- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2010

“Civilizations die from suicide, not murder,” said the great historian Arnold Toynbee. Under President Obama, America is losing its superpower status. It is in decline, slowly being transformed into a second-tier nation.

America’s collapse has been sudden and stunning - soaring deficits, economic stagnation, appeasement of radical Islam and revolutionary socialism. Mr. Obama’s policies are undermining U.S. pre-eminence on the world stage.

Once the world’s largest creditor, we have become the greatest debtor nation. This week, Mr. Obama unveiled his fiscal 2011 budget. The $3.8 trillion in federal outlays is the highest ever. The budget deficit will be a record $1.6 trillion.

The administration brags about the need to make “tough choices.” But the budget dramatically augments spending on pet Democratic projects. Mr. Obama wants $25 billion in new spending for Medicaid, $100 billion for a so-called “jobs program,” huge boosts in expenditures for low-income family programs, education and health research. In total, Mr. Obama’s proposals represent a nearly 30 percent increase in federal spending since 2008.

His reckless agenda of big government, big deficits and big spending are driving America toward national bankruptcy. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Obama will have added $3.7 trillion to the national debt. He will have accumulated more debt in three years than in the first 225 years of our nation’s history. This is the road to fiscal suicide.

Mr. Obama seeks to implement huge spending programs and runaway deficits to achieve one fundamental goal: permanent, massive tax increases that will empower the ruling liberal elite to exert greater control over the private sector. Mr. Obama is demanding $2 trillion in tax increases over the next decade. His soak-the-rich class-warfare strategy will strangle economic growth, curb capital formation and cripple job creation. Unemployment remains at 10 percent - and likely will rise over the next several years.

Mr. Obama believes he is finishing the liberal project begun by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Contrary to popular myth, however, FDR was one of the most destructive U.S. leaders in the 20th century. His New Deal failed to restore economic recovery and prolonged the Great Depression.

FDR often railed against “economic royalists” and “the forces of selfishness,” blaming them for the country’s misery. His war on business and bankers may have struck a populist chord, but it did nothing to reverse high unemployment or kick-start industrial productivity. In fact, it badly damaged economic confidence, hampering much-needed investment and entrepreneurship.

Moreover, FDR was a liberal internationalist in foreign policy. Diplomatic multilateralism trumped America’s national interests. He slashed military spending for most of the 1930s. He championed the appeasement of Nazi Germany. He deliberately did nothing to save the Jews during the Holocaust - for example, refusing to order Allied bombing of Nazi railroad lines carrying Jews to the death camps. At Yalta, he sold out Eastern Europe to Soviet domination.

FDR’s policies contributed to the outbreak of World War II, the 50 million deaths it caused and the enslavement of Christian Eastern European nations by communism. Rather than being a great defender of freedom, he was its very opposite: a globalist progressive who wrecked capitalism at home and emboldened America’s totalitarian enemies abroad.

Many of FDR’s disastrous mistakes are being repeated by Mr. Obama. His crushing tax increases and Keynesian deficit spending threaten America’s long-term prosperity. His drive for a bloated public sector and expensive new entitlement programs are draining the private sector, subordinating the market to a bureaucratic, corporatist state.

His decision to grant the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Miranda rights, as well as give the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a trial in civilian court reflects a lack of will in defeating Islamist terrorism. Mr. Obama’s appeasement of the apocalyptic mullahs in Iran is enabling them to acquire the nuclear bomb, potentially triggering an all-out Middle East war. He has betrayed Eastern Europe by scrapping the promised missile-defense shield, abandoning the region to Russia’s sphere of influence.

He also is undermining America’s military strength. He has reduced our nuclear arsenal. His attempt at nation building in Afghanistan is another Vietnam. The troop surge without a clear strategy for victory bogs down the U.S. in a protracted guerrilla campaign, expending precious blood and treasure. Mr. Obama’s push to have homosexuals openly serve in the military will fracture unit cohesion, decimate troop morale and erode discipline. It is the worst thing a president could do in the middle of two wars.

Nature abhors a vacuum. The West’s decline is being replaced by the dynamic capitalist economies of the East. Wealth is being transferred to Asia - and with it, growing might. The United States’ chief rival, China, remains embarked on an unprecedented military buildup. Beijing is simultaneously flexing its muscles while buying up much of our national debt. America was to imperial Britain a century ago what China is to us today: a rising regional colossus determined to achieve global hegemony.

Mr. Obama’s policies have led to the loss of U.S. power and prestige. They have left us weaker - economically, politically and militarily. His presidency is America’s suicide attempt.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily radio host of the “Kuhner Show” on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon to 3 p.m.

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