In Europe, Mr. Obama went out of his way to tell the world how he is going to correct what he believes were the mistakes of the Bush administration
The Obama strategy is to clear the decks of any anti-Bush hostility and present a new day dawning. He wants to make the nations of the world our partners in problem solving, and if he has to eat a little crow to do that, he'll butter up the bird.
Of course, while former President Bush is the biggest recipient of his ire, the current president is in fact criticizing our modern day foreign policy in general. After all, as he once said
too often we dictate the terms of the debateand
we speak when we should listen
He will turn the page not only the wrongs of President Bush, but on all the wrongs of America. He will listen. Listen he did. He listened for nearly an hour while Marxist Daniel Ortegan went into an anti American diatrobe and said nothing. Later on, he only mused that he was glad that Ortega didn't blame him (President Obama) for things that happened when he was very young. That was rather revealing. The president wasn't terribly concerned if Ortega blamed his country, just not him personally.
President Obama will have a new sort of a foreign policy philosophy. This starts with a whirlwind tour in which he apologizes for every previous American wrong, real and imagined, all over the globe. It started in Europe, move to Mexico, and hat its latest stop in Trinidad and Tobago. What is the effect? Well, his advisor, David Axelrod, summed it up.
What’s happened is anti-Americanism isn’t cool anymore,” Mr. Axelrod said, speaking to an audience of a few hundred at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
“This president has not only engaged the leaders of the world, he’s engaged the people of the world,” Mr. Axelrod said, arguing that Mr. Obama’s approach to foreign policy has restored “a sense of humility” that “was missing” in the past.
He's right. It isn't cool to bash America anymore. After all, why bash America, when its leader beats you to it. It is an old trick. Beat your critics to the punch. Before they have a chance to bash you, you bash yourself. It's the best part of self deprecating humor.
There's a bit of irony in all of this. President Obama is convinced that America has been doing it wrong all this time. America has been far too arrogant. It's time for more humility and he's just the one to do it. In fact, the only real arrogance is his own. He isn't merely bashing President Bush's foreign policy but America's in general in our recent history, all the way back to JFK. This nation, which brought freedom and democracy to millions in multiple continents, is the one that has been getting it wrong all this time. It's his job to fix it all. Job one is telling the rest of the world about each and every mistake. Job two is taking seriously the views of each and every tyrant and despot that has a beef with us.
Of course, so far at least, all of this "humility" has given us absolutely nothing tangible. We got no troops in Afghanistan. We got nothing of substance on North Korea. Iran put an American in prison for years on trumped up charges. His supporters continue to say that these things take time. That's true. His presidency has a lot more days left than days past. Maybe, we, critics, are wrong. Maybe after some more buttering up soon everyone will come to work with him constructively. They just haven't yet. I'd just like to know how much time he needs. At what point will he see that maybe, just maybe, his approach is wrong.
For me, it's rather simple. What sort of arrogance can be behind a belief that hundreds of years of history is wrong while your own view point is right. If America is so wrong, why are we more often than not on the right side of history? if we are on the right side of history more often than not, maybe that's what you tell the rest of the world rather than focusing on each and every mistake. That's what I would have told Ortega, but then again, my view of foreign policy isn't nearly is humble as the president's.