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Monday, May 17, 2010

The apology thing 


He did it again.

While I disagree with the vast majority of the things that Barack Obama says and does, nothing irritates me more than his serial apologies for the United States. It accomplishes nothing, and diminishes us. Even Julia Child, who had a lot more experience abroad than Barack Obama, knew better than to apologize, in the sense of explaining failures or shortcomings.

Regular readers know that I am a staunch advocate of apology in personal matters, an entirely different affair. If an individual or even an enterprise hurts somebody, whether culpable or not, it is right, proper, generous and pragmatic to apologize sua sponte. Apologizing for previous policies of the United States or individual states is just self-serving, and weakens us in the eyes of a world that respects leadership and strength a lot more than abstract contrition for matters of history. Apology as a tool of foreign policy -- and I use that term advisedly -- serves domestic politics, and at it makes it more difficult for us to accomplish our national interests because other countries know that our current government, at least, will be loathe to do anything inconsistent with prior apologies.


16 Comments:

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Mon May 17, 08:18:00 AM:

And yet I would be willing to bet that Obama and Ambassador Huntsman would both claim not to have read Arizona's law that they both are willing to criticize.  

By Blogger Reaganite Republican, at Mon May 17, 09:19:00 AM:

SUPPORT ARIZONA…

Everybody sign the petition TODAY, please…

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/2010/05/support-arizona-sign-petition-today.html  

By Anonymous davod, at Mon May 17, 11:25:00 AM:

If anyone was in doubt as to Obama's background and that of his cronies in the Administration they need look no further than the apologies.

As would be any hardcore leftist these people are embarrassed with the USA and its allies.  

By Anonymous davod, at Mon May 17, 11:43:00 AM:

How far will the Administration go to purge us of our past.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Mon May 17, 02:21:00 PM:

My working abroad greatly increased my pride in the US. Two years ago Obama gave a speech in San Antonio in which he wanted to have a generic daughter traveling to world to have pride in the US. Right after that he gave out the "change we can believe in" mantra. My interpretation: vote for Obama, and you can have pride in the US once again.

That did not endear Obama to me.

I doubt Obama has read the relevant passages of the law. As he is a specialist in Constitutional law, he doesn't need to. (sarc)  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Mon May 17, 04:39:00 PM:

Someone please show where Posner used the words apology, contrition, etc. Repeating their already-public disagreement with AZ isn't an apology to China.

Powerline can't report its way out of a paper bag.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Mon May 17, 07:00:00 PM:

Brian, there is no need to actually use the word "apologize". Your are obviously apologizing for Obama without using the word, so it's quite easy to do.

Using Arizona as an example to the Chinese of issues that we have within our own country seeks to place us on the same level as them. Albeit for diplomatic purposes, it is counterintuitive, patronizing and ignorant.

I suspect that Obama is just galled that he can no longer visit the state of Arizona without being put in the position of actually having to prove his citizenship!!!  

By Anonymous sirius_sir, at Mon May 17, 09:13:00 PM:

Of course the Chinese promptly reciprocated and apologized for their treatment of illegal Nork immigrants, Tibetans, and assorted political dissidents. Just goes to show what can be accomplished when you put Smart Diplomacy to work!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon May 17, 10:54:00 PM:

"Using Arizona as an example to the Chinese of issues that we have within our own country seeks to place us on the same level as them. Albeit for diplomatic purposes, it is counterintuitive, patronizing and ignorant."

How does bringing the issue up "seek to place us on the same level"? It doesn't, even if the two countries are discussing human rights issues. They were discussing human rights and nowhere in there does Posner suggest that we are on the same level, but that we need to improve certain situations in our own country (namely, the absolutely fucked 'reform' that is Arizona's new immigration law).

Furthermore, the author of that article said, "We on the other hand, enforce our immigration law" and that Arizona "had to take a shot at it." Does this guy realize what the real problem with this reform is at all? This immigration reform is very much related to human rights, but he is NOT comparing the murder of millions of Chinese to that.

He is either very thick or is deliberately misleading his readers. Calling these guys "Anti-American" for bringing this issue up makes them look like a bunch of over-sensitive jackasses.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Tue May 18, 03:06:00 AM:

"How does bringing the issue up "seek to place us on the same level"? "

Are you stupid enough to think that the Chinese acknowledged their own abominable record on human rights or are you just being sophistic? You seem to think we are not living in world where Libya gets to serve on the UN "Human Rights Commission". Our enemies, like Iran, love to berate us for our shortcomings, real and imagined, no matter how thuggish they are and this only serves to justify them. The very fact that you consider it "fucked" for us to try to do what *every* other country does - namely secure its borders - shows the delusions you are laboring under.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Tue May 18, 03:11:00 AM:

This is *exactly* why after a lifetime of voting Democratic I would now no sooner vote for a Democrat than cut my arm off. At a certain point it became clear that the "Michael Moore" wing of the Democrats - those who hate America and think our country is always the bad guy - was no longer just a fringe but was in fact the dominant force in that party. I still don't believe that the majority of rank-and-file Democrats adhere to this but the America-hating left is loud, vocal, and active. And they are driving the Democrat bus right now.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue May 18, 07:08:00 AM:

Immigration is NOT a "Human rights" issue.

It is an issue of law & order and security.

To see it any other way is reminiscent of Pollyanna.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed May 19, 09:38:00 AM:

JPMcT. You are right, immigration is NOT a human rights issue. The Arizonian approach to deal with immigration IS a human rights issue.

Gary,
"Are you stupid enough to think that the Chinese acknowledged their own abominable record on human rights or are you just being sophistic?"

No, and no, and my response doesn't imply this.

"The very fact that you consider it "fucked" for us to try to do what *every* other country does - namely secure its borders - shows the delusions you are laboring under. "

That is not the issue that I am addressing. Securing the border is NOT my problem. I believe in a strong and effective immigration policy. The immigration reform, which is ineffective and would never work while being blatantly racist and anti-American, is my problem.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Wed May 19, 09:50:00 PM:

I don't know if Brian and Anon are being willfully obtuse or being coy and deceitful. Either way, I guess.

Had we mentioned rights violations in China and the Chinese responded "Yes, but you have steroids in baseball," even the Obama administration wouldn't deign to discuss the matter further, because it is disproportionate. Or, if you can't bear to think of the Chinese as silly, had they accused us of human rights violations and we responded, "yeah, but you have underage gymnasts," the Chinese would have every right to decline that discussion as unserious.

Or in blog terms, if I say "X's comments on this thread advocating the invasion of Holland are insane," and X replied that my spelling is bad, every reader would recognise that as so thoroughly disproportionate that no further discussion with X would be entertained.

That Posner engaged the subject at all indicates he considered them roughly comparable. That he added "You forgot our racist Arizonians" reinforces that equivalence and is contemptible. You are trying to squint, reframe, and convince us with the argument that it's not absolutely certain that Posner regards them as comparable - there is some theoretical chance that he regards them as unequal, but is stupid enough to think the Chinese won't think so if he plays nice. Not very persuasive.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Thu May 20, 01:21:00 AM:

"The immigration reform, which is ineffective and would never work while being blatantly racist and anti-American"

Now you're just babbling incoherent left-wing talking points. Buh-bye.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu May 20, 07:37:00 AM:

"The immigration reform, which is ineffective..."

Prove it.

Wait, what?

You mean it hasn't come into effect yet? There aren't any results at all from which to judge? Oh. Okay.

"and would never work"

Could you teach me to read the stars, too? I think that would be so cool.

"while being blatantly racist"

Did you know that the bill explicitly prohibits racial profiling? No? Well, no surprise. I mean if the Attorney general, State Department, and fucking President can't be bothered to read a 16 page bill before spouting off about it in front of every TV camera they can find, why should you? They serve as an example to us all.

"and anti-American"

I agree. There's nothing that goes against the very grain of our culture like enforcement of the law.

Glad to see your heart's in the right place.  

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