President Barack Obama has thrown everything except the kitchen sink at the economic malaise – nearly $1 trillion in government spending on stimulus, a loose monetary policy and soon 60 million barrels of oil to be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And although nothing seems to be making a drastic difference, the administration’s focus on such initiatives seems to creep into all aspects of US policy, including its handling of Afghanistan.
The latest example came in the president’s Wednesday night address, in which Obama offered scant details about the US military presence in Afghanistan going forward but argued a diminished presence will aid “nation-building at home.”
And on Thursday night’s “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” National Review columnist Mark Steyn reacted to Obama’s speech, questioning wisdom of his strategy.
“I think his speech validated [the Taliban’s] view of the United States, which is it’s sort of like a late-period puffed-up Ottoman sultan,” Steyn said. “You know, it’s ostensibly extremely rich and powerful. But it’s gotten more soft and decadent and propped-up on its cushions and it doesn’t have the staying power. There’s a Taliban saying supposedly that they like to say out there in Afghanistan: The Americans have the watches, but we have the time. Obama confirmed that. He basically said, ‘Look all you guys have to do is run out the clock on this. We aren’t in the victory business any longer.”
But according to Steyn, the drawdown being done in the name of “nation-building at home” is a sign Obama reads too much of the writing of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
“Well, what it means is he reads too much Thomas Friedman – the supposed great thinker of The New York Times,” Steyn said. “Thomas Friedman is about the world’s worst prose stylist and he uses the same six or seven phrases like tics of a man with columnar Tourette’s every couple of weeks and one of them he likes to use is ‘nation building at home.’”
And all the so-called nation-building this administration has attempted so far hasn’t really done much for the country’s problems, he said.
“The fact is, we’ve had nation building at home,’” he continued. “They dug a big hole, and they stuck trillions and trillions of dollars in it to no effect. And now he’s saying, ‘Forget the last two years. That’s just the warm-up. The serious nation building is yet to begin. I think – I think that’s just, I hope that’s just lame spin because if he’s serious.”