The guys from Powerline offer some keen psychological insight into Obama’s ridiculous foreign policy thinking. For me, the most perplexing is Obama’s tilting toward Pock-ee-stahn over India.
As Mr. Mirengoff wrote in a previous essay:
Why did Obama view Pakistan as a solid ally? Perhaps the answer lies in combination of bad advice and wishful thinking. In addition, though, the president seems to be a sucker for sketchy regimes with an anti-Western bent and a grievance (of whatever merit) against a more pro-Western nation.
by Paul Mirengoff
I wrote here and here about how President Obama tilted American policy in South Asia away from our natural ally, India, and towards Pakistan, a country with whom we have little natural affinity and whose role in Afghanistan has remained ambiguous at best. Obama’s approach to South Asia is consistent with his approach to foreign policy general. In the Middle East, he tilted away from our long-time ally, Israel. In Eastern Europe, he tilted towards an increasingly hostile Russia and away from Poland and the Czech Republic.
The pattern seems unmistakable.
Like most species, though perhaps not to the same extent, humans have an innate ability to distinguish between those who wish them well and those who don’t, and to act accordingly. Since the beginning of recorded history, peoples (whether in tribes, nation states, or some other grouping) have used this ability in dealing with other peoples. Hostility has been answered with hostility. So has ambivalence, though to a lesser degree.
A tribe or nation might ally with a one-time enemy, or even a potential future one, to defeat a current enemy. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and all that. But a tribe or nation would only do so if it were sure that the would-be “friend” actually is the dedicated enemy of the tribe or nation’s enemy (which Pakistan is not). And in the absence of a common enemy, a powerful nation would favor its friends over its non-friends.
Why, then, is Obama’s default position to distance the U.S. from traditional friends and allies who generally share our values, and to cozy up to traditionally hostile entities who don’t?
I believe one or both of two things may be going on. The first is the quest for sophistication. Any old foreign policy analyst can follow the standard approach of treating friends better than non-friends and enemies. It takes a special, advanced thinker of a foreign policy analyst to reject this age-old wisdom as outdated or mythical. And many a baby-boomer analyst wants nothing more than to be an advanced thinker. In pop psychology terms, this rejection of the age-old wisdom may have something to do with the desire to surpass the father, a normal impulse but one that shouldn’t lead to the embrace of aburdities.
The second possibility goes beyond the quest for sophistication into a deeper emotional realm. What if the “tribe” we were born into is defective to the point that its enemies should be viewed in a favorable, or at least a neutral, light? Then, the “tribe’s” friends may not merit special consideration; if anything they may merit contempt. And even if we are ambivalent about our “tribe,” not downright disgusted with it, the traditional notion of how to treat the tribe’s friends and enemies may tend to unravel. In pop psychological terms, we’re no longer talking about the desire to surpass the father; generally speaking (though not in Obama’s particular case, to the extent his approach to foreign policy stems from ambivalence about America), we’re talking about trying to kill him.
Read the rest – Obama is standing traditional foreign policy on its head, but why?
Tags: Paul MIrengoff