For some it might be Bungle in the Jungle, but for Michael Barone, it’s Living in the Past. While Barone gives Barack Obama credit for getting a couple of early calls on acute crises right, the main thrust of Obama’s foreign policy has all the hallmarks of the Cold War. Instead of focusing on threats from Iran and North Korea, Obama wants to spend his time negotiating disarmament with Russia:
His choice of priorities for the future is another thing. The climax of his European trip was his speech in Prague on April 5 (don’t look for it on the White House Web site; the latest speech text there is dated Feb. 27) on “the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st century” in which he called for “a world without nuclear weapons.” A noble goal, and one shared, incidentally, by Ronald Reagan. And how did he propose to start? By negotiating a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, getting the Senate to ratify the nuclear test ban treaty, and stopping U.S. production of fissile material.
That’s all Cold War stuff. Disarmament talks with the Soviets were a central feature of American foreign policy from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, a time when a U.S.-U.S.S.R. nuclear war would have produced enormous destruction. But the prospect of a U.S.-Russian nuclear war today is pretty much nil. It’s worthwhile to continue the Nunn-Lugar program of corralling Russia’s loose nukes — one of the few issues Obama worked on as a senator — but making disarmament talks with Russia a first priority is a policy out of the distant past. …
And what was Obama’s major policy announcement before embarking on his trip to Latin America? Lifting restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba. In 1961, the year Obama was born, Cuba was a central preoccupation of American foreign policy. Today Cuba (population 11 million) is not a major problem. Meanwhile, the Obama administration violates the North American Free Trade Association treaty by banning trucks from Mexico (population 109 million), refuses to ratify the free-trade agreement with Colombia (population 44 million), and, despite our need for alternative fuels, makes no move to rescind the 54-cent tariff on sugar ethanol from Brazil (population 191 million).
Obama’s response to North Korea’s missile launch and Iran’s announcement of getting 7,000 centrifuges operational has almost been as though they don’t exist. We had a hint of this during the campaign, when Obama told an audience that Iran was “tiny” compared to the Soviet Union and therefore wasn’t really a threat. He backed away from that assessment when people pointed out how foolish it was, but apparently Obama’s still operates under those same assumptions.
I guess Living in the Past could be worse. It could be Thick as a Brick, although it does appear it might get that way if this keeps up.
No, Barone didn’t mention Jethro Tull, but I couldn’t resist. I could have chosen a cleaner transfer of the song than this YouTube version, but for some reason, the needle pops sound much more appropriate for Living in the Past. Enjoy one of the best efforts from arguably the most talented and inventive act in the rock era.