Maldives, Malvinas, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off
The president’s Maldives/Malvinas gaffe that Andy referred to the other day is interesting as more than a verbal stumble or even as evidence (which it is) of this administration’s reflexive desire to take the side of The Other (remember John Brennan referring to Jerusalem as “al Quds”). Obama’s mistake, along with things such as his reference to the “Austrian” language and his inability to speak a foreign language, suggests a profound parochialism and ignorance of the outside world. Yes, you could same the same about Bush and Slovakia/Slovenia and I’m not even sure such provincialism is even a bad thing — I want a president with a clear sense of America’s interests in the world, whether or not he thinks Indochina is part of China (as FDR did). Obama’s problem is that he thinks he’s a suave cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world, who’s garnered invaluable international experience living abroad as a child — and yet he doesn’t know Shiraz from shinola. And the citizen-of-the-world schtick isn’t just boob bait for the Upper West Side — he actually believes himself to be a global sophisticate, and yet he knows no more about the outside world than a rube from the hollers of West Virginia.