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Our Feckless First Leader
An appearance on Letterman trumps meeting with Netanyahu.

The president and David Letterman confer, September 12, 2012.

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Thomas Sowell

During the same week when the American ambassador to Libya was murdered and his dead body dragged through the streets by celebrating mobs, the president of the United States found time to go on the David Letterman show to demonstrate his sense of humor and how cool he is.

But Barack Obama did not have time to meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of a nation repeatedly threatened with annihilation by Iranian leaders who are working feverishly toward the creation of nuclear bombs.

This was an extraordinary thing in itself, something that probably no other president of the United States could have gotten away with without raising a firestorm of criticisms and denunciations. But much of the media sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil when it comes to Barack Obama — especially during an election year.

Nor was this public rebuff of a publicly requested meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu unique in its expression of disrespect, if not contempt, for both the man and his country. Despite his glowing assertions of his commitment to Israel, especially in speeches to American Jewish groups, Barack Obama has been working against Israel’s interests from his first day in the White House. As in many other contexts, Barack Obama 1 speaks but Barack Obama 2 acts — often in the opposite direction.

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The vision in which Obama has been steeped is one in which white Western nations have oppressed and exploited non-white, non-Western nations, becoming rich and arrogant at other people’s expense. It is a vision that calls out, not for justice, but for payback.

When Jeremiah Wright said, “white folks’ greed runs a world in need” — and Obama, by his own account, was moved to tears — this captured in a few melodramatic words what a whole series of Obama’s mentors and allies had been saying for decades. No wonder it resonated with him.

Despite hopes that Barack Obama’s election as president of the United States would mark the beginning of a post-racial era in America, no hope was ever so completely doomed from the outset. Anyone who looks beyond Obama’s soothing words about race to his record, from his joining self-segregated black students in college to his appointing Al Sharpton as a White House adviser, can see the contrast between rhetoric and reality.

Barack Obama is not the first leader of a nation whose actions reflected some half-baked vision, enveloped in lofty rhetoric and spiced with a huge dose of ego. Nor would he be the first such leader to steer his nation into a historic catastrophe.

In Barack Obama’s case, the potential for catastrophe is international in scope, and perhaps irretrievable in its consequences, as he stalls with feckless gestures while terrorist-sponsoring Iran moves toward the production of nuclear bombs.

The rhetoric of Obama 1 says that he will protect Israel but the actions of Obama 2 have in fact protected Iran from an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities — and now it is questionable whether Iran’s deeply buried nuclear facilities can be destroyed by the Israelis.

Those deeply buried facilities took time to build, and Obama’s policies gave them that time; his lackadaisical approach of seeking United Nations resolutions and international sanctions never had any serious chance of stopping Iran’s movement toward becoming a nuclear power. And Barack Obama had to know that.

In March, Foreign Policy magazine reported that “several high-level sources” in the Obama administration had revealed Israel’s secret relationship with Azerbaijan, where Israeli planes could refuel on the way to or from an air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The administration feared “the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran,” according to these “high-level sources.” Apparently the risks of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel are not so much feared.

This leak was one of the historic and unconscionable betrayals of an ally whose very existence is threatened. But the media still saw no evil, heard no evil, and spoke no evil.

The only question now is whether the American voters will wake up before it is too late — not just for Israel, but for America.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



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