Obama destroys decades of US dominant global power in just four years. How could we possibly afford four more?

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4774

Redacted from an article BY JAMES KIRCHICK

COMMENTARY, October, 2012

…PRESIDENT OBAMA is not the wildly popular international leader that so many Americans (and foreigners) assumed he would be. On the contrary, far from improving global attitudes toward America across the board, his seeming similarity to President Bush has made a world already resentful and suspicious of American power even more cynical. After all, if the man who proclaimed himself a “citizen of the world” will carry out drone strikes against suspected terrorists and fail to close Guantanamo Bay, who could do otherwise?

The more important question for Americans remains: Does any of this matter? Bruce Stokes of the Pew Global Attitudes project thinks it does. In a commentary for CNN.com, he flatly declared: “Experience shows that the success or failure of [a president’s] foreign policy may depend, in part, on how it is perceived abroad but he provides no evidence to suggest that foreign perceptions of American foreign policy have anything to do with its success or failure.

Citing Obama’s enormous popularity with Europeans as a potential stumbling point for a President Romney, Stokes writes: “In the long run, if Romney wins, none of this may matter, as Europeans get to know him. But, in the short run, it could matter. A 2005 Pew Research Center survey found that in Britain, France, Germany; Spain and the Netherlands, strong majorities said the 2004 reelection of George W. Bush led them to have a less favorable opinion of the United States.” All right – but so what? Did the British, French Germans, Spaniards, and Dutch stop buying America products because they were so angry with George W Bush? Did they cancel vacations to the United State or, more gravely, take up arms against it?

Four years after he was first elected president, Obama’s global popularity (at least in contrast to his Republican opponent’s), has once again been marshaled as a decisive argument in his favor. Former New Mexico governor and United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson, citing his frequent overseas travels, told CBS’s Face the Nation at the beginning of September that, “The international community wants to see this president re-elected.”

(Why not, as he continues to deliberately and maliciously weaken our military and economic power throughout the world and empowers our enemies?) jsk

Appeals to the inherent wisdom of the “international community” are always problematic, since no such constituency exists – but here it was factually in error, considering that a plurality of people in the world’s most populous country, China, opposes Obama’s reelection. But such nitpicking belies the real point, which is that it is Americans who choose their President, not “the international community.”

To people who obsess about being popular, the persistence of negative attitudes about the United States must be dispiriting. But as in high school, there are things more important than popularity. A foreign policy predicated upon the opinion of “global publics whose views are often informed by false or insufficient information and whose values are often entirely different from those of many, if not most, Americans – risks jeopardizing the central role America has played in stabilizing the international order since the end of Worid War II.

The “humility” that foreigners often insist America (and only America) display is really just a call for a far greater redistribution of American-generated and earned wealth, a lessening of American economic power, thus ensuring the comparative rise of authoritarian challengers such as Russia and China, not to mention Iran and Venezuela.

A closer look at the polling data, however, reveals some important findings that are often overlooked by those who like to use such surveys for domestic partisan political attacks. In 16 countries polled by Pew in both 2007 and 2012, a median of 65 percent embrace American music, movies, and television today — up six percentage points from five years ago.

While much of American popular culture is loathed by many Arabs and Muslims, our way of doing business is not: In the four Arab Muslim – majority countries surveyed by Pew, most people said they think American entrepreneurship is something to emulate. (Not surprisingly, Europeans, with their dying welfare-state model, found little to like in American business practices.) And among the cohort of 18-to-29-year-olds, “American ideas about democracy” are admired by 72 percent of Tunisians, 59 percent of Chinese, 52 percent of Poles, and 51 percent of Lebanese.

Economic opportunity, cultural liveliness, and a vibrant democracy: These are the American qualities the president of the United States, whoever he will become November 7, should commit himself to preserving and strengthening. It is only icing on the cake that they happen to be the American qualities the rest of the world admires the most.

JAMES KIRCHICK, based in Berlin, is a fellow with the Foundation/or Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor to the New Republic.

WHY GLENN BECK SCARES ISRAELI (and American) LEFTISTS

By Steven Plaut
Jewish Press, September 2, 2011

Israeli radical leftists have long had an intense hatred for American conservatives, who are almost all pro-Israel. Actually, Israeli leftists hate American conservatives precisely because conservatives are pro-Israel. As is the case in most other countries, radical leftists in the Jewish state are anti-Israel in addition to being anti-American.

Israeli leftists insist that overseas supporters of Israel who are conservative should be shunned. Israeli leftists insist that Israel should only allow itself to be befriended by foreign leftists. Never mind that the search for pro-Israel foreign leftists is about as productive as the search for human life on other planets. The left outside of Israel is almost entirely anti-Israel, and foreign liberals are by and large (though not entirely) anti-Israel as well.

Israeli leftists want foreign pro-Israel conservatives to be regarded as personae non gratae by Israel. A few years back, Amiram Goldblum, a professor at Hebrew University and a founder of Peace Now, called upon Israeli officials to prevent American evangelical Christians from entering Israel. He objected to them because they are too pro-Israel. The Israeli left is outraged that Israeli cable TV carries Fox News, because it is pro-Israel. The anti-Israel BBC and CNN, however, are fine.

The most dramatic manifestation of the Israeli left’s hatred of pro-Israel foreign conservatives was evident in the severity of the Beckaphobia we’ve seen in recent days.

Glenn Beck was in Israel last week (he has been here a lot in recent months) for one purpose only – to support Israel. He is an outspoken and well-spoken American conservative. His political opinions are solidly conservative and you cannot listen to his recent speech in Jerusalem without being convinced of the sincerity of his love for Israel and solidarity with Jews. You might even be moved to tears (from his citing the Book of Ruth, for instance).

The Israeli left has been jihading like crazy against Beck. Yossi Sarid, the ex-head of the semi-Marxist Meretz party, crayoned an op-ed demonizing Beck (just recently Sarid published an op-ed in Haaretz claiming Israel fought the Six-Day War out of a Nazi-like quest for Lebensraum – his word). Sarid was joined by lots of left-wing Haaretz writers in Beck-bashing. And even the normally sensible Maariv editor Ben-Dror Yemini decided to gripe about Beck. Naturally, Peace Now denounced the decision to allow Beck into the country.

The leftists demanding that Beck be regarded as persona non grata are almost without exception the same people who protested when Israel denied inveterate Israel bashers Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomskyand Richard Falkentry into the country. The lesson is clear – the left’s mantra is really this: Israel, hate it or leave it.

Meanwhile, Israeli patriots loved Beck and many attended his rallies. Caroline Glick wrote in The Jerusalem Post:

Beck is rare, because he refuses to bow to the intellectual intimidation and group-think that plagues the discourse on Israel in Israel itself and throughout the world . Unlike the leftist public intellectuals such as New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman (may he rot in gehenim – jsk) who are celebrated and obsessively covered by the Israeli media, Beck exerts real influence on public opinion in the U.S.

His calls for action are answered by hundreds of thousands of people. His statements are a guidepost for millions of Americans. Aside from radio host Rush Limbaugh, no media personality in the U.S. has such influence. It is highly significant that thousands of Beck’s supporters followed his call and came with him to Israel for a week to express their support for Israel and the Jewish people. It is similarly significant that millions more of his supporters followed his actions on Internet.

Beck, of course, is also the right-winger American left-wingers most love to hate. He is perhaps the only TV and radio personality who can upset the left even more than Rush Limbaugh does. But those who hate Beck, in almost all cases, also hate Israel. True, some liberal American Reform rabbis denounced Beck for criticizing George Soros, but if anything, Beck should carry their condemnation as a badge of valor.

Some American Jewish liberals squirm when Beck’s name is mentioned because they have a problem with Mormons. Give me a nice team of Mormons any day over liberal Jewish pseudo-clergypersons preaching that Judaism is really “social justice” and pursuing a liberal political agenda.

Mormons may invite you to join their faith and pray for you to do so. Liberal Reform rabbis often misrepresent Judaism and are guilty of chillul Hashem (sacrilege). I feel fine with the former. And I salute Glenn Beck.

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.