Then France happened

As I finished yet another piece about politics, I realized just how empty all the rhetoric is. France happened.

And what did we learn?

We learned the most powerful nation on Earth has an abundance of isolationists. We learned that the most powerful nation on Earth, that shining city on a hill, doesn’t have much room for people in severe distress. Let another little one’s lifeless body wash up on shore. Let some of our greatest allies in the world bear the brunt of a humanitarian crisis as we watch from afar. It’s like we still don’t get it. This country either leads or it perishes. Leading is in our DNA. And warts and all, this country is a universe away from the alternative.

What did we learn?

We learned President Obama would be wise to keep his mouth closed about ISIS. First, they were the junior varsity. Then they were contained. Then France happened.

I’ve written countless times that one should take a deep breath before laying into the foreign policy of a president. Until you’re in that office confronting the reality and the complexity of a violent world, it’s usually best to be extremely measured about one’s own views on foreign policy. But in this case, President Obama seemed so intent on avoiding war, avoiding conflict, that he allowed ISIS. He left Libya in a vacuum. Inaction in Syria early on has, in part, created the flood of refugees, which are pushing our allies to the brink. Which are breeding a frightening xenophobic nationalism. ¬†This nationalism lashes out at the very people who are most in tune with our principles and way of life, as they flee those who hate freedom, who hate them.

What did we learn?

To never ever make disparaging remarks about the society¬†and spirit of the people of France, unless you really like to look completely ignorant. They’re just a people that have been our allies, our supporters, longer than anyone else on the planet.

What did we learn?

Just how interconnected we truly are. How much we need to remain open and compassionate. At least, I hope that’s what we learned

 

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