Obama and the Myth of Moral Equivalency

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Posted: Sep 21, 2011 2:52 PM

In a grandiose display of the very ignorance he therein denounced, President Obama gave an address to the United Nations General Assembly this morning. I don’t even know where to begin when deconstructing his remarks, which total nine single spaced typed pages and skip to and fro among an impressive collection of liberal talking points. My favorite moment came when he announced, “We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country,” with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in the room. Indeed, close examination of his platitudes reveals the president’s inconsistent message and his tenuous grip on reality.

His fondness for global government took center stage. Quoting the UN charter, he credited it for averting a third World War, and for the advancement of peace and security—despite the Security Council’s historic deadlock during Cold War times which prevented any significant votes from taking place.

By Obama’s own admission, we took action in Libya on the basis of UN Security Council approval, and he reaffirmed the supposed legitimacy of our involvement in his speech. He said,

And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century, the United Nations lived up to its charter. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre.  The Arab League called for this effort, and Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qadhafi’s forces in their tracks.

He views the United Nations, and other trans-governmental organizations, as real sources of governing authority with the power to condone the use of the lives and money of sovereign states’ citizens. Our own United States Congress had no say in our entrance into the Libyan conflict, but the UN gave us the green light, and so we went.

He later calls for the UN Security Council to start solving the Syrian conflict: “But for the sake of Syria – and the peace and security of the world – we must speak with one voice. There is no excuse for inaction. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime, and to stand with the Syrian people.” He sets a clear precedent in his speech for the international community’s involvement in the internal conflicts of sovereign states. He believes the UN exists to solve these problems.

Unless, of course, that’s the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. There, “the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes.”

Sure, Mr. President. Why don’t we ask a terrorist organization to take a walk in the shoes of the people they have sworn to kill. Hey, since you’re so fond of quoting charters, how about we quote that of Hamas, the governing power in Palestine: “Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion.” This is why they cannot achieve that “lasting peace” you mentioned four or five times today—because Hamas doesn’t want it. Unless peace involves the eradication of the Jewish people. Then they’re willing to give it a try.

He made constant reference to the necessity for compromise, and the legitimacy of both sides’ aspirations (one would hope the elimination of the Jews does not fall into this category). But Obama wastes his words on pipedreams of shared perspectives, because they already have one: Jerusalem. Palestine will not be content with a state that does not include the city, and Israel will obviously never relinquish it. Until someone steps forward and affirms Israel’s sovereign right to that city,

But Obama wouldn’t do it. He didn’t draw a hard line anywhere in his speech. He didn’t say anything that the UN would find repugnant or controversial. He betrayed the US’s interests and allies with a cotton candy speech designed to fill quote books of clichés (“Peace is hard?” Right.), and win the international popularity contest. Which, by the way, failed, as footage depicted Palestinians burning the American flag hours after the president’s address.

Obama talks like he wants to succeed Ban Ki Moon and play like he’s king of the world when he’s done as POTUS. I don’t doubt that’s his goal. He sees the world through Rockwellian glasses, in which “freedom from want” is a legitimate human right, and we don’t ever have to put our foot down and tell Palestine that it cannot negotiate for itself someone else’s land.

Sure, Mr. President. Peace is hard. But moral relativism comes way too easily to you.

Column by Kate Hicks