We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Ideas matter, and especially to intellectuals like President Obama. He is not a rigid ideologue and is capable of flexible maneuvering. But his interpretation of history, his attitude toward sovereignty, and his confidence in multilateral institutions have shaped his views of American power and of American leadership in ways that distinguish him from previous presidents. On Libya, his deference to the UN Security Council and refusal to serve as coalition leader show that he cares more about restraining America than about accomplishing any particular result in Libya. He views Libya and the whole Arab Spring as relatively small distractions from his broader strategy for breaking with the history of U.S. foreign policy as it developed in the last century. The critics who accuse Obama of being adrift in foreign policy are mistaken. He has clear ideas of where he wants to go. The problem for him is that, if his strategy is set forth plainly, most Americans will not want to follow him.

- The Obama Doctrine Defined by Douglas J. Feith and Seth Cropsey

22 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • chuck

    It’s good to know that Obama’s screw ups are carefully planned and part of a grand strategy. And that various academics play an important role in fleshing out the details of that grand strategy. I feel so much better now.

  • Laird

    That’s the most idiotic piece of tripe I’ve seen in a long time.

  • Sorry, but this doesn’t even bear thinking about.

    He’s not floundering in foreign policy soup, but playing some form of political long game.

    Sorry, if it comes to a choice between conspiracy and incompetence, the latter wins every time.

  • He’s not floundering in foreign policy soup, but playing some form of political long game.

    It’s perfectly possible he is trying to play some form of political long game, but is also not doing it very well. That would be my guess.

  • guy herbert

    Agree with all above.

    And:

    The implication that anyone who diverges from neo-Con strategic ideas is trying to do America down, marks the authors of “The Obama Doctrine Defined” as purblind polemicists rather than analysts. It is not self-evident that the policy of the last decade was right and successful. Nor is their rhetoric about ‘the last century’ referring to that decade as if it represented continuity and coherence since Woodrow Wilson very impressive.

    And:

    They cannot even make valid inferences on a small scale:

    On Libya, his deference to the UN Security Council and refusal to serve as coalition leader show that he cares more about restraining America than about accomplishing any particular result in Libya.

    Even ignoring the double petitio principii, no, it doesn’t. Not putting the US in the lead just might be realism, motivated by any number of strategic considerations including recognition that an intervention apparently controlled by the US may be less likely to achieve popular support in an Arab country than one to the same end that is not.

    Quite how they can purport to have insight into Obama’s mind and strategy when they have no grip on the fact that people in the Middle East do not always admire America and may not always believe it is is acting in the best interests of the world, puzzles me.

  • John B

    To quote Garet again, (regarding The New Deal in 1938 – which does demonstrate that not too much changes):

    “Worse outwitted were those who kept trying to make sense of the New Deal from the point of view of all that was implicit in the American scheme, charging it therefore with contradiction, fallacy, economic ignorance, and general incompetence to govern.

    “But it could not be so embarrassed, and all that line was wasted, because, in the first place, it never intended to make that kind of sense, and secondly, it took off from nothing that was implicit in the American scheme.

    “It took off from a revolutionary base. Regarded from the point of view of revolutionary technique, it made perfect sense. Its meaning was revolutionary and it had no other. For what it meant to do, it was from the beginning consistent in principle, resourceful, intelligent, masterly in workmanship, and it made not one mistake.”

    I think one should bear in mind that in order to climb the slippery pole of political power it is fairly clear that one must be both clever and tough.
    Stupidity is not a logical option.

    Perhaps he is not that bright (perhaps he is) but whoever is pulling the strings must be.

  • manikMonkee

    been thinking recently that Osama Bin Laden has nearly won the “war on terror”. His plan was to bankrupt the EU and USA by dragging them in to protracted unwinable wars, as he did with the USSR. It seemed to have worked perfectly. Even if the EU and US avoid defaults in the near-term, if they don’t have massive austerity plans and years of military isolationism they’re just delaying complete financial collapse to a later date.

    Obviously I’m happy Osama is dead, hate Al Quaeda and everything it stands for, but to have to be impressed at the ability of a few hundred individuals to bring down the two largest economies in the world, and am shocked at the EU and US leadership that was dumb enough to fall into their trap.

  • Roue le Jour

    Politicians claiming to be persons of ability and vision is merely the insult that compounds the injury.

  • Kim du Toit

    Incompetence, indecision and vacillation masquerading as strategic planning and forethought?

    Pull the other one. Obama is plainly out of his depth.

    The same rationale can be applied to his prior record as a senator (state and national level), which showed a preponderance of “Present” votes on difficult issues. Either he was being a canny politician, not wanting to leave a paper trail for future opponents to latch onto, OR he just couldn’t come to a decision, being intellectually inadequate to make a call.

    Recent events indicates the latter, not the former.

  • What Michael said.

    have to be impressed at the ability of a few hundred individuals to bring down the two largest economies in the world

    What???

  • steve

    “have to be impressed at the ability of a few hundred individuals to bring down the two largest economies in the world”

    Its more like 10 not a few hundred, and they are called the Federal Reserve.

  • Obviously I’m happy Osama is dead, hate Al Quaeda and everything it stands for, but to have to be impressed at the ability of a few hundred individuals to bring down the two largest economies in the world, and am shocked at the EU and US leadership that was dumb enough to fall into their trap.

    It is not military spending but rather ‘entitlements’ and debasement of currency that are killing the First World’s economies. No need to attribute that to Al Qaeda.

  • Kim du Toit

    “… the ability of a few hundred individuals to bring down the two largest economies in the world…”

    If we’re referring to the Parliament and Congress respectively, then it should come as no surprise — both countries have representative governments. So yes, the few hundred may have brought down their economies, but they were legitimately voted into power by the electorate. In other words, they were doing what We the Stupid allowed them to do.

    Present company excluded, of course.

  • Kim du Toit

    By the way, just to provide a little perspective here, please note this chart, which compares the “GDP” of various U.S. cities to those of other nations. London, by the way, is not compared, but at about $446 billion falls somewhat behind Chicago ($531b).

    This is generally why we “parochial” Americans are more concerned with our own local economy than with, say, those of Europe.

  • Laird

    That is a very interesting chart, Kim; I hadn’t seen it before. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Jerry

    ‘The problem for him is that, if his strategy is set forth plainly, most Americans will not want to follow him.’

    So we have to use deceit, lies, etc. because if we come right out and say that our strategy is to turn the U.S. into just another broke, destitute, poverty and crime ridden third world hell hole with all of the wonderful things that that brings (!) then ……………..
    You damn right most Americans will not want to follow him !

    And it’s not HIS strategy. Obama doesn’t HAVE a strategy. He isn’t bright enough to have a strategy.
    How do I know this ?
    ANYONE who is almost afraid to go to the bathroom
    ( he, or his ‘handlers’ INSISTED that the teleprompter be present when he was doing a PR stunt by speaking to a group of EIGHT elementary school students !!) without a teleprompter isn’t very bright.

    Actually I think his handlers are scared to death to let him speak AT ALL without the first-teleprompter because 1) he ISN”T very bright and they KNOW THIS and 2) whenever he has done it we get another glimpse into the ‘towering intellect’ – I’ve now been to 57 states !! …. ‘sustained by my muslim faith – cue Stephanopoulos – you mean your Christian faith – yes, my Christan faith ……’!!!

    Reasonably intelligent people DO NOT CONSISTENTLY MAKE mistakes like those !

  • Jerry: who are his handlers?

  • Paul Marks

    Barack Obama does not need handlers – although (like everyone) he has people he listens to.

    Barack Obama is a man of the far left – and has been all his life.

    See (for example) “Radical in Chief” by Stanley Kurtz, or “Deconsructing Obama” by Jack Cashill.

    True Barack Obama may not be the great intellectual he pretends to be (for example, as Cashill, his claim that he “writes his own books”, unlike most politicians, is false – his imput to “his” books is rather limited).

    However, Barack Obama certainly does not need “handlers” or “wire pullers”.

    He does not have to be manipulated into following an ideology when he has been taught that ideology his entire life – from teh three hour daily sessions with his mother (before he was even old enough to even go to school), to the training under Frank Marshall Davis (when Barack was an older child and the mother has sent back to live with the grandpartents – the “little Red Church people” as they were known when they still lived in Seattle) and then on to Marxist training at Occidental and Columbia – and post universtiy training (over DECADES) with the Comrades in Chicago.

    For Pete’s sake (or for Paul’s sake) why would such a man need hidden hand manipulation? “Handlers” “wire pullers” (or whatever).

    He had over 40 years of ideological training before he became President.

    Over 40 years.

    Why can not people undestand this?

  • I agree, Paul – my question above was at least partly rhetorical.

  • Jerry

    Alisa, nice try. I have no particular names. What would you do with names if I provided them ?
    I have no idea of any of the names of admirals in the U.S. Navy but I know they exist because of other observable facts.

    Start with whichever individual(s) write his teleprompter presentations.

    He certainly doesn’t write the stuff. Find clips of the few times he’s without the thing and see how ‘eloquent’ he is then !! ( press conferences don’t count because they are rigged, from the questions to briefings about the answers but he still stammers through those )
    Now, regardless of his beliefs ( and I agree, his beliefs have been instilled deeply and from a young age ) if there are writers, almost literally feeding him every word that comes out of his mouth, wouldn’t you suspect that there are others telling him, when to bow, whom he should meet with, what functions he should attend, on and on. That all of these ‘instructions’ just happen to coincide with his own thoughts is irrelevant. The people around him are there to prevent any future mouth/behavior mistakes like the ones he has made in the past when there WASN’T someone to tell him where to stand and what to say !!

    He’s been told what to think, what to say and what to do his whole life. What you get with that is someone who is incapable of making a decisions and they NEED someone else to tell them what to do !! This is one of the reasons for the ‘present’ votes in Congress and with his procrastinations – why did he stall/delay until NOW to realize that there just might be a budget problem ?? – he could have gotten anything he wanted when the democrats had a majority in both houses of Congress ?? – He can’t make decisions !

    He’s been ‘led’ by someone all of his life. From my background, those are called handlers ( you may call them mentors, teachers, role models, speech writers or parents )

  • Paul Marks

    I see Jerry – so by “handlers” you mean that Barack has never thought independantly (not at a strategic level – although he may be very cunning within the intellectual framework he has been taught- a tactical thinker, not someone who questions any basic assumptions).

    In short that he is what is known as a “good student”, or (to be more blunt) a “teacher’s pet”.