The Corner

“Yes, We Can!’ Is Diplomacy, Borrowing is Stimulus . . .

. . . and we all live happy ever after.

I think Obama has mastered a sort of two-step that will win as many accolades in the short term as it will eventually grate in the long run: Here at home we’ve become used to the doublespeak that the sober cure for past massive debt, spending, and cheap money is the tough future medicine of more massive debt, spending, and cheap money. Now abroad we’re seeing the same sort of two-step from Obama:

(1) A “they did it” habit of faulting America’s recent past (and George W. Bush in particular) for everything from causing the financial meltdown to being gratuitously insensitive to Europe — almost immediately followed by constant magnanimous qualifiers like, “I’m a great believer in looking forwards than looking backwards.”

(2) Acquiesence to the fact that Europe’s combat troops will soon be out of Afghanistan, that Germany won’t be stimulating anything, that France will be seeing a transnational financial regulator, that Russia won’t have to worry about Eastern European missile defense (or much of anything else), that Turkey has legitimate concerns over the Danish failure to censure the free expression of its citizens — all while dressing up this lack of international leadership in the therapeutic language of  a new sort of American “multilateralism,” “diplomacy,” “listening,” “dialogue,” and “consensus.”

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