Center Field: Obamchashverosh’s foolish foreign policy and the candidate-jesters

A nightmarish Purim spiel.

March 22, 2016 20:07
US President Barack Obama gestures during a meeting with American Jewish leaders

US President Barack Obama gestures during a meeting with American Jewish leaders. (photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)

And it came to pass in the days of Obamchashverosh, the same Obamchashverosh who ruled from California to the New York island (with 800 military bases in another 70 or so countries). In those days, King Obamchashverosh sat in his Oval Office, nestled in Shush-angry, a town divided between those who silently submitted to all his decrees and those furious at every one of them. In his reign’s eighth year, he feasted in Havana, with his visit prompting what one Cuban dissident called a “climate of it does not occur to anyone to say anything to [Obamchashverosh] while he is here.”

Yea, Obamchashverosh was, as Rabban Gamaliel would say in the Talmud, Megillah 15b, “melech hafachfach,” the fickle king. He wasn’t foolish but ideological.

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He defined America by its historic “warts” not its redemptive potential. He didn’t understand that when America retreats, evil fills the vacuum; when it telegraphs weakness, bullies swagger. He trusted traditional foes like Cuba and Iran – led by Supreme Leader Ali Haman-i (Khameini), yet mistrusted traditional friends like Great Britain and Israel.

In his flip-flopping, nahafochu world, Obamchashverosh drew “red lines” against chemical weapons in Syria, ignored them, then boasted about letting the Russians do America’s dirty work, ignoring the implications of appearing wimpy and empowering Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obamchashverosh dismissed Islamic State (ISIS) “as the Jayvee team.” He preached, a sycophantic scribe reported, that “terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents and falls in bathtubs do,” (although Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson would scoff: “bathtubs are not actively plotting to kill us”).

Verily, Obamchashverosh banned the phrase “Islamist terrorism” from Shush-angry, preferring the tortured formulation: “There is a violent, radical, fanatical, nihilistic interpretation of Islam by a faction – a tiny faction – within the Muslim community that is our enemy, and that has to be defeated.” He naively compared Arab Spring protesters to Rosa Parks and the “patriots of Boston.” He supported Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, supposedly on democratic grounds, forgetting that democracy is incompatible with totalitarianism, requiring genuine freedom, tolerance, rule of law and minority rights, not just popular support.

He compared the Palestinians’ situation with that of the “black people in America” who “suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation.”

The invidious comparison echoed the lie that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was racial not national and ignored Palestinian leaders’ repeated decisions to reject compromises whereas enslaved blacks were powerless.

And Obamchashverosh deemed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the leader who most disappointed him, blaming him for the Middle East stalemate even as Palestinians slashed and shot Israelis daily – for Netanyahu “would not kneel or bow.”

Nevertheless, “All the king’s servants at the king’s gate” – led by most Jewish Democrats – “kneeled and bowed before [him], for so had the king commanded.”

So the fickleness fever spread, festering especially in the universities and other centers of totalitarian leftism that worshiped Obamchashverosh. Even though Haman-i, Hama(n)s (the “n” is silent), and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s people kept promising “to annihilate all the Jews,” too many of Obamchashverosh’s vassals hated the Jews not the Jew-haters, saying the Jewish state’s “laws are unlike those of any other nation,” thus “it is not in” our “interest to tolerate them.”

Verily, on campuses and elsewhere the Jews’ state was targeted. So-called “human rights” groups targeted Israel without mourning 450,000 dead Syrians.

So-called “liberal” groups denounced democratic Israel but not authoritarian regimes. Professed “feminists” despised egalitarian Israel but ignored the despicable sexual slavery and mass rape Yazidi girls suffered at the hands of Islamic State (ISIS) pigs. Radical African- Americans who professed to abhor racism falsely racialized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without condemning the slavery blacks suffered in the Sudan. And radical LGBT groups were so threatened that liberal, open-minded, democratic but hated Israel respected gay rights while so many Islamic countries, Hama[n] s and the Palestinian Authority don’t, they concocted a fantasy known as “pinkwashing” alleging that gay-friendly Tel Aviv was a mere ruse to score propaganda points for Israel in America.

In this eighth year of Obamchashverosh’s reign, “a pur, which is a lot, was cast” among his subjects, seeking a successor. Alas, all the candidates were jesters.

Donald of the big mouth and the big, er, heavy hands emphasized the most idiotic credential for leadership ever, boasting about being the Israel Day Parade’s “grand marshal.” Brooklyn Boynie called himself the “son of Polish immigrants,” when everyone knew that meant “Jew.” Ted Crude thought that someone who could not get along with anyone in the sandbox or the Senate somehow had the people skills to lead a great nation. Hillary the ex-queen and former secretary of cybersecurity, neither rebellious like Vashti nor virtuous like Esther, hoped that Obamchashverosh’s loyal Jewish subjects would finance her campaign even though she praised the son of one of her courtier’s children, who compared Israelis to Nazis, by saying “Max is a mitzvah.”

Too many of Obamchashverosh’s Jewish serfs ignored the great historic teaching: “Do not think that you will escape [the fate of] all the Jews by being in the king’s palace. For if you will remain silent at this time, relief and salvation will come to the Jews from another source, and you and [your soul] will be lost.”

And it came to pass, that with four months to go before the nominating conventions, and another four months to go before Election Day, all the sane, rational people from California to the New York island could do was “tear their clothes [in mourning] and put on sackcloth and ash,” engaging in “fasts and lamentations.”

In the nineteenth century, they used to say “God takes care of fools, drunkards, babies and the United States.” Let us pray this Purim that He is still ready to intervene.

(Thanks to for the megillah translation.)

The author is professor of history at McGill University. His most recent book, The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s, is his eleventh. Follow on Twitter @GilTroy

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