Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken
On September 28th, CBS aired an Obama 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft. While discussing Obama’s war against ISIS, sorry ISIL, Kroft mildly protested that the US is once again “leading the operation”, and Obama responded thusly:
President Obama: Steve, that’s always the case. That’s always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world. And when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don’t call Beijing. They don’t call Moscow. They call us. That’s the deal.
Steve Kroft: I mean, it looks like we are doing 90 percent.
President Obama: Steve, there is not an as issue … when there’s a typhoon in the Philippines, take a look at who’s helping the Philippines deal with that situation. When there’s an earthquake in Haiti, take a look at who’s leading the charge making sure Haiti can rebuild. That’s how we roll. And that’s what makes this America.
The absolute arrogance is appalling, but the sheer stupidity of this statement is astounding. I mean, who exactly is calling up Obama to come bomb their country and overthrow them as leader?
Obama (picks up phone): Hello.
Middle East Dictator: Hey Obama, I know we used to be pals and your CIA was paying me to kill my own people and be your lackey, but I’m tired of taking orders from you so you should probably just come bomb me and overthrow my regime now. You know, setup a new puppet government.
Obama: Sounds good. That’s the deal we made.
I guess it does depend on your definition of indispensable, right? Who else would kill, maim, orphan, and widow all those innocent men, women, and children without “us”, the indispensable ones?
On further consideration though, Obama probably is getting calls to go bomb the Middle East, they just happen to be coming from inside the beltway. Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumann, General Dynamics, and Raytheon are all quite happy to see billions of dollars of their hardware being used, no matter what it’s for.
On Monday we posted a quote by Garet Garrett from The People’s Pottage which is the perfect response to this type of thinking. While discussing the difference between Republic and Empire, he asks the question, “What is it that now obliges the American people to act upon the world?”
As you ask that question the fear theme plays itself down and the one that takes its place is magnifical. It is not only our security we are thinking of—our security in a frame of collective security. Beyond that lies a greater thought.
It is our turn.
Our turn to do what?
Our turn to assume the responsibilities of moral leadership in the world,
Our turn to maintain a balance of power against the forces of evil everywhere—in Europe and Asia and Africa, in the Atlantic and in the Pacific, by air and by sea—evil in this case being the Russian barbarian.
Our turn to keep the peace of the world.
Our turn to save civilization.
Our turn to serve mankind.
But this is the language of Empire. The Roman Empire never doubted that it was the defender of civilization. Its good intentions were peace, law and order. The Spanish Empire added salvation. The British Empire added the noble myth of the white man’s burden. We have added freedom and democracy.
Yet the more that may be added to it the more it is the same language still.
A language of power.
Funny that 60 years later the “Russian barbarian” is still on the list of “forces of evil” along with nearly everyone else.
But this will come to an end eventually.
The language of power is the language of empire, and empires always fail.