In this past weekend’s headlines, I read: ‘Obama to meet with Myanmar rulers.’ This is reminiscent of other headlines of the same ilk like: ‘Obama bows to Saudi king’ or ‘Obama is nonplussed by Chavez’ tirade and gift of anti-US book’ or ‘Obama offers hand of friendship to Iranian Mullahs.’ Of course, Obama’s obsequious courtship of certain world leaders does not extend to everyone. Past headlines also include: ‘Obama to snub Israeli Prime Minister’ and ‘Obama removes bust of Winston Churchill from Oval Office’ and ‘Obama snatches missile defense shield from Poland and the Czech Republic.’
There seems to be a pattern here. If a country has long-standing, friendly relations with the USA, if its people share common values with the American people—like love of liberty, commitment to a society governed according to the rule of law, freedom of religion, free market capitalism—then it can expect the back of the hand from our enlightened President. Conversely, if a country is committed to repression of its citizens, a government-controlled economy, world-wide revolution and above all, enmity toward the United States, then its leaders can expect warmth and love from our post-American President. It wouldn’t surprise me if Obama extended an invitation to the White House to Hezbollah’s Nasrallah or Hamas’ Mashaal.
The ancient Chinese philosopher Sun-Tzu is reputed to have said: ‘Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.’ Popular culture attributes the aphorism to Michael Corleone in Godfather II. The thinking of our new godfather, er, that is, the President, modifies that to ‘you should fall all over yourself to be nice to your enemies, but it’s perfectly alright to kick your friends in the teeth.’