Foreign-policy hard-liners have been exhorted by some conservatives—ye shall know them by their liberal-snogging at tomorrow night’s State of the Union address—to shun triumphalism and celebrate with calm dignity (make mine a dirty gimlet, Jeeves, extra dry—and CHOP-CHOP, MAN!) the Bushian miasma that apparently has settled like an oil mist over Orange Beach upon the flowy gentle change-waters of Obamunism: Our armed forces are still in Afghanistan and Iraq; the smartest president in the room and his punctilious little secretary of state have backed off the Israelis; Guantanamo remains open; military tribunals for the hardest-core prisoners in our War on Terror will proceed.
All true—for now—and though it’s somewhat difficult to practice quiet self-command while rankers-and-filers of the whinging and embittered left blow their noses so appealingly honkingly and piercingly on their own tatty sleeves, restraint there must be, for there’s still a long slog ahead until, to paraphrase Peter O’Toole, an election rids us of this nettlesome president.
While we wait, Mr. Obama’s efforts to force engagement down the throats of our enemies continue apace. If the livers of these various imprisoners and slaughterers of freedom-seeking human beings are producing bile rather than foie gras as a result, well, we have “different political systems” at “different stages of development”. Decades of U.S. policy are nibbled away or jettisoned altogether to reestablish relations with the penal colony that goes by the name of the Republic of Cuba, and yet Fidel doesn’t phone or even write—he arrests a State Department contractor who’s down there doing humanitarian work and throws him into one of Cuba’s notorious prisons, where he languishes still, more than a month later. The president of Communist China munches on lobster and ribeye in the real peoples’ house, and smiles benignly as his pianist countryman Lang Lang subjects the U.S. president—and through him the American people—to a sneering act of anti-Americanism.
And then there’s the Iranian answer to our velvet-glove throwdown: On the eve of the latest round of nuclear negotiations, the State Department mouthpiece announces that “we are committed to holding Iran accountable to its international obligations, and will continue to do so until Iran takes tangible steps to resolve international concerns with its nuclear program.” Scary—if you’re Finland, maybe, but probably not even the Finns take us very seriously any more.
But the mullahs laugh outright at our empty threats. One lovely meal “of chicken saltimbocca with smoked tomato squash, steamed seabass, ravioli, baldo pilaf, grilled vegetables and deserts” down—after all, even tieless Persian thugs like a nice piece of fish before they eat us for lunch—and it’s back to Natanz with them. Was it Benjamin Franklin, or Albert Einstein, or Mae West, or who knows, Aeschylus, possibly, who said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”?
Not actually feeling all that much triumphalism here in Hawkville at the moment. It’s more like keenness: How long, oh Lord, how long, before we are restored to sanity, and can join talons with the other Accipitriformes and say “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we’re free at last” of these anti-American Obamic fetters?