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Thursday, September 11, 2014

David Brooks, "The Reluctant Leader": Comparing Obama With Moses

Holy Moses! Although we have grown increasingly accustomed to David Brooks's pseudo-philosophical babble over the course of the years, none of this prepared us for his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Reluctant Leader," which has to be his worst opinion piece ever. Contemplating the challenge posed to Obama by the Islamic State and seeking to explain how "circumstances thrust certain responsibilities" upon leaders, Brooks begins:

"Moses, famously, tried to get out of it. When God called on him to lead the Israelites, Moses threw up a flurry of reasons he was the wrong man for the job: I’m a nobody; I don’t speak well; I’m not brave.

But the job was thrust upon him. Though he displayed some of the traits you’d expect from a guy who would rather be back shepherding (passivity, whining), he became a great leader. He became the ultimate model for reluctant leadership."

Compare Obama with Moses? Yeah, right.

Moses didn't want the job of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. On the other hand, Obama did want the job of president with all its trappings; he simply didn't want - and was never prepared for - the attendant responsibilities.

And whereas Obama takes every opportunity to play golf with jock celebrities notwithstanding crises brewing at home or abroad, Moses never once hit the links in Sinai, despite its famous sand traps.

Brooks continues:

"History is full of reluctant leaders, too. President Obama is the most recent. He recently gave a speech on the need to move away from military force. He has tried to pivot away from the Middle East. He tried desperately to avoid the Syrian civil war.

. . . .

No American president could allow a barbaric caliphate to establish itself in the middle of the Middle East.

. . . .

The reluctant leader can be collaborative. He didn’t want his task, so he’s eager to share it. The Arab world can fully trust that Obama doesn’t have any permanent designs on their region because the guy is dying to wash his hands of the whole place as soon as possible."

Let's talk for a moment about Syria and what Obama did and didn't do. Obama declared that if Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, this would be a "red line" for him. Well, Assad used chemical weapons against civilians in Syria's civil war, whereupon Obama sought, but failed, to create an international coalition to fight Assad. Afterwards, Obama sought, but failed, to obtain Congressional approval for dealing with Assad. This is a man "the Arab world can fully trust"?

If "no American president could allow a barbaric caliphate to establish itself in the middle of the Middle East," how is it that an American president permitted a maniacal despot to use chemical weapons against civilians in a brutal civil war which has caused more than 200,000 deaths and resulted in nine million refugees?

Obama forced Assad to turn over his chemical weapons arsenal? No way! As reported by Reuters in an article entitled "U.N. cites concerns over possible gaps in Syria's declared chemical arms," there is considerable concern that Bashar al-Assad did not hand over all of Syria's chemical weapons for destruction. Even US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power is quoted in this article as saying:

"Certainly if there are chemical weapons left in Syria, there will be a risk that those weapons fall into [the Islamic State's] hands. And we can only imagine what a group like that would do if in possession of such a weapon."

If there are still chemical weapons left in Syria? Would anyone in their right mind - other than John (Assad is "my dear friend") Kerry place his or her trust in Assad?

"The  reluctant leader can be collaborative"? Oh really? Perhaps you remember how Obama named Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as one of his best overseas friends in 2012; however, we are now being told by Lebanon's The Daily Star that Obama's friend Erdogan has decided not to participate in the coalition being formed by Obama to attack the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which have financed the Islamic State on the sly, are going to join a coalition fighting this monstrous organization? Not a chance.

Most remarkably, Brooks never considers even for a moment whether Obama's much delayed decision to confront the Islamic State is the product of his disastrous foreign policy approval ratings and the effect this could have on the 2014 midterm elections. Moses, on the other hand, when ordering the destruction of the golden calf, never looked to Gallup for guidance.

Expect leadership from Obama so late in his presidency? No way! He's an orator, not a leader.

Expect something other than tripe from David Brooks? I've lost all hope.


  1. "Comparing Obama With Moses"
    Why not? He was elected as a Saint, the Messiah, God..
    And, sadly, other possibilities were ignored. So, it's time to correct: "He is also Moses, Buddha, ALL Saints, etc."
    In other words, I really, really, really don't see how we can survive this nonsense.

  2. Of course comparing Moses and Obama is laughable but I believe the monied establishment behind Obama does want dominion in the Middle East. From what I've been reading, I've come to the conclusion that the strategy was to cause as much chaos as possible by arming "moderate rebels" over the past few years until the region is crawling with jihadists and other vermin, then pretend reluctance to get militarily involved, then come, finally, like gangbusters to "save" the region after it has descended into total hell, position puppet dictators and move to gain new sources of energy and wealth to buoy the dollar which is in the toilet and would soon be flushed down had there not been a new frontier to exploit.

  3. JG: He's NOT an orator either. since I forced myself to listen to his 'speech' on IS, he can't even perform as an orator while reading his speech.

    Moses is claimed by islam as one of their fifteen prophets and messengers.

    Maybe Mr. Brooks needs a pilgimage to St. Catherine's Monastery (a recent Jeopardy question no less - located at the base of Mt. Sinai) to contemplate his nave :)

    Thanks for carrying the burden of reading the NYT. Guess someone should still do it...