TOC noted on Feb-27 that Barack Obama had been somewhat less than ringing in his repudiation of support from “Calypso Louie” Farrakhan, the noted anti-semite. Farrakhan’s current gig is head of the Nation of Islam.
We further noted Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s close connections with, and admiration for, Minister Farrakhan. Dr. Wright was Obama’s pastor for many years at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ; an Obama mentor whose influence is probably less veiled in Michelle Obama’s unrelenting pessimism. She should just stop giving speeches. Eventually, her philosophical darkness is going to overwhelm Obama’s hopeful message.
In addition to Dr. Wright, it turns out there’s another name you should know. That of:
The influence of the black liberation theology of James H. Cone appears in the political philosophy of Barack Obama as well as in the recent controversial statement about national pride made by Michelle Obama.
The spiritual role that Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC) and its just-retired pastor Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright have played in the lives of Barack and Michelle Obama is well-established, as is the Africentric theology that is the cornerstone of the church’s self-proclaimed identity.
One largely unexamined element of that Africentric theology, though, is the pivotal role that black liberation theologian Dr. James H. Cone, Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary (NYC), and his 1969 book Black Theology & Black Power, have played in the life of that faith community. Examining Cone’s theology may enlighten us on Barack’s political philosophy and Michelle’s recently controversial statement about not having been proud of her country until the favorable reception to her husband’s candidacy.
…Cone’s myopic theological worldview looks solely through the prism of his understanding of the experience of Blacks in America as victims of white oppression.
Ironically, while the media has occasionally focused on the religious beliefs of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, a much more substantive faith element has been at work in Obama’s campaign, and the media mostly hasn’t noticed, or if it has, hasn’t commented.
None of this, [RTWT] if accurate, makes Barack Obama a man necessarily unsuitable for the Presidency of the United States, nor his wife for the role of First Lady. But, it may give us cause to further explore their worldviews, and the perspectives of those who, like Dr. Cone, have influenced the formation of those views.
Speaking of “world” views, let’s not ignore Obama’s top foreign policy advisor, Samantha Power.
Samantha Power is the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide, and she has a professorship at Harvard (in something called “Global Leadership and Public Policy”). She is also a senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama. This isn’t an honorific: she has worked for Obama in Washington, she has campaigned for him around the country, and she doesn’t hesitate to speak for him. This morning, the Washington Post has a piece on Obama’s foreign policy team, identifying her (and retired Maj. Gen. Scott Garion) as “closest to Obama, part of a group-within-the-group that he regularly turns to for advice.” Power and Garion “retain unlimited access to Obama.” This morning’s New York Times announces that Power has an “irresistable profile” and “she could very well end up in [Obama’s] cabinet.”
She also has a problem: a corpus of critical statements about Israel. These have been parsed by Noah Pollak at Commentary’s blog Contentions, by Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr at American Thinker, and by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line.
Power made her most problematic statement in 2002, in an interview she gave at Berkeley. The interviewer asked her this question:
Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine-Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?
Power gave an astonishing answer:
What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.
Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat” [Sharon-Arafat]. I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention…. Any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism. But we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced.
It isn’t too difficult to see all the red flags in this answer. Having placed Israel’s leader on par with Yasser Arafat, she called for massive military intervention on behalf of the Palestinians, to impose a solution in defiance of Israel and its American supporters. Billions of dollars would be shifted from Israel’s security to the upkeep of a “mammoth protection force” and a Palestinian state—all in the name of our “principles.”
Whatever those principles are. It’s hard to tell.
A thorough discussion of Sam Power is unfolding at the Powerline links below. This is the person who could very well be SecState for a President Obama.
January 29, 2008
Obama tries his hand at damage control — and pandering
February 2, 2008
February 11, 2008
Soft Power, Part Two
February 19, 2008
Soft Power, Part Three
February 25, 2008
Soft Power, Part Four
February 28, 2008
Soft Power, Part Five
February 29, 2008
Soft Power — Max Boot responds
March 3, 2008
Soft Power, behind the music
March 5, 2008
The arrogance of impotence, Obama style
March 6, 2008
The book tour from hell