The President’s Distractions

Thoughts from Mark Steyn:

Only a week ago, the North Korean missile test was an “annoying distraction” from Barack Obama’s call for a world without nuclear weapons and his pledge that America would lead the way in disarming. And only a couple of days earlier the president insisted Iraq was a “distraction” — from what, I forget: The cooing press coverage of Michelle’s wardrobe? No doubt when the Iranians nuke Israel, that, too, will be an unwelcome distraction from the administration’s plans for federally subsidized daycare, just as Pearl Harbor was an annoying distraction from the New Deal, and the First World War was an annoying distraction from the Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s dinner plans.

…Er, okay. So the North Korean test is a “distraction,” the Iranian nuclear program is a “distraction,” and the seizure of a U.S.-flagged vessel in international waters is a “distraction.” Maybe it would be easier just to have the official State Department maps reprinted with the Rest of the World relabeled “Distractions.” Oh, to be sure, you could still have occasional oases of presidential photo-opportunities — Buckingham Palace, that square in Prague — but with the land beyond the edge of the Queen’s gardens ominously marked “Here be distractions . . . ”

As it happens, Somali piracy is not a distraction, but a glimpse of the world the day after tomorrow. In my book America Alone, I quote Robert D. Kaplan referring to the lawless fringes of the map as “Indian Territory.” It’s a droll jest but a misleading one, since the very phrase presumes that the badlands will one day be brought within the bounds of the ordered world. In fact, a lot of today’s badlands were relatively ordered not so long ago, and many of them are getting badder and badder by the day.

As I’ve noted in the past, the main thing that finally saved the economy from Roosevelt’s tinkering was the “distraction” of World War II, and then his death. It recovered nicely after the war, once the economic sage of Hyde Park could no longer prevent it. I hope that the current president finds lots of distractions from his own plans for the economy.

6 thoughts on “The President’s Distractions”

  1. Between 1873 and 1903, the US had a sustained
    economic depression, can you please explain
    why that occurred?

  2. Mr. Lee, if I had to guess, I would say that the Civil war and the accompanying destruction of a generation of the men who would have been creating the wealth needed to grow an economy, coupled with the massive social and economic changes that came with the end of Slavery in the U.S.. I can’t imagine anyone other then crazy people think that wars create wealth…..

  3. I would blame the Panic of 1873 on Ulysses S. Grant, but of course, that would be childish.

    Everybody knows it was George W. Bush’s fault.

    More seriously:

    Not a sustained depression. More of a very erratic period of boom and bust.

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