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Disaster in the Making?

Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

After many a disappointment with someone, and especially after a disaster, we may be able to look back at numerous clues that should have warned us that the person we trusted did not deserve our trust.

When that person is the President of the United States, the potential for disaster is virtually unlimited.

Many people are rightly worried about what this administration's reckless spending will do to the economy in our time and to our children and grandchildren, to whom a staggering national debt will be passed on. But if the worst that Barack Obama does is ruin the economy, I will breathe a sigh of relief.

He is heading this country toward disaster on many fronts, including a nuclear Iran, which has every prospect of being an irretrievable disaster of almost unimaginable magnitude. We cannot put that genie back in the bottle-- and neither can generations yet unborn. They may yet curse us all for leaving them hostages to nuclear terror.

Conceivably, Israel can spare us that fate by taking out the Iranian nuclear facilities, instead of relying on Obama's ability to talk the Iranians out of going nuclear.

What the Israelis cannot spare us, however, are our own internal problems, of which the current flap over President Obama's injecting himself into a local police issue is just a small sign of a very big danger.

Nothing has torn more countries apart from inside like racial and ethnic polarization. Just this year, a decades-long civil war, filled with unspeakable atrocities, has finally ended in Sri Lanka. The painful irony is that, when the British colony of Ceylon became the independent nation of Sri Lanka in 1948, its people were considered to be a shining example for the world of good relations between a majority (the Sinhalese) and a minority (the Tamils). That all changed when politicians decided to "solve" the "problem" that the Tamil minority was much more economically successful than the Sinhalese majority. Group identity politics led to group preferences and quotas that escalated into polarization, mob violence and ultimately civil war.

Group identity politics has poisoned many other countries, including at various times Kenya, Czechoslovakia, Fiji, Guyana, Canada, Nigeria, India, and Rwanda. In some countries the polarization has gone as far as mass expulsions or civil war.

The desire of many Americans for a "post-racial" society is well-founded, though the belief that Barack Obama would move in that direction was extremely ill-advised, given the history of his actions and associations.

This is a president on a mission to remake American society in every aspect, by whatever means are necessary and available. That requires taking all kinds of decisions out of the hands of ordinary Americans and transferring them to Washington elites-- and ultimately the number one elite, Barack Obama himself.
Like so many before him who have ruined countries around the world, Obama has a greatly inflated idea of his own capabilities and the prospects of what can be accomplished by rhetoric or even by political power. Often this has been accompanied by an ignorance of history, including the history of how many people before him have tried similar things with disastrous results.

During a recent TV interview, when President Obama was asked about the prospects of victory in Afghanistan, he replied that it would not be victory like in World War II, with "Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur." In reality, it was more than a year after Japanese officials surrendered on the battleship Missouri before Hirohito met General Douglas MacArthur for the first time.

This is not the first betrayal of his ignorance by Obama, nor the first overlooked by the media. Moreover, ignorance by itself is not nearly as bad as charging full steam ahead, pretending to know. Barack Obama is doing that on a lot of issues, not just history or a local police incident in Massachusetts.

While the mainstream media in America will never call him on this, these repeated demonstrations of his amateurism and immaturity will not go unnoticed by this country's enemies around the world. And it is the American people who will pay the price.

Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930), is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholarship melding history, economics, and political science. In 2003, he was awarded the the Bradley Prize for intellectual achievement.

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2009-09-06 16:50:27
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