April 9, 2008

Obama's skewed experience of the 3rd World

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, among many others, is always gushing about how Sen. Barack Obama's life story gives him an exceptionally sophisticated understanding of foreign affairs.

Indeed, Obama himself might even be starting to believe all the adulatory press about how his four years as a small child in Indonesia and his handful of weeks in Kenya have given him a deep understanding of global affairs. Obama claimed yesterday that he had more relevant foreign affairs experience than Hillary or McAmnesty. Jake Tapper writes:

"Foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain," Obama said, according to the Huffington Post.

"It's ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be Commander-in-Chief. Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world. This I know. When Senator Clinton brags 'I've met leaders from eighty countries' -- I know what those trips are like! I've been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There's a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then -- you go."

"You do that in eighty countries," Obama said, "You don't know those eighty countries. So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa --knowing the leaders is not important -- what I know is the people...I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college -- I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

This last part -- a college trip to Pakistan -- was news to many of us who have been following the race closely. And it was odd that we hadn't hear about it before, given all the talk of Pakistan during this campaign.

So, he went to Pakistan and India after visiting his half-sister in Indonesia, which qualifies him to be President, although it apparently didn't make much of an impression on him because he never seems to have mentioned it before. It didn't fit into his "Story of Race and Inheritance" because he doesn't have any relatives from there and, besides, the people there don't fit in well with his black and white worldview. (The people in Hawaii didn't either, but the South Side of Chicago is more like what he wanted.)

Yet, despite Obama's incredibly sophisticated awareness of the rest of the world, in the climax of the Chicago section of his autobiography, he approvingly quoted his spiritual mentor Jeremiah A. Wright's incredibly unsophisticated worldview: "where white folks' greed runs a world in need ..."

Wouldn't some experience with the Third World raise severe doubts about such an apportionment of guilt? After all, during Obama's formative years, there were plenty of anti-American leftist Third World countries that only become needier the more they separated themselves from white folks' greed.

So, why didn't Obama get it?

First, as far as I can tell, despite his image as a world-spanning figure, Obama doesn't actually have that much foreign experience. Obama's overseas travel before becoming a U.S. Senator four years ago (since which he has taken a few junkets) was quite limited, consisting largely of living Indonesia as a child and two visits to Kenya. During his years in Chicago, he typically spent his winter vacations (not irrationally!) in his native Hawaii.

The truth is that Obama hasn't exhibited all that much interest in foreign countries not directly connected to his own life story. In his autobiography, Obama is subtly contemptuous of his wandering, exotiphilic mother whose centrifugal tendencies took her from Kansas to Indonesia. In contrast, Obama has concocted for himself a life trajectory from the exotic margins to the heart of African-America, the South Side of Chicago, where he methodically made himself a Chicago politician. (And, as Churchill said about the Pathans, for a Chicago politician, "life is full of interest" right at home, so curiosity about foreign affairs is a distraction.)

I imagine Obama took other trips abroad, but clearly Kenya and Indonesia were the two that had a major emotional impact upon this self-absorbed artiste. The common denominator of Indonesia and Kenya for understanding where Obama is coming from is that while these were two typically cruddy Third World countries, they were typically cruddy Third World countries that happened to be Cold War allies of the U.S.A. and were officially lined up on the side of "capitalism." In contrast, Obama had very little experience or interest in all the cruddy Third World countries that were nonaligned or were Soviet allies and espoused socialism as their reigning ideology.

Obama's naive mom appears to have assumed when she moved to Indonesia in 1966 that it was still as leftist as it had been under Sukarno, who had been overthrown the year before. She was horrified to learn it wasn't the non-aligned utopia she had imagined. Indonesia had been a leftwing anti-American dictatorship when she had met her second husband Lolo in Hawaii, but by the time she and little Barack arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia was a rightwing pro-American dictatorship. When easygoing Lolo (who is just about the only character in Obama's memoirs that I'd like to have a beer with) got a nice job working in government relations for an American oil company so he could support his wife and kid (some other guy's kid, let me point out), they would argue:
"...about her refusal to attend his company dinner parties, where American businessmen from Texas and Louisiana would slap Lolo's back and boast about the palms they had greased to obtain the new offshore drilling rights, while their wives complained to my mother about the quality of Indonesian help. He would ask her how it would look for him to go alone, and remind her that these were her own people, and my mother's voice would rise to almost a shout.

"They are not my people."
[p. 47 of Dreams from My Father]
Such tensions paved the way for their divorce.

Similarly, Kenya's leader Jomo Kenyatta, who persecuted Obama's father for being a member of the Luo tribe, allowed an American naval base at Mombassa and encouraged capitalism -- among his Kikuyu tribesman.

Thus, Obama's beloved Luo relatives were, increasingly, enemies of Kenyatta's pro-Western policies. The Luo, under the leadership of Obama's kinsman Oginga Odinga, thus were leftist and friendly toward the Soviets. For example, Oginga Odinga sent his son Raila Odinga, the current Luo warlord and Prime Minister-designate (who claims to be Obama's cousin), to study in East Germany in 1965.

Time magazine reported in 1969:
President Jomo Kenyatta, who with his fellow Kikuyu has ruled the country since independence in 1963, threw Opposition Leader Oginga Odinga in prison and banned his Luo-dominated party.

Kikuyu and Luo, first and second largest of Kenya's 46 main tribes, have long controlled the country's politics. Initially, neither Kenyatta's Kenya African National Union (KANU) nor Odinga's Kenya People's Union (KPU) were organized along strictly tribal lines. ... In recent years, however, both party memberships have become increasingly polarized. ...

As Kenyatta's convoy began to move away after the speech, spectators stoned the lead car. Panicky police fired point-blank into the crowd, leaving at least nine dead and 70 wounded. Two days later, Kenya police arrested Odinga, and most of the other KPU leadership, including all eight of the party's MPs. A day later, KPU was banned for allegedly seeking "to overthrow the lawful and constitutional government of the Republic of Kenya." It seemed a clear reference to Communist intrigues. Though apparently no Communist, Odinga is a leftist who has accepted funds from Soviet and Chinese Communist agents; "Double O" was also instrumental in persuading the Russians to build the new hospital in Kisumu.

So, in Indonesia, Obama absorbed his mother's anti-Americanism, and from Keyna, he was exposed to his relatives' opposition to the pro-American tribes.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Ron Guhname said...

Haha! I think I've got it figured out: Obama is a sleeper agent for Indonesia.

Wikipedia: "Those sleeper agents who have been discovered have often been natives of the target country who moved elsewhere in early life and been co-opted (perhaps for ideological or ethnic reasons) before returning to the target country. This is valuable to the sponsor as the sleeper's language and other skills can be those of a 'native' and thus less likely to trigger suspicion."

Or is it "agent of influence"?

Again, Wikipedia: An agent of influence is a well-placed, trusted contact who actively and consciously serves a foreign interest...."

Oh well, he's some kind of agent.

Anonymous said...

This story illustrates how alleged ideological conflicts in the third world are often just cover for tribal disputes.

Anonymous said...

Is there still any hope that Bloomberg might run?

Anonymous said...

Good research and good writing.

Antioco Dascalon said...

I learned more about Obama in the single blog post than in the dozens of hours I watched the news or hundreds of articles I have read, all of which lacked any substance. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

The deal with the Third World is this [I know because I come from there, even though I'm white]:

"where white folks' greed runs a world in need ..."

You can turn this Wright quote inside out and then it fits the Third World. They combine hating whitey and wanting desperately to drive him out with machetes, to coming running to feed out of his food troughs. Go figure!

I suspect Obama knows this because like Steve says he wants LBJ+. At the same time he is ranting against whites and you can expect a lot of anti-white legislation from him, which the liberals will initially go orgasmic about until it really begins to hit their pockets.

Unfortunately the only way this obsession with blacks which Cohen displays is going to go away is AFTER you have some sort of Zimbabwefication. I don't think there are any liberals around who want to be associated with Mugabe, so there is your answer. Of course this makes life unliveable for most of us in the meantime, but it seems the MSM have such an enormous power in spite of the internet that this is just how it’s going to be.

Anonymous said...

Isnt his claim ultimately "Look, Im not white, so I must know something about them funny foreigners"

Anonymous said...

I'm not persuaded; both Hawaii and the spells abroad seem a more useful background (for foreign affairs) than the parochial background of most politicians. Such as Hellary. Mark you, McCain knows a bit about Abroad.

LemmusLemmus said...

Maybe you should rename this blog youObama ;-).

Anonymous said...

Great article. I like your description of Obama's mom as "centrifugal" versus Obama's own inward spiral towards South Side Chicago (which is a really, really bad hood for folks who don't know).

Obama seems to be a Typical Black Person in that everything for him comes back to being black. It's that lack of any basic curiosity or ability to see outside one's own race that characterizes so many blacks. It's those circumscribed horizons, like walking around with horse blinders.

Condoleeza Rice, by the way, is NOT a Typical Black Person in that sense. She studied PolySci with a specialty in the Soviet Union. In other words, she was keenly interested and became knowledgeable in something OUTside herself.

I hope she runs as VP on McCain's ticket. How would that be as an in-your-face to the self righteous Democratic Party if they won?

Anonymous said...

"A college trip to Pakistan" is ambiguous. It could mean an organized group trip whilst he was at college. Or it could mean a (solo/duo) trip that he organized himself whilst he was a student. The former might merit a bit of poking by an investigative journalist (if such people existed) but probably wouldn't turn out to be very interesting. But the second possibility is much more intriguing. Why on earth would someone with no cultural or ethnic links to the country choose to visit Pakistan? Where did he stay? Who hosted him? Some contact from his mother's anthropology days? A friend of Frank's?

Anonymous said...

"Double O" can also be referred to as O^2 (O squared).

Anonymous said...

Ron Guhname said, "Oh well, he's some kind of agent."

If Oginga Odinga's son were running for president (Double O Jr.) would that make him, in the words of Jethro Bodine, "a double naught spy?"

Anonymous said...

"........... I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college -- I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

And what was he doing there? Attending a mahdrassa? Even his travels bespeak an unremitting hostility to all things western. How is having gone to Pakistan relevant to governing this nation? We were born from european christendom, not central asian islam.

Testing99 (formerly known as Evil Neocon) has said that Obama doesn't understand the politics of tribal peoples (as if McCain did!). Hah! Obama's whole career has been built on the politics of tribal people - he is an expression of tribal politics. He understands it, instinctually. And his tribe isn't mine, so where does that leave me?

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: For example, Oginga Odinga sent his son Raila Odinga, the current Luo warlord and Prime Minister-designate (who claims to be Obama's cousin), to study in East Germany in 1965.

In addition to studying in communist East Germany for five years, Raila Amolo Odinga named his eldest son after Fidel Castro.

Barack Hussein Obama Jr met with Raila Amolo Odinga in August of 2006, and campaigned for him so aggressively that [apparently] the Kenyan government lodged a protest with the US State Department about Obama Jr's interference in internal Kenyan politics:

JPG: obama_odinga_august_2006.jpg

JPG: obama_odinga_august_2006_WIDE.jpg

Our World: The audacity of truth
Jan. 21, 2008

...As Daniel Johnson reported recently in the New York Sun, during his 2006 visit to Kenya, Obama was so outspoken in his support for Odinga that the Kenyan government complained to the State Department that Obama was interfering with the internal politics of the country...

This was, of course, the same trip during which Obama Jr was photographed in Muslim tribal garb:

JPG: Barack_Hussein_Obama_dons_Muslim_ga.jpg

Subsequently, in August of 2007, Raila Amolo Odinga entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Muslim Leaders Forum [NAMLEF], led by Abdullahi Abdi, in which Odinga agreed to institute Sharia law in exchange for Muslim support in the election:

Kenyan Christians could be subjected to Sharia law
Posted: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 8:36 (EST)
Google cache

Concerns Raised Over Alleged Vow to Enforce Islamic Law in Kenya
By Daniel Blake
Christian Post Correspondent
Tue, Dec. 18 2007 08:41 AM ET

JPG: Odinga-Abdi Sharia agreement, Page One

JPG: Odinga-Abdi Sharia agreement, Page Two

JPG: Odinga-Abdi Sharia agreement, Page Three

After losing the election in December, Raila Amolo Odinga's supporters went on a bloody rampage - hacking, butchering, and burning alive Kenyan Christians - leaving more than 600 slaughtered [including children], and about 250,000 homeless:

Children torched in Kenya church
Correspondents in Nairobi
January 03, 2008

In broad daylight, a crowd of Kenyans set a church filled with hundreds of terrified families on fire and listened to their screams as flames engulfed them...

According to witnesses including police and a Red Cross volunteer, those who escaped the Assemblies of God Church in Eldoret, about 300km west of Nairobi, were hunted down with machetes; others hid inside pit latrines.

Up to 50 people were killed in the attack, said a Red Cross official, in scenes reminiscent of Rwanda's 1994 genocide...

Those massacred in the church were mostly Kikuyus. Kenya's other 41 official tribes accuse them of monopolising political power and businesses at the expense of other tribes - accusations stridently taken up by supporters of Mr Odinga...

Fight in parliament, Kenya government tells opposition
By C. Bryson Hull
Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:00pm EST

...Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) accused Kibaki of stealing the December 27 vote, and have vowed street protests like those that occurred in trouble spots across Kenya on Wednesday.

Election-related violence has killed more than 600 people and left 250,000 homeless in a crisis that damaged Kenya's economy and democratic reputation...

JPG: Residents of the Mathare slum in Nairobi shout at demonstrators during the clashes. Pic: AFP

JPG: A man - part of a violent mob - brandishes a rock as they beat a victim in Nairobi. Pic: Reuters

JPG: A woman runs away after she was robbed by a mob who also turned their attention on a minibus driver. Pic: Reuters

JPG: Policemen check an unconscious minibus driver after a mob beating. Pic: Reuters

JPG: A Kenyan man and his children flee the violence. Pic: AFP

JPG: A TV frame grab shows the area where a church was attacked near Eldoret, 310 km northwest of Nairobi. A mob torched a Kenyan church on Tuesday, killing about 30 villagers inside. Pic: Reuters

JPG: A Kenyan man stands beside the burnt remains of the Kenya Assemblies of God Church in Eldoret where people including children were burnt alive. Pic: AFP

JPG: Residents of the Mathare slum hold a sign that reads, "NO RAILA NO PEACE". Pic: AFP

JPG: Residents carry a man injured during the clashes. Pic: AFP

JPG: A man who was severely beaten during the clashes. Pic: AFP

JPG: Kenyan police march down past a burning barricade. Pic: AFP

JPG: In Nairobi, the gun is supreme. Pic: AFP

JPG: Two rival groups in the Mathare slum face each other. Pic: AFP

Shortly thereafter, Raila Amolo Odinga announced to the world that he was Barack Hussein Obama Jr's cousin:

I'm Barack Obama's cousin says Raila Odinga
Last Updated: 2:49am GMT 11/01/2008

Odinga says Obama is his cousin
Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 13:24 GMT

Finally, Barrack Hussein Obama Jr & Raila Amolo Odinga are known to have conferred about the Kenyan elections in January of this year - Odinga claims that they spoke twice, on Monday, January 7, which was the eve of Obama's crucial New Hampshire primary:

Obama urges talks in phone call to Kenya's Odinga
January 9, 2008 - 6:24AM

WASHINGTON - White House Democratic hopeful Barack Obama has called embattled Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga to urge peace talks without preconditions, his spokesman said today.

"Barack Obama spoke with Raila Odinga on Monday," spokesman Bill Burton told AFP...

"He called me twice yesterday to express his concern and to say he is also going to call president Kibaki so that Kibaki agrees to find a negotiated satisfactory solution to this problem," said Odinga...

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: Similarly, Kenya's leader Jomo Kenyatta, who persecuted Obama's father for being a member of the Luo tribe...

Anonymous: This story illustrates how alleged ideological conflicts in the third world are often just cover for tribal disputes.

I hate to start throwing around the "R" word here, but at some point you're going to have to choose between Darwinian genetic determinism on the one hand, or freedom of will on the other: Either fellas like the Obamas and the Odingas are merely apes [of the Luo variety] who can't be held accountable for their professed opinions, or else the Obamas and the Odingas are human beings who must be judged according to their professed opinions.

If Jaramogi Oginga Odinga claimed that "communism is like food to me", if Barack Hussein Obama Sr "advocated the communal ownership of land and the forced confiscation of privately controlled land", if Raila Amolo "Sharia Law" Odinga named his oldest son after Fidel Castro [after studying for five years in East Germany], and if Barack Hussein Obama Jr considers his single, solitary year of employment in the private sector to have been akin to working undercover behind enemy lines, then either these guys are baboons who can't be held responsible for their actions, or else they are human beings who are COMMUNISTS.

Unknown said...

Bloomberg has categorically ruled out a run for the Presidency.

This is fascinating stuff. Say what you will about 'Bama, he's interesting!

More: Obama's "mentor" named "Frank" in DREAMS has been outed as a longtime CP member:


What's interesting is that when Frank Marshall Davis came to Hawaii, he immediately made contact with the Dunhams. Why? I wonder whether Stanley was a CP member, or a fellow traveler.

Also, has anyone ever seen a copy of BHO's birth certificate? Were his parents married? Is his real name Barack Dunham? Who knows, perhaps his real name is Stanley Barack Dunham....

Anonymous said...

The United States is not the South Side of Chicago, or Africa.

Obama's "best expertise" is as a "community organizer" in the 'hood, plus his Dad was an African radical. This qualifies Obama to be MY President? No. Not if I have anything to do with it.

Obama would simply be Kwame Kilpatrick on a larger scale.

Anonymous said...

Children usually grown up to reflect the political outlooks of their parents, e.g., if your parents are democratic - you will tend to identify with democrats. His mom was clearly an American hating leftist - so much so that she basically destroyed a marriage to a pretty responsible guy who did the right thing by her from any cultural perspective - but she hated him for it because he dealt with those who were: "not her people."
So the question is how much of Obama absorbed of his mom’s politics. Are we “his people?” Why the hell can't somebody ask him these questions?

Anonymous said...

I thought Senators weren't supposed to mention getting an embassy briefing from "the CIA station chief."

Sure, we all know he's there, but what good is a "diplomatic cover" if some legislator blows it?

Anonymous said...

Obama seems to be a Typical Black Person in that everything for him comes back to being black.

Obama's a white guy. He just figured out early on that becoming "black" would help him on the path to fame and glory.

Anonymous said...

Actually I think this is the first time I've ever agreed with Obama. I usually find his rhetoric to be empty, but his point about U.S. politicians going overseas, seeing a native children dance, and then touring the U.S. built factory hits home 100% about why American statesmen are generally witless about foreign (esp. 3rd world) affairs.

Obama's 4 years in elementary school in Indonesia and his trip to a village in Kenya isn't much, but it practically makes him a giant compared to most of his other colleagues.

Anonymous said...

Some freepers claim to have dug up another embarrassment for Obama and his supporters in the media to explain away:

Obama Funneled Cash to Former PLO Operative's Anti-Israel Foundation

Hey, but as the Obamaniacs will surely point out, everybody should judge the guy off of his speeches -- the words of politicians always being the best indicator of their true nature -- and not those with whom he associates.

Leftist Rule #1: Follow the money...except when it's Obama's money.

Anonymous said...

Americans are clueless about most of the world. Ok, fine. We live in a big country surrounded by big oceans. We should restrict ourselves to our natural sphere of influence.

There is a lot to do within these shores.

Anonymous said...

Oh my aching head...having to parse the politics of competing African tribes in order to understand the worldview of the man who may be our next President...who would have ever thought?

Truth said...

"I learned more about Obama in the single blog post than in the dozens of hours I watched the news or hundreds of articles I have read, all of which lacked any substance. Bravo"

Hell, I hope so, Steve writes about him seven times a day!

Anonymous said...

Hell, I hope so, Steve writes about him seven times a day!

For once I'm laughing with you, and not at you. :)

Anonymous said...

"Why on earth would someone with no cultural or ethnic links to the country choose to visit Pakistan?"

Possibly because his mother was there at the time of his visit:

"Every so often, Ann would leave Indonesia to live in Hawaii -- or New York or even, in the mid-1980s, Pakistan, for a microfinance job."

Annoynymous said...

Mommie was a commie.