HANSON ON THE CRISIS - AT 7:01 P.M. ET: Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on what President Obama faces with North Korea and Iran. Hanson is kind, but makes clear the good will toward the president can vanish in an instant if he fails:
I have a great deal of empathy for President Obama on matters like North Korea and Iran — both lunatic players that I think represent firsts in his own experience. You see, there are no good choices, and he can't simply vote "present" this time. Any decision he makes will be evaluated not necessarily on the basis of its superior logic or the eloquence with which it is presented, but solely on whether it works or not. If it does, he will be praised; if it doesn't, he will be damned, unfairly or not.
Neither Ahmadinejad nor Kim Jong-il care a whit about Obama's landmark advance to the presidency, or his sober and judicious efforts to show rational concern for their own predicaments; instead, they calibrate only the degree to which Obama poses an obstacle to their regional ambitions, whether they be rational or not.
Worse still, the soft-power advocates and internationalists abroad who praised Obama to the skies for his restraint and postmodern campaign rhetoric will be the first to damn him as Carteresque and hesitant should these two rogue nations begin to act a little crazy and start testing the waters.
COMMENT: Well stated. The president might well remember the advice Douglas MacArthur's father, a civil war general, gave to his son, that councils of war breed defeatism. Problems become overintellectualized and abstract, and the reality of the situation becomes blurred by rhetoric and self-appointed "experts."
Crunch time coming. Results, Mr. President. Results.
May 25, 2009