Machiavelli 1, President Obama 0

President Obama was a brilliant political campaigner, but getting elected and actually governing require separate skill sets.

Centuries later, Machiavelli remains the political master. President Obama would be wise to heed Machiavelli’s counsel.

The question is whether it is better to be loved or to be feared. While neither of those are ideal choices, there is no middle ground in the Machiavellian world. Therefore, the answer is that it is better to be feared.

Yet in today’s world the middle ground does exist. In the short term, being feared is better than being loved. Yet rule by fear does not last in the long term. Dictatorships fall.

In the long term, better than being feared, and much better than being loved, and even far better than being liked, is being respected.

This is where President Obama has the potential to be either a spectacular success or a spectacular failure.

Right now he is liked. Yet I do not see him being respected on the world stage.

He bowed before the Saudi Arabian King. He was given nothing in return. He apologized before adoring Europeans. He got nothing. He talked tough on North Korea. He got less than nothing except more belligerence. He offered an outstretched hand to Iran. They slapped it away, and would have chopped it off had the Secret Service not been so effective.

I have had to listen to liberals carp for almost a decade about how President George W. Bush made us less respected around the world. We were hated. Donald Rumsfeld spoke of “Old Europe.” We were arrogant.

Barack Obama was going to change all of that. Yet what the left in America still fails to grasp is that being liked is supposed to be the means to actual world improvements, not the end itself.

Barack Obama is liked around the globe. Yet what did he actually achieve in terms of anything tangible?

Liberals then claim that it will take time to reverse the damage of President Bush, and that only negotiation can do that. Yet how can negotiation work when the people we are trying to do business with do not respect our leader?

George W. Bush routed the Taliban and took down Saddam. That led to Khadafi in Libya giving up his weapons. Barack Obama thinks that being nice to Iran will get them to do likewise.

This gets to the idea of whether I want Barack Obama to succeed. The notion has been brought forth and argued back and forth over whether wanting Obama to fail is the same as wanting America to fail.

No it is not. Domestically, I do not want his policies to succeed. I think they will make matters worse.

However, on foreign policy, the President must succeed. His failure does hurt America. Just ask anybody objective how badly we were hurt by Jimmy Carter until Ronald Reagan straightened things out.

Sure, people can say that Barack Obama is new, and yes he deserves the benefit of the doubt, but the problem is not just with him. The problem is that the the people that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld treated with contempt really did deserve that contempt.

Old Europe? Absolutely. What else would one call a continent of worthless America bashers that would be part of a Muslim Caliphate if we didn’t bail their sorry, pathetic, cowardly hides out of the fire.

Iran? Who the heck do they think they are? Barack Obama is my President, he gave them a chance to show humanity, and they flunked.

I support a more extreme version of the Bush foreign policy that even he did not endorse.

It is called the “Dear World, go f*ck yourself, you’re on your own” doctrine.

America feeds, clothes, protects, and defends the world, and we get nothing but grief for it.

Europeans and our Arab enemies like liberals because they like a weak America. They see American power as a bigger threat than Islamofacism. Jacques Chirac spoke of a glorious multipolar world.

The problem with this theory is that it assumes that when push comes to shove, a liberal President will surrender. This is where I differ from some conservatives.

When Barack Obama is forced to choose on an issue that divides America from the world, I believe he will do the right thing. He will stand up for America. I believe this because he knows how Jimmy Carter is rightly perceived, and he wants to get reelected. So rather than throw away this nation, he will anger the world.

Iran is already burning him in effigy. Europe will hate him soon enough.

Europe and our Arab enemies did not hate George W. Bush. They hate American power. They want us emasculated to cover up for their own frail, feeble failures.

Barack Obama was everything they wanted. So he bended, bowed, appeased, prostrated, and apologized.

Yet I still believe he will not surrender. He will then be disliked.

I don’t care if my President is loved, or even liked. I won’t mind if he is feared. Yet he better be respected.

I can criticize him because he is my leader, and that is what America is all about.

Yet when our enemies, which sometimes includes our barely helpful allies, disrespect our President, they are disrespecting Americans everywhere.

Liberals should have understood this when George W. Bush was President.

They did not hate us because of him. They hated us because we are us, and they are them.

Water remains wet, and conservatives don’t need to be doused in European or Arab floods of disrespect to understand this.


6 Responses to “Machiavelli 1, President Obama 0”

  1. Dav Lev says:

    Now wait a minute Eric, let’s be honest and upfront about Herr Obama. He won by a landslide, getting the under 25 year old vote, and 65, to 80 to 95% of
    the minority votes.

    With totals like that, he deserves nothing but accolades..never any criticisms, not even one.

    Obama used the word CHANGE, thousands of times in his many campaign
    speeches. The young crowds went biserk. He became their messiah (“annointed one”). To the Jews he was Hashem. To my Christian friends
    and acquaintences, he became their Christ. To those I would like to
    be my friends, the Muslims, he is Allah.

    This guy, a father of two, a man of brilliant intellect, who was President
    of the Harvard Review..and a community organizer..he is beyond
    criticism by we simple folk.

    He is getting change all right, change for the worst, a change which
    may lead to mushroom clouds before too much longer.

    Read today’s headlines: No. Korea to stop all negotiations with the
    six nations surrounding it (and the US), and begin to refurbish it’s plutonium plant.

    Iran is getting the okay to go ahead with enriching uranium, now that
    Obama is leaning towards avoiding any demand that it cease during
    the (US) negotiations (to get it to stop enriching uranium.

    The fact that there are three UNSC resolutions and various boycotts
    in place is meaningless to Obama.

    The headlines also read: Obama says our economic slump will be
    long and painful, no easy remedies.

    So much for CHANGE guys..and this is only the beginning..give
    this guy and his buddies another year. I hate to predict what then?

    Oh I forgot, he has accomplished one major campaign promise.
    He is financing a more sophisticated data base and computer
    interface between the DOD and Veterans Administration.

    Simply put, that means that if a soldier loses both limbs, and has
    severe brain injuries, fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan, or over Pakistan
    and No. Korea, the nature of the injury, cause, etc., will become
    a permanent record..available for doctors many decades after the
    incident (and initial treatment).

    Doesn’t that really make US feel good?

    Hey guys, speaking of CHANGE, both our current wars have cost
    most than Vietnam., AND, we are winding down in Iraq.

    But then again, we are picking up in Afghanistan.

    Oh to live in the Punjab.

  2. Micky 2 says:

    I’ll bet you’re right on this for one reason alone and that being how he’s kept most of Bushs national security policies in place.
    When it comes to national security and military affairs the man is clueless. Which why with the basic sense any man possesses unless he’s a complete moron he decided to keep wireless wire tapping even if it meant peeing all those off he told he would get rid of it. Closing Gitmo is a big ruse because anyone who’s the least bit informed knows that there’s always Bagrahm that can be used much the same way. He decided to go ahead and follow thru with the air strikes in Pakistan which were no doubt in the planning stages during the Bush administration.
    After his very first security briefing where he got know what was “REALLY GOING ON ” he decided that there’s some dept’s. where he should just shut up and listen, go with the previous crews protocol and let what worked so damn well stay in place.
    All that tells me that if push did come to shove, he would shove.

    The problem is that I believe he will instigate these confrontations to happen where he has to shove back.
    He will stand up but it may be too late when you see how he’s letting everyone you mentioned get away with murder. Most recent example would be N. Korea just told us and the UN today to go screw ourselves and kicked the inspectors out just because the received a nasty letter of condemnation
    THAT is a little spooky and has some de ja vu reminding me of the months leading up to Iraq

  3. thepoliticaltipster says:

    Great post Eric. Foreign policy; especially Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq is the priority (although since I live in London I don’t pay US taxes so I my priorities might be skewed). After all, whatever Obama does, the economy will probably start to recover by the autumn at the latest and the stock market is so undervalued that it is likely to continue to rally. However, moderate Democrats and Republicans who care about the GWOT need to ask themselves two questions.

    1. Is Obama a foreign policy radical or a closet centrist?

    2. If Obama is a radical, what is the best strategy to move him towards the centre?

    Although it is possible that Obama could be pandering to the Kos crowd on Cuba I have always believed that he does have the soul of George McGovern and the political skills of Richard Daley (IMHO Palin has the outlook of Ron Paul and the public touch of the fictional Lina Lamont). After all, while the news was filled with the hostage mini-crisis Obama (and Gates) have been getting on with stopping further development of the US/Israeli missile defence shield. Iraq is also starting to fray because of the SOFA agreement forced on Bush after Obama’s team (like Nixon in ’68) sabotaged the negotiations last summer, things are not looking particularly positive.

    However, the answer to the second question is more complex. While Obama is paying lip service to an Afghan surge it is politically difficult to attack his foreign policy. If Obama genuinely wants to win in Afghanistan, intemperate rhetoric could push him into a partisan shell disrupting his efforts and hitting NATO morale at a crucial time. However, if Republicans and moderate Democrats wait too long then Iran could gain a nuclear capacity and/or the situation in Iraq will become irretrievable. Indeed, it might be better for Israel to write Obama off and strike Iran while there is still a chance of stopping its nuclear plans.

    My guess is that Obama should be given the general benefit of the doubt for now unless he definitely crosses any lines. However, given that he has shied away from any direct confrontation, it would definitely be worth it for moderates in both parties to aggressively press him on certain issues. Lieberman and Bayh are the two most obvious democrats, while Graham, Ridge and Giuliani are the Republicans who are best on national security. What the GOP must avoid is Kristol-like swings from pessimism to wild optimism and back, and nutty Glen Beck style rhetoric. It should be noted that the clock is ticking.

    I think the words of JFK’s inaugural, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation” is an appropriate summation of the mindset that hawks of all stripes should adopt. Hold Obama to account by all means but keep one’s powder dry for the really big battles – and be prepared to support him on foreign policy if he is really committed to victory.

  4. Does anyone else smell the irony in all this?

    Ed Rollins (who got caught red-handed trying to bribe black preachers to swing the vote to Christie Whitman) wonders if Obama is respected.

    Mort Kondracke asserts that the true test of Obama’s statesmanship would be to get Europe, Russia and China to buy into the Neocons’ paranoid and colonialistic worldview.

    The Daily News editorial board says that Obama’s reluctance to embrace rightwing, jingoistic “American Exceptionalism” will play into the rightwing, jingoistic beliefs of Iran’s nominal leader, Ahmedinejad, and North Korea’s dying Dear Leader – as if that’s even important.

    And finally, Charles Krauthammer complains that Obama has not immediately gotten our allies and other powers to do things that Bush could never get them to do even on the rare occasion that he bothered to ask.

    And our good host then says, “Yet when our enemies, which sometimes includes our barely helpful allies, disrespect our President, they are disrespecting Americans everywhere.” No. They’re not. They can disrespect all they want. I don’t care. What really amazes me is that you guys claim to care about what these other people say but you really couldn’t care less how they feel. This is American Exceptionalism in action – exceptionally arrogant.



  5. Toma says:

    We can debate foreign policy and worry about whether every one in the world loves and respects Obama. We can worry about Iran and their nukes, North Korea and their nukes. Or we can worry about the real problem here within the borders of the U.S.

    This is part of an article I just read at American Thinker.

    April 14, 2009
    Is Texas a Terror State?
    By Jim Byrd

    According to the Department of Homeland Security, Texas fits the Department’s profile of potential domestic terrorism described in their newly released report titled, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”.

    Islamic extremists’ acts of domestic terrorism were recently given the dignity, by Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and President Obama, of being classified as man-made disasters, and abroad, the “war on terror” has been reclassified as an “overseas contingency plan”. But as entire non-Islamic class, or perhaps by extention entire states, according to the report, are not afforded such considerate and cordial titles if they are anti-abortion, tend to harbor returning soldiers stationed in the Middle East, aid and abet the reintegration of military personnel into civilian life within their borders, are anti-illegal immigration, are anti-gun control, possess Christian views, are against higher taxes, and are opposed to the overreaching power or the federal government. They fit the assessment of “extremists” that was

    “provided to federal, state, local, and tribal counterterrorism and law enforcement officials so they may effectively deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorists attacks”

    It is the opposition of the “overreaching power of the federal government” that may have sealed Texas’s fate as a terror state.


    The article goes on and every one should read it and visit Texas Governer Rick Perry’s The “Governor’s website”, or just type in Rick Perry.

    I have written about this very thing on several occasions and explained that their are citizens in this country that will not be pushed around. The federal government has been pushing us around for several decades, and this last batch of usurpers are pushing very very hard. There are citizens in this country that will push back. I promise you none of them voted for Obama. A lot of them didn’t vote, their tired of voting.

    I believe in the same things that Rick Perry believes in and join Texas in its fight for states rights. So I guess I’d better watch for Obama’s black vans.


  6. Micky 2 says:

    That whole report is designed to do nothing other than incite anger on the right and cause paranoia on the left.
    It goes after those who are concerned with maintaining a government consistent with our Constitution and those believeing that should be branded as possible terrorists. It goes after a entire arena of politica thought. It is a vague, politically charged manifesto. Even if you assume the information in this rag is correct how are the law enforcement depts. its been distributed to even supposed to even respond to it? Are they gonna pull over people with Ron Paul bumper stickers?
    Like typical liberals it makes large sweeping accusations of a whole demographic with nothing to back it up.
    What it portrays our troops as are victims who will come home to vent the frustrations of their injust treatment against innoceny citizens.
    Most of these guys dont feel likie victims. They fell like proud accomplished men and its disgusting that the DHS would use them in this way to promote their stinking agenda.
    This POS report gives a vision of anyone in disagreement with the fed wearing armbands

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