Posted: 04 Oct 2013 08:48 PM PDT
|Bob Morrison and Ken Blackwell|
There, the Kremlin chief held forth on his vision for Mideast peace, a solution to Syria’s ongoing civil war, and, for good measure, lectured us on how dangerous it was dangerous for any nation to think of itself as “exceptional.” Amerika, you’re no more exceptional, he seemed to be saying, than Russia, Belarus, or even Chechnya.
Following Putin’s debut as an ex-KGB agent turned Timesman, both Iran’s new “president,” Hassan Rouhani and Syria’s boss Bashar al-Assad were captured by American journalists for what was breathlessly billed as “exclusive” interviews. Rouhani’s session was conducted by The Washington Post’s veteran deep thinker, David Ignatius, while Assad parried light jabs from FOX News questioners, the serious and sonorous Greg Palkot (sans helmet) and the always entertaining Dennis Kucinich.
Because President Obama has a known aversion to dealing with foreign crises, this shaping of American public opinion by foreign dictators is a dangerous trend. If all men are created equal, why shouldn’t all opinions by all “leaders” be treated equally? We have our view of world events. The world has different views. Let’s hear from them about their view. Let’s be broad-minded. It can’t hurt to talk, after all.
Except that the people in those “leaders’” countries who disagree with the views expressed by their leaders have an alarming tendency to wind up dead. Pesky journalists in Moscow have been warned by shooting those who asked too many impertinent questions. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died in the ongoing civil war there. And Hassan Rouhani—that self-described “moderate”—never uttered a peep of protest when Iran’s mullahs were shooting down opposition voters in the streets of Tehran in 2009.
We admit we are not doing Google or Lexis/Nexis searches on Rouhani then, but we can be assured of this much: If he had protested the killing of opponents by the mullahs' regime, he would never have been permitted to run for president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
We Americans seem to have been lulled into a stupor. It’s strangely like those years the locusts ate in the mid-seventies. That’s when Jimmy Carter urged us to get over our “inordinate fear of Communism.” Taking Carter’s University of Notre Dame speech as a starter gun, the Soviets and their cat’s paws ran freely in Africa and Latin America.
During the Cold War, there were occasional efforts to alert Americans to their peril. A few rock `em, sock `em movies such as Red Dawn and The Hunt for Red Oktober were screened. But those tended to be independent efforts.
The mainstream liberal view was represented by the novels of John LeCarré. To illustrate this point, Mark Steyn once described his lunch with the late conservative paladin Bill Buckley:
He has expressed decidedly mixed views himself about American Exceptionalism. At his first G-20 Summit, he said he did believe in American Exceptionalism — but quickly added that the Brits and the Greeks doubtless believed their own nations exceptional. More recently, he took to the airwaves to tell us American Exceptionalism might require us to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war.
It would have been nice if our own president had defended this country’s good name from the contemptuous jabs of Vladimir Putin. Mr. Obama might have said that Russia’s culture has enriched the world, but Russian rule has always been despotic.
Our president might have offered the Kremlin’s boss this challenge: If you don’t think America is exceptional, then tell us: When the Berlin Wall fell, which way did your captive people run?
Ken Blackwell was a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service.