Liberal Delusionation: Having your cake and telling it what to do
President Obama has a piece of cake. It looks like a very tasty piece cake indeed. His friends and coworkers have complimented him on his piece of cake. But President Obama has a dilemma. What should he do with this cake? On the one hand, he would desperately love to eat this piece of cake. It looks like it would go down well with a tall glass of milk. On the other hand, if he eats his cake he will no longer be enjoy the pleasure of possessing it. What should he do? Liberal delusionation to the rescue! Under the influence of a severe case of liberal delusionation, President Obama is doing his best to eat his cake and have it too. He will soon find out that it is impossible to do both. But such is the end of liberal delusionation: the unwelcome slap of reality.
Of course, cake is not the issue here. Foreign sovereignty is the issue. Recently, President Obama has demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel stop construction at the site of a vacant hotel in East Jerusalem. The land was privately purchased by an American investor, Irving Moskowitz, and is being developed for Jewish citizens to occupy. Prime Minister Netanyahu had this to say in response to the President’s demands:
(Jerusalem is the) “unified capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish people, and sovereignty over it is indisputable . . . Hundreds of apartments in the west of the city were purchased by Arabs and we didn’t get involved. There is no prohibition against Arab residents buying apartments in the west of the city and there is no prohibition barring the city’s Jewish residents from buying or building in the east of the city . . . That is the policy of an open city that is not divided. We cannot accept the notion that Jews will not have the right to buy apartments specifically in Jerusalem. I can only imagine what would happen if they were forbidden from purchasing apartments in New York or London; there would be an international outcry. This has always been Israel’s policy and this is the policy of the current government.”
Fair enough. The President obviously would like to eat this slice of cake, by telling the sovereign nation of Israel what they can and cannot do with this land. To take it a step further, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Wood was recently asked if the U.S. would be ready to exert some financial pressures on Israel to convince the government to stop settlements. Mr. Wood replied that “it’s premature to talk about that.” Harmless comment? Not likely. Mr. Wood is saying that the situation has not reached that point, and the unsaid word here is “yet”. Forget for a moment that Israel is one of our oldest and closest allies. Objectively speaking, the President has told another country to follow his orders and stop an activity that this other country feels well within their rights doing. If they do not comply, there is the implication (however remote) that the President will work to force this nation to comply through external pressures.
Let’s rewind a month or so. When the thousands of Iranians decided to protest what was (by nearly unanimous account) a rigged election, the President said nothing for 10 days. Even when the mullocracy decided to stifle the protests with bloodshed and thuggery, the President was mute. After 10 days, he finally mustered up the sand to make the following statement:
“I want to start off by being very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be; that we….respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran, which sometimes the United States can be a handy political football — or discussions with the United States. . . . My understanding is, is that the Iranian government says that they are going to look into irregularities that have taken place. We weren’t on the ground, we did not have observers there, we did not have international observers on hand, so I can’t state definitively one way or another what happened with respect to the election. . . . And what I would say to those people who put so much hope and energy and optimism into the political process, I would say to them that the world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was. And they should know that the world is watching,” (emphasis mine).
The world is watching? How is it that we “watch” in Iran and “demand” in Israel? After various Conservatives spoke out forcefully and unabashedly about the President’s tepid response, his advisors convinced him to make a (slightly) more forceful statement. But it was too late, he had already shown the world the inconsistency of his commitment to the cause of justice. This inconsistency wouldn’t be fully fleshed out until his demands were sent to Israel a month later.
What it seems the President does not understand is that you cannot forswear meddling in foreign sovereignty only to turn around and meddle in foreign sovereignty. It is a very serious case of liberal delusionation to think that you can commit to both of the above actions and succeed. What is most worrisome about this particular delusionation is not the hypocrisy necessary to attempt such a feat, but the strategic ramifications of such an attempt. Such behavior will most likely convince our allies that our allegiances are subject to change and are founded on personal whim. It will also likely convince our enemies that we can be placated and thrown off the scent of injustice. This is unconscionable, my friends. Either scenario will likely have ill consequences for our country and our allies, to say nothing of the (un)stability of the Middle East. It weakens international perception of a freshman President who was already considered in-over-his-head in international affairs. This delusionation must end if we are to retain our role as the defender of freedom around the globe. To speak of “restoring America in the eyes of the world” from the top of a hypocritical soapbox is not only foolish, but dangerous. As Andre Gide said, “The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”