U.S. News and World Report publisher Mort Zuckerman's latest editorial on Barack Obama's foreign policy is a work of such vast incompetence that I blush to even refute it, and I cut my polemical teeth mocking the intelligent design movement.
As you read the first sentence, remember that Zuckerman is a respected member of our nation's media-political establishment. Then cut yourself:
President Obama came into office as the heir to a great foreign policy legacy enjoyed by every recent U.S. president.
I do not believe I would be amiss in noting that it would be more accurate to state that Obama came into office as the heir to the Bush administration's foreign policy legacy, which we may perhaps characterize as measurably distinct from the entirety of recent U.S. foreign policy. If we are daring, we may also go so far as to characterize this former legacy as somewhat problematic relative to U.S. foreign policy as practiced over previous decades. I mean, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or anything.
Yet, the Iraq war lingers;
This would be an entirely valid criticism of Obama coming from someone who actually opposes any such lingering; coming from a man who not long ago wrote a big long editorial proclaiming that such lingering must go on forever, as Zuckerman did in a piece entitled "Why We Can't Leave," it is rendered -- and this is just me thinking out loud here -- somewhat less valid. Still, this is only my opinion, drawn from nothing more than the very basics of logic and intellectual decency.
... Afghanistan continues to be immersed in an endless cycle of tribalism, corruption, and Islamist resurgence;
... thanks in large part to the "great foreign policy legacy" inherited by Obama, who has yet to end tribalism and corruption in a corrupt and tribal region long marked by corruption and tribes.
Guantánamo remains open;
Here we have a valid criticism that one might take more seriously coming from Zuckerman had Zuckerman ever uttered a single word about Guantanamo before today, which, of course, he has not.
Iran sees how North Korea toys with Obama and continues its programs to develop nuclear weapons and missiles;
Presumably, Iran had its eyes closed during the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Cuba spurns America's offers of a greater opening;
I hereby announce a reader contest wherein anyone may e-mail me with their own reasons as to why this is probably not a fair criticism of Obama; anyone who guesses wrong gets a free trip to some Texas ranch where I shall give you a ten minute head start before I hunt you down. You will be given two days provisions and a compass. The provisions will be poisoned and the compass is really a cobra.
... and the Palestinians and Israelis find that it is U.S. policy positions that defer serious negotiations, the direct opposite of what the Obama administration hoped for.
... whereas I find that it is the respective leadership of the Palestinians and Israelis who have deferred serious negotiations for a period stretching back to before the day when Obama was born, in Kenya, as my e-mail inbox is forever telling me.
The reviews of Obama's performance have been disappointing.
Perhaps the sequel will be better, though I doubt it myself.
The global community was puzzled over the pictures of Obama bowing to some of the world's leaders...
Apparently the conservative blogosphere now constitutes the global community; that particular community may perhaps be easily puzzled insomuch as that Nixon bowed to Chairman Mao and Emperor Hirohito, Eisenhower bowed to De Gaulle, and the most recent Bush bowed down to every degenerate Saudi prince he could get his hands on.
... and surprised by his gratuitous criticisms of and apologies for America's foreign policy under the previous administration of George W. Bush.
Certainly they were surprised. Bush was too much of a man to apologize for his own mistakes, and at any rate could not even think of any when asked in 2004.
One Middle East authority, Fouad Ajami, pointed out that Obama seems unaware that it is bad form and even a great moral lapse to speak ill of one's own tribe while in the lands of others.
I suppose it's a good thing that the United States is not so much a "tribe" as it is a constitutional republic founded on Enlightenment ideals rather than tribalism of the sort that admits to no deficits -- the sort that so concerns Zuckerman when Obama fails to extinguish it in Afghanistan, for instance. I will admit, though, to a great deal of consternation at learning that we have lost the confidence and moral approval of Ajami, Middle East authority. If anyone needs me I will be sitting in a dark room, crying and listening to A Perfect Circle as the rain beats down upon my window.
In conclusion, Mort Zuckerman is an influential figure of high station in this republic, which is really neat.