Posted on June 24th, 2009
Within his first few months in office, President Obama has been photographed bowing to a Muslim king and recorded telling the Muslim world that Islam has a “proud tradition of tolerance,” all the while keeping mum about the unprincipled election fiasco that is keeping Ahmadinejad in power over Iran.
As American citizens and believers, we ought to speak respectfully of our leaders, and handle our free speech with dignity and firmness as workmen who do not need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15), and I will uphold that as best I can. I will admit that in this highly mobile media age, the gaffes and glories of the American President are bound to be exploited worldwide regardless of who he is. He is under tremendous pressure and temptation to say everything as universally applaudable as possible. Yet his job is not to pander, but rather to lead and represent America exceptionally. As far as I have observed, President Obama approaches this job much differently. He cannot bring himself to acknowledge American exceptionalism because most everything that makes America exceptional is what he wants to change.
I recall reading in a Reader’s Digest issue last year before the U.S. Presidential Election that internationally, Obama was the favored candidate, while nationally, McCain was the more desirable leader. What happened since then? Perhaps Americans submitted to thinking more like the rest of the world – and by that I mean favoring foreign ideals and systems of government. Naturally, they chose a leader who thought like them. Our fleshly natures clamor for worldly acclamation, and now as President of a preeminent world power, Obama’s desire to be liked by even our enemies is understandable to a degree.
But his approach is idiosyncratic, to say the least. In the name of starting with a clean slate and a “new beginning,” he is throwing the baby out with the bathwater (which isn’t necessarily that dirty). He is trying so hard to be different from his predecessors, George W. Bush and the 42 men before him, that he avoids tradition like the plague. He started by casually alienating us from our British brethren (historically our most reliable allies since getting over our last conflict, the War of 1812) in the odd gesture of returning the White House bust of Sir Winston Churchill. Some say that his dislike of Churchill is due to the British hero’s conduct towards a rebellion in Kenya in 1952 which resulted in Obama’s grandfather being imprisoned (1). But then President Obama essentially extended his hands to Islamic countries that dislike us by saying, “Whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it.” (2) He gave a brief nod to Israel, but attempted giving Palestine more than its fair share of favor, which has our Israeli allies worried. (3) On a quest to find common ground between all of our very different nations, he is seeking attention from unprincipled governments in the Middle East.
Is President Obama seeking world peace and world acclamation? Neither is actually achievable in full, and we must be realistic. For one thing, true peace is ultimately a blessing from the LORD to a leader whose nation finds favor in HIS eyes (Leviticus 26:6), not something that a leader can take full credit in forging. For another, our recent enemies are non-negotiable. As I once wrote years ago, “you can’t be diplomatic with the devil.” (4) Enemies with a terrorist mindset are not like the American people that neglect their heritage and swoon over campaign speeches. Rather, they are driven with such a goal in mind that they won’t change course. Nevertheless, Obama attempted to harmonize Christianity, Judaism and Islam all together in this little segment:
Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer. (5)
President Obama also tried to garner their mutual interest by sharing his interesting cultural heritage, such as telling them he heard the azhan (or adhan – Islamic call to prayer) as a child (an understandable approach). Come to think of it, I heard the azhan as a child too – in Tashkent, the Islamic capital of Central Asia. But one difference between us there is that I was an American citizen, which I’m not certain he was (we’ll save that discussion for another day). Also, I was a Christian as a child, but considering that Obama was raised in a Muslim school and community, wouldn’t the Muslims now think of him as an infidel for abandoning that culture and professing Christianity? The Muslim leaders abroad probably laugh at President Obama more than they fear him or like him.
Say what you may about President George W. Bush, you can at least admit that he was non-compromisingly committed to America and not flirting with the ideologies other nations. He wasn’t afraid to label dangerous powers as the “Axis of Evil” (which included Iran, by the way). But President Barack H. Obama seems to be far more enamored with foreign ideals than those of America. Peace is a good thing to strive for, but bending over backwards for it will not succeed in the long run. King Solomon enjoyed a reign of peace, but he married 700 foreign princesses to achieve unprecedented diplomacy (1 Kings 11:3). He ultimately married himself to cultural ideals that were contrary to the godly heritage of Israel. The nation of Israel needed to be kept pure, but Solomon’s diplomatic weakness began adulterating it, so YAHWEH brought forth punishment. I think that America’s principles also need to be pure, though they have doubtless been tainted over a couple of centuries. The structure of American Government as it was founded is the country’s DNA – if it is tampered with something foreign to its inherent nature then it will develop an autoimmune disorder and self-destruct. Naive obsessions with foreign ideas such as Marxism and Socialism and cozying-up with the wrong powers is an adulteration that our country doesn’t need.
For the wisest man and ruler on earth, King Solomon, to have made surprisingly foolish mistakes, it is no wonder that Obama is wayward…and for the children of Israel to be so forgetful after the amazing ways they saw YAHWEH work in their nation, it is no wonder that Americans are terribly forgetful.
But even though unusual names are not a basis for discrimination, I still never would have believed the irony and ideological shift that came to life in that just seven years after the beginning of the War on Terror the majority of the American people would elect a man whose middle name is Hussein and whose last name is one letter away from Osama.
BREAKING: Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Independent Reformist challenging Ahmadinejad in the Iranian elections, has accused President Obama of “misleading the world”:
From the Office of Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi
To the President of the USA, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
In the name of the Iranian people, we want you to know that when you recently made the statement “Achmadinejad or Mousavi? Two of a kind,” we consider this as a grave and deep insult, not just to Mr. Mousavi but especially against the judgment of the Iranian people, against our moral conviction and intelligence, especially those of the young generation that comprises a population of 31 million.
It is a specially grave insult for those who are now fighting for democracy and freedom, and an unwarranted gift and even praise for Mr. Khamenei, whose security forces are now killing peaceful Iranians in the streets of every major city in the country.
Your statement misled the people of the world. It was no doubt inspired by your hope for dialogue with this regime, but you cannot possibly believe in promises from a regime that lies to its own people and then kills them when they demand the promises be kept… (6)
Here are a few historical highlights of relationships between American Presidents and foreign nations.
- George Washington advocated a foreign policy of “strict neutrality,” which was wise considering that historically European nations warred constantly due to involvement in each other’s affairs (this especially hurt Britain, whose citizens by then were the highest taxed in the world to pay for such conflicts). Nevertheless, this policy irritated Thomas Jefferson and other Democratic-Republicans who wanted to help the French Revolutionaries. But interestingly enough, Washington received the most heat from them when he decided to sign a treaty – the Jay Treaty, (a trade agreement with Great Britain) after he read documents which implied that Secretary of State Edmund Randolph had been bribed by the French to oppose it. (7)
- Before Theodore Roosevelt was President, he developed a rough-and-tough model of foreign policy. He thought that Americans needed to show themselves capable of manning-up in order to ward off watchful enemies. He advocated war with Spain in 1898 for three reasons: first to free Cuba and run Spain out of the hemisphere; secondly because of “the benefit done to our people by giving them something to think of which isn’t material gain;” and thirdly because the Army and Navy needed practice. (8)
- Woodrow Wilson held the cool, moralist-professor-diplomat stance in high esteem when he came to office, and even went on a sort of “guilt trip” to the Central American nations to apologize for President Theodore Roosevelt’s policies with them during the building of the Panama Canal. Wilson knew very little about foreign policy and mentioned before he came to office that it would be ironic if foreign affairs dominated his Presidency…and indeed it was.
- The Cold War began at the end of World War II with Truman’s Presidency. When strife broke out in Greece, American diplomats feared that other countries would be corrupted, including Iran. In response to this was the Truman Doctrine, that followed as President Truman stated, “It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure.” Thus, America has maintained the role of beacon of world justice and liberty.
- During the Eisenhower administration in 1953, the CIA helped orchestrate the overthrow of the popularly elected government in Iran because Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq had nationalized the oil industry (which was previously owned by Britain) and because of the threat of communism, as Iran neighbored the Soviet Union. The CIA’s intervention brought the shah to power, but some say that the intervention caused Iran to resent America. In 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile in Paris and, calling America the “Great Satan”, he set about radical Islamic rule of Iran. Ali Khamenei took his place after his death in 1989.
- President Ronald Reagan believed the focus of power-seeking antagonism to be in the Soviet Union – “the evil empire” – and his administration drew a hard line against it. When President Reagan pumped up American forces in the arms race with the Strategic Defense Initiative (“star wars,” as the media called it), critics feared it would stir up more trouble by escalating the arms race. But through his knowledge of economics, Reagan knew that when the Soviets tried to keep up with the arms race their communist economy would implode. Reagan is said to have “won the Cold War without firing a shot.”
Written by: Amanda Read. For more articles and thoughts from Amanda check out her blog AmandaRead.com
(1) “Busted: The Churchill Flap”, by Katie Connolly. Newsweek. February 21, 2009
(2) “President Obama Speaks to the Muslim World from Cairo, Egypt” White House YouTube Channel, 14:23.
(3) “Jews ‘Very Concerned’ About Obama” – Newsmax
(4) “What In The War’s Going On Here?” by Amanda Read, The A Place To Read Gazette Summer 2004 issue.
(5) “Obama Egypt Speech: VIDEO, Full Text” Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/04/obama-egypt-speech-video_n_211216.html.
(6) “Sunday Morning in Iran, A Letter from Mousavi’s Office”, Faster, Please! – Michael Ledeen’s blog. http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen/2009/06/20/sunday-morning-in-iran-a-letter-from-mousavis-office/
(7) Whitney, David C. and Robert Vaughn Whitney. The American Presidents, pg. 14. Prentice Hall Press, 8th Edition.
(8) Divine, Robert A., et al. America Past and Present Volume II: Since 1865, pg. 601. 8th ed.
New York: Pearson, 2007.