Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Blogging, Decision '08, Ethics, Government, Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:49 am

There are several commentators who are tossing around the idea that this situation is so outrageous (or simply undeserved at this point) that the president should humbly decline to accept the prize.

I don’t think that is realistic, but some of the reasons given resonate.

On the right, Yuval Levin:

The prize, and the question, also risk awakening with a vengeance the notorious good sense of the American public, and its democratic intolerance for pompous arrogance and nonsense. In its fatigue with Republicans, and its unease with John McCain’s erratic and empty campaign, the voting public gave Obama a comfortable victory last year, but only the young and the silly really went in for the whole cult of personality. It has seemed at several telling moments this year, however, as though Obama himself and his circle were among those that believed it all, and remain so: Their enormous faith in the power of Obama as a messenger and presence, the sense that the world would change its attitude about America simply because he was there, the endless stream of first person pronouns. We might have thought the falling poll ratings would check this attitude somewhat, but Obama’s words and deeds — the Olympics fiasco, for instance — suggest otherwise. Now this odd moment could force the administration to face the matter one way or another. It compels all reasonably sensible people to say “come on, really?!” and it challenges Obama and his circle to assure the country that they are not delusional. It’s hard to know quite what the right response would be, but it would probably require a self-effacing show of humility (including declining the prize) that our president may not even be able to fake, let alone actually exhibit. It is a dangerous thing for a president to become a joke, and between his Olympic Committee trip and this peculiar honor, he’s getting there fast, and in a way that could do him real harm.

I wonder if any commentator, anywhere on the political spectrum, will offer a genuine straight-faced defense or case for this prize. Whoever does will no-doubt win next year’s Nobel Prize for literature.

Actually, a survey by NBI just came out that showed America being the most admired country in the world again. I have no doubt that is the direct result of President Obama being elected - as well as his humble approach to foreign policy that, by his own admission, seeks to minimize the power of his own country.

But Yuval is on to something. The reaction is almost universally one of astonishment - at least among ordinary people. All but the most mindless Obamabots are surprised and not a little puzzled. There is gladness on the left, but it is not universal nor is it uncritical of the committee.

John Dickerson of Slate:

Having worked at Time magazine when it occasionally named a Person of the Year who evoked a similar “Huh?” reaction, I recognize this language: It the sound of words groaning for a rationale. The committee can, of course, pick whomever it wants. But in his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”

“Shall have done,” seems a tricky piece of language to write around. This makes the committee’s statement sounds more like a wish list. It’s not that Obama has done nothing. It’s that so much about his presidency is preliminary. (I’m not counting the beer summit.) Other recipients—Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, and Lech Walesa—seem more aptly to hit the “have done” mark. Others who might not be household names, like Muhammad Yunus, make sense on inspection.

On the other hand, Obama may fit the bill more than some other recipients. At least he hasn’t actively been engaged in making warfare, as were previous recipients Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat. Then again, Obama is considering whether to send more troops into Afghanistan, one of America’s two wars.

That is disingenuous by Dickerson. Obama has personally ordered drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan that have killed dozens if not hundreds of civilians. As the Nobel Committee was making up his mind, the president has been contemplating sending more troops to Afghanistan. There is a chance that in the coming months, we will have to reengage in Iraq to some degree.

And is bombing Iran completely off the table?

But even Dickerson recognizes the fact that there is nothing in particular that the president has accomplished that merits this high honor. And comparison to other winners certainly falls flat, doesn’t it?

This may sound overly harsh, but there are people who have risked their lives for peace, have stood up to the same thugs and tyrants that Obama is embracing, who have gone into war zones and sought to mediate conflicts, and who have, with great courage, stood up against the forces of darkness in order to bring light to the innocent.

And Obama is elevated above these? Here’s a small sampling of obviously more deserving people from Mary Katherine Ham at the Weekly Standard:

Sima Samar, women’s rights activist in Afghanistan: “With dogged persistence and at great personal risk, she kept her schools and clinics open in Afghanistan even during the most repressive days of the Taliban regime, whose laws prohibited the education of girls past the age of eight. When the Taliban fell, Samar returned to Kabul and accepted the post of Minister for Women’s Affairs.”

Ingrid Betancourt: French-Colombian ex-hostage held for six years.

Handicap International and Cluster Munition Coalition: “These organizations are recognized for their consistently serious efforts to clean up cluster bombs, also known as land mines. Innocent civilians are regularly killed worldwide because the unseen bombs explode when stepped upon.”

Hu Jia, a human rights activist and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, who was sentenced last year to a three-and-a-half-year prison term for ‘inciting subversion of state power.’”

“Wei Jingsheng
, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China’s communist system. He now lives in the United States.”

“Dr. Denis Mukwege: Doctor, founder and head of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. He has dedicated his life to helping Congolese women and girls who are victims of gang rape and brutal sexual violence.”

Any one of these courageous individuals would have been a more inspirational choice than someone who talks a good game but has done nothing to back up his words at any risk to himself whatsoever.

Michael Binyon at the TimesOnline:

The award of this year’s Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself.

Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.

Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.

A rather harsh assessment but unless you are totally in the tank for the guy, it is difficult to argue with its conclusions. One thing that is arguable is the notion that this is causing “consternation” in many capitols. From what I can see, most governments are sending words of congratulations. How they really think may be another matter. But given how the president has now been encouraged in his program to de-emphasize American power and subsume our interests to those of other nations, I can’t see them being too full of “consternation” for Obama’s continued quest to downgrade our power and influence on the world stage.

The president will not turn the prize down. Nor do I think he should. He is being rewarded for the kind of foreign policy choices that sit well with a world that is enamored of gestures and atmospherics. This kind of foreign policy works very well - as long as no one challenges the comfortable illusions it represents.

There will come a time in the next 8 years when most of those congratulating the president’s weakening of American power and influence will have need of her strength. And when that day comes - as it always has given the history of the last 100 years - those in need of that strength are simply going to be Sh*t out of Luck.


This is from Robert Naiman at Huffpo and is the first take I’ve read in support of the award that actually makes sense:

The Nobel Committee gave South African Bishop Desmond Tutu the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his leadership of efforts to abolish apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid wasn’t fully abolished in South Africa until 1994. The committee could have waited until after apartheid was abolished to say, “Well done!” But the point of the award was to help bring down apartheid by strengthening Bishop Tutu’s efforts. In particular, everyone knew that it was going to be much harder for the apartheid regime to crack down on Tutu after the Nobel Committee wrapped him in its protective cloak of world praise.

That’s what the Nobel Committee is trying to do for Obama now. It’s giving an award to encourage the change in world relations that Obama has promised, and to try to help shield Obama against his domestic adversaries.

Interesting that Mr. Naiman sees it as a plus that the Nobel Committee would see fit to interfere in our domestic politics. In fact, he seems downright satisfied that foreigners want to butt their noses into our business. (Wonder how he’d feel if they did something similar for a conservative Republican?)

Other than that, however, his analysis makes sense.


  1. I’m a huge supporter of Obama, but I think the Nobel committee is trying to influence Obama’s future actions, which is kind of manipulative. Remember there was a drone attack in Pakistan on his Inauguration Day that killed some civilians that he ok’d. I remember thinking wow he has already killed children on his first day. American Presidents should really have to earn a Nobel.

    According to the Huffpo piece I linked in the update, that would appear to be the intent of the Nobel committee - reward him for future good behavior.


    Comment by Mike — 10/9/2009 @ 10:25 am

  2. I just read his statement accepting the Prize. It looks like he will try to use this to build momentum for his foreign policy agenda. He was honest about being surprised. Sounded humble. Maybe he could make this work?
    I guess we’ll see. I’ve always supported him based on his potential, maybe the rest of the world feels the same? We are living in interesting times indeed.

    Comment by Mike — 10/9/2009 @ 10:33 am

  3. I’m going to pick one nit: your reference to domestic US politics.

    One of the downsides of being the world’s only superpower, the pre-eminent economic, diplomatic, cultural and military power, is that we don’t have purely domestic politics. The Dutch have purely domestic politics, we have some intermediate form, some quasi-world politics.

    I don’t think Augustus or Charlemagne or Napoleon or for that matter Disraeli could have claimed with a straight face that there was a clear line between what was domestic and what was of international interest.

    What we do has enormous impact on the rest of the world and it’s hardly surprising or even wrong that they would attempt to pacify or guide or entice the 800 pound gorilla.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/9/2009 @ 11:16 am

  4. I could give a shit less. I do agree with you that there isn’t an easy way to give back a Nobel, although if this president had any class–and God knows, he doesn’t–he would return it only on the condition it were awarded post-humously to Reagan for his efforts to destroy communism.

    The only award/reward I want to see denied the president is re-election. It likely will bring tears to your eyes, but it seems more likely than ever he will be denied that one.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 10/9/2009 @ 12:47 pm

  5. Rick said:

    According to the Huffpo piece I linked in the update, that would appear to be the intent of the Nobel committee - reward him for future good behavior.

    More like painting him into the good behavior corner.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 10/9/2009 @ 12:48 pm

  6. And as an addendum, Michael Reynolds has proved the Blind Pig cliche has utilty. This is the second time this week something of that nature has happened here.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 10/9/2009 @ 12:49 pm

  7. The Nobel Committee has more or less put the handcuffs on Obama. Right in the middle of deliberations on whether to send an additional 60,000 troops to Afghanistan, Obama is awarded this prize based mostly on future expectations. One of those expectations is that additional troops will not be sent to Afghanistan and the US will quit the war. The intent is to prevent the United States from conducting foreign policy in its own interest. Having been prophesized now as the great leader, the one who is to bring peace to the world, how can he now wage war?

    Comment by Mike — 10/9/2009 @ 12:57 pm

  8. “What we do has enormous impact on the rest of the world and it’s hardly surprising or even wrong that they would attempt to pacify or guide or entice the 800 pound gorilla.”

    True. Moreover, the US butts into other countries’ domestic affairs all the time. The world has a vested interest in our becoming a peaceful, productive member of the international community rather than working against it. It’s also in OUR interest to play a leadership role that is seen as cooperative and engaging with other nations rather than aggressive or bullying. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to shape international policy in a direction that brings TRUE security to the US and inspires other nations to work with us toward a mutually beneficial future.

    I honestly don’t understand why the GOP sees this as negative. It was a prestigious acknowledgement of American leadership and diplomacy. I truly hope this will be even more of a catalyst for bringing our military conflicts to an end and working with the nations of the world to prevent the repeated nightmares humans bring upon themselves time and time again. Ok “ed.,” commence with the name calling, I’m so stupid, etc.

    Comment by Todd — 10/9/2009 @ 1:00 pm

  9. Mr Nainan doesn’t make sense. Obama hasn’t even been actively promoting peace in the way Tutu was working towards the end of apartheid; certainly not in any way different than Bush in the first months of his term (before 9/11) and certainly not while overseeing two wars. His logic is more than flawed.

    Comment by theblackcommenter — 10/9/2009 @ 1:04 pm

  10. Wow, Mike–with or without the prize, he has stated that he wants to bring the wars to a close. These wars have cost us dearly, and we’ll be paying the many prices for years and years to come.

    “The intent is to prevent the United States from conducting foreign policy in its own interest. Having been prophesized now as the great leader, the one who is to bring peace to the world, how can he now wage war?”

    Are you saying now that it’s really an anti-American conspiracy? Nobody “prophesized” him as anything, and nobody (certainly not the Nobel group) has said he’s bringing peace to the world. Did you read the Nobel statement? It’s all there–pretty straight-forward stuff. Are there people here who actually oppose peace?

    Comment by Todd — 10/9/2009 @ 1:06 pm

  11. A final thought. Does anyone seriously believe that this president needs any incentive whatsoever to be a bordeline appeaser? I think the Nobel Committee, much like the American electorate, did this as a feel good measure without a lot of deliberation.

    And to give the devil his due, what is this bungling idiot supposed to do? Return the award? If anything, the Nobel Committee has joined the line to sodomize this man.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 10/9/2009 @ 1:09 pm

  12. With respect to Naiman, Onama is no Bishop TuTu. Tutu’s prize did give him the kind of world recognition and acclaim that helped give him leverage against the Nationalist government on apartheid. Without it, average folks and even pols in Europe, America and elsewhere may never had heard of Tutu. Before the prize, the anti-apartheid movement simply had no well-known face, no spokesperson who could travel the world speaking against his government.

    Obama’s situation is totally differemt. The committee’s motive may be similar but Obama hardly needs help becoming known or gaining important speaking platforms.

    On balance, the prize will be an albatross for Obama — one that unleashes mockery of him, spurs envy among other statesmen (think Sarkozy, Putin), and even among Obama fans, raises impossible expectations.

    Comment by John Burke — 10/9/2009 @ 1:34 pm

  13. Well thought-out comment, John.

    I have a serious question, and I hope I get serious replies which foster dialog (i.e., not aggressive and snarky). What has this man done to you all that is so terrible? Why do so many on the right hate him so intensely? I don’t want to hear about what he might do, or what Congress is doing that you don’t like. What has Barack Obama DONE to bring on such severe vitriol?

    Comment by Todd — 10/9/2009 @ 1:43 pm

  14. Todd,

    What has Barack Obama DONE to bring on such severe vitriol?

    He got elected.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 10/9/2009 @ 1:51 pm

  15. That may have been directed at me, Todd, although I am more moderate than “right.”

    The president simply has confirmed he was/is unqualified for an executive position. Even Bush, whom I loathed, didn’t display such gross incompetence at governance. From Afghanistan to simply passing a health care bill to save face, this man has shown no ability to govern whatsoever. You obviously are an Obama partisan and don’t see it, at least yet, but trust me, when you do it will be so painfully obvious you will question your judgment deeply.

    People who compare Obama to Carter defame the latter. Carter had been a governor, and had marginal talents for governance. The 20-day senator turned president would have done well to have been mayor of Wasilla for a week.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 10/9/2009 @ 1:53 pm

  16. jackson1234: If what you are saying is true, then where are the “real” politicians’ answers to what you claim are the obvious mistakes Obama is making? I don’t mean the folks screaming “You are wrong!”, I mean people with detailed plans that, if the choice had been theirs, would have solved the problem?

    Has McCain pointed out and given detailed instructions on what we really should have done to reverse the recession?

    Does Palin have a 200+ page explanation of how to get GM & Chrysler back to being fully fuctioning with out any government funding?

    Where is the Conservative health care plan that all the experts look at and say “Oh, of course! It is so obvious that this is what we need to do”.

    Comment by KenGirard — 10/9/2009 @ 2:12 pm

  17. The House GOP, for example, put forward a very detailed and workable health care plan. The GM/Chrysler “plan” is a ridiculous joke and sop to the UAW. Both corporations will be bankrupt by 2011, according to most analysts.

    But you miss the point, Ken. This isn’t even about ideology. Obama simply is incompetent as an executive. He laid out a thoughtful approach to Afghanistan and then backed away when the polls went south, for example. A president must be as good of an executive as he is a politican. Obama simply lacked the skills for the job, and it was painflly obvious even before the election. You obviously are an Obama partisan and don’t see it yet, but his election is a national disgrace and marks the second inept Administration in a row. Qualifications matter, and as big of a joke as Palin was she had run something. Obama had not, and every day we feel the sting of it.

    You likely will be similar to many early Bush supporters who came to realize the folly of their choice.

    Comment by obamathered — 10/9/2009 @ 2:28 pm

  18. And incidentally, unlike many others here, Ken, I never voted for Bush, either although that forced me to stay home in 2004. He was too moderate for my tastes.

    Comment by obamathered — 10/9/2009 @ 2:38 pm

  19. obamathered: You mean the 4 page thing the GOP showed the world in June? http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/GOPHealthPlan_061709.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody

    That is about the equivalent of saying that the plan for D-Day was “Get’em!”.

    Um…no. He meant this 248 page bill introduced in May: “The Patients Choice Act”


    The CBO said it would have insured more people who currently don’t have coverage after a decade then the House plan. It proposed insurance pools at the state level to take care of those with pre-existing conditions. It granted tax credits (not big enough for families) for individuals an families to buy insurance. It took down barriers so insurance could be sold across state lines. It eliminated mandated comprehensive coverage so that the “young invincibles” could choose to buy catastrophic insurance only. It reformed Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals pretty much the way the Democrats want to. It called for significant tort reform. It accomplished everything the Democrats want to ram down our throats at half the cost and was revenue neutral.

    Yes, there are flaws in it - not near enough a tax credit for families. Questionable Medicaid policy that I think would allow too many poor people to fall through the cracks. But it would have eventually gotten employers out of the business of giving their employees insurance, significantly reformed Medicare (although more savings would need to be realized), been much more patient friendly, and done all of this without creating 53 new boards, panels, and agencies.

    Go suck an egg.


    Comment by KenGirard — 10/9/2009 @ 3:28 pm

  20. Last week Obama was an International lightweight who didn’t have the madd $killz to play the game. The IOC pronounced judgment, and their judgment was scorn. Therefore Obama sucks.

    This week the International political game is a farce that has no merit. The Nobel Judges have pronounced judgment, and that judgment is that they tacitly admit their opinion is completely divorced from reality. They like Obama, and that proves they don’t know what they are talking about because Obama sucks. Therefore, Obama sucks.

    Regardless of my opinions of the Right, I do salute y’all for your unerring ability to stay on point. “Message Discipline” has some serious emotional resonance for you guys.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/9/2009 @ 5:34 pm

  21. Remember the Guardian letter writers who wrote people in Ohio before the 2004 election? I believe that did offend a great number of people who received those letters.

    Now, I disagree with this notion that the world should not or does not interfere with our politics. It happens often enough that it seems to elicit little outrage at this point, even when its out in the open (like Bibi coming over here for the second time in 15 years and trying to subvert official US policy, enlisting Congressmen to help him in his efforts). That’s not a knock on Israel, and is a reflection of our special relationship, but it is a knock on our domestic politicians who encourage such behavior in their political games.

    As to those attacking Reynolds for mentioning how we interfere in other countries’ politics often, please explain our constant poking, prodding, and even outright snubbing/showering of attention and aid on dozens of countries. We are a very powerful nation, so let’s get over ourselves being anytime lately innocent lily-white never do any such thing people.

    Comment by Eddie — 10/9/2009 @ 6:39 pm

  22. “He got elected.” WRONG! The People ELECTED him. The GOP needs to realize that 54% of THE PEOPLE elected him. He wasn’t installed, he didn’t pull a fast one–he was DEMOCRATICALLY VOTED into office.

    “You obviously are an Obama partisan…” Nope. I wanted another of the Dem candidates and I don’t belong to the Dem party. I’ve sent several messages of concern and disagreement to the WH on specific policies.

    Only in America would people be complaining that their democratically elected president won one of the most prestigious awards on the planet in a recognition of a new direction that is perceived to be positive for the world.

    Comment by Todd — 10/9/2009 @ 7:16 pm

  23. @jackson1234:

    “… although if this president had any class–and God knows, he doesn’t–he would return it only on the condition it were awarded post-humously to Reagan for his efforts to destroy communism.”

    Yes…really, that’s the only reasonable thing to do, isn’t it? Anything else is just more proof of how much Obama sucks.

    I think everybody can agree that this is really the only standard we as a society need in terms of establishing “class” and “classless” behavior. Personally, I would add that he also has to sing “Let The Eagle Soar” while he does it, but that’s more of a personal style thing with me.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/11/2009 @ 12:35 am

  24. @Todd:

    “What has this man done to you all that is so terrible? Why do so many on the right hate him so intensely?”

    You won’t get a dialogue (at least nobody else has). The crazies will rant something then ignore any response, and the conservative thinkers know they can’t articulate any “case” against him beyond mistrust (a perfectly reasonable reaction — a President I don’t like may eventually win me over, but I’ll start out watching him with “you suck” tinted glasses). They won’t go down that road because they’re worried you are going to call them a racist.

    And there certainly is some (small) faction that has a race-based axe to grind, but otherwise you’ve got opposition based on him being a complete unknown. He a friggin’ rookie politician on the Federal stage. He’s got no nationwide history to judge him. He gives great speeches, but is he salted enough to get elected captain of the team?

    Did I mention he’s a Democrat?

    Given the (IMO righteously deserved) vitriol of the last several years, Obama took over pretty much in the middle of open Inter-Party combat. As I said, before, I don’t regret that we got here. I was someone that screamed bloody murder about Bush, and I thought the level of his errors deserved every rant. Obama may not have done anything that objectively merits that kind of emotional broadside . . . but Liberals did start it. I wish the country wasn’t at this level of rhetoric, but this is the way things played out.

    Another reason for the hate possibly is that everybody actually hoped/feared that he might really be all that and a bag of chips. With no record to judge, maybe he really COULD do all the things voters hope/dread over. Now that a factually legitimate grounds for hating Obama are developing (that he is so far a bit of a milquetoast) the crazy “Obama is Teh Debil” voices are slowly drifting to the ignored corner (where they belong). At the start though . . . maybe he could have ridden 70+ approval numbers to name himself king (hell, look what Bush did with far less). If he WAS that kind of meglomaniac, it made sense to try and stop his charge before he developed any momentum. Hit him first day with everything you have and don’t let up. If he catches his breath and counter-attacks we’re all doomed!! Its the friggin’ Terminator, for chrissakes!

    Those are my best guesses. I’ve tried to figure it out myself, but getting answers from “Teh Other Side” on this question is tough. If I were them, I don’t know if I’d answer it myself. Why do they hate him? He’s the wrong party. Its silly to take it to the extremes that it is, but there you go. Would I be willing to admit that?

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/11/2009 @ 1:02 am

  25. Thanks for engaging in serious discussion, busboy33. Ya know, when Jimmy Carter said made the racism comment a few weeks ago, I thought it was over-the-top (and I have a lot of respect for Carter as an EX-Prez humanitarian). I wonder now though if there really was more truth to it than I wanted to believe. On this site was a weird post by Rick with very few comments: http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2009/10/09/overheard-at-my-house-this-morning/

    Check out the link in comment number 4 from Paul–sickening.

    Comment by Anonymous — 10/11/2009 @ 3:08 am

  26. You can’t ignore that Obama has brought racists into public view . . . but the Loyal Opposition does seem to have as the basis of criticism more practical matters. That the jagoffs agree with them can’t fairly be blamed on the Republicans.

    Would he be getting this much love assuming he was white? Maybe not, but hew might. An Eastern European born, Islamic raised, Plant-By-The-Commies sleeper agent? During Cold War heights so there’s a motivation for the conspiracy? Manchurian Candidate for the win! That actually sounds more credible than picking a black child to be your sleeper agent in the 60s:

    “Nobody will notice the black man becoming President. He’ll be completely undected . . . the ultimate sleeper cell.”

    “Allah be praised . . . you’re a genius! He’ll blend at the White House perfectly!”

    Maybe a white president looks more threatening, so they go after him more. Who knows.

    To the actual Conservatives: Blackface and monkey jokes are racist. Sorry. It just is. That’s really the way in works in the 21st century in terms of social interraction. You shouldn’t slap your secretary on the ass either. That’s considered sexist. “No Jews” Country Clubs? Also racist, even if they DO have the best golf courses.
    I actually thought this was common knowledge, but apparently many of you don’t.
    If you aren’t endorsing $h!t like that tacitly AS A PUBLIC ENTITY (The Republican Party), then you have to divorce yourself from that publicly. Republicans, as a Party, cannot say “what’s the big deal?”

    Rick — no comment on that link? No “you’re the problem quit polluting the party I love”? If I posted a link to porn would it still be there? Why would you delete one and not the other?

    The whole “the racists don’t represent the true face of Conservatives” argument? From a purely PR standpoint, this doesn’t help.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/11/2009 @ 3:31 pm

  27. Should Obama decline the Nobel Peace Prize? No he shouldn’t such an action would likely be seen as insulting. I’m pleased by the NBI survey that says apparently we are apparently admired. This is one of the reasons that the voters voted for Obama, to fix America’s image in the world. Fairly or not Bush is blamed for us formerly being the world’s most hated country without any real allies. If Obama has begun to rectify this, this is good, however, I must wonder what kind of “admiration” this is.

    Bullies “admire” people who give them their lunch money when told to do so. A person who has a rich partner, often “admires” their sugar daddy or sugar mama as the case may be. Hopefully this is not the kind of admiration thw world has for us.

    In any event, while this is tentatively encouraging, I’m waiting, hoping, and praying this will translate into real action on the part of the world. For example, should Iran attack the United States is Russia prepared to tell us where the Iraninan nuclear sites are? Will the Russians assist us in circumventing the anti-aircraft system that they have put in place for Iran? Should the United States suffer a major earth quake in say San Francisco and two hurricanes with the devestating effect of say a hurricane Ike or Hurricane Katrina all at the same time this would be devestating to a country like America that is already deeply in debt with a struggling economy. Is the world ready to send us massive food shipments and other basic necessities with no or few strings attached? Is the world prepared to offer us grants or low interest loans to help us recover? And no we are not talking about things like the token assistance offered by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela a couple of years ago that was designed solely to score political points. In the event of an Iranian attack or an attack by Russia or China, is Western Europe ready to assist us in thwarting it? The top US commander in Afghanistan has stated that 40,000 or so more troops are needed for Afghanistan. Are NATO countries prepared or will they prepare to help us meet this need? I’m asking these questions and many others like these. I’m sure many Americans are too. As President Bush did foul things up mightily, I am patient but patience grows shorts. I have yet to see any tangible results of our supposed improved image in the world. At some point and probably soon, real tangible things will be expected.

    Michael Reynolds (#3),

    “One of the only downsides of being the world’s only super power…” you’re incorrect. While the United States is certainly currently very powerful and influential, it is not the world’s only super power. Miltarily it is checked by Russia’s superior nuclear arsenal and any qualitative edge it may have militarily over China is offset by China’s vast numbers. Also, America’s military, especially its Army, is worn down from continuing operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere in the “War on Terror.” This further limits America’s military capabilities. Again, America is a very formidable power, however, it is not the world’s only super power. In fact, there are at least seven countries and possibly more who could prevail in a conventional military conflict against the United States right now. Note I did NOT say they would be favored to win, just that they are fully capable of winning. American leaders no doubt keep this in mind when they formulate foreign policy. At least they should.

    While the United States is a currenly a formidable economic power, at least it used to be before the current recession. It is hardly the preeminent economic power. Economically the United States is checked by its dependence upon others for its energy needs, namely in the form of oil. Often times the suppliers don’t have America’s best interests at heart. The United States is further checked economically by its dependence on others, mostly China, for many of its manufacturing of consumer and industrial goods.

    The United States probably can be effective diplomatically, however, it is hardly preeminent in this area either. Diplomacy involves the art of carrots and sticks so to speak. In order to be effective, one needs to have things they can offer “carrots” as well “sticks” they are willing and able to use against the other party. As stated previously the United States is checked both militarily and economically by others. While the United States certainly can be effective, its abilities are strictly limited. America, while currently powerful, is hardly the stuff of preeminence.

    American culture is certainly influential. By preeminent, I think you must mean Hollywood and the like. This may be true, however, Hollywood is but one small part of American culture. The movers and shakers behind Hollywood are much closer ideologically to Europe and as such this part of American power is influenced more by Europe than by main stream America. Europe has just as much influence culturaly on the United States and possibly more than the United States has culturealy on it. Again, harldy the stuff of preeminence.

    Comment by B.Poster — 10/14/2009 @ 11:43 pm

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