Twenty years ago Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published The Bell Curve. It had the effect of a large stone thrown into the still pond of “settled science”.
a) there is such a thing as g, general intelligence
b) it is largely heritable
b) IQ tests measure g quite well
c) IQ test outcomes predict a great many social results, including propensities to success or pathologies with better accuracy than any other measure, including years of education, family income, and social status;
d) social factors interact with genetic endowments, and
e) IQ results differ by race.
The Left has been in paroxysms of rage and denial ever since.
Charles Murray was interviewed about the Bell Curve recently in the policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute. Here is a snippet. Go the article for more.
American political and social life today is pretty much one great big “Q.E.D.” for the two main theses of “The Bell Curve.” Those theses were, first, that changes in the economy over the course of the 20th century had made brains much more valuable in the job market; second, that from the 1950s onward, colleges had become much more efficient in finding cognitive talent wherever it was and shipping that talent off to the best colleges. We then documented all the ways in which cognitive ability is associated with important outcomes in life — everything from employment to crime to family structure to parenting styles. Put those all together, we said, and we’re looking at some serious problems down the road. Let me give you a passage to quote directly from the close of the book:
Predicting the course of society is chancy, but certain tendencies seem strong enough to worry about:
An increasingly isolated cognitive elite.
A merging of the cognitive elite with the affluent.
A deteriorating quality of life for people at the bottom end of the cognitive distribution.
Unchecked, these trends will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top, restructuring the rules of society so that it becomes harder and harder for them to lose. (p. 509)
Remind you of anything you’ve noticed about the US recently?
Over the last few years the divergence between what the government promises and what it delivers, between what it says is happening or will happen and what actually is happening and does happen, between what it determines to be important and what the public wishes to be important — this gap has become abysmal, unavoidable, inescapable. We hear of “lone-wolf” terrorism, of “workplace violence,” that if you like your plan you can keep your plan. We are told that Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration, that al-Qaeda is on the run, that the border is as secure as it has ever been, that Assad must go, that I didn’t draw a red line, the world drew a red line, that the IRS targeting of tea-party groups involved not a smidgen of corruption, that the Islamic State is not Islamic. We see the government spend billions on websites that do not function, and the VA consign patients to death by waiting list and then cover it up. We are assured that Putin won’t invade; that the Islamic State is the jayvee team of terrorism; that Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction; that there is a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.
The gap between what we perceive to happen in the world, and the soothing nonsense issued by the Obama administration, is alarming. I cannot summon a feeling of confidence in the Obama administration because I fear that, behind closed doors, officials are unable to discuss the real world in which it needs to be discussed: as a collection of warring tribes, divided by religions and cultures, with many at vastly different stages of cultural development.
Any real discussion of the world involves talking about it -according to the mind of a leftist- in racist, sexist, stereotypical, and other politically incorrect ways. Since they cannot do this, they cannot discuss, even among themselves, how it is working. Hence they are bound always to see matters within the perspective of American liberals (leftist-progressives). Hence nothing makes sense to them.
There may be more parsimonious explanations of the Obama regime’s ineptitude. Treason comes as one, but I have not reached that conclusion yet. I would prefer to think they cannot makes sense of it, and still hold their views. So they would rather hold their views.
After all, to hold up visas from West Africa would be frightfully judgmental, would it not?
As Continetti explains, the imperatives of the liberal caste must prevail over reality
Simple: because doing so (holding up visas from West Africa) would violate the sacred principles by which our bourgeois liberal elite operate. To deny an individual entry to the United States over fears of contamination would offend our elite’s sense of humanitarian cosmopolitanism. For them, “singling out” nations or cultures from which threats to the public health or safety of the United States originate is illegitimate. It “stigmatizes” those nations or cultures, it “shames” them, it makes them feel unequal. It’s judgmental. It suggests that America prefers her already existing citizens to others.
Such pieties endanger us. They are the reason we were slow to contain the influx of Central American refugees, the reason we do not follow-up on illegal immigrants who fail to show up for hearings, the reason we remain unable to strip jihadists of U.S. citizenship, the reason that a year after two Chechen refugees bombed the Boston Marathon, America is preparing to expand resettlement of Syrian refugees. The imperatives of the caste, the desire to make actual whatever is rattling around Tom Friedman’s brain at a given moment, take precedence over reality.
Please look at the New Yorker magazine cover of last week. The title is called “Illegal Procedure”. It shows a football player chased down the field by a bunch of policemen.
Observe the face. Would you agree that the football player is white? To what does the cover refer? It refers to the case of Ray Rice, who knocked out his girlfriend in an elevator. The Rice case is commented upon by The New Yorker’s sports columnist in the same edition in a lead editorial.
So who was Ray Rice?
You will observe he is African American.
So why, one asks, does the New Yorker refer to the issue of domestic violence by players in the National Football League by depicting a white football player?
Here is the racial composition of the NFL – it is two thirds black.
What reasons are there for depicting the football player as white when two-third of the NFL is black?
- the problem of domestic violence is generic to NFL athletes in general, so depicting him as white draws attention to the right issue;
- the New Yorker is too chicken shit to call attention to the race of the perpetrator because
- his race is relevant, or
- his race has nothing to do with it.
- his race is relevant, or
I was talking to a friend today about this and he said the face was not made African because it was better not to draw attention to the race issue. Everybody knows the issue is racial anyway, he said.
It is starting to be like erasing pictures of Trotsky from the pictures of Stalin. I used to snicker at such lengths to erase history. Now I see us doing the same. Nothing to look at here folks, move on.
What do you think? Am I being too critical here?
“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”
[Sir John Harrington, 1561-1612]
One should always apply the maxim that says “never ascribe to malice what stupidity can adequately explain.”
Observing the current meltdown in American foreign policy and the confused ramblings of Baraq Hussein, he who does president impressions, one is forced to conclude that stupidity can no longer be a satisfactory explanation.
Take three examples among many. One, the denial of Islamic terrorism; two, the stupid policy toward Russia; and, three, the militarization of American police forces.
Islamic terrorism is the major threat facing Western Civilization today. Islam is totally opposed to everything that we hold dear: democracy, civil liberties, equality of rights and constitutional government. Day after day, Islamic terrorists around the world proclaim their objectives, including the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. In Gaza, the criminal terrorist tyrants who rule there fire rockets at Israeli civilians from schools and hospitals—all war crimes. Apparently, in the view of the White House, these are no longer war crimes, but acts that are “extraordinarily irresponsible” (!) I suppose it was “extraordinarily irresponsible” for the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbour in 1941.
Israel has the temerity to react and defend its citizens. Does the Israeli government get support from the White House? No, this “cycle of violence” has to stop. How on Earth can Israel negotiate with Hamas, which is openly calling for the destruction of Israel, and expect them to honour any agreement?
How come the only free and democratic state in the Middle East has become a pariah? Why is Israel not fully supported by Western leaders? The answer, unfortunately, is that many Western governments are led by weaklings who now kowtow to Islamic threats from minorities within their own countries. And in the case of America, its weakness stems from an Islamic sympathizer in the White House.
Other Affairs Abroad
Since the collapse of communism, the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War, the threat of Soviet tanks rolling across the border through the Fulda Gap has evaporated. The Soviet republics have become independent states. In the 1990s, NATO and the West made a commitment to Russia that they would not expand towards the Russian border after the threat of communism disappeared. NATO has reneged on its commitment. Naturally, the Russians, no fools they, became concerned. So when the Ukrainian putsch was engineered in Kiev, with overt NATO and American interference, the Russians acted to protect their warm water port for their navy in Crimea. Incidentally, Crimea was always part of Russia.
Any great power is going to protect its geostrategic interests when threatened and that is what Russia did, legalities notwithstanding. Instead of befriending Russia and helping its transition to a modern nation as it climbs out of the pit of communism, Washington embarked on a new Cold War-style propaganda assault. Washington’s pals in Kiev are now shelling civilians in the eastern Ukraine. Video is available on RT and Youtube and, no surprise here, is not shown on the MSM media outlets in America, populated as they are by Hussein’s army of sycophants. Russia is a natural ally of the West in the war against Islam. Our relations with Russia have been poisoned by an ignorant and foolish administration in Washington.
Affairs at Home
Why does your local police force need armored personnel carriers, battle gear, tanks and more equipment than most soldiers carry into combat? Why does the government need all that firepower to threaten civilians?
The Second Amendment in the American Constitution provides that the people have the right to keep and bear arms. This is a right, not a privilege granted by a government. Governments are responsible to citizens—it’s not the other way around. The Founding Fathers wisely foresaw that threats to liberty and freedom come from governments and the citizenry must have the right to keep and bear arms in order to protect themselves from governments, when it becomes necessary.
Even a cursory glance at history shows us that the first act of aspiring tyrants is to disarm the free citizen. Every socialist and communist regime has done this. Turning the police from an agent of our protection into a semi-military threat is another act of government out of control. It is the act of people who see the citizen as a threat. It is an act of tyrants.
No matter how wonderful and inspired the American Constitution is, it is the quality of people in government that is most important. We would do well to remember that great British political mind, Edmund Burke, who said, when discussing the behavior of the National Assembly in Revolutionary France,
“…This unforced choice, this fond election of evil, would appear perfectly unaccountable, if we did not consider the composition of the National Assembly: I do not mean its formal composition, which, as it now stands, is exceptionable enough, but the materials of which, in great measure, it is composed, which is of ten thousand times greater consequence than all the formalities in the world.”
That, unfortunately, is the truth. And until the American people wake up to the fact that they have elected a crew of pirates, who would like nothing better than to tear up the Constitution and scatter the remnants to the four winds of heaven, they will continue to see their rights assaulted, their country disparaged, and their friends around the world betrayed.
These three disparate cases are the acts of an administration that savages the Constitution at home, betrays America’s allies abroad, and refuses to name evil when confronted with it. Is this all due to stupidity? Or does it hide a darker reality in American politics?
Bret Stevens, foreign correspondent of the Wall Street Journal, has written what I think is the definitive portrait of Obama’s foreign policy, which seems to amount to annoying your allies and appeasing your enemies. It is premised on the notion, says, Stevens, that the United States is the biggest failed state of all.
After reviewing the facts, Stevens writes:
Should any of this [disarray and failure] have come as a surprise? Probably not: With Obama, there was always more than a whiff of the overconfident dilettante, so sure of his powers that he could remain supremely comfortable with his own ignorance. His express-elevator ascent from Illinois state senator to U.S. president in the space of just four years didn’t allow much time for maturation or reflection, either. Obama really is, as Bill Clinton is supposed to have said of him, “an amateur.” When it comes to the execution of policy, it shows.
The failure is not personal, however. The failure proceeds from an ideology, which Obama is implementing.
The point is especially important to note because the failure of Obama’s foreign policy is not, ultimately, a reflection of his character or IQ. It is the consequence of an ideology.
That ideology is what now goes by the name of progressivism, which has effectively been the dominant (if often disavowed) view of the Democratic Party since George McGovern ran on a “Come Home, America” platform in 1972—and got 37.5 percent of the popular vote. Progressivism believes that the United States must lead internationally by example (especially when it comes to nuclear-arms control); that the U.S. is as much the sinner as it is the sinned against when it comes to our adversaries (remember Mosaddegh?); and that the American interest is best served when it is merged with, or subsumed by, the global interest (ideally in the form of a UN resolution)…..
Above all, progressivism believes that the United States is a country that, in nearly every respect, treads too heavily on the Earth: environmentally, ideologically, militarily, and geopolitically. The goal, therefore, is to reduce America’s footprint; to “retrench,” as the administration would like to think of it, or to retreat, as it might more accurately be called…..
The phrase “nation-building at home” captures the totality of the progressive ambition. Not only does it mean an end to nation-building exercises abroad, but it suggests that an exercise typically attempted on failed states must be put to use on what progressives sometimes see as the biggest failed state of all: the United States.
Local police continue to exercise little restraint. The photo below shows police advancing with weapons drawn, which is contrary to what they do in the military, where a gun is not pointed unless a shot will be taken.
An insightful article on the situation in Ferguson by Daniel Greenfield is here.
It is bracingly cyncial, and captures the truth.
Obama’s election marginalized Jesse and Al. Jesse Jackson was shoved aside, muttering something about cutting off a part of Obama’s anatomy on FOX News. Sharpton became Obama’s messenger boy to the black community while scoring a teleprompter reading gig on a liberal cable news network.
Jackson and Sharpton were displaced and made irrelevant by Obama. Their old way of monetizing racism through protests and private organizations is as out of date as pay phones and cassette tapes.
Obama’s way of monetizing racism for fun and profit is infinitely more sophisticated. Where Sharpton and Jackson pretended to be community advocates collecting tribute from white politicians and companies in exchange for “controlling the anger” of the black community (a community that usually consisted of a few dozen outside thugs that they had imported), Obama plays both sides.
The old community agitators “negotiated” racial tensions with white liberals. The agitators and liberals profited while the working class populations of both races that they exploited lost out. Obama however negotiates these tensions on his own, playing both the agitator and the liberal at the same time.
The new community organizers work for the Justice Department. The agitators shouting through bullhorns are dinosaurs. The government now has a monopoly on racial agitation and racial violence. Obama can use the DOJ, its teams, its investigations and the media to turn the tension on or off.
Sharpton looks unimaginably crude compared to Holder. Wright sounds like a clown compared to Obama. Their empty posturing and hysterical displays of racism have been replaced by actual power. Obama can do what Sharpton and Wright couldn’t; he can merge political power and symbolic power, law and outrage, together into an arsenal of votes, violence and guilt.
I had not really understood the term “race baiter” before but seeing Eric Holder in action over the past few years, I think I am beginning to understand it.
If you want to understand the origin of the phrase Eric “My People” Holder read this exchange from a report on US Senate proceedings concerned with Black Panther voter intimidation, from 2011:
Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.
Holder’s frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.
The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.
“Think about that,” Holder said. “When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia—which was inappropriate, certainly that…to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people,” said Holder, who is black.
Can you imagine a white US Attorney General speaking specifically of his race as “my people”? Can you envisage the reaction? So yes, I call Eric Holder a race baiter, because he thinks he is the chosen agent of retribution for every slight administered to black people. He is unfit to be Attorney General. He is heading to Ferguson to oversee more riots, or rather, oversee federal response to the riots.
The apparent turnaround in the situation in Ferguson, Missouri appears to have been a change of police tactics. When the chief of state police was put in charge of the situation, and the local police had to relinquish authority, there appears to have been an outbreak of peace.
A black young man had been shot by police and killed; the locals rioted, or expressed their extreme displeasure. Police were called in, and several nights of tear gas and rubber bullets ensued, complete with armoured cars and smoke grenades.
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Without diminishing the role of the rioters themselves, it seems that the local police have aggravated rather than calmed the situation. They, along with hundreds of local police forces, have been equipped with surplus US military equipment free of charge under a government program.
The caption says local rioters unsuccessfully tried to light a Molotov cocktail.
Senator Rand Paul has expressed his concern with the militarization of local police. Militarization is not just a matter of equipment; it is an attitude.
The Ferguson riots will elicit the usual comments about income and class disparities, and Stuff Black People Don’t Like will be blaming blacks for being blacks. All true, as far as it goes. yet the question remains: why are US local cops being equipped to suppress riots with so much military equipment? Is the situation that dire? Or is the enormous arsenal of surplus military equipment being turned over to local wannabees worsening the situation, rather than containing it?
Tom Friedman of the New York Times interviewed President Obama the other day. The President revealed his views on why his program is not succeeding, laying the blame on those who oppose him.
“We need to revamp our education system, K-12 in particular. You look at what Finland’s doing with its kids, and you look at what we’re doing with our kids, and you say, ‘we’re falling short.’ All these things are doable. Our fiscal position, actually, now is such—you know, the deficit’s been cut by more than half—where we’re in a position to make some smart investments that have huge payoffs, that historically have not been controversial, historically have garnered bipartisan support. But because of this maximalist ideological position, we’ve been blocked. I have to say here, I’ve been speaking in generalities, and trying not to be too political, but that ideological extremism and maximalist position is much more prominent right now in the Republican Party than the Democrats. Democrats have problems, but overall if you look at the Democratic consensus, it’s a pretty commonsense, mainstream consensus. It’s not a lot of wacky ideological nonsense, the way it is generally fact-based and reason-based. We’re not denying science, we’re not denying climate change, we’re not pretending that somehow having a whole bunch of uninsured people is the American way. We’re doing things that are pretty sensible. I’m optimistic that these things go in cycles, and that the Republican Party will eventually free itself from the grip of this kind of extremist ideology. But it’s necessary to happen soon.”
Apart from the asides about the virtues of Finnish education (in mono-cultural, all-white Finland), the thrust of Obama’s considered view is that his opposition is “wacky ideological nonsense”, of which “climate change denial” is a prime example.
The President may not be entirely without some reason in calling tea-partiers “maximalist” in their opposition. They take views on some matters which would dismay most Canadian conservatives. But denigrating the Tea Party wing of the Republicans is all a distraction from what – I believe – is a long term Democratic tendency: they want a non-white America. The average Tea Party Republican is quite aware of this, indeed I think everyone knows that this is the game being played, and while changing the demographics of the country is never discussed in polite circles, it constitutes what I call the “end-of-the-dock” conversations between trusted friends in the United States.
They may not say so directly, they may not even admit it to themselves; they may not realize all the consequences, but they surely recognize that 20% fewer white people voted for Obama than for Romney, and that the electoral map can be changed, possibly permanently, by allowing waves of immigrants from Central America, who vote Democratic.
Even liberal Tom Friedman refers to “the President’s planned executive amnesty for millions more illegal aliens.”
Thus the Alabama congressman who said the democrats are waging a war on white people, by claiming “they hate everyone else”, touched a nerve.
Here is what he said:
“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,” he said during an interview Monday with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. “It’s part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true.”
Brooks was responding to comments made by National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that “the fastest growing voting bloc in this country thinks the Republican Party hates them. This party, your party, cannot be the party of the future beyond November if you’re seen as the party of white people.”
In short, go with the Hispanic (Mestizo-Amerindian) wave or the Republican party is finished. The message is just as blunt from the Left, only its message is the standard discourse. Deviation from it is suspect. The Republican Congressman said:
“It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a white American, a black American, a Hispanic American, an Asian American or if you’re a woman or a man. Every single demographic group is hurt by falling wages and lost jobs,” he said.
“Democrats, they have to demagogue on this and try and turn it into a racial issue, which is an emotional issue, rather than a thoughtful issue,” he added. “If it becomes a thoughtful issue, then we win and we win big. And they lose and they lose big.”
As is usual when an important truth is said in public, for the first time, it will seem extreme, out of place, exaggerated, and disproportionate.
The issue is not that these central American immigrants are criminal, or stupid. They are industrious and only want a chance to succeed. Fair enough. The record shows however, that the culture of Central American people is not such as will sustain a high-technology, highly achieving society, or that they can attain the standard of living that most whites enjoy. This is an observed outcome: by importing these waves of Central Americans, the States is not importing waves of Ashkenazi Jews, Germans, Czechs, factory builders, capitalists, machine operators and inventors, and other high-attaining classes of people.
Putting it bluntly, does the United States need or want a new servant class? My Californian friends have daily gardeners and cleaning ladies, as a totally normal part of moderately well-off living. Should we have them here in Canada or in the northern United States? Is this what we want, a new servant class? And even if we do not want it, at current rates of Hispanic immigration and reproduction, we are going to get it.
The American working class is being hurt by falling wages and lost jobs. Working class carpentry jobs for the indigenous white population are disappearing in places like Virginia and Ohio, not just California and Nevada. Whites and blacks are being priced out by Central Americans who are prepared to live in dormitories. Is this good for the United States?
The real question, though, is less how bad a problem immigration-driven population growth will become but the “opportunity cost” of the forgone America—that less crowded and better educated country that we won’t be leaving to our children due to our immigration policies.
Kotkin, who leans mildly in a libertarian direction, can’t really explain why his doubly denser America is preferable. He simply assumes that his readers won’t be so uncool as to notice that illegal immigration tends to create a vast hereditary proletariat. That’s not the worst fate imaginable for America, but if the more productive will be required to subsidize the education, the policing, and now the healthcare of the less productive (which, one way or another, we shall), why would we want to continue to import millions of unskilled and highly fertile foreigners? In California in 2005, foreign-born Latinas were giving birth at the rate of 3.7 babies per lifetime (almost the same total fertility as Haiti) versus 2.2 for American-born Latinas and 1.4 for American-born Asians. Ouch.
Although Kotkin is enthusiastic about the quantity of these upcoming residents, he’s reticent about their average quality. After a generation in Los Angeles, he knows what East Coast pundits don’t yet grasp: the children and grandchildren of illegal immigrants are not merging into the educated middle class. Yet he can’t come out and admit that either. Whenever Kotkin appears finally ready to grapple with this central question about America’s future, he wanders off topic to rave about the technological innovativeness of legal immigrants in Silicon Valley or wax nostalgic about the rise of Ellis Island arrivals.
” A vast hereditary proletariat.” Is this what we want? Whether we want it or not, this is what we are getting, courtesy of Obama and the Democrats, and, let there be no mistake, of the business-owning class of the United States, which is mostly Republican.
And this, I think, is the main reason why the Tea Partiers are so driven to oppose compromise. They want a freer, more spacious, and richer America, and they are willing to live without servants if that is what it takes to have it. Of course, to the average leftist, this makes them racist, but that is not their motivation They remember a better America, and want to preserve it against the wishes of the American ruling class.
It seems that the path Obama is traversing is one that is well worn. A chronological summary below.
1. Heck of a job Obama
On Larry King Live last night, Vice President Joe Biden said Iraq “could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”
In a speech at Ft. Bragg, NC on December 14, 2011, President Barack Obama said the United States was “leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.”
Saturday from the White House South Lawn, President Barack Obama blamed “intelligence estimates” for not anticipating the speed in which ISIS would capture large sections of Iraq.
The president,who has been under harsh media criticism for likening ISIS to an Al-Qaeda JV basketball team in January said, “There is no doubt that their advance their movement over the last several of months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the the expectation of policy makers both in and outside of Iraq.”
Now the mission has gone from sending 300 special forces troops in June to bombing missions in August and Obama is stating that “this is going to be a long-term project.”
Of course it wasn’t suppose to be this way as one of Obama’s favourite blogger Andrew Sullivan, better known for this assertion that Trig Palin, Sarah Palin’s son, was actually the child of her daughter, Bristol, noted in 2007.
What does he offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it’s central to an effective war strategy….
Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.
The other obvious advantage that Obama has in facing the world and our enemies is his record on the Iraq War. He is the only major candidate to have clearly opposed it from the start. Whoever is in office in January 2009 will be tasked with redeploying forces in and out of Iraq, negotiating with neighboring states, engaging America’s estranged allies, tamping down regional violence. Obama’s interlocutors in Iraq and the Middle East would know that he never had suspicious motives toward Iraq, has no interest in occupying it indefinitely, and foresaw more clearly than most Americans the baleful consequences of long-term occupation.
Welcome to the reality-based world.