“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Vanity of Obama, Prance of Arrogance

There is nothing more dangerous than a leader that doesn't know what he doesn't know. Obama, experienced at not much, is using his telepromted veneer of knowledge to dazzle the media and damage US interest at home and abroad.

Blinded by his own cleverness, Obama foolishly permitted the Russians to exchange their nuclear relics for the best of American nuclear deterrence. Obama seems not to have noticed recently past Russian aggression in Georgia and the reassertion of a so-called Russian sphere of influence. Putin's Russia is no friend of the US and never will be. They will never do anything to help the US, anywhere. The touted allowance of Russian air space to the US military for access to Afghanistan is diabolically sinister. Of course the Russians want to see US assets, manpower and military prestige wasted in Afghanistan.

Obama in all his sartorial splendor believes he won a big one. We didn't.


Plumage -- But at A Price

By Charles Krauthammer Washington Post
Thursday, July 9, 2009; 8:53 PM

The signing ceremony in Moscow was a grand affair. For Barack Obama, foreign policy neophyte and "reset" man, the arms reduction agreement had a Kissingerian air. A fine feather in his cap. And our president likes his plumage.

Unfortunately for the United States, the country Obama represents, the prospective treaty is useless at best, detrimental at worst.

Useless because the level of offensive nuclear weaponry, the subject of the U.S.-Russia "Joint Understanding," is an irrelevance. We could today terminate all such negotiations, invite the Russians to build as many warheads as they want and profitably watch them spend themselves into penury, as did their Soviet predecessors, stockpiling weapons that do nothing more than, as Churchill put it, make the rubble bounce.

Obama says that his START will be a great boon, setting an example to enable us to better pressure North Korea and Iran to give up their nuclear programs. That a man of Obama's intelligence can believe such nonsense is beyond comprehension. There is not a shred of evidence that cuts by the great powers -- the INF treaty, START I, the Treaty of Moscow (2002) -- induced the curtailment of anyone's programs. Moammar Gaddafi gave up his nukes the week we pulled Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole. No treaty involved. The very notion that Kim Jong Il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will suddenly abjure nukes because of yet another U.S.-Russian treaty is comical.

The pursuit of such an offensive weapons treaty could nonetheless be detrimental to us. Why? Because Obama's hunger for a diplomatic success, such as it is, allowed the Russians to exact a price: linkage between offensive and defensive nuclear weapons.

This is important for Russia because of the huge American technological advantage in defensive weaponry. We can reliably shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile. They cannot. And since defensive weaponry will be the decisive strategic factor of the 21st century, Russia has striven mightily for a quarter-century to halt its development. Gorbachev tried to swindle Reagan out of the Strategic Defense Initiative at Reykjavik in 1986. Reagan refused. As did his successors -- Bush I, Clinton, Bush II.

Obama, who seeks to banish nuclear weapons entirely, has little use for such prosaic contrivances. First, the Obama budget actually cuts spending on missile defense, at a time when federal spending is a riot of extravagance and trillion-dollar deficits. Then comes the "pause" (as Russia's president appreciatively noted) in the planned establishment of a missile shield in Eastern Europe. And now the "Joint Understanding" commits us to a new treaty that includes "a provision on the interrelationship of strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms." Obama further said that the East European missile shield "will be the subject of extensive negotiations" between the United States and Russia.

Obama doesn't even seem to understand the ramifications of this concession. Poland and the Czech Republic thought they were regaining their independence when they joined NATO under the protection of the United States. They now see that the shield negotiated with us and subsequently ratified by all of NATO is in limbo. Russia and America will first have to "come to terms" on the issue, explained President Dmitry Medvedev. This is precisely the kind of compromised sovereignty that Russia wants to impose on its ex-Soviet colonies -- and that U.S. presidents of both parties for the past 20 years have resisted.

Resistance, however, is not part of Obama's repertoire. Hence his eagerness for arcane negotiations over MIRV'd missiles, the perfect distraction from the major issue between the two countries: Vladimir Putin's unapologetic and relentless drive to restore Moscow's hegemony over the sovereign states that used to be Soviet satrapies.

That -- not nukes -- is the chief cause of the friction between the United States and Russia. You wouldn't know it to hear Obama in Moscow pledging to halt the "drift" in U.S.-Russian relations. Drift? The decline in relations came from Putin's desire to undo what he considers "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century -- the collapse of the Soviet empire. Hence his squeezing Ukraine's energy supplies. His overt threats against Poland and the Czech Republic for daring to make sovereign agreements with the United States. And finally, less than a year ago, his invading a small neighbor, detaching and then effectively annexing two of Georgia's provinces to Mother Russia.

That's the cause of the collapse of our relations. Not drift, but aggression. Or, as the reset master phrased it with such delicacy in his Kremlin news conference: "our disagreements on Georgia's borders."


  1. We pretty much know what kind of man the former KBG agent is. It's the former ACORN man we're wondering about.

  2. G.M. sold 9,300 Camaros during the month of June — more than either its entire Buick or Cadillac divisions could muster on their own.

    I wonder how the President's green associates will react to the popularity of the new Camaro.

    Those V8's will not be helpful toward meeting the G8's target of holding the temperature rise to 2 degrees C.

    Watch as the climate elitists look down their noses at Camaros, Challengers, SUVs and even, yes, pick up trucks.

    The political pressure will be mounting for the GM to produce the new Green Volkswagen.

  3. Sen. John Ensign enlisted his parents to help pay off ex-mistress
    By Richard Sisk

    Read more:

  4. Republicans, doing their best to preserve the Democrats.

  5. Camaro V6 to make up 70% Sales says GM
    Camaro to adapt to new CAFE standards

    The Chevrolet Camaro may have a reputation as a tire-burning, V8-powered muscle car, but General Motors doesn't want us to forget that the majority of Camaro sales will be comprised of a fuel-efficient V6 model. In fact, GM predicts that as many as 70 percent of Camaro buyers will opt for the V6.

    "Everyone thinks we'll be positioning the Camaro as a burn-ass hot rod," Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of sales and marketing, told Edmunds. "But that's only about 30 percent of the business. The other two-thirds will come from 27-mpg V6 sales, with a significant female share."

    In addition to better fuel economy numbers, the low cost of the V6 model should also secure it as the volume model.

    Moreover, LaNeve confirmed that GM is considering a four-cylinder version of the Camaro in the face of newly passed CAFE regulations, but doesn't "have it done yet."

    LaNave also revealed that most V8-powered vehicles will be making the switch to V6s, while cars using V6s will be moving to smaller four-cylinder engines