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Jewish World Review
April 23, 2009
/ 29 Nisan 5769
Obama's World Tour
Stop the presses! Finally, after a half-century of
staunchly disagreeing with Dr. Fidel Castro, I see that the Cuban
dictator has rendered a judgment with which I heartily agree. Responding
to the Prophet Obama's friendly conversation with his brother Raul
Castro at the Summit of the Americas in steamy Port-of-Spain, Trinidad,
Fidel, in the words of The Associated Press, "blasted the new U.S.
president for showing signs of 'superficiality.'" But given all the
Hollywood stars Fidel has hosted on his island paradise, you can rest
assured that Fidel is a connoisseur of superficiality.
Fidel apparently was angered by the Prophet's response to President Raul
Castro's offer of having Cuban diplomats convene with their American
counterparts to discuss "todo." That is Spanish for "everything." Pardon
my swanking, but while at the summit, the Prophet did some swanking with
his bilingualism, too. He called Hugo Chavez, another Latin American
dictator, "mi amigo" with near-perfect accentuation.
President Castro had mentioned human rights, press freedoms and
political prisoners as topics for discussion, and our president, in his
innocence, thought Castro was talking about . well, political prisoners,
for instance the prominent opposition leaders who were imprisoned six
years ago, many of whom still suffer in Cuba's ghastly hellholes. He
also mentioned the Cuban government's larcenous policy of taxing the
money that Cubans abroad send back to their families. That really irked
Fidel, whose denunciation of our president could put him in bad odor
with his Hollywood fans. Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore and the
rest have had warm relations with Fidel over the years. The political
awareness and activism of our actors and actresses goes back generations
to the selfless political engagement of the late John Wilkes Booth.
Always, our actors are passionate about their beliefs.
There is something curious about the frenetic pace of the 44th
president's foreign trips this month. Not since the summer of 1998 has
an American president made so many dashes abroad. Have any of the
sleuths in the Washington press corps checked on President Obama's
relations with his interns? I josh, but his energetic globe-trotting is
unusual, given his obligations at home. Here we are struggling with
recession and a sour banking system. The Prophet adds to them the most
colossal domestic package since the New Deal, whereupon he hastens off
to Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Mexico. Increasingly, it
appears that the Prophet Obama is conducting not so much a presidency as
a world tour. He left for London April 2 and hit Strasbourg,
Baden-Baden, Prague, Istanbul and Iraq, and he returned early on April
8. Eight days later, he went off to Mexico and then Trinidad, returning
to his empty White House April 19. What will be next for our restless
As I mentioned last week, to hear this president run down America, you
would think it was a failed state until he was transformed from junior
senator of Illinois to president of the United States. He has surpassed
Jimmy Carter's precedent of being the first ex-president to criticize a
sitting president while on foreign soil. President Obama has become the
first sitting president to criticize America while on foreign soil, and
he does it with the practiced zeal of a person who has been feeding on
anti-American myths for years.
During his visit with President Chavez, President Obama received from
his new amigo a copy of the virulently anti-American book "Open Veins of
Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent." As the
book, abounding with exaggeration and arrant falsehoods, appeared in the
early 1970s, I would not be surprised if the president already had a
copy. Doubtless, he heard similar anti-American canards during the Rev.
Jeremiah Wright's (his former pastor) anti-American rants. Certainly,
our president's friend Bill Ayers, alumnus of the Weather Underground,
believes every word in "Open Veins." Its anti-Americanism was at the
heart of the New Left back in the days of the Cold War. Its thesis is
that Europe and America have exploited Latin America for centuries,
leaving it impoverished and governed by corrupt leaders.
Now, of course, Latin America has such democratic exemplars as
Presidents Chavez and Castro, as well as Nicaragua's president, Daniel
Ortega, and Bolivia's Evo Morales. So maybe good government is at hand
for Latin America. Possibly, it is only a matter of time before these
political geniuses return Latin America to the glory of the Incas and
the Aztecs. Perhaps President Obama, too, can succeed in bringing
civilization to America. Meanwhile, think of all the frequent flier
miles he is accumulating.
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JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, Creators Syndicate