Krauthammer on Obama and “leading from behind”


**Posted by Phineas

I wrote about this amazing statement of an Obama Doctrine a few days ago. Well, it’s more accurate to say I sputtered in disbelief at it. In today’s Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer actually analyzes it in a penetrating article I could emulate only in my dreams. The whole piece is a must-read, but here is his discussion of the administration’s perceived need to lead from behind because the world hates us:

It is the fate of any assertive superpower to be envied, denounced and blamed for everything under the sun. Nothing has changed. Moreover, for a country so deeply reviled, why during the massive unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan and Syria have anti-American demonstrations been such a rarity?

Who truly reviles America the hegemon? The world that Obama lived in and shaped him intellectually: the elite universities; his Hyde Park milieu (including his not-to-be-mentioned friends, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn); the church he attended for two decades, ringing with sermons more virulently anti-American than anything heard in today’s full-throated uprising of the Arab Street.

It is the liberal elites who revile the American colossus and devoutly wish to see it cut down to size. Leading from behind — diminishing America’s global standing and assertiveness — is a reaction to their view of America, not the world’s.

Other presidents have taken anti-Americanism as a given, rather than evidence of American malignancy, believing — as do most Americans — in the rightness of our cause and the nobility of our intentions. Obama thinks anti-Americanism is a verdict on America’s fitness for leadership. I would suggest that “leading from behind” is a verdict on Obama’s fitness for leadership.

Leading from behind is not leading. It is abdicating. It is also an oxymoron. Yet a sympathetic journalist, channeling an Obama adviser, elevates it to a doctrine. The president is no doubt flattered. The rest of us are merely stunned.

Three points, nothing but net.

RELATED: More Krauthammer — “Decline is a choice.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Creative smuggling: We build a fence, they fly over it


**Posted by Phineas

Cartel smugglers may be walking pustules who profit by selling poison and wreak havoc on their own nation(1), but give hem credit for adaptability: Border-control advocates have been screaming for years about building a fence along the Mexican border? Fine The drug-smugglers will just find another way across — or over:

The visiting British pilots were training near a naval air station one night this month when their helicopter came within about 150 feet of an ultralight plane flying without lights. The ultralight darted away toward Mexico without a trace.

The near-disaster over the Southern California desert was an example of drug smugglers using low-flying aircraft that look like motorized hang gliders to circumvent new fences along the U.S. border with Mexico. The planes, which began appearing in Arizona three years ago, are now turning up in remote parts of California and New Mexico.

And in a new twist, the planes rarely touch the ground. Pilots simply pull levers that drop aluminum bins filled with about 200 pounds of marijuana for drivers who are waiting on the ground with blinking lights or glow-sticks. Within a few minutes, the pilots are back in Mexico.

“It’s like dropping a bomb from an aircraft,” said Jeffrey Calhoon, chief of the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, which stretches through alfalfa farms, desert scrub and sand dunes in southeast California.

The Border Patrol has erected hundreds of miles of fences and vehicle barriers along the border and added thousands of new agents, so drug smugglers are going over, under and around.

I particularly like the “bombing run” aspect.

While the use of ultra-lights is perhaps the most unusual development in the chess match along the border, it’s not the only one: cartel smugglers also use tunnels under the border and boats on the Pacific coast to go around it.

In one sense, it’s an illustration of markets in action: with demand so high in the US, the cartels are going to do their darnedest to make sure they get their goods to the buyers.

Move and counter, thrust and parry.

AFTERTHOUGHT: If drugs are being passed over the border via ultralight, what —or who— else is making it across?


(1) In fact, that’s just what they are.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Friday/Weekend Open Thread


Got up early enough today to watch the royal nuptials and thought I’d have been able to get up a couple of posts already this morning but I’ve had some emergency issues pop up that have prevented me from being able to do much of anything else online outside of my early morning tweeting. And this afternoon I’m spending with my dad. Lord-willing, I’ll check back in later this evening.

Enjoy your day, y’all :)

Wills and Kate

Britain's Prince William kisses his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Royal Wedding in London Friday, April, 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)