The cat and mouse game playing out in the waters of the Middle East has profound consequences, not only for the United States, but for the rest of the world. It’s part of the clash of civilizations, whether the West likes it or not — the mullahs in Tehran against the Katzenjammer Kids in the White House. It’s not yet clear who’s the cat, and who’s the mouse, but the mullahs think they know.
In times more innocent than these, Eugene Burdick and William J. Lederer wrote a best-seller, “The Ugly American,” circa 1958, about a well-meaning American bureaucrat who set out to repeat the success of the Marshall Plan in what were accurately called, with no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings, “the undeveloped countries.” Good intentions were not enough. The new plan didn’t work, foiled by hubris and pretension in the new class of American bureaucrats. The unattractive hero understood, but couldn’t turn the tide. He was dismissed as “the Ugly American” of his book.
Barack Obama is a symbol of black pride, and why wouldn’t he be? He was elected president of the United States twice. But as a president who has not done very much for black America, he has been a disaster. The riots that have ripped through Baltimore in recent days are more an indictment of his willfully failed leadership than as a marker of the state of race relations in the United States.
You wouldn’t know it from all the hot air from the government, but American entrepreneurs, with little help from Washington, have ignited a worldwide energy revolution. They have done it despite of the efforts of the ideologues who prescribe an altogether different energy strategy.
Americans are a tolerant lot, most of the time, but suspicion of foreigners trying to intervene in things that are none of their business is a constant in the nation’s history. On leaving the presidency after two terms, George Washington warned in his farewell address of the wisdom of staying clear of foreign entanglements.