Does Obama Understand Why Certain World Leaders Hate Us?

As President Obama returns from what some have called his second apology tour abroad, Victor Davis Hanson asks,

One wonders whether President Obama, for all the soaring rhetoric, grasps why certain nations really do hate us. Does he think a Grozny, Darfur, Rwanda, Serbia, or Tibet happen in reaction to US global sinful conduct? Does he appreciate why hot spots like Cyprus, Taiwan, or Georgia, do not boil over–or under what conditions they might? Does he really believe that in the pre-Bush era we all got along (cf. his al Arabiya interview); then Bush’s strutting, unilateralism, and preemption, presto, caused anti-Americanism.

He seems to think that it’s his predecessor’s policies rather than our adversaries’ ideologies which is their source of their animus. If only we would change, well, then so would they.

All too many on the left seek the answer to the question, “Why Do They Hate Us?” in the object of the question rather than its subjects.

Many left-of-center bloggers do the same sort of thing. They attribute the bile they spew against us to something that is detestable about us, never considering that the ardor of their animus may stem from some inner “need” of their own. Maybe that’s one reason they so readily defend the President’s rhetoric abroad. If the roots of anti-American animus lie in America (& Americans), then they need not apologize for their hatred because its roots lie not in them, but their adversaries (i.e., conservatives in general and George W. Bush in particular).

Anti-Americanism, however, is part and parcel of the ideology of our adversaries abroad. They need something to run against, to deflect attention from their failed policies and to exaggerate their own messianic standing, as the hero defending his people against an evil which would otherwise overwhelm them. Or, as Hanson puts it:

Why does Hugo Chavez hate us? Is it because Bush’s ‘dead or alive’ed him or ‘with us or against us”ed him? Hardly. Chavez wants to end democracy in Venezuela for good, turn it into a Cuba-like communist dictatorship, use his oil revenues to whip up liberationist, anti-Yanqui feelings throughout South America, and end up with himself as some sort of messianic caudillo of the entire socialist continent.

Perhaps, as Max Boot offers, the President’s handshake with Chavez was just a handshake which “could actually be a smart strategic move.” I hope he’s right.

By this explanation, the handshake was thus the least of Obama’s errors abroad. It was his apologies which were really disturbing. Not just because of how they weaken his nation’s standing in the comunity of nations, but because of what they reveal about his understanding of the world.

He needs understand that without America, there would still be evil in the world, indeed, there would likely be more of it. Much more. Much, much, much more.

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