Wednesday, February 17, 2010


There has been an obvious evolution in my thinking and philosophical approach to life and world politics in general.

It is a well known fact that I supported the liberation of Iraq wholeheartedly, and I shall never regret that position of mine.

I, like many others, including the American government as well as the United Nations, saw those famous films where we could quite clearly see bulks being transported from one place to another in the nights prior to the first deployments that marked the end of Saddam Hussein's terror regime. The fact that we did not 'get' any weapons in Iraq, to me does not mean they were not there. Our troops were unable to communicate in Arabic, for starters.

Nowadays, it is a question of dealing with Iran's nuclear race. Some are arguing in favor of attacking Iran and so to say, "stop" Iran from developing further their nuclear program and not allowing them to get to the point of having a nuclear bomb.

To begin with, I have learned first-hand, from my closest friends in the region who live in neighbouring countries around Iran, that they would be the first to suffer even if, say, there would be a nuclear leak coming from Iran.

Then, of course, there is this constant sword hanging on the head of the Israelis, with Ahmadinejad's frequent outbursts against Israel and the Jews. Like any civilized human being, I happen to find his attitude totally unacceptable. And, that's because I believe there has to be a standard of respect among countries. One country or her president and/or her government, simply cannot for the destruction of another country or group of people. There is no reason and certainly no excuse for that kind of behaviour. Let me put it in blunt words: zero tolerance.

Thus, it is troublesome to see how, in the interest of demagogues, it is convenient to center the gist of the problems between the West and the Muslim world, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which to be truthful barely touches 30 million people.

That, compared to the 10% estimate of people affected by radical views and terrorists from the Muslim world, is way less numerically, as well as for what it means.

That's why, I have recently concluded that there is basically not much the Western world can do to 'fight' Islamist terrorists.

No wars will help anymore. Nothing we do will help.

Furthermore, I am convinced this is a responsibility of our Muslim friends.

They speak the language, they understand the various cultures and the inner nuances.

My conclusion after all this time is that they are the best geared to try to find potential bombers and deal with them.

In a nutshell, let me say that I am at the point when I do not even want our police to deal with them.

The Muslim world has to assume the responsibility and take up a position of accountability and take care of their own, because I cannot imagine that there would be any person in their right mind in the world, naturally including the Muslim world, who would like to have a bomb exploding in the middle of a restaurant at lunchtime causing death and maimed bodies spread all around, plus all the trauma and pain inflicted.

You, your families, have to make sure to find your/their children who are being brainwashed in the name of -certainly- a distorted version of your religion. Not us. You.

Once the suspects are found, it is the police or a nurturing system who can explain to them that terror attacks do not resolve anything.

They are after all, going to go after the moderate, secular, elements of your own society.

Let us, here in America, take care of our own mess.

As it is already known, I believe that American society is going through a period of increasing decadence, what I have called unequivocally, "the corruption of the soul."

Each of us have our own responsibilities. It is up to us to uplift us and our societies, to hope and look for a better world, tirelessly.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I am not the author of this, but it's a great thought-provoking piece. Enjoy.

How is this for nostalgia?

Remember when Ronald Reagan was president.

We also had Bob Hope and Johnny Cash...

Now we have Obama and no Hope and no Cash

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


FEBRUARY 2, 2010

The Obama Spell Is Broken

Unlike this president, John Kennedy was an ironist who never fell for his own mystique.

The curtain has come down on what can best be described as a brief un-American moment in our history. That moment began in the fall of 2008, with the great financial panic, and gave rise to the Barack Obama phenomenon.

The nation's faith in institutions and time-honored ways had cracked. In a little-known senator from Illinois millions of Americans came to see a savior who would deliver the nation out of its troubles. Gone was the empiricism in political life that had marked the American temper in politics. A charismatic leader had risen in a manner akin to the way politics plays out in distressed and Third World societies.

There is nothing surprising about where Mr. Obama finds himself today. He had been made by charisma, and political magic, and has been felled by it. If his rise had been spectacular, so, too, has been his fall. The speed with which some of his devotees have turned on him—and their unwillingness to own up to what their infatuation had wrought—is nothing short of astounding. But this is the bargain Mr. Obama had made with political fortune.

He was a blank slate, and devotees projected onto him what they wanted or wished. In the manner of political redeemers who have marked—and wrecked—the politics of the Arab world and Latin America, Mr. Obama left the crowd to its most precious and volatile asset—its imagination. There was no internal coherence to the coalition that swept him to power. There was cultural "cool" and racial absolution for the white professional classes who were the first to embrace him. There was understandable racial pride on the part of the African-American community that came around to his banners after it ditched the Clinton dynasty.

The white working class had been slow to be convinced. The technocracy and elitism of Mr. Obama's campaign—indeed of his whole persona—troubled that big constituency, much more, I believe, than did his race and name. The promise of economic help, of an interventionist state that would salvage ailing industries and provide a safety net for the working poor, reconciled these voters to a candidate they viewed with a healthy measure of suspicion. He had been caught denigrating them as people "clinging to their guns and religion," but they had forgiven him.

Mr. Obama himself authored the tale of his own political crisis. He had won an election, but he took it as a plebiscite granting him a writ to remake the basic political compact of this republic.

iMr. Obama's self-regard, and his reading of his mandate, overwhelmed all restraint. The age-old American balance between a relatively small government and a larger role for the agencies of civil society was suddenly turned on its head. Speed was of the essence to the Obama team and its allies, the powerful barons in Congress. Better ram down sweeping social programs—a big liberal agenda before the people stirred to life again.

Progressives pressed for a draconian attack on the workings of our health care, and on the broader balance between the state and the marketplace. The economic stimulus, ObamaCare, the large deficits, the bailout package for the automobile industry—these, and so much more, were nothing short of a fundamental assault on the givens of the American social compact.

And then there was the hubris of the man at the helm: He was everywhere, and pronounced on matters large and small. This was political death by the teleprompter.

Americans don't deify their leaders or hang on their utterances, but Mr. Obama succumbed to what the devotees said of him: He was the Awaited One. A measure of reticence could have served him. But the flight had been heady, and in the manner of Icarus, Mr. Obama flew too close to the sun.

We have had stylish presidents, none more so than JFK. But Kennedy was an ironist and never fell for his own mystique. Mr. Obama's self-regard comes without irony—he himself now owns up to the "remoteness and detachment" of his governing style. We don't have in this republic the technocratic model of the European states, where a bureaucratic elite disposes of public policy with scant regard for the popular will. Mr. Obama was smitten with his own specialness.

In this extraordinary tale of hubris undone, the Europeans—more even than the people in Islamic lands—can be assigned no small share of blame. They overdid the enthusiasm for the star who had risen in America.

It was the way in Paris and Berlin (not to forget Oslo of course) of rebuking all that played out in America since 9/11—the vigilance, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the sense that America's interests and ways were threatened by a vengeful Islamism. But while the Europeans and Muslim crowds hailed him, they damned his country all the same. For his part, Mr. Obama played along, and in Ankara, Cairo, Paris and Berlin he offered penance aplenty for American ways.

But no sooner had the country recovered its poise, it drew a line for Mr. Obama. The "bluest" of states, Massachusetts, sent to Washington a senator who had behind him three decades of service in the National Guard, who proclaimed his pride in his "army values" and was unapologetic in his assertion that it was more urgent to hunt down terrorists than to provide for their legal defense.

Then the close call on Christmas Day at the hands of the Nigerian jihadist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab demonstrated that the terrorist threat had not receded. The president did his best to recover: We are at war, he suddenly proclaimed. Nor were we in need of penance abroad. Rumors of our decline had been exaggerated. The generosity of the American response to Haiti, when compared to what India and China had provided, was a stark reminder that this remains an exceptional nation that needs no apologies in distant lands.


A historical hallmark of "isms" and charismatic movements is to dig deeper when they falter—to insist that the "thing" itself, whether it be Peronism, or socialism, etc., had not been tried but that the leader had been undone by forces that hemmed him in.

It is true to this history that countless voices on the left now want Obama to be Obama. The economic stimulus, the true believers say, had not gone astray, it only needed to be larger; the popular revolt against ObamaCare would subside if and when a new system was put in place.

There had been that magical moment—the campaign of 2008—and the true believers want to return to it. But reality is merciless. The spell is broken.

Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author of "The Foreigner's Gift" (Free Press, 2007).