Ideology/Incompetence?


by Sol Sanders
Belatedly in this instance, in our search to solve the mystery of the Obama Administration’s policy formulation process, highly touted The New Yorker extended interviews by David Remnick are found wanting. A little more Obama, a little less Remnick should have been the order of the day! But there must be anecdotal origins to these quotes. In fact, for the most part they hardly seem “quotable” and suggest having gone through the mill of the White House speechwriters.
Still, as with reading during the 2008 presidential primary the President’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, one looks for the kernel which set off Remnick’s ubiquitous fawning..
The question posed is whether the motivation behind the Obama Administration’s disasters is ideological or sheer lack of knowledge/executive experience?.
If anyone had any doubt about the complexity of such an inquiry, that question was thrown into bold relief by the passage and attempted implementation of Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. [Note the shortcut to passage of a measure to order one sixth of the economy without a single Republican vote, speaking of lack of inter-Party cooperation.]
Obamacare, according to sources close to the President was conceived as the historic legacy of this presidency, and it is likely to be its only one, for better or for worse. It is the quintessential example of our problem: what government-subsidized National Public Radio recently called “difficulties” of the website rollout is still inconceivable. In an era when modest startup businesses can hire IT expertise for a song, how could the U.S. government fail so spectacularly with a $93-million budget — a minimal estimate by its advocates? [We may never know how much was actually spent on the original and the continuing attempts at rescue.] How could our late unlamented Secretary of Health and Human Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have presided over such a disaster? [Maybe there is something “wrong in Kansas” if she could have not only held the governorship but eight years as the state’s insurance commission!]
Corruption/incompetence? The incredible costs suggest that possibility. Or do we have to go to conspiracy theories, i.e., that since the President and most of his coterie of health care advisers have always expressed preference for total federal government control [let’s skip the euphemism “single payer”], did they intend just such a catastrophe so that, ultimately, the country would throw up its hands and out of sheer frustration collapse into that equally disastrous U.K. template?
But reading Remnick, it is in foreign affairs where one finds the most tantalizing reflections of our question.
The President makes reference to the U.S. being “trapped in a stale narrative”. That apparently refers to the whole half century of The Cold War. It reflects the utter unreality of much said and written today by members of the elitist mainstream media and the professorate who did not experience the conflict with the Soviets and spend little time reading about it..
As a prime example, note that the current pretentious CNN Cold War documentary opens by equating the alleged excesses of the anti-Communist campaign by the House Un-American Affairs Committee and Sen. Joseph McCarthy with the Soviet gulag! But then there is plenty of “footage” on those hearings, and nothing but samizdat, broken lives and estimates of millions murdered in the latter. Or that in pleading the case of the so-called Hollywood 10, the video lies about persecution leading to lives of outcast and penury. As the whole theater world knows, and it has been highly publicized, most continued to work in the Los Angeles hills under pseudonyms at those vulgar movieland salaries. They were not to be abandoned by their leftist cronies even after they refused to come clean on their allegiances to the 20th century’s bloodiest totalitarianism.
The problem all through these two pieces, is the apparent difficulty of Obama [or is it Remnick?] in expressing his thoughts. The author often goes to sympathetic sources to fill in gaps in his Presidential quotes or to make their argument, sometimes throwaway but significant lines left unexplained. A good example is a reference to an alleged right-wing military coup in Indonesia in 1965. In fact, the coup was an attempt by Communist China operating through the Partai Komunis Indonesia [PKI], to take over from a diminishing dictator Soekarno tacking closer and closer to the Soviets. [Please see an old Indonesian hand and my friend, Arnold Brackman’s Gestapu, the most reliable account in English of the coup and its aftermath.] True, the horrendous, massive ethnic, linguistic and political bloodletting that followed was “right wing” but American culpability did not come into play. Truth is, alas! American intelligence, not for the first time, was caught totally unawares when the violence erupted.
In the event, the President [or again is it Remnick?] apparently accepts a nonsensical interpretation concocted at Cornell’s Southeast Asian studies under leftists and Communists. And one might well ask whether a pre-adolescent Obama, dragged there away from his friends and sheltering grandparents in Hawaii under a new step-father, had any inkling of these grander geopolitical events.
Again, apparently neither Obama [nor Remnick?] know enough Persian history to put the U.S.-sponsored 1953 coup against Mossaddegh into context. It did not come about out of thin air nor through American imperialism.
Briefly: one of the opening guns of the Cold War was Moscow’s attempt to create another satellite Azeri state. The tsars and then their Soviet successors much earlier carved out present-day Azerbaijan [as a Soviet “Republic”] from the old Persian Empire. But Josef Stalin wanted another piece of Persian real estate and briefly set up in northwestern Iran the Azerbaijan People’s Government. Instrumental with the help of the powerful Tudeh [Communist] Party, having grown rapidly during the Soviet [and Anglo-American] occupation during World War II. Toppling the Shah’s father, in bed with the Nazis, had provided a channel for massive U.S. aid to keep Moscow in the war against Hitler.
Stalin’s feint was the first test of the newly installed Pres. Harry Truman. Truman backed the Soviets off. [Is there a moral there for Obama and the Crimea, and now, apparently eastern Ukraine?]
When Mossaddegh was elected in 1951 with the help of Tudeh, the future of Persia – an old target of Moscow’s generational drive toward the Indian Ocean – came into play again. [Read Sanders in The Christian Science Monitor series, “Man against the jungle”, from Tehran in the spring of 1951!] Indeed even by the tenets of American liberals, Mossaddegh was a reactionary, a representative of the landlords And counterintuitively, Shah Reza Palevi, after being empowered by the Americans, implemented his “White Revolution” including land reform. The Shah often spoke of the risks he was taking with his top-down dynamiting of the society. But what he didn’t know was that his most potent enemy would be the American ambassador, Averill Harriman’s protégé, Bill Sullivan, who played a similar role in the collapse of the American efforts in Laos and Vietnam. How much of this does the President know [or for that matter, Remnick] or would it make any difference, given the President’s long infatuation with the fables of the 1960s American New Left on U.S. postwar foreign policy?
And where is Obama [and Secretary of State John Kerr] in the escalating crisis with Russia’s Vladimir Putin? Not only does it resemble far too much the pattern of the 1930s but Washington has been caught behind the time curve. Remnick quotes Obama saying “I don’t really even need George Kennan right now “. Does that mean that Obama rejects Kennan’s original concept of isolating the Soviet Union in his famous “X” Foreign Affairs article [or Henry Kissinger’s subsequent even less successful “détente”]?. Under those policies the U.S. “lived” with Soviet aggrandizement and subversion for three decadesat great cost and under constant threat. [And by the way, which Kennan? “Containment” was a strategy Kennan later bitterly rejected.]

If so, both have missed the principal “lesson” of the 1990 Soviet implosion: Mikhail Gorbachev failed to get yet again a “transfusion” from the West to save Soviet Communists. [Again, see Living Off the West: Gorbachev’s Secret Agenda and Why It Will Fail by Sol Sanders {Nov 1990}]
After all, it was Ronald Reagan’s “star wars” – incessantly ridiculed by liberals – which forced the issue with “the Evil Empire” along with “trust but verify”. The Soviet elite finally came to acknowledge that they could neither keep up with American technology nor finance a match even with purloined intellectual property.
But Reagan temporarily backed away from his own confrontation strategy following the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut. There the U.S. had suffered the largest casualties since Vietnam until 9/11. Reagan’s duck not only encouraged the Muslim extremists but help them inaugurate a new series of terrorist weapons. The incident’s author, Hez’bollah, and its jihadist tactics dog all free societies to this day and have played a growing role in Obama’s disastrous Syrian on-and-off debacle.
A list of Remnick’s allusions could go on and on — unfortunately including such inanities as Obama seeing his capacity to calm the 1500-year-old Shia-Sunni conflict. But whatever the lickspittle interpretation, we get not that much insight into the fundamental question: is it ideology which drives the current Washington Administration disasters, half-baked Marxist concepts of the 1960s, or just incompetence, or a combination of the two? Or are we dealing, indeed, with that growing American sois-dissant intellectual self-anointed elite who ignore history because they are untutored in its realities?
sws-04-13=14

 

Advertisements

One response to “Ideology/Incompetence?

  1. Sol- As Don Frederick wrote in The Obama Timeline”
    “Although no one had ever heard of him at the time, Obama just happened to receive an impossible-to-believe $125,000 advance to write a book about race relations, which he just happened to fail to write while using the cash to vacation in Bali with his wife Michelle, and despite his record of non-writing he just happened to receive a second advance, for $40,000, from another publisher, and he eventually completed a manuscript called Dreams From My Father, which just happened to strongly reflect the writing style of William Ayers, who just happened to trample on an American flag for the cover photograph of the popular Chicago magazine, which Obama just happened never to see even though it appeared on newsstands throughout the city.” Coincidence? President Omission.

    And as you noted what Jay Lovestone said:
    Once I was asking him for some help on something having to do with Mexico, the Soviets, etc., for a book I was writing on Mexico. We had our
    conversation and he sent me to a professor, a latin American scholar, with
    whom he worked at one of the universities near NYC. As I was going out the door, he called me back, and said, “Remember! He knows more than he understands!”

    Sort of explains the.. “growing American soi-disant intellectual self-anointed elite who ignore history because they are untutored in its realities?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s