- The Washington Times - Friday, October 9, 2009


The cruel world is closing in on Barack Obama. Springfield was never like this. The president can only look back with yearning for the days when he was the star of the state legislature, where a legislator’s only concern is who’s going to pick up the tab for drinks and supper.

His dithering time in the big new world is limited by events, which occur to a timetable that mere man, even a minor-league messiah, cannot control.

The White House insists that the president is hard at work on what to do about Afghanistan, and whether to send more troops to fuel a “surge” like the surge that prevented a collapse of the West’s attempt to rescue Iraq from barbarism and restore a fragile semblance of civilization. The brave young Americans put in harm’s way in that godforsaken corner of the world often feel abandoned in a hopeless cause, so the president should feel the pressure to act, and quickly.

But the problem is “multilayered,” his spokesman says. Translated into real English, that means “he hasn’t yet figured out which layer of public opinion to appease, and which layer to disappoint.” He’ll do something as soon as he figures out which disappointed layer would squeak loudest and scream longest.

The Pakistanis occupy still another layer. The president is looking for a way to motivate an ally that doesn’t want to be motivated. Money is usually the great motivator, and the administration proposes to send the generals who run Pakistan $7.5 billion in aid over the next five years, to, er, ah, ummmm, uh, well, it’s not clear what, exactly. They’ll think of something. The generals want to make sure the money arrives in Pakistan with no strings attached. It’s not as if we’re talking about real money.

Still another layer is the arsenal of nuclear weapons the Paks already have, and a layer beyond that is the nuclear weapon Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in neighboring Iran is about to have, unless the president gets out of the way and lets the Israelis resolve the dilemma. This would free him to figure out a way to abandon Israel to the terrorists without making noise that would drown out the speech he would make as a consolation prize for the Jews and their Christian allies. He has a useful precedent, having recently thrown the Poles and Czechs under his famous bus (joining his grandmother), to appease the Russians angered by the prospect of a NATO missile base in Poland and the Czech Republic.

On another front, the dollar is shrinking so fast - more than 11 percent over the past few months - that it might disappear before the rest of the world abandons it as the reserve currency. But the most dangerous layer of presidential concerns, if you believe certain European descendants of Chicken Little, is what to do about global warming.

If the United States does not take the lead in writing a global-warming giveaway to suit the Europeans, says Karl Falkenberg, who is something called “the director-general for the environment at the European Union’s executive body,” Mr. Obama faces “more than an embarrassment.” He doesn’t say what that could be, but it sounds more serious than a man leaving the men’s room with his fly unzipped.

Mr. Falkenberg and his fellow director-generals have been in Bangkok for two weeks, no doubt distracted by the shock of the fleshly delights of the Thai capital, trying to work out a successor to the Kyoto treaty, which expires in 2012. They move on next to Barcelona for more talking and dining on the government dime before arriving in Copenhagen in early December for the big round-up. The U.S. Senate still has not acted on legislation to join the global-warming scam, and this frustrates and infuriates the worthies of the European Union, who deal in fiats and decrees and are unaccustomed to the whims of robust congressional debate.

The Saudis are arguing that if the green Utopia arrives and the rest of the world quits using so much oil, Saudi Arabia will need a lot of “financial assistance.” Mohammed S. Al Sabban, the head of the Saudi delegation to Bangkok, says the Western nations are pursuing a cabal against the oil-producing nations under the guise of “protecting the planet.” Who knew the Saudis were so close to begging alms?

And if all this was not bad news enough for Barack Obama, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported Thursday that 1 of every 4 persons in the world now practices Islam. Some of it is friendly and peaceful, some of it not so much.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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