The 900

Reuters

President Obama's motorcade and entourage totaling 900 people arrives in Belgium, March 26, 2014.

Article Highlights

  • In terms of pomp and circumstance, Mr. Obama bestrides the globe like an Eastern potentate.

    Tweet This

  • Why did Obama require 900 men to chitchat with democratic leaders of the G-7?

    Tweet This

The Spartans needed only 300 men to hold off tens of thousands of Persians and their allies at Thermopylae. To chitchat with his fellow democratic leaders of the G-7 this week in Europe, Barack Obama required 900, including a small air force and private army. Given how very little is accomplished at any of these diplomatic gatherings (and in particular this one, which came up with a most mealy-mouthed denunciation of Russia's invasion of Crimea), the fact that our still-global celebrity president feels the need for an entourage befitting an Ottoman Sultan is a perfect example of government decadence in post-modern, post-republican America.

It is hard to imagine a presidency with so little to its credit after five years of frenetic activity. Disastrous decisions of the Bush presidency set the stage, but are no excuse for today's failures. Three years after we were assured the recession was over, underemployment stands at 13 percent, 7 million Americans have dropped out of the labor force, our debt has topped a fantastical $17 trillion, and GDP growth barely touches 2 percent. Great Britain now has a higher labor-force participation rate than the United States. The nation's health-care system is in increasing disarray thanks to an imprudent, utopian plan that has solved few of the problems it set out to reduce while introducing heartless uncertainty for millions of others. Meanwhile, this president, far more than his predecessors, acts in capricious and lawless ways, deciding by personal whim which elements of law he will ignore. In response, the so-called media eagerly follow his college-basketball picks and record his personal shopping sprees.

At the same time, while doing nothing to reduce the country's massive debt, the president's cuts (with eager congressional support) to our over-taxed and exhausted military have resulted in just a few years in U.S. Marines unable to conduct amphibious operations in the Pacific, an Air Force that has shed hundreds of airplanes, an army whose front-line units only are combat ready, and a Navy about to give up its most useful weapons. The result of this American trust in the better angels of foreign leaders is a Crimea under Russian control, the steady march towards an Iranian nuclear weapon, China's increasing coercion in Asian seas, and North Korean ballistic-missile launches.

Yet in terms of pomp and circumstance, Barack Obama bestrides the globe like an Eastern potentate. The president himself vacations on the taxpayers' millions in luxury once reserved for kings (or at least for those who made their own fortune), while his every move inside and outside these shores bespeaks a majesty that would have horrified the Founding Fathers. Such are the signs of rot and decline among our decadent elites: flamboyance at the edges, while the strength of the country that supports them is hollowed out.

 

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Auslin

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.