He was a progressive, Ivy League president, with that calm and lofty style of lecturing to his audiences. He had a fixed and unshakable conviction of his own rightness about the blessings of bigger and bigger government. The media fawned on him in the most nauseating fashion, and professors everywhere shouted Hosannas. He was dedicated to global peace under the benign governance of a transnational elite. And yes, he believed in a “progressive” race policy.
He was Woodrow Wilson, of course.
Yes, Obama is the return of Woodrow Wilson.
Now follow me closely. Wilson ran a peace campaign for the presidency as World War I was breaking out in Europe. Then he flipped and entered the war on the side of Britain and France.
Talk about a “war of choice.” The United States could have let Europe be conquered by the kaiser and just picked up the pieces afterward. He could have allowed the combatants to exhaust each other. There was a whole Atlantic Ocean to keep us secure from aggression. The Bolshevik Revolution (which was kicked off by the Germans when they smuggled Lenin into Russia) could have been bottled up, with a militant Austro-Hungarian Empire next door. World War II and the Cold War might have been avoided. Who knows?
Wilson could have stayed out of World War I, which ended European dominance in the world.
He didn’t do that, because Wilson desperately wanted to fashion a new world. To get his chance he needed a place at the victors’ table. The United States entered the war, our soldiers fought and suffered in the trenches, and we helped to beat the kaiser. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Wilson got suckered by the French and the Brits, because innocents abroad are easy marks for political con artists like Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George.
In the upshot, the punitive Versailles Treaty that Wilson signed destabilized Germany and brought Hitler to power less than two decades later. Versailles carved up the Middle East in ways that have left it teetering to this day. After Hitler, the Soviet empire arose as the greatest threat to world peace. The U.S. was sucked into the European power vacuum for a whole century and ended up being the much-abused protector of the old world order.
In the upshot, Woodrow Wilson gambled with a house of cards, and it collapsed.
So much for designing a new world order from scratch.
Obama has that same unlimited arrogance and disdain for incredibly complex problems that he doesn’t understand at all. He has no conception of his own limitations, which are plain enough for the rest of the world to see. His chance to fashion a new world order is coming with the rise of a nuclear Iran. Obama has already signaled his intention to unilaterally push for a Wilsonian division between Israel and a Palestinian state. The only thing standing in his way is Iran, which is refusing to stop its rush to nuclear weapons, a move that will collapse the stability of the Middle East.
Israel is being openly threatened by Ahmadinejad and the mullahs, but in fact the Saudis, the Gulf States, and Iraq are even more threatened because they don’t have their own nukes and missiles to pit against Iranian weapons. Israel can retaliate against an Iranian attack, and it will do so if it sees no other way.
The Sunni Arab states depend entirely on the United States. So does Europe, Japan, and even China, which all get their vital oil supplies from the Gulf.
The United States holds the aces in the Middle East. If the U.S. folds and walks away, Iran will terrorize its enemies under its invulnerable nuclear umbrella. The Sunni Arab nations will then get their nukes from Pakistan or North Korea if the U.S. or French refuse. Saudi Arabia helped to finance the A.Q. Khan network which sold nuclear secrets. They can get it off the shelf from the Pakistanis.
The United States is the only nation with the military capacity to knock down Iran’s nuclear industry, which is dispersed and hardened like North Korea’s facilities. They can’t be knocked out at a single blow, like the Israeli Air Force can deliver. But they can be brought down by a long-lasting air and sea campaign, the way the United States did with Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War.
The U.S. is the only power that can stop Iran, and Obama is telling the Israelis that he will do it only if they compromise on Jerusalem. Netanyahu is presumably telling Obama: “Oh, yeah? Well, let’s see you move first, buddy.” At least that’s my guess.
“But … but … Obama loves peace!” I hear you say. No, Obama loves himself more than anybody else in the whole wide world, including all the Democrats in Congress. After they lose Congress in November, he will find reasons to move aggressively in foreign policy, because the GOP will block his domestic program.
“But … but … the left will abandon Obama if he goes to war!” I hear you say.
Just like they abandoned Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ? It never happened. Five times in the last century the Democrats turned on a dime from running a passionate peace campaign to another “war to end all wars.” They are cynical beyond belief, and they have been that way for a long, long time.
As for the ideological left, it is deeply in love with Obama, and love transcends whatever sanity it may still hang onto. Nobody will pay attention to the pathetic figure of Mother Sheehan, who has dropped out of the news since Obama started bombing Afghanistan. Have you noticed? The media are so deeply in the tank they will follow Obama wherever he decides to go.
If Obama wants to put the screws on Iran, therefore, the Democrats will become the instant war party. The GOP will have to go along, if they see real danger abroad. It’s tough being the party of adults, but it’s a lot more honorable than being the party of demagogues and the suckers who fall for them.
Striking Iran and forcing a new Versailles Treaty between Israel and its enemies might be the only thing that will save Obama after the voters have their say in November. If the Israelis are smart they will play Obama in just the way Clemenceau played Woodrow Wilson. The French and the Brits survived the Versailles Peace Treaty, more or less. They are still alive and kicking.
If the Democrats lose in November, Obama might just flip in December. I’ll make a bet on it.