HBO infomedian John Oliver recently pleased progressives. On his show, he said that the only time in all history refugees completely wiped out another people or culture was when the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock – which he said we celebrate this week on Thanksgiving. Yes, it was a joke. It was the snarky kind of joke progressives love; it validates their “blame everything western, white, and American first” worldview in an in your face kind of way.
The currents of this worldview run deeper than a joke told on a TV show. Consider that, as of this writing, nearly three days of media attention have been devoted to Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson – specifically their comments about Muslim crowds cheering collapse of the twin towers in New York on 9/11. Turkey just shot down a Russian Air Force fighter plane. A hostage situation developed in France. Someone, probably members of the Free Syrian Army, blew up a Russian helicopter. Belgium remains under lock down and France isn’t much better off. Aside from the very real threat posed by terrorism to western Europe, the economic implications for France and Belgium are tremendous and could herald a new recession. Russia has dispatched additional naval vessels to the eastern Mediterranean. And the media is more worried about Trump and Carson’s recollection of 9/11.
It’s not hard to find progressives on social media that have dutifully taken the bait. To read their online posts, if one didn’t know better, one might think that these people were unparalleled in their patriotism. This author was called “a liar” by a young lady who self-identified as “a member of the left” when she was reminded that “the left” was blaming America for 9/11 within days of the attacks. The quote, “America’s chickens, are coming home, to roost!”, preached to an approving congregation by Rev Jeremiah Wright in the days after 9/11, thus far hasn’t elicited a response. Chances are the young progressive either has no idea where the quote came from, who said it, and in what context; or she’ll just cry “racism” and use personal invective to end the discussion.
That’s how their “blame everything western, white, and American first” mindset, in their view, becomes common knowledge. Sky is blue. Mountains tall. Water wet. Snow is cold. And everything bad present or historical has roots in the west, white people, and or America. Once in a while they’ll even throw in a “you know?” to further that affirmation, you know? (See how effective it is?). Anything contrary can’t exist.
But it’s a distorted common knowledge. To be fair, ALL cultures and nations have both GOOD and BAD things in their histories. Take the ancient kingdom of Benin in western Africa. It was one of the most developed of the ancient societies and managed to unify an astonishing array of disparate tribal peoples into a politically and economically viable empire. Ancient Benin’s bronze artwork is among the finest representations of ancient sculpture. All good things. Among the bad things? Thirty percent of the west African slave trade occurred in areas controlled by ancient Benin’s Obas (Oba was their word for “king”). And it wasn’t Europeans – Portugese in particular – that originated the slave trade. Black Africans traded in other black Africans long before anyone else got involved.
Similarly, both good and bad can be found in things western, white, and/or American. Holistic assessments are impossible for progressives though. All the good wrought must be dismissed so that the evil sins remain in place to forever torment the aggrieved.
Perhaps the most maltreated aspect of America is her exercise of force against her adversaries. The previous decade was jam packed with examples of American progressives actively engaged in derailing a war effort. From members of Congress to the Code Pink types in the streets, and to the infamous “General Betray Us” full page ad (run at a sharply reduced rate) in the New York Times, the left spared no quarter is trying to guarantee American defeat abroad. As their own slogans indicated, their prejudicial view of history and cultures cast the war as an exercise of aggression by rich, white, imperialists against poor people of color who enjoyed a culturally superior heritage.
Among the members of Congress that felt this way was Barack Obama. His opposition to the war was rooted in the same mentality. As President, his views haven’t changed. On Tuesday Nov 24, Obama stood with French President Francois Hollande to speak to the ISIS threat.
Obama quoted from the poem found at the Statue of Liberty – a not so subtle reminded of his insistence upon allowing 10,000 Syrian refugees resettlement in America. He said in the White House he enjoyed a photograph of himself and Michelle kissing in the Luxembourg Gardens, which are located in Paris. On the Syrian refugee question. Nice in sentimental terms; an apple to the orange that is the ISIS threat though. Neither poetry nor Parisian kisses detail a response to the terror state.
Attendance at an upcoming global climate change conference in Obama’s view, would deliver a “rebuke” to the Islamic State. That’s right. Al-Baghdadi himself is supposed to be cringing in his inner sanctum right now, suffering the stinging rebuke of a climate change conference. Suicide bomb vest makers are stopping their work, and marching hands up under banners of surrender because Barack Obama is going to talk about climate change with other world leaders. Saturday Night Live couldn’t have crafted a better parody than the spectacle of Obama’s logic unfurled for all to see.
On one hand, it’s easy to assign narcissism as the source of Obama’s remarks. The poem he quoted? There to buttress his refugee program. The picture? It’s he and Michelle that share a deep, emotional bond with Paris. Climate change conference? A rebuke because he said so.
At the same time, it’s necessary to consider his background and his progressive point of view towards America and in particular her ability to employ force. Obama is someone who has readily made public U.S. military timelines for withdrawals from war zones – forgetting that war requires two sides and it doesn’t end just because one decides it’s over. He had the opportunity to ensure Iraq’s stability, but instead neglected to follow up on a Status of Forces Agreement which removed most U.S. combat forces from the country and strengthened Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s (precursor to ISIS) position. Syrian red lines came and went without a peep. Libya spiraled out of control into chaos, costing the lives a U.S. diplomats in the process. Russia operates with complete immunity anywhere Putin wants.
Our strategy in Syria is described by the Vice President and the White House Secretary as something that’s “growing” and “being implemented” – even though we’ve been involved in Syria for fifteen months. This involvement has a checkered past. Thousands of combat sorties have been flown but restrictive rules of engagement have resulted in few targets being struck. For nearly a year oil tanker trucks were completely off limits despite evidence that ISIS finances its activities through oil sales. The first bombing missions made against tanker trucks occurred this month, after giving ISIS forty-five minutes advance notice. On the ground, a program designed to train 5,000 Syrian opposition fighters spent $500 million and only trained forty or fifty individuals – it was shelved in Oct 2015 so that the administration could explore placing fifty U.S. military personnel in Syria instead. His strategy isn’t one of “growth” or never ending implementation, it’s one of avoidance.
He has at his disposal the most powerful and capable military force this world has ever seen. Had it been used against ISIS, back when they were the rag tag Jayvee team Obama said they were, ISIS would have long been defeated. The world would have been spared their terror.
The very idea runs contrary to progressive ideals. The western, white, American world in their view is unqualified to respond to ISIS; doing so will only further the cycle of torment heaped upon the aggrieved. Instead, we must lead from behind. Somehow this will afford us a legitimacy we lacked before. That legitimacy should be found through deliberate inaction – even as John Kerry was recently caught using the word to describe the Charlie Hebdo attacks – speaks to the left’s broader designs.
Reducing America’s footprint, making America absent, is akin to placing a child in timeout. It’s a measure intended to educate the country’s future so that it may mature into a their vision of what it should be. An America who’s response to past mistakes is subservience to other, predominately non-western, ideals. Real-world implications aren’t strong enough to break this progressive infatuation.
Indeed, left-leaning media has ventured towards admiration of the Islamic State. New York Times, in July 2014, published an article that all but praised ISIS for providing a safe and secure business environment in Raqqa, Syria. Others have written positively of the Islamic State’s food inspectors, and the sanctions they impose against those that smoke cigarettes. This isn’t to suggest that progressives approve of the Islamic State. Rather, they draw moral equivalence between it and all things western, white, and American. Who then are we, the United States, to impose our will upon them – especially considering the things we’ve done in the past.
(If the example of progressive attitudes towards the Islamic State are too vivid, consider progressive perspectives of Iran. In leftist circles, it’s not hard to find positive views of the Iranian regime’s “democratic authenticity”, or blame for the whole of contemporary Iranian history being attributed to the Mosaddegh coup of 1953.)
Is it any wonder, with this kind of ideological prejudice, that Obama believes a climate change conference actually serves to rebuke ISIS? In the meantime, others have readily taken the lead in battling the terror state. While progressives might praise this as a turning point against “American hegemony” in the world, their own distorted view of things ultimately will cause more harm. Compared with the United States, others have rarely shown the same levels of benevolence and respect when engaged in combat abroad.
Progressives may someday look back on the ISIS-conflict and wish their moral equilibrium hadn’t been so skewed.