Monday, April 06, 2009

Euro-Trip a Bust?

President Obama has been to Europe and has slain the malady known as “Hate-USA Syndrome,” or has he? Advertising himself as not only the listening-not-lecturing antithesis of George Bush but as that “special” American, i.e., a man of color, he has teleprompted himself into the hearts and minds of the folks in Olde Europe, proclaiming that his nation has not only been dismissive of its fellow Caucasians, but even derisive. Whew…but it played well in Berlin and Paris! Eat your heart out, Cheney!

Accompanied by a retinue of 500 people in who knows how many planes the operation of which slurped-up millions of taxpayer dollars and treated the atmosphere to enough carbon to kill half the Polar Bears, he and wife Michelle stormed the battlements of snobbery and smiled their way into what actually turned out to be a brick wall as far as any results are concerned. One can only wonder how the international participants in that that infamous G-20 Conference in London in world-depression-ridden 1933 stood each other for six long weeks. Now, as then, virtually nothing was accomplished, but at least the angst-period was much briefer.

Obama wants the Europeans to spend themselves into prosperity, just as he’s demanding here, and let the devil take the hindmost, known as the taxpayers. In their socialized countries, the Europeans don’t like that idea, though they’ve tried to some extent. It’s much easier to blame Uncle Sam; however, not to worry. The Anointed One and his gang are socializing the banks and the auto industry here, and are demanding the power to socialize any industry Treasury Secretary Geithner deems as going under. So, the Europeans should be happy to see the Americans traveling down the road toward their already achieved destination, though they’re bound to be mightily miffed vis-à-vis the stimulus legislation that urged everyone to “buy American.” The U.S. Congress is perhaps mentally-challenged, not even realizing that everything from underwear to shoes is not made in this country now.

The United States is Europe’s whipping-boy for the evil in this world. Obama didn’t help matters by exuding the image of this country as the world-leader, though he made much of this country’s failure to recognize Europe as world leader…or something like that. It doesn’t actually matter who classifies whom. What does matter is the history, replicated to some extent now as the U.S. picks up the tab for much blood and treasure in parts of the world not even close to its shores. The rest of the world profits, as it did in 1918, 1941-45, 1950-53, and 1991, as well as at other times.

So…the president asked for some more help from NATO in its accepted responsibilities in Afghanistan. He’s pouring in some 21,000 additional American GIs to go with the 38,000 already there. The NATO gang promised 5,000 troops to work as trainers for the Afghanistan police force and army. That’s better than nothing, one supposes, but some fighters would also be welcome, especially since these NATO people may not stay much past the next election. The NATO pact deems an attack on any member sufficient to require retaliation by every member. The events of 9/11 apparently were not an attack, at least in the eyes of most Europeans.

Obama, after declaring in his forever-lasting-and-continuing campaign that the surge would never work in Iraq is now employing a surge in Afghanistan. The irony is damning. The Afghan politicians haven’t helped matters by recently decreeing that a Shiite man may legally rape his wife (State Secretary Clinton was aghast…what a laugh!). This is the “Dark Ages” type of mentality that westerners neither understand nor can negate. There’s a modicum of peace in Iraq now, just as hopefully there will be in Afghanistan. The truth is that in Islamic countries – especially in which the various sects brutally kill each other with abandon in the name of religion – there will be no democracy or even lasting peace like that of more civilized countries. After all, the Baptists here don’t attack the Methodists, and vice versa.

Was anything accomplished in the swing through Europe? If one accounts the social aspects, perhaps so! The Obamas seem to have hit it off with the queen, probably better than with the prime minister. At least Obama didn’t have to endure Jimmy Carter lurking in the shadows badmouthing his presidency, as was the case when Bush or Carter traveled overseas. Goodwill is a fine thing, but only actions mean anything. It will be interesting to see how long it takes those 5,000 additions to the NATO contingent to actually make the scene…as well as how long they stay.

As for the economics…between the president and a Congress that seems hopelessly mired in non-think and led by the likes of Senator Dodd and Congressman Barney Franks – to say nothing of the wild thing…Speaker Pelosi – there seems little hope for anything better than the usual uphill battle out of recession. The difference between that and what’s happening now is in the likelihood that Pelosi/Obama and gang will try desperately to take the country socialist. They’ve made a strong beginning, perhaps good news to Olde Europe. In that process, Obama has thrown the unions under the bus, just as the democrats do the blacks during every election cycle. “Restructuring” is another word for “give-back.” Auto-workers will find out what “leveling the playing field” actually means…and they won’t like that “Yes We Can” change.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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