October 27, 2009

'Obama Is Average' Interview with Charles Krauthammer

bigkrauthammer2.jpgYesterday the German news magazine Der Spiegel published in SPIEGEL ONLINE an interview with Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, one of the most influential conservative commentators in the United States. The result is an interview of over 4,000 words giving us in-depth look at Krauthammer's thinking and observations that we'd never see in the American news media. Since a wide-ranging interview of this length is a rarity in any medium, I'd urge you to read the entire piece. It will give you a sense of the Krauthammer's wide-ranging intellect that you can't get from newspaper columns and brief television appearances. That said, here are a few choice excerpts:

On the Nobel "Prize"

SPIEGEL: Mr. Krauthammer, did the Nobel Commitee in Oslo honor or doom the Obama presidency by awarding him the Peace Prize?

Charles Krauthammer: It is so comical. Absurd. Any prize that goes to Kellogg and Briand, Le Duc Tho and Arafat, and Rigoberta Menchú, and ends up with Obama, tells you all you need to know. For Obama it's not very good because it reaffirms the stereotypes about him as the empty celebrity.

SPIEGEL: Why does it?

Krauthammer: He is a man of perpetual promise. There used to be a cruel joke that said Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be; Obama is the Brazil of today's politicians. He has obviously achieved nothing. And in the American context, to be the hero of five Norwegian leftists, is not exactly politically positive.

Emerging Powers?
Krauthammer: The Chinese are rising, the Indians have a very long way to go. But I'm old enough to remember the late 1980s, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" by Paul Kennedy and the prevailing view that America was in decline and Japan was the rising power. The fashion now is that the Chinese will overtake the United States. As with the great Japan panic, there are all kinds of reasons why that will not happen.

Wars of Necessity, Wars of Choice
Krauthammer: The phrase "war of necessity and war of choice" is a phrase that came out of a different context. Milan Kundera once wrote, "a small country is a country that can disappear and knows it." He was thinking of prewar Czechoslovakia. Israel is a country that can disappear and knows it. America, Germany, France, Britain, are not countries that can disappear. They can be defeated but they cannot disappear. For the great powers, and especially for the world superpower, very few wars are wars of necessity. In theory, America could adopt a foreign policy of isolationism and survive. We could fight nowhere, withdraw from everywhere -- South Korea, Germany, Japan, NATO, the United Nations -- if we so chose. From that perspective, every war since World War II has been a war of choice.

The Obama "Doctrine"
Krauthammer: I would say his vision of the world appears to me to be so naïve that I am not even sure he's able to develop a doctrine. He has a view of the world as regulated by self-enforcing international norms, where the peace is kept by some kind of vague international consensus, something called the international community, which to me is a fiction, acting through obviously inadequate and worthless international agencies. I wouldn't elevate that kind of thinking to a doctrine because I have too much respect for the word doctrine.
The full interview is HERE.
[HT: Wheat & Weeds: But He Could Be Re-Elected Anyway?]

Posted by Vanderleun at October 27, 2009 7:51 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Money quote:

"What the Obama Administration Pretends Is Realism Is Naïve Nonsense"

THAT is going to leave a mark! And it has to be the statement of the year.

Posted by: RagnarD at October 27, 2009 11:00 PM

After reading Mr. Krauthammer's interview, it just left me longing for more. I was impressed by the entire interview. "The United Nations is worse than disaster. The United Nations creates conflict." I have thought this to be true for a long time.

Posted by: Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas at October 28, 2009 5:16 AM

Well ditto, the UN has at least a third of it's ranks filled by petty tyrants, it's the old story of the wolves deciding what to do with the lambs.It's a little distressing to consider that he thinks Obama can still be reelected, and he holds Romney as the great hope.

Posted by: narciso at October 28, 2009 6:56 AM

Cilla: The Doctor is in most nights at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox News' "Special Report", the best news show on television. He is the star of the panel segments that usually run at 40 minutes after the hour.


Posted by: Fat Man at October 28, 2009 11:10 AM

I am increasingly of the thesis that Obama is a political milleniarian, which Krauthammer's observations also seem to support.

Political milleniarianism is not purely secular, though. Its adherents have an unbounded (and be honest, historically unjustified) faith in government and its ability to order the lives of the people better than they can order their own lives. Political or religious milleniarians are always firmly authoritarian and use the power of government to cement the control of institutions and agencies over the daily lives of the people. Milleniarianism always opposes personal freedom.

I expanded this thesis this morning with the conclusion that while Obama has goals but no apparent plan to attain them, he probably does not actually need a plan.

See, "Is Obama a milleniarian without a plan? Does he even need one?"

Posted by: Donald Sensing at October 28, 2009 12:16 PM

The thing that struck me after reading the interview was that the questions directed at Mr. Krauthammer harkened to the notion that Europe may see the US as still as fascinated with Obama as they are.
A nice dose a what reality we face with him as POTUS.

Posted by: Milwaukee Mike at October 29, 2009 7:55 PM

for that, you should be prepared for extreme hard work and dedication. chicago residents consider nursing school acceptance and encouragement of multiculturalism in the nursing profession would benefit nurses and patients of all backgrounds.

Posted by: Hooks at January 25, 2013 10:19 PM