The Associated Press reported on his speech, which was not very well received, and Yahoo News dutifully buried the photo of the protesters among news photos in a separate location.

Apparently The Magic Obama has not solved our image overseas after all. Maybe it wasn’t ever really about how stupid George W. Bush was. What a surprise.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

04/04/2009 (9:53 am)

What Does It Say to the World? (Updated)

I didn’t say anything when it happened, but it’s part of a growing concern about exactly who the President is… and this, from someone who feels he did his homework in advance of the election. I freely admit, there seems to be more — or perhaps less — to President Obama than any of us suspected.

From Hot Air, with a hat tip to The Anchoress: A Tale of Two Bows.

Where are the Progressives, I wonder, who shrieked so loudly about the 19 Saudis among the 9/11 attackers? Surely they’re now recognizing that President Obama was a participant along with the Bush Crime Family in the great conspiracy to attack America, right?

Ok, that was snarky. But now I have to say this: I paid zero attention to the “Obama is a Muslim” talk that flew around the Internet during the campaign season. I saw reasons to associate him with black separatists, with corrupt Chicago politicians, with campus radicals, with Saul Alinsky and other activists… but the few years he spent in a mixed-religion elementary school registered as the son of a Muslim did not strike me as indicating anything worth our concern.

I am no longer ignoring that. The bow to the Saudi monarch inevitably raises the question: what was he doing, and why? We now need an answer, and it’s the President, himself, who has opened this line of inquiry.

By the way, in case you haven’t seen it, Chris Muir, who draws the Day-By-Day cartoon that appears on my sidebar, produced a graphic for Hot Air to commemorate Amateur Moments from the “Less Than” President. I love it. Here it is:

obamateurism2

Heh.

We are SO screwed…


UPDATE: My friend Neil Mammen (http://www.noblindfaith.com) who was raised in the Middle East — in the Sudan and Yemen Lebanon, if I’m not mistaken (I was mistaken) — wonders out loud why President Obama is bowing like a serf to King Abdulla. He says the gesture means that the US is supplicant to Saudi Arabia, that the US is afraid of Saudi Arabia, and that negotiating anything with the Saudis is out of the question since the Saudis hold all the power.

Neil explains that in the Middle East, whenever two leaders meet, convention requires them to treat each other as equals (unless one is already subservient to the other.) Leaders from around the Middle East will watch the interaction between them looking for signs indicating who is subservient to whom. They will judge which is the weaker based on what they see.

The short version seems to be that the President Obama has just signaled to the entire Middle East that the US is weak and subservient to Saudi Arabia.

Thought you might like to know.

By the way, if you visit Neil’s site, those fine-looking women modeling his “No Blind Faith” T-shirts are his family. I mention this just in case you get to wondering why a low-budget Christian apologetics organization is hiring hot models to display their gear. It threw me the first time I went there.

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