The ‘Alternate Universe’ of America’s Leaders
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
“That’s an alternate universe.” These words have been ringing in my ears since I heard them a couple weeks ago. They well describe the dangerous thinking of America’s leaders in recent events. There is a shocking disconnect from reality.
Several American outposts in the Middle East lie defaced or smoldering right now, thanks to violent Muslim mobs that chanted, “We are all Osama.” Islamic banners fly where American flags should be. An American ambassador and three other U.S. personnel are dead and buried.
Anyone watching this would have to conclude that America’s foreign policy in that region needs to at least be reconsidered—right? Here is how German newspaper Die Welt interpreted these events: “U.S. President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy is in ruins.”
It’s not difficult to agree. Barack Obama has spoken as though he held the key to global interfaith harmony. “I truly believe that the day I’m inaugurated, not only does the country look at itself differently but the world looks at America differently,” he said in 2007 while campaigning for the presidency. “If I’m reaching out to the Muslim world, they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country—and I may be a Christian, but I also understand their point of view. … I think the world will have confidence that I am listening to them. … That will ultimately make us safer.”
So, for nearly four years this man has been reaching out—wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan; embracing the Muslim Brotherhood; apologizing for things America did in the Middle East to defend against the Soviets over half a century ago; criticizing America’s response to 9/11; helping to “liberate” Egypt and Libya. “Like no president before him, he tried to win over the Arab world,” Die Welt wrote.
You’d have to say the past week’s events delivered a pretty resounding response. “[N]ow parts of the freed societies are turning against the country that helped bring them into being,” Die Welt concluded. “Anti-Americanism in the Arab world has even increased to levels greater than in the Bush era. It’s a bitter outcome for Obama.”
Amazingly, though, this isn’t the way the Obama administration views it at all.
They don’t see any connection between the policy they have pursued for four years and these attacks.
“I asked myself—how could this happen?” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after the murders in Libya. “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?” She has no idea. She couldn’t see it coming.
The radicals there and elsewhere essentially declared war on America. The U.S. responded with tough words. “Disgusting and reprehensible,” said Secretary Clinton. “Truly abhorrent,” said another White House official. But they weren’t talking about the murder of U.S. officials or hoisting Islamist flags over U.S. embassies. They were talking about a YouTube video.
Still, there’s really nothing to worry about, Secretary Clinton continued. “We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group—not the people or government of Libya.” These attackers weren’t even people of Libya. Just a small, savage group, a handful of wackos.
She is staring directly at the problem and cannot comprehend it. Neither can the White House press secretary, Jay Carney. “This is … in response not to U.S. policy, not to, obviously, the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting,” he said. In other words, We‘re on the same side as the protesters. We all agree: This video is reprehensible and disgusting. “[T]his is not a case of protests directed at the United States, writ large, or at U.S. policy,” he assured us.
Is this president really listening to the rest of the world? If these mobs did want to protest U.S. policy, the administration, the American people, or the United States writ large, what would they have to do? Islamist chants, flag burning, arson, murder—Washington doesn’t take any of these personally.
A reporter asked Mr. Carney if the attacks occurred because of “perceived American weakness” that stems from Obama’s leadership. He answered, “We’re very proud of the president’s record on foreign policy.”
This administration still thinks it is doing everything right. And when events blow up in their faces, they think the problem is simply that they haven’t done enough of what they’re doing.
They are unteachable.
The whole situation reminds me of a passage in the book of Revelation—a message from Christ to “the church of the Laodiceans.” He corrects them for their horrible disconnect from reality: “[Y]ou say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17, New King James). That is the self-congratulatory yet spiritually sick character of our age.
Even before last week’s attacks, polls showed that both America’s and the U.S. president’s popularity in the Muslim world has dropped since George W. Bush was in office. Yet still, President Obama said this year, “One of the proudest things of my three years in office is helping to restore a sense of respect for America around the world.”
It was Anderson Cooper who used that phrase a couple weeks ago. It was during cnn’s coverage of the Democratic National Committee (dnc) convention.
It was right after the party chairman unceremoniously ramrodded God and Jerusalem back into the party platform by stating the patent lie that the boisterous half-and-half verbal vote was actually a two-thirds majority in the affirmative. As shocking as that was, what came right after was possibly more so. cnn interviewed the chairwoman of the dnc, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who within three minutes boldly told about half a dozen bald-faced whoppers. The reporter, Brianna Keilar, asked why God and Jerusalem had been taken out of the platform in the first place; Schultz called it a “technical oversight.”
“I’m so proud of our president’s stellar record on Israel—and proud that our platform is 100 percent strong on the U.S.-Israel relationship,” she boasted. “We have even stronger language than the Republicans do on preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.” That language certainly isn’t stopping Iran. She claimed Israel’s defense minister said “Israel has never had a greater friend than President Obama.” Wow—did you realize the president was so tight with Israel? Does Benjamin Netanyahu realize it?
Keilar asked about the discord over the vote. The chairwoman responded: “There wasn’t any discord. … [The chairman] just had to make sure that we had a two-thirds vote, and when he realized that we did, we moved forward.” Are you sure it was two thirds? Keilar asked. It didn’t seem like it. “Yes, it was absolutely two thirds.”
My jaw dropped. I don’t recall ever personally witnessing such brazen contempt for truth. I don’t care what tens of thousands of people in the stadium just personally witnessed. It doesn’t matter what untold numbers watching on national television or seeing this clip online saw. If I say it was two thirds, it was two thirds.
“That’s an alternate universe,” Cooper said after the interview.
That universe seems to be where a whole lot of people in high places are living these days. Trouble is, they are making decisions that have terribly dangerous consequences for those of us living in this one.