Strategic reassurance

Two long-time foreign policy experts, Robert Kagan and Dan Blumenthal, critique the Obama administration’s policy towards Russia and China:

The Obama administration's worldview is still emerging, but its policies toward Russia and China are already revealing. Its Russia policy consists of trying to accommodate Moscow's sense of global entitlement. So far that has meant ignoring the continued presence of Russian forces on Georgian territory, negotiating arms-control agreements that Moscow needs more than Washington does and acquiescing to Russian objections to new NATO installations — such as missile interceptors — in former Warsaw Pact countries. An aggrieved Russia demands that the West respect a sphere of influence in its old imperial domain. The Obama administration rhetorically rejects the legitimacy of any such sphere, but its actions raise doubts for those who live in Russia's shadow.

The administration has announced a similar accommodating approach to China. Dubbed "strategic reassurance," the policy aims to convince the Chinese that the United States has no intention of containing their rising power. Details remain to be seen, but as with the Russia "reset," it is bound to make American allies nervous.

Administration officials seem to believe that the era of great-power competition is over. The pursuit of power, President Obama declared during a July speech about China, "must no longer be seen as a zero-sum game."

Unfortunately, that is not the reality in Asia. Contrary to optimistic predictions just a decade ago, China is behaving exactly as one would expect a great power to behave. As it has grown richer, China has used its wealth to build a stronger and more capable military. As its military power has grown, so have its ambitions.

So our policy is to “strategically reassure” these potential adversaries by giving in to what they demand! Does that sound like a policy that will lead to peace on earth?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • fws

    I think your framing is wrong.

    I am not sure what obama´s strategic direction is, but I think I know what I would like for it to be:

    I think nations should relate to each other as persons or maybe families relate to each other.

    (1) Mind one´s own business.

    (2) be governed by the Rule of Law, courtesy, principle and common sense.

    (3) don´t expect to be liked by everyone.

    (4) try to treat the least powerful the same as the most powerful.

    (5) most important of all is THIS as the christian ideal:

    the value and welfare of each and every single individual is paramount in any context at all. societies exist to promote the wellbeing of each and every individual child of God.

    Individuals do not exist for the sake of society. no single human life can be seen as expendable for the sake of a greater cause or the “greater good”. this excludes torture for even the most noble of reasons. wrong is always wrong.

  • fws

    I think your framing is wrong.

    I am not sure what obama´s strategic direction is, but I think I know what I would like for it to be:

    I think nations should relate to each other as persons or maybe families relate to each other.

    (1) Mind one´s own business.

    (2) be governed by the Rule of Law, courtesy, principle and common sense.

    (3) don´t expect to be liked by everyone.

    (4) try to treat the least powerful the same as the most powerful.

    (5) most important of all is THIS as the christian ideal:

    the value and welfare of each and every single individual is paramount in any context at all. societies exist to promote the wellbeing of each and every individual child of God.

    Individuals do not exist for the sake of society. no single human life can be seen as expendable for the sake of a greater cause or the “greater good”. this excludes torture for even the most noble of reasons. wrong is always wrong.

  • Joe

    Frank – that may be what should be (or maybe not) but it ain’t what is. Reality demands that we not pretend that all of our neighboring countries will just leave us alone if we leave them alone. Or that they will all just get up one morning and say, you know we really ought to look into this rule of law stuff.

    Civil gov’t were instituted by God for the protection and ordering of society. It is an abdication of that role for a gov’t to simply ignore reality while formulating foreign policy.

  • Joe

    Frank – that may be what should be (or maybe not) but it ain’t what is. Reality demands that we not pretend that all of our neighboring countries will just leave us alone if we leave them alone. Or that they will all just get up one morning and say, you know we really ought to look into this rule of law stuff.

    Civil gov’t were instituted by God for the protection and ordering of society. It is an abdication of that role for a gov’t to simply ignore reality while formulating foreign policy.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    OK, Frank, thanks. But now, according to your own comment in the post above about the distinction between the kingdoms, I have to ask you: How does what you say here relate to what you said there? In other words, do these good thoughts (especially #5) constitute a “Christian ideal” that we need to apply in what we work for in the earthly government? And can there be “Christian ideals” in that realm? And if this one, why not others?

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    OK, Frank, thanks. But now, according to your own comment in the post above about the distinction between the kingdoms, I have to ask you: How does what you say here relate to what you said there? In other words, do these good thoughts (especially #5) constitute a “Christian ideal” that we need to apply in what we work for in the earthly government? And can there be “Christian ideals” in that realm? And if this one, why not others?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Robert Kagan’s father, Donald, a Yale professor, wrote an incisive book, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace that claims most wars are caused by vacillating leaders who do not project hard strength against potential adversaries. He showed how this played out in the Peloponnesian, Carthaginian, World Wars 1&2, and the Cuban Missile crisis.

    The reality is that in most of history the way to prevent war is to possess overwhelming strength in order to convince potential adversaries that there is real danger in going to war. Essentially this is no different than dealing with the school-yard bully. Of recent presidents, the ones who understood this reality best were Eisenhower, Truman, Reagan, and Bush II.

    Obama is naive if he thinks Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and the Muslim Jihadis will back down through a policy of strategic reassurance. Our adversaries are delighted and our allies are alarmed.

    It would be wonderful to adhere to FWS’s Christian pieties, except that we live in a world of fallen men and nations.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Robert Kagan’s father, Donald, a Yale professor, wrote an incisive book, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace that claims most wars are caused by vacillating leaders who do not project hard strength against potential adversaries. He showed how this played out in the Peloponnesian, Carthaginian, World Wars 1&2, and the Cuban Missile crisis.

    The reality is that in most of history the way to prevent war is to possess overwhelming strength in order to convince potential adversaries that there is real danger in going to war. Essentially this is no different than dealing with the school-yard bully. Of recent presidents, the ones who understood this reality best were Eisenhower, Truman, Reagan, and Bush II.

    Obama is naive if he thinks Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and the Muslim Jihadis will back down through a policy of strategic reassurance. Our adversaries are delighted and our allies are alarmed.

    It would be wonderful to adhere to FWS’s Christian pieties, except that we live in a world of fallen men and nations.

  • Joe

    Peter – I agree with your post, but do you think it is fair to say that Kennedy learned this lesson after the Bay of Pigs? I think he did.

  • Joe

    Peter – I agree with your post, but do you think it is fair to say that Kennedy learned this lesson after the Bay of Pigs? I think he did.

  • DonS

    Historically, our activist leadership in the world was a post WW II phenomenon, borne out of our assumed leadership of the Allies in winning that war, and then our leadership as the superpower opposed against the expansion of communism during the Cold War. In that era, until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, we justified intervention in foreign affairs on the basis of our Cold War role of a bulwark against communism. Since 1991, our role in the world has been more ambiguous. The Bush Doctrine basically was that we have a continued role in shaping world affairs as a leader in promoting human rights and liberties. But a lot of people, even in our own country, do not any longer believe that we are a force for good in this area. President Obama is in this camp, and has said so, stating that the U.S. is just another country in the world of nations.

    Obama’s view of the world shapes his foreign policy. If we are not a good nation, one that has earned the right, through past action and leadership, to intervene on behalf of oppressed peoples throughout the world, then what right do we have to tell Russia they cannot occupy Georgia, or to intervene against China on behalf of the people of Taiwan?

    So, I guess what I am saying is that Obama’s foreign policy is consistent with his world view. It is for us as the people of the U.S. to determine if we agree.

  • DonS

    Historically, our activist leadership in the world was a post WW II phenomenon, borne out of our assumed leadership of the Allies in winning that war, and then our leadership as the superpower opposed against the expansion of communism during the Cold War. In that era, until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, we justified intervention in foreign affairs on the basis of our Cold War role of a bulwark against communism. Since 1991, our role in the world has been more ambiguous. The Bush Doctrine basically was that we have a continued role in shaping world affairs as a leader in promoting human rights and liberties. But a lot of people, even in our own country, do not any longer believe that we are a force for good in this area. President Obama is in this camp, and has said so, stating that the U.S. is just another country in the world of nations.

    Obama’s view of the world shapes his foreign policy. If we are not a good nation, one that has earned the right, through past action and leadership, to intervene on behalf of oppressed peoples throughout the world, then what right do we have to tell Russia they cannot occupy Georgia, or to intervene against China on behalf of the people of Taiwan?

    So, I guess what I am saying is that Obama’s foreign policy is consistent with his world view. It is for us as the people of the U.S. to determine if we agree.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Joe, Kennedy mostly learned the lesson of strength not only after the Bay of Pigs fiasco but from his vacillation with Khruschev in a Vienna meeting that emboldened Khruschev to send missiles to Cuba. Kennedy then in a determined show of strength backed Khruschev off.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Joe, Kennedy mostly learned the lesson of strength not only after the Bay of Pigs fiasco but from his vacillation with Khruschev in a Vienna meeting that emboldened Khruschev to send missiles to Cuba. Kennedy then in a determined show of strength backed Khruschev off.

  • http://therighthandoffellowship.blogspot.com John H. Guthrie

    My comments did not go through, so I will try again.
    I agree with Peter’s comments (4). One of the reasons why our leaders appease our strategic adversaries is that they magnify these advesaries’s strengths. In the 70′s, politicians of both parties considered the Soviet Union an instoppable global empire. Reagan was one of the few to disern its weaknesses and applied the right amount of pressure to cause it to collapse from within. Today, Russia has been stripped of much of its former territory, corruption is rampant, alcoholism is at 50% or more and its army has not yet recovered from the invasion of Afghanistan. China will experience a population crises in a few decades due to its one child/family policy. Its ethnic populations are restive and corruption is as widespread there as in Russia. It is not that these nations are not dangerous, but that the American government should stop magnifying our enemies’ strength and agressively prevent their ability to dominate their regions and to cause trouble around the world.

  • http://therighthandoffellowship.blogspot.com John H. Guthrie

    My comments did not go through, so I will try again.
    I agree with Peter’s comments (4). One of the reasons why our leaders appease our strategic adversaries is that they magnify these advesaries’s strengths. In the 70′s, politicians of both parties considered the Soviet Union an instoppable global empire. Reagan was one of the few to disern its weaknesses and applied the right amount of pressure to cause it to collapse from within. Today, Russia has been stripped of much of its former territory, corruption is rampant, alcoholism is at 50% or more and its army has not yet recovered from the invasion of Afghanistan. China will experience a population crises in a few decades due to its one child/family policy. Its ethnic populations are restive and corruption is as widespread there as in Russia. It is not that these nations are not dangerous, but that the American government should stop magnifying our enemies’ strength and agressively prevent their ability to dominate their regions and to cause trouble around the world.

  • fws

    #3 Dr Veith:

    “In other words, do these good thoughts (especially #5) constitute a “Christian ideal” that we need to apply in what we work for in the earthly government? And can there be “Christian ideals” in that realm? And if this one, why not others?”

    In a word: no.

    Consider the very phrase “christian. ideal.” The law is not christian. The Law/Will of God is providenced and applied by God, both the carrot and stick part, in EXACTLY the same outward ways to both Christian and Pagan and muslim jihaddist alike. There is NO difference here.

    The ONLY difference is invisible faith.

    “Article XVIII: Of Free Will.
    man’s will has liberty to choose civil righteousness… to work things subject to reason…. in works of this life For all of these things are not without dependence on …God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being…”

    Note that this is exactly true for pagan and christian alike. Man´s will has liberty (ie ability) to do all of this. “…Indeed without our prayer even for all the wicked.”

    This requires no faith. It requires Jesus, but not faith in him. In what way would we ever want to put the label “christian” on any of this, even that part that is about administering a church? Order is God´s Will.

    Here is the ONLY “christian” part. It is fully invisible. The visible “fruit” produced are produced spontaneously and are outwardly INdistinguishable from what the pagans are fully able to do:

    But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word. …not that it is thereby capable, without God, either to begin, or, at least, to complete aught in things pertaining to God . [we cannot] without the Holy Ghost, by the power of nature alone, we are able to love God above all things; also to do the commandments of God as touching “the substance of the act.” For, although yet it cannot produce the inward motions, such as the fear of God, trust in God, chastity, patience, etc.

    Here we have the weak beginning of keeping the first and second commandments.

    We must be very clear on this.

  • fws

    #3 Dr Veith:

    “In other words, do these good thoughts (especially #5) constitute a “Christian ideal” that we need to apply in what we work for in the earthly government? And can there be “Christian ideals” in that realm? And if this one, why not others?”

    In a word: no.

    Consider the very phrase “christian. ideal.” The law is not christian. The Law/Will of God is providenced and applied by God, both the carrot and stick part, in EXACTLY the same outward ways to both Christian and Pagan and muslim jihaddist alike. There is NO difference here.

    The ONLY difference is invisible faith.

    “Article XVIII: Of Free Will.
    man’s will has liberty to choose civil righteousness… to work things subject to reason…. in works of this life For all of these things are not without dependence on …God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being…”

    Note that this is exactly true for pagan and christian alike. Man´s will has liberty (ie ability) to do all of this. “…Indeed without our prayer even for all the wicked.”

    This requires no faith. It requires Jesus, but not faith in him. In what way would we ever want to put the label “christian” on any of this, even that part that is about administering a church? Order is God´s Will.

    Here is the ONLY “christian” part. It is fully invisible. The visible “fruit” produced are produced spontaneously and are outwardly INdistinguishable from what the pagans are fully able to do:

    But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man 3] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Ghost is received 4] through the Word. …not that it is thereby capable, without God, either to begin, or, at least, to complete aught in things pertaining to God . [we cannot] without the Holy Ghost, by the power of nature alone, we are able to love God above all things; also to do the commandments of God as touching “the substance of the act.” For, although yet it cannot produce the inward motions, such as the fear of God, trust in God, chastity, patience, etc.

    Here we have the weak beginning of keeping the first and second commandments.

    We must be very clear on this.

  • fws

    #6 don

    if you are saying that Obama feels that the only thing that is our true strength is our ideals and what we stand for and not our military might, and that we have somehow lost sight of that and should return to that, then I would agree that Obama shows some consistency there.

    Only time will tell won´t it? He has only been president for a year, and there have been some high expectations set.

  • fws

    #6 don

    if you are saying that Obama feels that the only thing that is our true strength is our ideals and what we stand for and not our military might, and that we have somehow lost sight of that and should return to that, then I would agree that Obama shows some consistency there.

    Only time will tell won´t it? He has only been president for a year, and there have been some high expectations set.

  • fws

    #3 Dr Veith:

    “In other words, do these good thoughts (especially #5) constitute a “Christian ideal” that we need to apply in what we work for in the earthly government? And can there be “Christian ideals” in that realm? And if this one, why not others?”

    Wasn´t this partially worked out in the formation of modern european liberal culture? Prior to the 3o years war, there was the general idea of “christendom” where what you are suggesting was applied fully in that the worship of false Gods being the greatest evil and immorality, meant that a nation needed to have a state church that was christian.

    We have accepted the idea of coexisting with the greatest of all sins, represented by mormon raising their children to go to hell, etc, a sin even greater than abortion(!), and yet now we cannot manage to co-exist, as “christians”, with the variety of evils we need to subdue in the culture wars to save civilization as we know it.

    There is something that lacks historical perspective here I think…..and a clear focus on what the “kingdom of God” is.

    It is important to distinguish God´s Will and God´s Will in Christ. It is also important to not separate the two.

    God´s Will in Christ is made manifest only in the Holy objects of Word and Sacrament. We can know that the church is, invisibly, where those sure and certain Holy Marks are. Those Holy Marks exist soley to point to Christ. Beyond that, nothing is Holy or Christian, or Apostolic or Church. It otherwise wholy invisible.

    God´s Will is for there to be order. We not only have civil government, but also church organizations and government. Sin requires this. Carrot and stick. Law. Even in church. Visible. Painful.

    There is another kind of Law-keeping that is also happening in the midst of all this. it is visible. it happens spontaneously. it requires no will power. it is effortless. It is called the fruit of sanctification. It looks outwardly, identical to that Will of God worked out by threats, carrots, and sticks, christian encouragements, exhortations and reminders, and human will power. God´s will in Christ is to save us to be full of good works.

    The opposite of evil is not goodness. It is faith.

    I used to think “thy will be done” was a hard thing to pray, until I realized that God´s Will was to save me. Only knowing God´s Will in Christ could allow me to know that when I failed to follow His Will, I could, in terrified conscience, look to Christ alone and find peace.

    and so we pray :”thy will be done!”

    “christian ideals” suggest that there is a different or separate “Will of God” for pagans than for christians. How could that be?

  • fws

    #3 Dr Veith:

    “In other words, do these good thoughts (especially #5) constitute a “Christian ideal” that we need to apply in what we work for in the earthly government? And can there be “Christian ideals” in that realm? And if this one, why not others?”

    Wasn´t this partially worked out in the formation of modern european liberal culture? Prior to the 3o years war, there was the general idea of “christendom” where what you are suggesting was applied fully in that the worship of false Gods being the greatest evil and immorality, meant that a nation needed to have a state church that was christian.

    We have accepted the idea of coexisting with the greatest of all sins, represented by mormon raising their children to go to hell, etc, a sin even greater than abortion(!), and yet now we cannot manage to co-exist, as “christians”, with the variety of evils we need to subdue in the culture wars to save civilization as we know it.

    There is something that lacks historical perspective here I think…..and a clear focus on what the “kingdom of God” is.

    It is important to distinguish God´s Will and God´s Will in Christ. It is also important to not separate the two.

    God´s Will in Christ is made manifest only in the Holy objects of Word and Sacrament. We can know that the church is, invisibly, where those sure and certain Holy Marks are. Those Holy Marks exist soley to point to Christ. Beyond that, nothing is Holy or Christian, or Apostolic or Church. It otherwise wholy invisible.

    God´s Will is for there to be order. We not only have civil government, but also church organizations and government. Sin requires this. Carrot and stick. Law. Even in church. Visible. Painful.

    There is another kind of Law-keeping that is also happening in the midst of all this. it is visible. it happens spontaneously. it requires no will power. it is effortless. It is called the fruit of sanctification. It looks outwardly, identical to that Will of God worked out by threats, carrots, and sticks, christian encouragements, exhortations and reminders, and human will power. God´s will in Christ is to save us to be full of good works.

    The opposite of evil is not goodness. It is faith.

    I used to think “thy will be done” was a hard thing to pray, until I realized that God´s Will was to save me. Only knowing God´s Will in Christ could allow me to know that when I failed to follow His Will, I could, in terrified conscience, look to Christ alone and find peace.

    and so we pray :”thy will be done!”

    “christian ideals” suggest that there is a different or separate “Will of God” for pagans than for christians. How could that be?

  • DonS

    FWS @ 10:

    No, that’s not what I was saying. What I was saying was that Obama does not believe in American hegemony. In other words, he does not believe that America has earned, through its historic support and promotion of human freedom and individual liberty, the right (or moral imperative) to promote, and even fight for, these values around the world. This is quite a shift from the Bush doctrine, and, indeed, for the historic stance of prior governments, including Democratic ones such as the Clinton Administration, the Carter Administration, and certainly the Johnson Administration. Of course, since 1991, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, the calculus is different than it was during the Cold War. But it is still quite jarring for our president to view the U.S. as just another country rather than “the shining city on the hill”.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 10:

    No, that’s not what I was saying. What I was saying was that Obama does not believe in American hegemony. In other words, he does not believe that America has earned, through its historic support and promotion of human freedom and individual liberty, the right (or moral imperative) to promote, and even fight for, these values around the world. This is quite a shift from the Bush doctrine, and, indeed, for the historic stance of prior governments, including Democratic ones such as the Clinton Administration, the Carter Administration, and certainly the Johnson Administration. Of course, since 1991, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, the calculus is different than it was during the Cold War. But it is still quite jarring for our president to view the U.S. as just another country rather than “the shining city on the hill”.

  • fws

    #12 don

    I think two things are going on here. Obama has said that he admires and has attempted to emulate the foreign policy style, in practice, of president Bush senior.

    the second thing is that he feels that the only hegimony american can claim is by returning, again and again to the support of human freedom and individual dignity.

    Along with many of us, he feels this has been lost over time and must be rewon. reearned. I am not sure he differs from you so much Don. you and he probably just disagree as to whether or not american has squandered what it has earned in history.

  • fws

    #12 don

    I think two things are going on here. Obama has said that he admires and has attempted to emulate the foreign policy style, in practice, of president Bush senior.

    the second thing is that he feels that the only hegimony american can claim is by returning, again and again to the support of human freedom and individual dignity.

    Along with many of us, he feels this has been lost over time and must be rewon. reearned. I am not sure he differs from you so much Don. you and he probably just disagree as to whether or not american has squandered what it has earned in history.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 13: Actually, I’ve been trying to be measured and fair in these posts. Obviously, Obama and I disagree about a multitude of things, as you well know from reading my posts over the years. But I recognize the difficulty that our assertion of American hegemony presents in the eyes of the world, and that George W., though in my view a sincere and good man, did not always artfully represent us to our allies and non-allies. Apparent arrogance is not an endearing quality.

    Regarding your statement that President Obama and I disagree as to whether America has squandered what it has earned in history, maybe. But, I think the difference is more profound than that. I don’t think he believes America has earned credibility in these areas in history. Rather, he considers the foundation of our society to have been a failure because of the institution of slavery in our early history, and his writings and speeches seem to indicate that he does not believe our history since the Civil War has atoned for those early human rights sins.

    Now, I disagree profoundly with that view. Certainly, there are pockets of racism in society, and we will probably never weed them out entirely. But, institutionally, not only has racism been eradicated, it has been reversed — to the point where it is those of the former majority status who often face vexing discrimination today, in the name of affirmative action. We have truly earned our “cred” as a system of government and a society which is an ultimate respector of human rights and individual liberties, unique in the world, and in human history, particularly for a country which also wields unprecedented power.

    But, President Obama’s view of America is clearly one that is shared by the vast majority of those in, particularly, the African-American community, no question about it.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 13: Actually, I’ve been trying to be measured and fair in these posts. Obviously, Obama and I disagree about a multitude of things, as you well know from reading my posts over the years. But I recognize the difficulty that our assertion of American hegemony presents in the eyes of the world, and that George W., though in my view a sincere and good man, did not always artfully represent us to our allies and non-allies. Apparent arrogance is not an endearing quality.

    Regarding your statement that President Obama and I disagree as to whether America has squandered what it has earned in history, maybe. But, I think the difference is more profound than that. I don’t think he believes America has earned credibility in these areas in history. Rather, he considers the foundation of our society to have been a failure because of the institution of slavery in our early history, and his writings and speeches seem to indicate that he does not believe our history since the Civil War has atoned for those early human rights sins.

    Now, I disagree profoundly with that view. Certainly, there are pockets of racism in society, and we will probably never weed them out entirely. But, institutionally, not only has racism been eradicated, it has been reversed — to the point where it is those of the former majority status who often face vexing discrimination today, in the name of affirmative action. We have truly earned our “cred” as a system of government and a society which is an ultimate respector of human rights and individual liberties, unique in the world, and in human history, particularly for a country which also wields unprecedented power.

    But, President Obama’s view of America is clearly one that is shared by the vast majority of those in, particularly, the African-American community, no question about it.

  • fws

    dons

    “Rather, he considers the foundation of our society to have been a failure because of the institution of slavery in our early history, and his writings and speeches seem to indicate that he does not believe our history since the Civil War has atoned for those early human rights sins.”

    Obama is the product mostly of his white mother and her family. If you read carefully, I think you could suppose that he used slavery merely as an example of where american constantly has room for growth in realization of it´s founding ideals and aspirations to greatness.

    I personally consider something uniquely and profoundly american as this: our asperations have never been about power but about principles and ideals. No other citizens of no other country look at their flag and think of ideals rather than a blind patriotism . “republic…with liberty and justice for all….” And also uniquely, we freely acknowledge that our ideals are just that, something to strive for that will never be fully or perfectly realized.

    I think that really Obama is thinking about things in this same uniquely american way as you and I think Don.

  • fws

    dons

    “Rather, he considers the foundation of our society to have been a failure because of the institution of slavery in our early history, and his writings and speeches seem to indicate that he does not believe our history since the Civil War has atoned for those early human rights sins.”

    Obama is the product mostly of his white mother and her family. If you read carefully, I think you could suppose that he used slavery merely as an example of where american constantly has room for growth in realization of it´s founding ideals and aspirations to greatness.

    I personally consider something uniquely and profoundly american as this: our asperations have never been about power but about principles and ideals. No other citizens of no other country look at their flag and think of ideals rather than a blind patriotism . “republic…with liberty and justice for all….” And also uniquely, we freely acknowledge that our ideals are just that, something to strive for that will never be fully or perfectly realized.

    I think that really Obama is thinking about things in this same uniquely american way as you and I think Don.