If you’re like me, you might occasionally wonder if all that muslim
outreach Barack Obama has done over the first year is paying dividends. And the answer is emphatically: Yes. Unfortunately, the payday is going to the guy who runs the “throw a shoe at Obama” booth in Indonesia. You know, that Islamic country that is slightly more friendly towards Beyonce and Gwen Stefani than Malaysia (provided they essentially wear winter jackets and moon boots during their performances). It’s also the same country, however, that gets to deal with Bali terrorists that like to kill you to Euro-Asian fusion dance beats and Sunday churchgoers who get bomb threats with Holy Communion.
It’s not that I don’t think there’s a place in the world for Youtube Diplomacy, or high stakes geo-political chess matches in which pawns like Ashton Kutcher can conceivably take out KGB Kings with his Dude, Where’s My Car intellect. I do. Actually…I don’t, but if I did it would be a really, really, really small one. Instead, these sorts of gestures (which apparently get you a Nobel Peace Prize) seem to be play a much bigger role than I think most Americans are comfortable with. Symbolism over Strength does not appear to be working. From the reset button with the Russians to carefully prepared outreach pieces to the Muslim world, the Obama administration seems to have put far too much faith in his image to alter a country’s actions based on its self-interest. They seem to be learning this the hard way, but I guess it’s better late than never, right? Unless “late” in this case actually winds up being too late…
Whether it’s underwear Christmas bombers from Yemen, Pakistani Taliban press releases, Iraqi election day bombs, Iranian efforts to acquire nukes, or shoe-throwing Indonesians—large swathes of the muslim world still (and always will) despise the United States and its President, regardless of party affiliation. For further explanation read Mark Steyn’s wonderful book America Alone.
And so I ask you this, the most important of all questions, Mr. President: Will you display Bush’s Matrix-like reflexes when the first shoe flies? I’d ask David Axelrod, but he’s cranky and acting like David Axl Rose right about now.