You've heard it: "If you can keep cool while everybody else is going crazy, maybe you don't understand the problem." Welcome now to the mirror opposite. A story that barely made the news has me terrified, and yet nobody else has the remotest notion what it is and why it's dangerous.
Liberals point out that Fox News is always looking for trouble in the Obama administration. Liberals fail to add how good Fox is at finding it! Only Fox, that I know of, emblazoned in a headline position in its coverage the story of Obama snubbing the secretary-general of NATO. The world today has more tension-tugs and tinderboxes than it did on Aug. 31, 1939, the day before the start of World War II. NATO is the largest military alliance on earth. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg happened to be in America for three whole days. A time-honored tradition since the 1940s is – when the secretary-general of NATO wants to meet with the president of the United States, the president makes himself available. That tradition survived every normal presidency since then and even the presidency of Bill Clinton. When Stoltenberg called the Obama White House, however, the wires came down. The call was not returned.
They say you begin to feel old when you first notice the football players are younger than you, and so are the policemen. None of that affected me. I didn't feel that twinge until the son – the "little boy" – of my best friend in Norway became the secretary-general of NATO! Stoltenberg's father, Thorvald, was himself mayor of Oslo, defense minister and foreign minister of Norway. I met Thorvald at a student conference in Columbus, Ohio, in 1953, and I watched him risk his life to save 200 Hungarian refugees trying to flee into Austria on Christmas night, 1956. It's a long story and a great one. I was standing right behind Thorvald. I did not risk my life. Thorvald risked his. And in his autobiography Thorvald skipped that entire episode, totally ignored it. Show me the American politician who would conceal such bravery from the voters! Thorvald's "little boy" Jens was twice prime minister of Norway. This lament is in no way favoritism toward a slighted friend. I'm confident the inspector-general of WND would agree that furtherance of this story doesn't need pundits who happen to be friends of the Stoltenberg family.
Advertisement - story continues below
Despite Obama's effort to control the damage, we learned that for two of those three days Stoltenberg was in America, the president had plenty of free time. No "scheduling problem" excuse works here. The White House sent the "JV" team to meet with Stoltenberg – Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and National Security Adviser Susan Rice (yes, the Susan Rice who piously intoned that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had "served his country with honor and distinction").
OK, give Obama an "F" on manners. What's the big danger? The pro-American media stay busy detailing the many ways Obama is harming Israel. May we add one of the ways Obama is harming America and the entire civilized world? We watch painfully as President Obama bums out our allies. Where are the weapons for the Kurds fighting ISIS? Ditto Ukraine's weapons for self-defense? Why are we giving away Israel's nuclear secrets? Why is our juiciest potential ally, Egypt, treated like an urban youth just out of reform school while Iran, the world's leading state-sponsor of terror, has America acting like Father Flanagan at the police station, vowing to guarantee Iran's good behavior as the centrifuges spin? Here's five Taliban toughies in return for an apparent deserter. Are those pesky Poles still whining about the missile defense we promised them? Obama, with one unreturned phone call, may as well have erased all that and more off the blackboard. America stiffing NATO is a biggie.
Thermometers tell temperature. Speedometers tell speed. How do we tell how low America has fallen? By considering the real reason Obama snubbed NATO. And the best guess (of those who guess best) is that Obama fears that meeting with NATO will anger Russia! Can you imagine the look on the face of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower as President Roosevelt tells him, "We can't invade France.; it'll get the Germans angry"? There's a simple way Russia can avoid confrontation with NATO: Don't invade any more countries!
Morale is the most important intangible among armies. If the strongest member of an alliance slams the door in the face of that alliance's leader, you don't have to be an anti-American mischief-maker to launch debilitating rumors among the troops of the other 27 member states. At Waterloo, the British were not braver than the French; they were just brave for five minutes longer. A united NATO has an ace up its sleeve. The Russians whose people were raped and tortured by the Nazis were among the greatest fighters ever. The Russians ordered by their dictator Stalin to invade harmless Finland were among the world's worst. No NATO nation is raping and torturing Russians. Hear now, O ye scribes of the realm: You are not a filthy capitalist lackey if you help strengthen NATO. It's the best idea vulnerable democracies ever had.
Advertisement - story continues below
The secretary-general of NATO calling the president and getting rebuffed is rather like calling 911 and getting voicemail.
Media wishing to interview Barry Farber, please contact [email protected].