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The Corner

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It Is Not an ‘Interdependent World’



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In his U.N. speech, President Obama declared:

The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded — the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

Put aside the first two fallacies — people cannot always resolve their differences peacefully; when war is necessary, because what it is fought over is worse, diplomacy is not an effective and just substitute. Where all this goes off the rails is in the notion that we live in an “interdependent world.” We don’t. Americans live in a world where there is interaction of our own choosing. We are not dependent — we remain independent. We engage the world as a volitional act, and we should do it in pursuit of our interests. But our liberties and our capacity to chart our own destiny, to be different, to be free, and to lead are not dependent on the indulgence of other nations.

Much political bloviating is so leaden and mind-numbing, we stop thinking critically about it. It starts to sink in and distort our perception of reality. Obama hardly has the market cornered in this regard. It was equally delusional and counterproductive for President Bush to claim, in the second inaugural, that “the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.” That’s absurd. We have a way of looking at the reality and of understanding ourselves that is different from, say, Soviet totalitarians and Islamic supremacists. We can be free and can flourish even if people were and are enslaved in those very different cultures. We can be a beacon for them, but our liberty does not depend on their changing their ways.

Dependency is a two-way street. If you conclude that your liberty depends on theirs, you invite the attrition of your liberty to accommodate their demands. You are saying maybe we do not really need free speech anymore — after all, we’re dependent on your repressive sharia blasphemy standards, we need to compromise for the good of our interdependency.

Among the many awful aspects of the Obama presidency is the obsession to make the United States just another cog in the wheel, to bring us into line with a purportedly “interdependent” global order wherever our culture and traditions tell us we’ve got a better way. “Dependency at Home and Dependency Abroad” is not something Americans ought to aspire to. 



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