There’s a breakthrough in understanding President Barack Obama’s foreign policy of punishing friends, rewarding enemies, and taking risks toward empowering enemies by bashing friends. It isn’t that Obama is a Muslim or a Marxist; it’s that … he is America’s first (and hopefully last) 1960s New Left president.
Think of how the American left looked at the Cold War. For them, the phrase “Free World” was a joke. America’s allies were often repressive dictators. In Europe, even democratic states like Britain and France were, or until recently were, colonial powers.
Great Britain: America supported Britain and thought Winston Churchill was a hero, but what about colonialism (get his bust out of the White House!)? Say, in a country like Kenya? Mau-Maus (possibly Obama’s grandfather) who were called “terrorists,” good guys; British, bad guys.
Middle East: America supported the bad guys (Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia) against the good guys (PLO, Egypt, Syria, Iraq).
So the leftist view has been that American allies were bad guys. And since America was also the bad guy, American allies were doubly bad guys.
In contrast, those opposing U.S. policy or allies — notably, Latin American guerrillas; Fidel Castro; the Viet Cong (or National Liberation Front if you wish); Mao Zedong; Che Guevara (remember that Che Guevara poster in the Obama election headquarters in Arizona, was it?); Patrice Lumumba; and so on and so forth were heroes.
If America is not an exceptional, better country, but often a worse one, national identity is out of date, and promoting your own country’s interests is a form of racism; if America is rich and greedy, taking more than its share of resources and causing global warming because its living standards are too high, then the aspirations of Egyptians or Venezuelans are equally or more important than those of the American people.
What other wordview could imagine something like “cap and trade” in which the U.S. taxpayers pay other countries for the right to use their own air? This is a transfer of wealth from America to others, in no way in the American interest or the interests of Americans.
Remember, Obama is desperate to be popular abroad. And he views popularity as giving the people abroad what they want, whether or not that’s in U.S. interests. If, for example, the “people” of the Middle East don’t want the United States to support Israel, then according to his worldview it shouldn’t.
for Obama the world is upside down from the historic American political mainstream. Again, I stress, both liberal and conservative. For him, the friends of America are bad; the enemies of America are good. He must win over the enemies of America — and “the people” in other countries — by showing that he appreciates that idea.
From this ideology, rather than some conspiracy or secret identity, he does much harm. And no matter how much experience he accumulates, Obama isn’t going to learn any better.