- - Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Japan recently turned over to the United States enough weapons-grade nuclear material to make dozens of nuclear bombs. This was one of President Obama’s few foreign-policy “successes,” as part of his nuclear-disarmament initiative. His foreign-policy successes may be more dangerous than his “failures,” though.

Back in 2005 as a senator, Barack Obama urged the Ukrainians to drastically reduce their conventional weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles and tons of ammunition. Ukraine had already rid itself of nuclear missiles, left over from the days when it had been part of the Soviet Union.

Would Vladimir Putin have sent Russian troops so boldly into Ukraine if the Ukrainians still had nuclear missiles? The nuclear disarming of Japan and Ukraine shows how easy it is to disarm peaceful nations — making them more vulnerable to those who are not peaceful.

Ukraine’s recent appeal to the United States for military supplies with which to defend itself as more Russian troops mass on its borders was denied by Mr. Obama. He is sending food supplies instead. He might as well send them white flags, to facilitate surrender.

Critics who say that Mr. Obama is naive and inexperienced in foreign policy and blame that for the many setbacks to American interests during this administration may be right. However, it is by no means certain that they are.

Another and more disturbing possibility is that Mr. Obama, in his citizen-of-the-world conception of himself, thinks that the United States already has too much power and needs to be deflated. Rush Limbaugh, Dinesh D’Souza and some other critics have seen Mr. Obama’s repeated sacrifices of American national interests as deliberate.

Monstrous as that possibility might seem, it is consistent not only with many otherwise hard to explain foreign-policy setbacks, but also consistent with Mr. Obama’s having been raised, literally from childhood, with anti-American mentors, beginning with his mother. He continued to seek out such people as an adult.

The ranting the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. was just one of these anti-American mentors.

Mr. Obama’s undermining of stable and unthreatening governments in Egypt and Libya, opening both to Islamic extremists while doing nothing that was likely to keep Iran from going nuclear, seems more consistent with the views of Messrs. Limbaugh, D’Souza, et al., than with the views of most other critics.

What is also more consistent with the Limbaugh and D’Souza thesis are such personal quirks as Mr. Obama’s gross rudeness to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House and his otherwise inexplicable public debasement of himself and the United States by bowing low to other foreign leaders.

There was nothing to be gained politically by such actions. Nor by such things as his whispered statement to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he should tell “Vladimir” that he — Mr. Obama — could follow a more “flexible” foreign policy after his last election was behind him.

What could be more “flexible” than denying Ukraine the military supplies needed to deter further Russian aggression? Or leaving Japan without material needed to create a nuclear deterrent quickly, while an aggressive China is expanding its military forces and its territorial demands in the region?

Domestically, the unbroken string of Mr. Obama’s grievance-mongering mentors included professor Derrick Bell at Harvard Law School, author of rantings on paper similar to Mr. Wright’s rantings in his church.

Bell was a man cast in the role of a scholar at top-tier universities, who chose instead to take on the pathetic role of someone whose goal was — in his own words — to “annoy white people.”

Bell was not a stupid man. He was a man placed where he should never have been placed, where there was no self-respecting role for him to play, without going off on some strange tangent. That Mr. Obama literally embraced Bell publicly in law school, and urged others to listen to him, says much about Mr. Obama.

It says much about those who voted for Mr. Obama that they paid so little attention to his life and so much attention to his rhetoric.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.



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