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Victor Davis Hanson says by always taking the easy route in the short term, the current administration has guaranteed longer term trouble.
The Obama administration often either denies any responsibility for the current global chaos or claims that it erupted spontaneously. Yet most of the mess was caused by, or made worse by, growing U.S. indifference and paralysis.
Over the last five and a half years, America has had lots of clear choices, but the administration usually took the path of least short-term trouble, which has ensured long-term hardship.
There was no need to “reset” the relatively mild punishments that the George W. Bush administration had accorded Vladimir Putin’s Russia for invading Georgia in 2008. By unilaterally normalizing relations with Russia and trashing Bush, Barack Obama and then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton only green-lighted further Russian aggression, which has since spread to Crimea and Ukraine.
There was no need for Obama, almost immediately upon assuming office, to distance the U.S. from Israel by criticizing Israel’s policies and warming to its enemies, such as Hamas and the authoritarian Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan.
Any time Israel’s enemies have glimpsed growing distance in the U.S.–Israeli friendship, they seek only to pry it still wider. We see just that with terrorists in Gaza who launch hundreds of missiles into Israel on the expectation that the U.S. will broker a favorable deal that finds both sides equally at fault. …
Lacking the courage and willpower to stop Russia’s hegemonic leaps, the president settles for denigrating Putin and the country. Craig Pirrong has the story. While avoiding short term pain, President Pretend says he’s taking the long view.
Before departing on his I’ll Golf While the World Burns Vacation and Birthday Party, Obama gave an interview for The Economist. It is beyond belief.
Here is what jumped out at me (from a Reuters article summarizing the interview):
Obama downplayed Moscow’s role in the world, dismissing President Vladimir Putin as a leader causing short-term trouble for political gain that will hurt Russia in the long term.
“I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything,” Obama said in the interview.
“Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking,” he said.
Obama told Putin last week that he believes Russia violated the 1988 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty designed to eliminate ground-launched cruise missiles.
Speaking of Russia’s “regional challenges,” Obama said in the interview: “We have to make sure that they don’t escalate where suddenly nuclear weapons are back in the discussion of foreign policy.” ‘
Of all the Obama idiocies, this has to rank near the top.
Jennifer Rubin posts on the current state of the US-Israel relationship.
… The bottom line is relations with Israel have never been so bad for so long. The Times muses that “the chronic nature of this tension is unusual — and, according to current and former officials, rooted in ill will at the very top. ‘You have a backdrop of a very acrimonious relationship between the president and the prime minister of Israel,’ said Robert M. Danin, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.”
It’s not really the president per se, but the policies and rhetoric he’s used, starting with the Cairo speech (that analogized Palestinians to enslaved African Americans and implied that Israel’s claim to the land was based on Holocaust guilt), continuing through the out-of-control condemnations of Israel issuing building permits in its capital and up to the administration blaming Israel for the collapse of the “peace process” and negotiating a rotten interim deal with Iran, which seeks to wipe Israel off the map. Ambushing Netanyahu with a new position on the “1967 borders” didn’t help either.
It’s almost a certainty that if the president hadn’t gone bonkers over settlements, hadn’t staked his foreign policy on an impossible peace process, had stood his ground in the P5+1′s talks with Iran and not berated Israel publicly for failing to use sufficient caution (what do they possibly know about how much caution is being taken?), relations would be better. How do we know most of the rift is Obama’s fault? Our other allies — Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, etc. — are just as fed up with him as is Israel. Only in Obama’s mind is everything someone else’s fault.
Noemie Emery writes on the “genius” president.
It’s now two and a half years to the can’t-come-too-soon end of President Obama’s adventure, but his legacy seems to be settled already; he is the smartest man in all of U.S. history to screw up so many big things.
That he is brilliant is something we already knew. “This is a guy whose IQ is off the charts,” Michael Beschloss said of Obama, who was the “smartest guy” to be president. Christopher Buckley said he was first class in temperament and intellectual prowess, boosting him two slots above Franklin D. Roosevelt in the gray matter arena. “You could see him as a NewRepublic writer,” said David Brooks, closing the argument.
But fact that this genius has become a disaster became clear in mid-June when the Middle East imploded, matching his health care debacle with its foreign equivalent. The non-connection of political wisdom to what intellectuals think makes for intelligence was never more painfully clear.
Democrats are quick to lay claim to the mantle of intellect, at least in the more modern age: Jimmy Carter was said to be smarter than Gerald Ford, everyone was said to be smarter than Ronald Reagan, Michael Dukakis was said to be smarter than George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton said to be smarter than all except his wife, Hillary, and Al Gore and John Kerry much smarter than George W. Bush, whose SAT scores, the New York Times told us, had to be much, much lower than Kerry’s, until it was found they were not. …
Thomas Sowell wonders if thinking has become obsolete.
Some have said that we are living in a post-industrial era, while others have said that we are living in a post-racial era. But growing evidence suggests that we are living in a post-thinking era.
Many people in Europe and the Western Hemisphere are staging angry protests against Israel’s military action in Gaza. One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict.
Are these protesters aware that vastly more German civilians were killed by American bombers attacking Nazi Germany during World War II than American civilians killed in the United States by Hitler’s forces?
Talk show host Geraldo Rivera says that there is no way Israel is winning the battle for world opinion. But Israel is trying to win the battle for survival, while surrounded by enemies. Might that not be more important? …
NY Times article suggests running just 5 minutes a day has important benefits.
Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person’s risk of dying prematurely, according to a large-scale new study of exercise and mortality. The findings suggest that the benefits of even small amounts of vigorous exercise may be much greater than experts had assumed.
In recent years, moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, has been the focus of a great deal of exercise science and most exercise recommendations. The government’s formal 2008 exercise guidelines, for instance, suggest that people should engage in about 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Almost as an afterthought, the recommendations point out that half as much, or about 15 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, should be equally beneficial.
But the science to support that number had been relatively paltry, with few substantial studies having carefully tracked how much vigorous exercise is needed to reduce disease risk and increase lifespan. Even fewer studies had looked at how small an amount of vigorous exercise might achieve that same result.
So for the new study, …