The Russia bear is eating Ukraine, the Middle East’s jihadis are role-playing Mohammad’s own wars, China’s wealthy nerds are tunneling through the Internet to steal anything they can find, unskilled Latin-American migrants are rushing the border and young Americans can’t get decent jobs, but President Obama’s national security adviser says Americans shouldn’t worry.
“What’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective,” Susan Rice said at a Feb. 6 briefing intended to explain her boss’ national security strategy.
“Yes, there’s a lot going on,” but it’s not as threatening as during the Cold War when the nation faced the prospect of utter nuclear annihilation, she said.
“While the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War,” she said.
She echoed that don’t-worry-be-calm explanation in a Feb. 6 op-ed, saying “the challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence.”
In fact, she patiently explained in her D.C. speech, “we can’t afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle.”
Obama certainly isn’t worried about the wars, migrations, foreign economic growth and threats.
“I travel all around the world, I know the economies of every country in the world,” he told a friendly crowd in Indianapolis, Ind., shortly after Rice gave her speech in D.C.
“People talk about China and they talk about Germany and they talk about India — nobody has got better cards than we do if we make good decisions together… we always end up doing the right thing after we’ve tried everything else,” he said.
Obama’s imitation of Dr. Pangloss — a vain and over-optimistic character in a 1759 novel, “Candide” — isn’t helping his polls.
Only 37 percent of the public gives him a positive rating in foreign policy, according to the Real Clear Politics’ polling average.
Or maybe he isn’t channeling Pangloss, but Emmet Brickowski, the dull and unimaginative construction worker in the 2014 Lego movie. Brickowski’s favorite song is “Everything is Awesome.”
“Everything is awesome.
“Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.
“Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream.
“Everything is better when we stick together,
“Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let’s party forever,
“We’re the same, I’m like you, you’re like me, we’re all working in harmony.”
Their statements came one day after Iran-backed rebels overthrew the U.S.-backed government of Yemen, home to a growing jihadi affiliate of al-Qaida.
In the same week, Russian forces pushed deeper into Ukraine, Iran continued to play hardball in nuke talks, China’s government-controlled media warned Obama to not meet the exiled Tibetan leader at a D.C. prayer breakfast and Libyan factions continued to wage their war for control of the oil-rich country, four years after Obama intervened in 2011 to remove its dictatorial government.
Yet Rice remains relaxed. “There will be setbacks, and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions,” she said.
But the new foreign policy is principally designed to help Obama’s diverse domestic constituencies and his personal ideological priorities, not to help Americans prosper outside the control of centralized government.
Rice also pushed cultural reform, saying, “We believe that all humans are created equal and are worthy of the same love and respect—including our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters,” she said.
“These [sexual issues] are fundamental to who we are [and]… If we reduce disparities, which can lead to instability and violence, we increase our shared security,” she said, without offering an example.
“American leadership is addressing the very real threat of climate change,” said Rice. “The science is clear. The impacts of climate change will only worsen over time—even longer droughts, more severe storms, more forced migration.”
“We’ve reduced the population of Guantanamo by nearly half, and while there are tough challenges ahead, we mean to keep going until we finish the job,” she insisted, without mentioning how the U.S. military loses vital information from interrogations once captured jihadis are provided lawyers.
Rice’s call for “strategic patience,” underlines Obama’s eagerness to ignore the disasters in his conduct of foreign policy, and his focus on his top two political priorities — boosting immigration and electing a Democrat in 2016.
“We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any nation on Earth,” Obama declared to his supporters in Indianapolis. “We’ve got to make some decisions about what that future looks like.”