My argument for electing President Obama is that the nation had to put Democrats in charge of foreign policy to force them to confront reality. Democrats had spent the eight years of President Bush in opportunistically trashing everything he did, inspired by the left-wing culture that always looks for oppression and then denounces it.
The result has been gratifying, as Democrats have re-upped the Patriot Act, kept Guantanamo open, maintained rendition of terrorists, and abandoned the notion of trying terrorists in civilian courts.
Additionally, the Arab Spring has completely liquidated the Democratic idea of re-engaging the Arab political rulers.
But now, with the death of Osama bin Laden the question of the War on Terror raises its head. What is the War on Terror--or whatever you want to call it--really about? Democrats have trouble with this because of their culture of opposing oppression. This has prompted them to co-opt marginalized peoples and use them for their own purposes, as they used the working class as an excuse to build their centralized administrative state, and African Americans as an excuse to interfere in all relations between Americans that involve race. In other words, the liberal agenda is always to pluck oppressed peoples off feudal estates and slave plantations and move them onto the liberal plantation where the marginalized peoples are just as subordinate as before.
But the real movement of history has been not from one plantation to another, but the expansion of trust and the extension of horizons. Capitalism teaches us to abandon the local culture of the land, in which a lord defends his patrimonial estate from pirates and plunderers, and to submit to a new global culture of service and trust. Other people are not a threat, but an opportunity for exchange.
This new culture developed initially in the northwestern European lands, and met resistance even in Europe where the Educated Youth interpreted the new way as a new exploitation. In the last century Russia, China, and India made epic attempts to resist the new culture. China gave up in 1979 and India in the 1990s, and are now the poster boys of capitalist growth if not yet democratic freedoms.
The problem is the Arabic lands of the Middle East. Islam seems to encourage a culture that resists strongly the new culture of trust and exchange, and oil provided a source of wealth that gave the means to resist. Liberals, sympathizing with the oppressed masses of the Middle East, pat them on the head and encourage them in their resistance to the new global capitalism.
But oil-fueled Islamism ends up being a direct attack on democratic capitalism and requires the democratic capitalist nations to counterattack or at least to contain it. This is the reality that Democrats have been facing in the last two years now that they are in power. In the last ten years, the notion of Islamic extremism was personalized in Osama bin Laden. But now that he is dead, the strategic question re-emerges. What are we trying to do about Islamic extremism, and why?
It is good that bin Laden has been killed on Obama's watch, for now he and the liberal ruling class of the educated elite must decide what our grand strategy should be.
We may all hope that, when Republicans take over the federal government after the fiasco of Obamanomics, that the foreign policy of the United States will be set for the next generation in a sensible practical defense of democratic capitalism and a measured offensive against those who attack it.