12 December 2009

Don't make me do this again

Behold, I have uncovered the secret of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech and it is...that the first draft was written by a high school freshman who has learned just enough from world history class to make himself dangerous on the internet. Or so it seems. This may just be the level at which the American foreign policy establishment operates. Witness these gems:
But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism - it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
I have seen this sort of thing on bulletin boards before; wankers who muse with barely-concealed ruefulness what good fortune Gandhi's independence movement had by not meeting up with Imperial Japan. Not that they wish that would have happened, of course. Not at all.

Semi-related note on this passage: Glennzilla points out that Obama botches this section by saying he is sworn to defend and protect "his nation" when, in fact, he is only sworn to defend and protect the Constitution. (Huh, I could've sworn I read this in Greenwald's post, and it seems like the kind of thing he'd say, but now I can't find it.) This may as well be deliberate; if so, Obama should get some credit for dropping the pretext that American military adventurism has some relation to pie-in-the-sky ideas of American "values" or altruism, and is merely about perpetuating the empire in itself.
the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.
Well, it's finally happened. An American leader has gone before all the world and made a prettied-up version of the dick-slapping "if it weren't for us you'd all be speaking German-Russian-Japanese now" argument. Most of our arms at present are doing very little to "underwrite security," whether they are used by us or someone else.
I -- like any head of state -- reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation.
I'll leave this to Jonathon Schwarz, who, in his unique way, notices that all Obama apparently sees of the past six decades is that he'd prefer to undo them.