April 23, 2016

"Mr Obama's catchphrase is 'Yes, you can!' - so why is he telling us Brits 'No, you can't'?"

A headline for a column over at the UK Telegraph.
Mr Obama’s most famous electoral message was “Yes, we can”. His electoral message to the British people is “No, you can’t”.

If we want influence, security, free trade, democracy and the rule of law, we can get these things only by staying in the European Union, he informs us. We cannot contemplate living – as his own country so proudly does – as a wholly independent state....
I've got nothing to say about Brexit. I just want to say that Obama's "Yes, we can" never meant you can do whatever you set out to do, the old can-do spirit. "Yes, we can" was a campaign slogan, and I believe it meant, yes, we can elect Barack Obama. I haven't heard it much in the years since the 2008 election, and in the thousands of messages I've gotten from Obama in the that time, there's been a mix of what we can do and what we can't do — with plenty of can't... plenty of can't in the cant.

I still love the old "Yes, We Can" campaign video. Beautifully done. And it was revealed (by David Axelrod, over a year ago) that Obama thought the "Yes, we can" slogan was corny and needed to be talked into it:
During his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Obama thought that your famous “Yes we can” line was corny. How did you convince him?

Michelle just happened to come by for the first ad shoot, and that was the ad that closed with the line “Yes we can.” He read through the script once, and after the first take he said, “Gee, is that too corny?” I explained why I thought it was a great tagline, and he turned to Michelle and said, “What do you think?” She just slowly shook her head from side to side and said, “Not corny.” Thank God she was there that day.
It shouldn't be pinned on Obama as his general philosophy. So, don't feel singled out, Britain, if he tells you you can't. We can't do a lot of things too.

90 comments:

ddh said...

Obama is why we can't have nice cruise ships.

Michael K said...

Is there any ally he has not insulted ?

Or any enemy he has not courted ?

PB said...

Obama is a horse's ass. He's had it in for Britain since day one.

Comanche Voter said...

Si se puede! It sounds better in the Spanish. This infantile purveyor of cant and snark continues rolling through the world bringing division, disruption, and denigration wherever he goes. Our long national nightmare continues.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"Is there any ally he has not insulted ?"

David Cameron is one of the biggest europhile politicians in Britain, so I doubt he sees it as an "insult" for Obama to be on his and his government's side on the issue of the EU. Virtually the entire political and media establishment is for Britain's membership in the EU. I've been following Nigel Farage and UKIP's rise over the past several years, and I have always wished his campaign the best. I sincerely hope Britain votes to exit the EU. It is bizarre for a US president to support the EU, since the whole project is an attempt to counter and balance American military hegemony on the continent.

damikesc said...

I bet Brits love having American Presidents interfere in their business as much as we do from Brits. Does anybody believe Obama has any opinion on Brexit? Or the issues involved?

Sydney said...

I don't believe Axelrod. The "Yes, We Can" was lifted from Cesar Chavez and it is also a slogan for other unions. According to this, Obama also used it in his 2004 Senate campaign. He knew who/what he was signalling.

damikesc said...

Michael K, the funny part about Obama is how ineffective he is at groveling. The ME hates us MORE than they did under Bush.

AReasonableMan said...

From the US perspective, Obama is right to resist the UK's exit from the EU. US influence on the EU is mediated in large part by the UK. Without them we lose influence on the largest economic group in the world.

A little Britain, which will be the eventual outcome of Brexit, will be a greatly diminished ally.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse I don't think the Brits much care about your exegesis. Right now his support for Cameron is more a detriment than a plus.

Sebastian said...

"It shouldn't be pinned on Obama as his general philosophy. So, don't feel singled out, Britain, if he tells you you can't." Insisting on fairness to someone who in every word and gesture is unfair to others, who doesn't give a damn about what anyone else thinks or says, is only aiding and abetting assholery. Telling Brits not to feel "singled out" when they have just been lectured to by the [...]-in-Chief is only aiding and abetting destructive condescension.

David Begley said...

So now we can blame Michelle for the past seven years.

Quaestor said...

Barak Obama, the greatest disappointment to every occupy the White House, has a knack for alienating people. He is in fact the most friendless President. Obama has acquaintances merely. No one knows him, nor does he want to be known. He radiates conceited arrogance, but without evident competence — in other words a paradigmatic asshole.

Not too many weeks ago PM Davey Cameron threatened to ban Donald Trump from the UK in retaliation for his so-called "anti-immigrant" rhetoric, now he's courting him. Irony.

Quaestor said...

David Cameron is one of the biggest europhile politicians in Britain, so I doubt he sees it as an "insult" for Obama to be on his and his government's side on the issue of the EU.

I agree Cameron is not likely to be insulted by Obama's opinion of the Brexit movement, but he's likely to be quite resentful. Obama, the arrogant buttinsky, has given an ironic leg up to Eurosceptics.

AReasonableMan said...

J. Farmer said...
It is bizarre for a US president to support the EU, since the whole project is an attempt to counter and balance American military hegemony on the continent.


Which is exactly why it is in the interest of the US for the UK to stay in the EU. Without the UK we lose a counterweight to the anti-Americanism that is common in continental Europe.

J. Farmer said...

@AReasonableMan:

"US influence on the EU is mediated in large part by the UK."

Except the UK does not really have much influence in the EU. Cameron made a point of opposing Jean-Claude Juncker, and that went nowhere. The "concessions" announced back in February were pretty lame. I think it's pretty obvious that countries like France and Germany see Russia to their east and the US to their west and really that as individual nation-states that are destined to be one orbit or the other. It makes sense from their perspective to form a political-economic union meant to balance these powers. But a smart US foreign policy wouldn't support UK membership as a mechanism for minimal influence; instead, we should encourage the dismantling and diminishing of the entire project. Brexit would be a nice first step. Leveraging Southern and Eastern Europe's disdain for the mass unchecked migration that's been foisted on them by Ms. Merkel's German neo-empire would be another.

Big Mike said...

Without them we lose influence on the largest economic group in the world.

@ARM, under Barack Obama the United States has essentially no influence anywhere in the world (except a negative influence, for instance in Saudi Arabia). Obama's successor will face a long, hard road to fix everything that's been broken these past seven years and four months.

Big Mike said...

Make that seven years and only three months. Nine months to go.

AReasonableMan said...

J. Farmer said...
Except the UK does not really have much influence in the EU.


Much is more than none. But it is worse than that, because after Brexit a breakup of the UK is inevitable. As a consequence our strongest and most reliable military ally will be neutered. The citizens of the UK may have good reasons to want to leave the EU but those are not US interests. Little Britain will be a nonentity on the world stage.

J. Farmer said...

@Quaestor:

"I agree Cameron is not likely to be insulted by Obama's opinion of the Brexit movement, but he's likely to be quite resentful. Obama, the arrogant buttinsky, has given an ironic leg up to Eurosceptics."

It's true that the "Leave" campaign can build support for a case of American meddling in British politics, but that's not likely to have any real effect on how people vote. People in the "Stay" campaign have made references to American support for UK membership in the EU in the past. And supporters make an argument similar to AReasonableMan's: that UK membership gives them a "seat at the table." Leave supporters usually point out that their influence on the final decisions is virtually nil.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
under Barack Obama the United States has essentially no influence anywhere in the world


Except, Cameron has, if anything, embarrassed himself over his fanning allegiance to Obama and the US in recent years. I would take those red-tinted glasses off for a moment, if I were you, to think a little more clearly about this issue. The UK in the EU is a valuable ally, little Britain on the periphery, not so much.

buwaya puti said...

The EU is not militarily significant, and unless some powerful nation within it (ie, Germany) becomes militarily enthusiastic ( no prospect of that anytime soon) it won't.
The Euro militaries are token forces now, and there is no money to expand them.
It's psychologically and constitutionally incapable even of being a counter to Russia, the militarily weak Russia of today, which is all bluff.

J. Farmer said...

@AReasonableMan:

" Little Britain will be a nonentity on the world stage."

Britain already is "a nonentity on the world stage" and has been so for most of the last half-century. What does Britain have to do with our posture in East Asia or sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East? Those are pretty large chunks of the "world stage" in which Britain is pretty much irrelevant as far as the US is concerned.

buwaya puti said...

The EU is in every sense irrelevant. Influence on the EU means nothing. Anywhere off their own turf they matter not one bit - OK, maybe the French can intimidate a few characters in West Africa.

Michael K said...

"David Cameron is one of the biggest europhile politicians in Britain, "

I was referring to the Churchill bust thing and his criticism of Cameron over Libya.

I agree that Cameron is a typical "wet" in present day "Conservative" politics in Britain.

I had an interesting week with British friends in September. These people are self-segregating into southeast and southwest England. The friends live in a lovely small city on the southeast coast. He is a retired doctor and she is a retired "sister" or chief nurse. He commented to us that, in walking around the "high street" area of the city (Not a town he reminded us), if we saw any brown face "it would be an NHS doctor." The rest of the city was populated by typical English faces that you used to see in London. You also see them in the Cotswolds but, there, many are tourists. No Muslims.

Amexpat said...

First, Obama comment wasn't off the cuff. It was orchestrated in concert with Cameron's campaign to stay in. Cameron has a good understanding of UK politics and and he wouldn't have asked Obama to help out if thought it would harm the cause.

Second, Obama didn't say the UK can't leave, he said it's his opinion that they should stay in. There were no veiled threats or leverage used. Just some legitimate points made.

Third, Obama was being disingenuous when he said he made the comment in the spirit of offering advice in Britain's best interest. He did it because he believes that it's in the US' best interest for the UK to stay in the EU. I think he's correct.

Michael K said...

"Britain already is "a nonentity on the world stage"

Britain is dividing into a polyglot London, hellish Dole-funded cities in the Midlands, rich small cities in the far south and a Silicon Valley culture for most of Europe in London. A French friend remarked, "France has a Silicon Valley but it is located in the Thames Estuary." London is a bit like San Francisco with Muslims who are mostly on the Dole or running small shops.

AReasonableMan said...

buwaya puti said...
The EU is in every sense irrelevant. Influence on the EU means nothing. Anywhere off their own turf they matter not one bit -


From wiki:
Initial Iraq invasion force: approximately 148,000 soldiers from the United States, 45,000 British soldiers, 2,000 Australian soldiers, 1300 Spanish soldiers and 194 Polish soldiers

Without the UK, the US has no reliable and significant military ally (the Australians are reliable but not significant). UK forces were a third of US forces in Iraq, hardly irrelevant.

Hagar said...

Sure sounded like a threat to me when Obama said we are going to make trade deals with the EU and not Britain.

Anyway, anything cooked up by either the French or the Germans, nevermind the two of them together, is going to bode well for the rest of Europe and especially their time-honored enemy, the U.K.

Britain should revert to its traditional policy of staying out and organizing a league among the small fry on the perimeter to resist the hegemony of the central powers.

Quaestor said...

Leave or stay.

I sooner take advice from Crow than Lord Zero.

MayBee said...

Has there ever been a president less like the candidate he was than the 2008 Barack Obama?

I don't really understand Obama's relationships with other world leaders. He used to pal around a lot with Brazil's Lula but Lula got himself in a lot of trouble. He seems to keep a distance from Merkel. He hates Bibi. He and Cameron have made a stab at looking like buddies. I don't remember him doing anything with Spain or Italy. He used to try to seem to be friends with Sarkozy, but seems distant to France now and Hollande. Putin trolls him pretty regularly. The Saudis just snubbed him. Australia seems to be a non-entity. Egypt is what, ignoring him? Being ignored by him? All the "Arab Spring" leaders are not discussed here.
I guess he and Justin Trudeau seemed to get along ok, but Canada isn't exactly a player on the world stage right now (sorry Canada).

His face was supposed to make the world love us. He travelled the globe as part of his election campaign. And we are more alone wrt foreign policy than even when we had the "hated" GWB as President.

MayBee said...

Sure sounded like a threat to me when Obama said we are going to make trade deals with the EU and not Britain.

Agreed.
Obama sure didn't like it when he thought Bibi was coming here to meddle in policy decisions. Do you remember the fit he threw? And now look at him.

AprilApple said...

Obama hates the man who freed Europe from Nazi Germany.

Amexpat said...

Sure sounded like a threat to me when Obama said we are going to make trade deals with the EU and not Britain.

Obama didn't say the US wouldn't make deals with the UK. He said that because the EU is much larger, the UK would be at the "back of the queue" in regards to European trade deals.

Britain should revert to its traditional policy of staying out and organizing a league among the small fry on the perimeter to resist the hegemony of the central powers.

Which countries would that be? I know that the Norwegian government wants the UK to stay in and elected officials have said so publicly in response to anti-EU UK politicians saying "look to Norway", because Norway is not in the EU. All the other "small fry" on the perimeter are in the EU, except for Iceland, which is of little help to the UK.

Perhaps the UK could revert back to the bad old days of European alliances and join up with Putin's Russia in a league against central Europe.

MayBee said...

Obama didn't say the US wouldn't make deals with the UK. He said that because the EU is much larger, the UK would be at the "back of the queue" in regards to European trade deals.

And when people say, "Nice little [fill in the blank] you've got there, it would be a shame to lose it", they are sincerely expressing their admiration and positive hopes for continuation.

Marty Keller said...

The notion that the UK outside the EU would be diminished in political economic stature pretends that, conversely, the EU would become more powerful and coherent.

Facts not in evidence. The EU is already in a perilous state, and its prima donna, Frau Merkel, is presiding over an increasingly restive Germany, the linchpin of the EU. The number of items making Germans uneasy is only expanding, not contracting.

This is a centuries-old European dynamic, and one that will likely never find a permanent solution: Germany cannot help but dominate Europe and thus make all its neighbors unhappy and resentful, and the UK will never be fully European and will thus always find itself pressured to be the instrument of undermining German hegemony. The Brexit movement is just the latest step in this never-ending dance.

And, of course, Obama remains stupifyingly ignorant of any of it.

Rick said...

I just want to say that Obama's "Yes, we can" never meant you can do whatever you set out to do, the old can-do spirit. "Yes, we can" was a campaign slogan, and I believe it meant, yes, we can elect Barack Obama.

It meant 'We can enact the progressive agenda without worrying about others' concerns or objections'.

Chris N said...

Ah, the original colonizers.

They will be made to feel political truth, social justice, and the activist-American way.

MayBee said...

Remember in 2008 when all the people tried to tell us Obama was a pragmatic centrist?

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O said...

"never meant you can do whatever you set out to do, the old can-do spirit."

That's what Bob the Builder and his assorted tools mean by it.

Michael K said...

"The notion that the UK outside the EU would be diminished in political economic stature pretends that, conversely, the EU would become more powerful and coherent."

Yes, the EU is Germany. France and its Socialists have driven all entrepreneurs to England. "Britain" is England plus Muslims.

The "Conservatives" have driven up British taxes so that our friends drove their VW camper to Belgium and then, on the way back, stopped at an enormous French wine store that looked like a Wal Mart for wine and loaded up a year's supply of table wine. We drove to the Calais ferry terminal to go back to Dover. The wine store had a deal posted that, if you ordered the wine over the internet, they would pay the ferry charges. Since the ferry is about 100 pounds, that's a pretty good deal. They told us it is all legal. There was an episode of "Doc Martin" that had a restaurant owner smuggling wine back from France but apparently, it is no big deal.

Hagar said...

The tone was we, not to say We, will make deals with the EU and you guys will be on the outside to shift for yourself.

The small fry on the perimeter would be any or all of the nations of Western Europe, except France and Germany plus anyone else on the Seven Seas that would care to join.

The EU is an attempt by the French and German bureaucracies - "the intellectual elites" - to take over Western Europe under one giant bureaucracy. You think Europe is bad now, imagine it as one gelatinous mass frozen in time and space under central direction from Brussels!
A modern times version of the Chinese Empire in the final century of the Qing dynasty.

Freeman Hunt said...

I like Obama better knowing that he knew that line was corny.

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya puti said...

Re the British in Iraq - they provided about 3 maneuver brigades vs the US @15 brigades (3rd, 4th, 101st, 82nd, 1st Marine Divs, 173 Airborne bde, TF Tarawa (a strong bde).
But the British Army is about half, now, of what it was in 2003, and the RN and RAF less than that.
The personnel numbers quoted also overestimate the British personnel involved and probably underestimate the US, as one includes naval and support personnel in various bases, the US number counts US personnel in-country.

buwaya puti said...

And, to the point of allies, the US has no reliable, powerful allies, period. The only "allies" the US has are friends in need, I.e., all the people likely to call the US 911 if things go badly.
Like pretty much everyone in East Asia.

AReasonableMan said...

France and the UK are both nuclear powers and have world rankings in military power of 5 and 6, respectively. What the fuck do you want? If they were much stronger they wouldn't need to be allied with the US.

Not sure you really get the concept of allies.

Hagar said...

And you do want them to call US 911 if things go badly. It is a bad sign that we see the Saudis and others visiting Moscow, swishing their tails.

buwaya puti said...

Yes they would need allies. Neither France nor Britain can, on their own, sustain an expeditionary force of even 10,000 men. Even now the US probably could do 100,000 at least. As an international posse they amount to very little.
Nuclear weapons are significant only in truly extreme circumstances.
Military power rankings are speculative. Effective military power of Britain, on its own, vs Pakistan (for one example) is near zero - they have no way to intervene vs Pakistan, other than, maybe, with some risk, blockade Karachi with submarines.
Their value added to a US effort vs Pakistan would be a net negligible.

AReasonableMan said...

Hagar said...
It is a bad sign that we see the Saudis and others visiting Moscow, swishing their tails.


People on this board are schizophrenic about the Saudis. It is not complicated. They are not our allies, friends or any other vaguely positive descriptor you can think of. Whatever follows the fall of the house of Saud is very unlikely to be worse than the current set of lunatics. Unfortunately, it is also unlikely to be better. We have no horse in that race.

Hagar said...

I have no love for the House of Saud; they are bad for Arabia and bad for the world, and it would be a good thing if we could figure out a way to get rid of them without turning Arabia into another Libya.
It still is a bad sign that they go schmoozing up Putin.

Amexpat said...

The small fry on the perimeter would be any or all of the nations of Western Europe, except France and Germany plus anyone else on the Seven Seas that would care to join.

You're talking about countries that are in the EU now. Who would leave and why? Perhaps Spain or Greece if the constraints of fiscal restraint get too tough and they move decidedly to the the left. But, would a free market, free trade UK want to be in league with them? The other realistic possibility is that a right wing nationalistic government in central Europe, like Hungary or Slovakia leaves. But again, what value would that be to the UK?

I don't see the desireable northern EU countries, like Benelux, Sweden, Finland leaving unless the EU falls apart, which, despite the EU many faults, would be bad for Europe.

The UK has done very well in the EU. Just as important, the UK is an important check within the EU against the Eurocrats that want to overstretch the power of the bureaucracy. The UK has allies within the EU on this front and that's where the good fight should be joined.

Hagar said...

Actually, it is up to "the Arabs" to figure out a way. I sincerely hope that the State Dept. and/or CIA do not make another mess that can be laid to our doorstep.

However, I think Obama just were there to tell the Saudis something similar to what he told the Brits. Arabia has been ruled by Shia before, but this time that means Iran, and I think maybe ARM may live to find that we did have a horse in that race.

buwaya puti said...

The point about them going to Putin isn't whether that's good for Arabia, but whether it's good for Putin.
The one reason to prefer the Saudis is certainty. What could follow them could easily be much worse for everyone.
The backstop here is that chaos in Arabia would ruin their oil industry and the new regime would be broke from the start, not having access to the foreign investments of the Sauds. Unless some fool gives the money to the new bunch like Obama did to Iran.

Hagar said...

Bureaucrats are like the Blob from Outer Space. The only thing that works on them is CO2, i.e. dismissal and abolishing the agency.

Rusty said...

J. Farmer said...
It is bizarre for a US president to support the EU, since the whole project is an attempt to counter and balance American military hegemony on the continent.

I doubt this. Otherwise there would be no NATO.
I was always under the impression the EU was formed to counter the world economic power of the United States. Combining their economies to couterbalance ours.

buwaya puti said...

The other way to look at it is that the Eurocrats will no longer have the excuse of pointing at the British, and will have to admit that they have to limit themselves.
I don't see that the British have done much vis a vis Euro over regulation anyway.

Hagar said...

If or when the House of Saud falls, the Sauds will most likely wind up dead or as refugees abroad. Their money will be up for grabs and will be claimed by the new regime, whatever it might be.
Perhaps another reason we should be chary of holding the Saudi state responsible for the personal misdeeds of some the princelings.

damikesc said...

France and the UK are both nuclear powers and have world rankings in military power of 5 and 6, respectively. What the fuck do you want? If they were much stronger they wouldn't need to be allied with the US.

Iraq had a highly rated military. They didn't do much, either.

Whatever follows the fall of the house of Saud is very unlikely to be worse than the current set of lunatics.

That was said about Libya.

BN said...

The EU is just Germany winning WW's I and II by other means.

cubanbob said...

ARM just read Marty Keller's comment. There is your answer.
As for the UK leaving the EU just consider that a number of the member states are also considering what the UK will do and once the dam is broken, if it is,they may opt to leave as well. Whether or not the UK stays or leaves I for one make no prediction but the most probable outcome if the UK does leave is that despite the bluster on both sides the free trade zone arrangement stays intact-Britain is too large a market for the EU to risk having retaliatory measures (and vice versa). And that outcome is something that ultimately everyone in both the UK and EU want. Free trade with no domination of Brussels over London and London not dragging down Brussels with its objections.

Jason said...



ARM: Initial Iraq invasion force: approximately 148,000 soldiers from the United States, 45,000 British soldiers, 2,000 Australian soldiers, 1300 Spanish soldiers and 194 Polish soldiers

Without the UK, the US has no reliable and significant military ally (the Australians are reliable but not significant). UK forces were a third of US forces in Iraq, hardly irrelevant.


So that whole "going it alone" thing we kept hearing about from Kerry in 2003 and 2004 was a lie, then after all, eh?

cubanbob said...

Blogger Rusty said...
J. Farmer said...
It is bizarre for a US president to support the EU, since the whole project is an attempt to counter and balance American military hegemony on the continent.

I doubt this. Otherwise there would be no NATO.
I was always under the impression the EU was formed to counter the world economic power of the United States. Combining their economies to couterbalance ours.

4/23/16, 11:23 AM"

The original purpose of NATO was to keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out. As for the EU the purpose was for the Germans a way to be able to keep their economy growing through a controlled free trade zone and customs union with them being the principle beneficiary (which is why the accepted a bastardized DM called the Euro). The French figured they would be the jockey on the German horse. The Greeks and the Latin Europeans figured the Germans could be trusted not to debase the currency, they just didn't think their own governments would be so venal and incompetent to bankrupt them and that free trade would benefit them along with more tourism. Too many assumptions that weren't fully thought through and now the second and third order consequences of not thinking things through is becoming painfully obvious.

cubanbob said...

Obama should have said "just say no". The entertainment value of seeing prog jaws drop when they finally see the irony would have been glorious.

Freder Frederson said...

Obama hates the man who freed Europe from Nazi Germany.

You seem to be implying that hating Stalin is a bad thing.

Sam L. said...

Him saying NO may be just what the Brexit needs to succeed.

Freder Fred, that would be Eastern Europe, immediately enslaved by that same guy. I don't know what AprilApple meant.

Freder Frederson said...

The "Conservatives" have driven up British taxes so that our friends drove their VW camper to Belgium and then, on the way back, stopped at an enormous French wine store that looked like a Wal Mart for wine and loaded up a year's supply of table wine.

That has nothing to do with the Conservatives, it is the way the British (or rather the way the French don't) tax wine. In France (and Germany) wine is taxed at the same rate as food (a much lower or maybe even zero VAT). In England it is taxed as an ordinary good (20% or so).

Freder Frederson said...

I don't know what AprilApple meant.

She meant Churchill. Whether Obama hates Churchill or not (and there is no evidence that he does--returning a bust of Churchill to the British when it was supposed to go back is hardly evidence of a deep seated hatred of him), Churchill did not free Europe from Nazi Germany, he helped the Americans and Soviets do it.

Michael K said...

"That has nothing to do with the Conservatives, it is the way the British (or rather the way the French don't) tax wine."

Yes and the Conservatives are no better than Labour. That's why I put it in quotes.

It is interesting that bringing the wine without tax seems to be legal.

"Whether Obama hates Churchill or not (and there is no evidence that he does--returning a bust of Churchill to the British when it was supposed to go back is hardly evidence of a deep seated hatred of him)"

There is no evidence I am aware of that the bust was "supposed to go back." Giving Elizabeth an iPod of his speeches was either the act of a narcissistic lunatic or a deliberate insult.

I choose both.

Michael K said...

"Obama hates the man who freed Europe from Nazi Germany.

You seem to be implying that hating Stalin is a bad thing."

No surprise that you forget that Hitler and Stalin were allies. Hitler turned on his ally who was then obliged to fight for his life,

The British under Churchill stopped Hitler.

Lydia said...

I just want to say that Obama's "Yes, we can" never meant you can do whatever you set out to do, the old can-do spirit. "Yes, we can" was a campaign slogan, and I believe it meant, yes, we can elect Barack Obama.

From Obama's January 2008 New Hampshire primary speech:

For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we've been told we're not ready or that we shouldn't try or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.


Sounds like he's extolling that old can-do spirit to me.

n.n said...

The logic is plain, Obama is pro-choice.

Freder Frederson said...

No surprise that you forget that Hitler and Stalin were allies.

Hitler and Stalin were not allies, they signed a non-aggression pact. Stalin was our ally.

Freder Frederson said...

The British under Churchill stopped Hitler.

Hitler stopped Hitler by foolishly attacking the Soviet Union without dealing with the UK.

The French and the British should have stopped Hitler in France. Churchill was as equally to blame (if not more so) for the disaster that was the German invasion of France as the French. He blamed it all on the French though.

Rusty said...


The French and the British should have stopped Hitler in France.

I don't think they could have. Not with the equipment and leadership that the British had. The Germans just outclassed the British and French in both material and tactics. The France had a very good main battle tank. Arguably better than the German main battle tank. They just didn't know how to use it.
Chuchill won the war by getting the Americans to fight it.

AReasonableMan said...

Freder is closer to the truth on the pivotal role of the Soviets in the downfall of the Nazis. Even if the US had not become involved the Soviets would have prevailed eventually.

khesanh0802 said...

@ARM remember that we armed and fed the Russians while they fought Hitler. I don't know but I,too, suspect the Russians would have won eventually, but they would have taken a lot longer and might not have made it without our trucks and supplies.

Gahrie said...

Hitler and Stalin were not allies, they signed a non-aggression pact

Agreeing not to attack each other, and to divide a third nation between you, seems to be pretty close to "allied" in my opinion.

J. Farmer said...

@AReasonableMan:

"France and the UK are both nuclear powers and have world rankings in military power of 5 and 6, respectively. What the fuck do you want? If they were much stronger they wouldn't need to be allied with the US.

Not sure you really get the concept of allies."

I do not believe that the UK or France matter "on the world stage" to any significant degree. They are important components in our relationship with Europe and with Russia, but as for the rest of the world, they are irrelevant. The reason that the EU exists is because France and Germany (and the UK to a lesser extent) realize that individually they have no chance of really standing up to the great powers. NATO and subordination to US power made sense in the Soviet age. The effort to build a European super-state is largely an effort to create a power capable of challenging the US and Russia. It's in our interest to discourage that union.

@Rusty:

"I doubt this. Otherwise there would be no NATO."

NATO is exactly what the EU is designed to supplant. I don't worry too much about this, since I believe NATO should have been disbanded after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But Germany and (especially) France are itching to move the EU towards military integration. Military relations with the US are useful to France and Germany as leverage against Russia in the East. They are desperate to pull the Ukraine into their orbit, and they wouldn't mind the US doing the heavy lifting. Here/ is Peter Hitchens giving a useful talk on the EU's role as a German-dominated superstate.

From the point of the view of the US, a divide-and-conquer strategy would be much more useful. We should cede to the Russians a sphere of influence in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Some kind of defense alliance with the UK, France, and Germany would make sense, but war guarantees to Latvia and Montenegro, no. Similarly, we should give the Chinese latitude in Southeast Asia. The ASEAN countries have enough collective self-interest to form mutual security alliances with each other and to develop defense postures meant to counter China. We don't gain anything by inserting ourselves into the process and trying to take center stage.

JPS said...

"Agreeing not to attack each other, and to divide a third nation between you, seems to be pretty close to "allied" in my opinion."

Not to mention that part of that agreement included the Soviets materially supplying the Nazi war effort. I read once of German troops, massing in preparation for Barbarossa, watching the last Soviet supply train enter territory they controlled.

I don't deny that the Soviets did the heavy lifting in defeating their moral twin, and that that was worth certain considerations (and morally messy compromises).

J. Farmer said...

The original sin of the 20th century was the First World War. It was the great catastrophe of the modern era. The UK should have stayed out of it, and the US most certainly should have stayed out of it. Wilson's support for that war was a colossal blunder, compounded by his total ineffectiveness in Paris in 1919. Wilsonian national self-determination led to genocides, ethnic cleansing, and brutal violence all over the globe.

Quaestor said...

Hitler and Stalin were not allies, they signed a non-aggression pact. Stalin was our ally.

As usual Freder Frederson distorts history to suit his druthers. Before Stalin was our ally, he was Hitler's. To pretend otherwise is to mince words into a meaningless gruel. The Red Army attacked Poland on September 17, 1939. The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact stipulated exactly how and when Poland was to be partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union. They planned the attack together, and they carried out the plan together. That's the definition of an alliance.

Freder is closer to the truth on the pivotal role of the Soviets in the downfall of the Nazis. Even if the US had not become involved the Soviets would have prevailed eventually.

No, Freder is wearing his dunce cap again. His theory about WWII without the USA as a belligerent ignores the vast amount of material support the USSR received from the United States. It also ignores the fact that Stalin treated to sue for a separate peace on at least two occasions if the Western Allies did not open the "Second Front" by such-and-such a date. For example the Red Air Force was largely destroyed by August 1941. It was the delivery of P-39 and P-40 fighters and B-25 bombers via the Alaska-Siberia air route, and the daylight attacks on Nazi-controlled European targets by the USAAF, which caused Goering to reassign the Luftwaffe from the Eastern Front to defense of the Reich, that gave Russia the breathing space necessary to rebuild and train a new, modern Red Air Force.

There are several scholars who believe Hitler could have won a single-front war against Russia. The German army did in fact accomplish this in 1917, and that was just one front of a four-front war, so it was by no means impossible.

Quaestor said...

Typo correction: "It also ignores the fact that Stalin threatened to sue for a separate peace on at least two occasions if the Western Allies did not open the "Second Front" by such-and-such a date."

chuck myguts said...

I would have to say that most if not all of the democrat party do not want the US to be " as his own country so proudly does – as a wholly independent state...."

Most would be far happier if the US were subjucated to the UN

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
Freder is closer to the truth on the pivotal role of the Soviets in the downfall of the Nazis. Even if the US had not become involved the Soviets would have prevailed eventually.

Stalin demanded a second front by the allies because he was getting his head handed to him.Only after we invaded France and by doing so diverted men and materiel from the eastern front. Also. Paulus divided his forces. Sending an army group south to the Caucuses. If he hadn't done that he would have taken Stalingrad.
There is something people tend to forget. The United States was fighting two wars many thousands of miles from our boarders and doing a brilliant job of getting men and materiel where it needed to be.

AReasonableMan said...

That the entry of the US into the war made life substantially more difficult for the Nazis is not in question. The commies still would have won in the long run. Hitler's anti-communist mania was arguably the biggest single factor contributing to the German defeat. Without that the world would look very different.

Quaestor said...

The commies still would have won in the long run.

Far from proven. However Germany did defeat Russia in 1917, so another victory in over Russian is far from impossible, I'd estimate the odds at 1 in 3.

AReasonableMan said...

Quaestor said...
Far from proven. However Germany did defeat Russia in 1917, so another victory in over Russian is far from impossible, I'd estimate the odds at 1 in 3.


The commies were vastly stronger in 1941 than Russia was during WWI, when it was in the middle of a civil war.

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
That the entry of the US into the war made life substantially more difficult for the Nazis is not in question. The commies still would have won in the long run. Hitler's anti-communist mania was arguably the biggest single factor contributing to the German defeat. Without that the world would look very different.

Don't forget all the material and technical help the United States supplied to Russia. Ford and Studebaker trucks. Chrysler engineering for their T34 tanks. Airplanes. Ammunition factories. Food. Without our help Russia would not have been able to defeat Germany.