The President Is Not Checked Out

Posted: Sep 05, 2014 12:01 AM
The President Is Not Checked Out

Many people suggest President Obama has checked out. He treats the ever-growing threat of ISIS as an abstraction. Sources from within the administration are now more openly admitting that, for almost a year, intelligence and Pentagon officials have advised the president of the threat. He has chosen to do very little. Last Wednesday, he said we would "shrink" ISIS and make it "a manageable problem" as opposed to eliminate it.

A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a sitting governor and a dear friend of mine. The friend leaned over to the governor and me and said Barack Obama is to America as Clarence the Angel was to George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life." Barack Obama is showing the world what it would look like had America never been born. As this friend later wrote, "Unsurprisingly, Bedford Falls is now Pottersville, and it's a terrible place. Unfortunately, we do not get to revert to the tolerable if modest status quo at the end of the lesson: George Bailey will eventually have to shell the town and retake it street by street from Old Man Potter's Spetsnaz."

Consider how far the world has collapsed in the past year. Again, my friend noted, since Labor Day weekend last year the Chinese expanded their air defense identification zone to incorporate the territory of other nations; the Russians annexed Crimea; ISIS rose; the Russians invaded Ukraine; Mosul fell; the Hungarian liberal democracy collapsed into Russian-aligned authoritarianism; a Central American refugee crisis spawned a border and humanitarian crisis in the United States; the Egyptians and Emiratis attacked Libya without telling the United States; Iraqi Christians and the Yazidi are suffering genocide at the hands of ISIS; NATO is scrambling to shore up its eastern-frontier defenses; mainstream anti-Semitism is re-emerging; the Americans are on the verge of yet another war in Iraq; middle America is seeing race riots, etc., etc.

Seventy-five years ago this past Monday, German tanks rolled across the Polish border setting off World War II. Sixty-nine years ago this past Tuesday, World War II ended as the Japanese formally surrendered. In the nearly seven decades since, the West has established a world-wide peace. Though not flawless, we have lived a relatively stable and secure existence. In just the past year, Barack Obama has largely undone seven decades of gains toward peace.

Our peace was balanced on top of two pillars. The first of the two pillars is the idea of peace through strength. Ensuring the American military could go anywhere at any time to strike back against any foe, no matter its size, has caused many to give us pause. In the last 25 years, after the collapse of the Cold War, America has consciously decided to scale back our military. We have handed military actions to FBI agents serving indictments, signaling our growing complacency.

The other pillar is the moral certainty of the West's goodness. We have, since the fall of Nazi Germany and the rise of its kissing cousin the communists, maintained Western values are superior and right and true. Barack Obama does not believe in the goodness and superiority of Western values. He sees former old colonialists trying to preserve their dubious claims on power. What so many for so long took for granted, Barack Obama sees as oppressive and regressive.

Barack Obama is the first American president who, through his upbringing, writings and actions, conveys a deep sense of grievance toward the American experiment. The idea that we are the last best hope for mankind is anathema to him. Barack Obama thinks the world, if the American imperial aggressor would just sit on the sidelines, could work out its problems and would be better off.

In short, the world has descended into chaos these past 365 days because the American president thinks America is to blame for much of the world's ills and has chosen not to check himself out, but to check the United States out of international affairs. The only question now is how many around the world will die because of it.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at