Pot Calls Kettle Black
March 18, 2008
So finally I’m getting some attention! Larison calls my arguments “tiresome”. Or rather, he says I don’t have any, so here we go:
Yes, Obama supported, or at least did not oppose, the rape of Lebanon, and he probably would have had no quarrel with the liberal internationalist consensus if he were a Senator in the 90s. To suggest however that he’s still repeating the mantra of “all options on the table” in Iran is to complete ignore the tone of the campaign.
The problem with Larison is that he bases everything on the Chicago World Affairs Council speeches he gave very early in the campaign. I was deeply disturbed by those speeches when they were given too, but Obama beginning last summer turned decisively away from them. In the public narrative this began in the debate where he said he would meet with all of our “adversaries”, just a few days before that I myself came upon a story where he explicitly declared that it is not our job to prevent genocide in Iraq, and even extended the principle to Darfur, with the accompanying bromide about “those of us who really care about Darfur”.
It would be one thing if Larison wanted merely to extend this argument into the stratosphere of absurdity reached by Brendan O’Neill. But to simultaenously argue that he wants to save armed liberalism and is also an inveterate uppity America-hater just won’t wash. As for the Euston Manifesto, its followers certainly have no love lost for him.
As I have said repeatedly, reality on the ground will have much more to do with what happens in the next administration than with who is occupying it, and the decisive question then is who is most amenable to reality. In fairness to Larison, O’Neill, et al, I suppose they are trying to therefore make the argument that Obama is some kind of starry-eyed idealist who can not face reality. But so far it hasn’t worked. What I see in Obama exactly the sort of cold, calculating, brilliantly shrewd power player we need to bring the mother down.