Commentary Magazine


America’s Not Big Enough for Him

Conservatives couldn’t have dreamed up a clarifying event this effective. But thanks to the Nobel Peace Prize, an epidemic of common sense and queasiness about multiculturalism is breaking out even among liberals.  Howard Fineman writes:

Obama isn’t going to be sworn in as planetary president. But it doesn’t matter; in his mind, he already is. From the time he announced his candidacy, his appeal—and his sense of himself—has been global. After years of war and fear, he would be what George W. Bush was not: a man who thought of the whole world first and viewed it as one multicultural family.

Fineman is inspired enough by this spasm of international foolishness to remind his Newsweek readers that playing to the Nobel Prize Committee and like-minded fans in the “international community” just may not be a good thing. Turns out that the international community doesn’t always want what’s in our best interests:

For one, what the world wants is not necessarily what America needs, or what the voters care about. Most of the world wants us to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Most of the world would like to see the dollar lose its role as the reserve currency. Many, many citizens of the world think that Hugo Chávez is a cool dude and that Iran has every right to buy uranium centrifuges and stash them underground.

But Obama wants to redefine what’s “in our best interests” and, indeed, to redefine the “our.” Obama says he doesn’t want to bug out of Afghanistan but is thinking up ways not to fulfill the mission (his own) of ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban. He talks a good game on the dollar, yet we’re doing nothing to arrest the dollar’s slide.

Liberal pundits have constructed a grand justification for Obama’s creepy un-nationalism: he’s cleverly getting world opinion on our side so he can further our interests. Yes, as Jon Lovitz used to say on Saturday Night Live, “That’s the ticket!” Well, if that’s the case, the “investment” in bad-mouthing America, unilaterally disarming, and turning on allies isn’t paying off. There is precious little to show—other than a prize for him—for all this. And that explains why not just conservatives but mainstream pundits as well are getting somewhat wary of the president, who doesn’t seem very interested in being the president of just one country.