Henrik of Europe News weighs in with a guest-essay from a transatlantic perspective on the upcoming presidential election.
A letter to my American friends
by Henrik Ræder Clausen
At my blog EuropeNews, we have largely stayed away from the American election, for even though the election has worldwide impact, it tends to be off-topic for EuropeNews. But since the leading Islamist in Europe, Tariq Ramadan, has voiced his support for Barack Hussein Obama, it’s time to voice an opinion: Please, put John McCain in office. Obama will lead to disaster.
Are Democratic presidents good for the world?
Traditionally, Europeans tend to prefer Democratic presidents. That has not always been fortunate:
Franklin D. Roosevelt, following in the footsteps of Herbert Hoover, created the Great Depression, which caused extreme unemployment in the United States, and possibly increased the popularity of non-democratic systems, since democracy and capitalism obviously weren’t doing so well.
Lyndon B. Johnson, who took over after the Kennedy assassination, brought the United States deeper into the Vietnam War, whereas Kennedy had announced that he wanted to disengage from that conflict. This war, hugely unpopular, threatened to make NATO fall apart in 1968, when France withdrew her practical participation in the alliance and remained a member only in name. It is all but forgotten now, but the situation of NATO was so dire that only the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia saved the alliance, by demonstrating that the Communist challenge was still very much real.
Internally, Johnson botched another war, that on ‘poverty’. It had been clear for a while that the great cities of the United States weren’t doing so well, with people moving to the suburbs when they could afford it, leaving the city centres up for decay. The Johnson administration, apparently oblivious of the fact that poverty was dropping roughly 1% each year, opened the “War on Poverty” in order to fix the problems, once and for all, by central planning rather than local initiatives. As anyone who has studied the Soviet Union knows, central planning of cities often leads to rather dubious results, and this was no exception, for in spite of the huge (and costly) initiatives, poverty stalled at late-60’s levels. Not good for America, nor for the world.
Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer, laid down the seeds for much future trouble when he pressed the Shah of Iran to release, ‘for humanitarian reasons’, those who sought to bring down his regime. The Shah was not perfect, but he was infinitely better than the theocratic regime that followed him. I lived in Iran during the last years of the Shah, saw the opportunities, the progress and the corruption, but also heard the silent propaganda drive against him. Carter simply didn’t have the skill to cut through and do what was needed to maintain that “island of stability” that imploded in 1978.
Also on his watch, to the detriment of us all, Carter initiated Operation Cyclone, where funding of Islamic resistance movements in Afghanistan sought to provoke a Soviet invasion of that dusty country, to provide the Soviet Union with a nightmare equivalent to Vietnam. That was initially successful, in that Soviet did indeed move in, and Carter was able to call a boycott of the Olympic Games due to the ‘unprovoked’ invasion of Afghanistan. These Islamic ‘resistance movements’, after bringing down the Soviet Union, went on to destabilize the Balkans, perform various high-profile terrorist attacks, and eventually, on September 11th, took the ultimate prize of bombing New York, something that Hitler could only dream of.
The latest anti-Israeli diatribes from Carter earns him no further honour. Except perhaps amongst rich Arabs.
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Finally, Bill Clinton, in his eagerness to demonstrate the benefit of American interventions world wide (he intervened a whopping 44 times during his eight years), took an unhealthy share in destabilizing the Balkans, under the pretence of bringing peace. That has brought Europe a lot of challenges, both by way of Islamist presence there, and by way of simple mafia business reaching into Europe through smuggling. The ‘open borders’ policy of the European Union has led to free movement of goods and persons, including drugs and weapons. We need to deal with this in a robust manner, for as the latest street shootings in Denmark demonstrate, the fruits of the destruction of Yugoslavia are reaching us all.
As is the case with Carter, Clinton in his post-presidency is also dependent on Arab money.
I believe these examples demonstrate that having Democratic presidents does not default into better results for the friends and allies of America around the world.
What we do need
One president who eventually got the respect he deserved is Ronald Reagan. In Europe, he was widely dismissed as a ‘Hollywood president’, thus dismissing both his successful eight years as a governor of California, as well as his diligence and skill in diving into complex political matters and holding his own opinion among an army of advisers. The famous iconic statement “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” was, for instance, reinserted into his speech after his speech writers had removed it.
The decision on the part of Reagan to deploy new nuclear missiles in Europe was vastly unpopular amongst the (partly Soviet-sponsored) peace movement, but the decision was right. The Kremlin was under no illusion about what fate it would suffer in case it attempted to stoke conflict in Europe, and made no such attempts. On the contrary, Gorbachev gave concessions that led to the INF Treaty in 1987, eliminating a significant amount of nuclear weapons. When Reagan left office in 1989, Communism had ceased to be a threat to Europe, and the East Bloc disintegrated peacefully shortly thereafter.
After that, the world has become increasingly complex. The most acute danger is that of Islam subverting our democratic institutions and eliminating our civil liberties, but also the challenges of a resurgent Russia, self-confident China and that of securing future energy supplies are urgent.
We need another Reagan
What we need is a president who will staunchly stand for his own country, who will know and respect friends and allies around the world, and who will stand so firm against the challengers that they are dissuaded from even trying. We need the good feeling of being protected so we can get on with our lives and solve the challenges that future generations depend on us to get right.
And this is where Obama just doesn’t match up. He is friendly with everyone, for sure, and the kind of person that one feels good about supporting, for he seems a little fragile, someone who could take a bit of protection. Which is fair enough, but hardly reason to elect him for president.
I am concerned that, after so many people have supported him to the White House, he would feel indebted left and right, and reward various groups with undue lenience. The ‘support’ he gets from Tariq Ramadan is a case in point, for Ramadan actually starts his article with making a demand on the would-be president: “The new president must …” This is the kind of ‘support’ one would better do without.
The background of Obama is, as has been rehashed over and over, another cause for concern. His childhood has been gone through in many places, and hardly needs more scrutiny. What is more worrisome is his adult life, his connections to the radical left, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, ACORN and the like.
What concerns Wright, he is free to hold anti-American and racist views, no problem. But the fact that Obama didn’t feel revulsion against such points of view. I would expect a president of America to instinctively love his country so much that being in company like this would be out of the question.
Another issue recently raised is that of Obama advocating ‘redistributing wealth’. One can’t really do that. You can take wealth from the rich, but it is really hard to impart on the poor with lasting results. Transfer of money does not teach the virtues of natural discipline, hard work and supporting your fellow man, for free or for money. As with Johnson’s “War on Poverty”, this idea easily lends itself to maintaining the problem by devising the wrong solution. I have no reason to trust Obama on this.
But what worries me most is that electing Obama might lead to reinventing fascism. Yes, that. I’m not of the opinion that Obama is a fascist. Far from it. But he is stepping into territory where he could easily become one. His rhetoric leans in that direction (‘Change’ was central to the program of Mussolini and the related Progressive ideas), and the cult of personality that has grown up around him (see City Journal, for example) makes it a temptation to step in that direction in order to stay on that feeling of high that rallies (like Obama in Berlin) creates. To the best of my knowledge, that feeling is similar to that derived from cocaine, and equally addictive.
Obama is, in a way, sort of a blank person. His experience in politics is limited, as is his record for standing up in tough situations, identifying and doing the Right Thing. I would expect, as in the example of Tariq Ramadan, that people will have a hundred different ideas of what he should do, and that Obama himself will find it impossible to identify that Reagan-style place to stand firm, without overstepping borders and falling into the trap of aggression.
It’s not that I’m crazy about getting McCain into office. I believe he will make mistakes, not least in the Balkans, where he tends to team up with the wrong people, like the Kosovo pseudo-state. But McCain has, in my judgement, the stamina to admit mistakes and learn from them, where I would expect Obama to be haunted by them instead of getting the lesson.
But I do want an American president who is willing to identify and deter our enemies. McCain does this: “I think the transcendent challenge of the 21st century is radical Islamic extremists.” Obama doesn’t, he’s presumably afraid of ‘offending’ friends, or enemies. As a ‘thank you’ for this, both friends and enemies will see Obama as a great opportunity, and move in to exploit his presidency any way they seem fit. This will, in one way or another, lead to disaster.
So, my dear American friends, I hope you will get a president able and willing to make a stand for America, who will be a firm and reliable ally, who will make it clear that we all need to contribute to our future safety, and, for the best of everyone, utterly frustrate our enemies.
I hope you will, after all, vote McCain into office.