".... Obama’s speech is only about Afghanistan if you’re in Afghanistan. If you’re in Moscow or Tehran, Pyongyang or Caracas, it’s about America. And what it told them is that, if you’re a local strongman with regional ambitions, or a rogue state going nuclear, or a mischief-making kleptocracy dusting off old tsarist dreams, this president is not going to be pressing your reset button. Strange how an allegedly compelling speaker is unable to fake even perfunctory determination and resilience. Strange, too, how all the sophisticated nuances of post-Bush foreign-policy “realism” seem so unreal when you’re up there trying to sell them as a coherent strategy. Go back half a decade to when the administration was threatening to shove democracy down the throats of every two-bit basket case whether they want it or not. Democratizing the planet is, in a Council of Foreign Relations sense, “unrealistic,” but talking it up is a very realistic way of messing with the dictators’ heads. A pipsqueak like Boy Assad sleeps far more soundly today than he did back when he thought Bush meant it, and so did the demonstrators threatening his local enforcers in Lebanon."
Saturday, December 5, 2009