In Defense Of Obama’s Apologizing

Ilana Mercer, May 21, 2010

Whatever American Sinophobes say about the Chinese, it’s worth noting that Chinese officials did not berate the residents of Arizona ─ the majority of whom support their governor’s gutsy stand against migratory mayhem in their state. An American functionary did so spontaneously. News that Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner had smeared his countrymen during discussions on human rights with the Chinese has sent conservatives into a frothing frenzy; it would appear, mainly, because China itself is so oppressive.

“We brought it up early and often,” Posner bragged to the press. “It was mentioned in the first session and as a troubling trend in our society, and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination. And these are issues very much being debated in our own society.”

Posner also apprised seemingly disinterested Chinese about errant Americans’ shoddy “treatment of its Muslims … in an immigration context. We had discussion of racial discrimination,” he puled. Not only did the Chinese fail to pile-on Arizonans, but neither did they use the opportunity Posner afforded them to complain about the treatment of Chinese in the US:

Press to Posner: “Did they — did they discuss anything about their concerns about Chinese visiting in Arizona? Any concerns raised?

Posner: No, that was not raised.

Needless to say, the Chinese spared their own “problem” citizens any nasty words. (The Uyghurs, for example, are not trembling under China’s repressive glower. They are to China as the Chechens are to Russia, or the Palestinians are to Israel (oy vey!): very fractious Muslims (a state-of-being also described by left-liberals as a quest for “self-determinism.”)

Equally patriotic about his own people is visiting Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Calderon toils tirelessly for the benefit of millions of Mexicans living in the US illegally. From the White House Rose Garden, and then again in an address to Congress ─ a one-way exchange program America conducts for foreign dignitaries ─ Calderon chastised overrun Arizonans for “forcing our people to face discrimination.”

The American president failed to fend for his countrymen (and their dogs), some of whom have suffered horribly at the hands of Calderon’s compatriots. BHO and his henchmen are clearly traitors to their fellow Americans ─ they have little love for the historic people; and even less appreciation for its daily realities.

Still, I disagree with conservatives who’ve categorized this administration as overly apologetic for America. Contrary to conventional conservative wisdom, there is nothing wrong with expressing regret for wrongs done by your country’s government, as opposed to its people. This is a well-meaning, if perhaps inconsequential, gesture.

Face it, what Republicans are really fuming over is BHO’s public expiation for the Bush I foreign policy, for which they themselves cheered. Were I to encounter an Iraqi Christian forced to flee his homeland because “W” took it from rogue-state status to failed state-status ─ I would be tempted to say, “Sorry,” even though I had loudly opposed that bloodletting from the get-go.

Fox News dynamo Glenn Beck demands that, when they join his 9/12 project, adherents accept the “America is good” maxim. Individual Americans can be good (or bad), but not a collective. A country is a collective. The concept is, therefore, incoherent. Well-aware as we are that very many Americans are unstintingly generous and friendly ─ I suspect that when 9/12ers insist America as an entity is good; they too are alluding to the foreign policies they’ve supported, and for which the current president offers mea culpa. Again, and as I understand it, it is not “America” Obama is apologizing for, but the policies of his predecessor.

Consider: In 1972, arrogant characters in the Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT, a chemical crucial to combating malaria in the undeveloped world. The ban in the US diminished the availability of DDT to these countries, subsequent to which many millions have died from an easily preventable infectious disease. It would be nice if the culprits (Senators Joe Lieberman was involved in sustaining the ban) apologized for acting as causal agents in the death of millions.

I hope the next president apologizes for the many innocent Afghanis BHO is busy killing in that country. As do I hope the next incumbent apologizes for this president’s shabby treatment of the Israeli prime minister, or of Mr. Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota.

It’s a bit late, but an apology on behalf of Harry S. Truman is in order for deliberately dropping on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Little Boy and the Fat Man ─ as the atomic duo was dubbed affectionately ─ and vaporizing 210,000 innocent Japanese civilians, in response to an attack on a military base.

Whether it is committed by a group operating within or without the law, terrorism is still terrorism.

Is “America,” then, bad because of deeds its bureaucratic or political corps commits? Not at all. Americans get to vet very few of the policies carried out in their name. Ours is a social democracy, no longer a constitutional republic. Inherent in a social democracy is the free election of freewheeling politicians who are at liberty to do as they please. Commensurate with the unlimited powers they’ve grabbed, our politicians, by default, are to blame for a great deal of bad.

Thus, there is no harm in an American politician expressing remorse for a government policy that has harmed innocents at home and abroad (honkies included). He or she, however, should have the decency to avoid implicating all “Americans” in the sins of their sovereigns.

May 21

CATEGORIES: Barack Obama, Bush, China, Conservatism, Foreign Policy, Individualism Vs. Collectivism