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The Danger of Credentialed Idiots

is that they are still idiots.

Education does not measurably change the actual intelligence of a student.  The ability to pass tests does not, in every case, translate into an ability to perform effective work in the area tested.

Walter Russel Mead presents what should be a case study of this phenomenon:

The Dreamer Goes Down For The Count

I had never thought there were many similarities between the pleasure-loving Charles II of England and the more upright Barack Obama until this week.  Listening to his speeches on the Middle East at the State Department, US-Israel relations at the AIPAC annual meeting and most recently his address to the British Parliament the comparison becomes irresistible.

"Here lies our sovereign king," wrote the Earl of Rochester about King Charles:

Whose word no man relies on.
Who never said a foolish thing
Or ever did a wise one.

This seems to capture President Obama's Middle East problems in a nutshell.  The President's descriptions of the situation are comprehensive and urbane.  He correctly identifies the forces at work.  He develops interesting policy ideas and approaches that address important political and moral elements of the complex problems we face.  He crafts approaches that might, with good will and deft management, bridge the gaps between the sides.  He reads thoughtful speeches full of sensible reflections.

But the last few weeks have cast him as the least competent manager of America's Middle East diplomatic portfolio in a very long time.  He has infuriated and frustrated long term friends, but made no headway in reconciling enemies.  He has strained our ties with the established regimes without winning new friends on the Arab Street.  He has committed our forces in the strategically irrelevant backwater of Libya not, as he originally told us, for "days, not weeks" but for months not days.

Our credentialed, though duly elected, idiot is failing miserably in the real world of international diplomacy.  He has squandered much, and gained nothing.


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Comments (17)

Yeah, credentials just mean... (Below threshold)

Yeah, credentials just mean you've passed a test, not that you know what you're doing.

One company I was at hired, with great fanfare, a newly minted Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. I had about 10-12 years experience with computer and laser printer maintenance, had my A+ cert and a Novell CNA, kind of knew which end of a screwdriver to grab (on a good day...), and the MCSE was making about twice what I was. Well, who said life was fair?

We were having problems with the office server one day, and the MCSE was going to 'fix' them. He thought it might be a problem with the hard drive, so he took the cover off the server and unplugged the drive. The server promptly crashed, seeing there was only the one drive (No RAID system, this!) and he looked at me and said... "Did I do something wrong? Aren't all drives hot-swappable?"

Yeah, he'd learned how to pass the tests for an MCSE... but he'd never built a computer, installed a network card, didn't know how to troubleshoot hardware, software problems (or network problems, for that matter...) - and he didn't last. The last I heard of him, he was selling used cars... and not doing particularly well at it.

Credentials don't replace talent or experience.

This seems to capt... (Below threshold)
freedom fries forever:
This seems to capture President Obama's Middle East problems in a nutshell. The President's descriptions of the situation are comprehensive and urbane. He correctly identifies the forces at work. He develops interesting policy ideas and approaches that address important political and moral elements of the complex problems we face. He crafts approaches that might, with good will and deft management, bridge the gaps between the sides. He reads thoughtful speeches full of sensible reflections.

He nails bin Laden.

I call that a mid-east success.

And he tells Israel that they have to establish a Palestinian state.

And the only ones who are belowing about that are the far right in Israewl, and gthe farther right in the US. The rest of the world whole heartedly approves.

European Union foreign ministers on Monday urged Israeli and Palestinian officials to rapidly return to the negotiating table, welcoming a Middle East peace vision outlined by US President Barack Obama.

'The fundamental changes across the Arab world have made the need for progress on the Middle East peace process all the more urgent,' the ministers said in conclusions from a regular meeting in Brussels.


In the wake of the growing international anger at Israel, on the first anniversary of the massacre of 9 Turkish peace activist aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Netanyahu tried his best to distract the international attention from the numerous crises of Israel and his tough, behind-the-scenes altercation with President Obama who seems to have not served the Zionist lobby as perfectly as George W. Bush.

In his speech, Netanyahu made several attempts to make Israel look like a regular member of the international community such as the other countries of the world which are living together with peace, friendship and democracy, ironically the three concepts which Israel is fiercely at odds with.

He nonsensically confiscated the Arab uprising in the Middle East in favor of Israel and said that of 300 million Arabs living in the Middle East, "only Israel's Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights."

Maybe the most ludicrous part of his speech was his boastful claim that the Arab nations of the region are trying to reach the level of democracy and freedom which the Zionist regime had already achieved, "courageous Arab protesters are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We're proud in Israel that over 1 million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades."

That makes an all-out and incontrovertible joke, "over 1 million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades."

Maybe, Bibi had better take a glance at what the world says about him and the artificial state which he represents. Even the closest friends of Israel such as Jimmy Carter have described Israel as an apartheid regime with features which are unquestionably similar to those who governed the South African Apartheid state between 1948 and 1994. Even the even-tempered critics of the Israeli regime believe that "a system of control" in the Israeli-occupied territories, including Jewish-only settlements, separate roads, military checkpoints, discriminatory marriage law, the West Bank barrier, use of Palestinians as cheap labor, inequities in infrastructure, legal rights and access to land and resources between Palestinians and Israeli residents in the Israeli-occupied territories resembles some aspects of the South African apartheid regime.

Not only journalists, political commentators and analysts but also politicians and officials of international organizations have likened Israeli regime to the South Africa's apartheid regime and testified that Tel Aviv treats the Palestinian citizens in a barbaric and savage manner.

But wait - Sean Hannity has his panties in a bunch over this issue and so does Rush Limbaugh, so we get stuff like this from right wing America?

Who cares?

Nice try FFF. Perhaps you ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Nice try FFF. Perhaps you could link to your other quotes?

You quote someone who claims that the virulent anti-Semite Jimmy Carter (yes, he is unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade and not heard what he says) is a "closest" friend of Israel. You demonstrate that you know nothing of the current political reality. Jimmy Carter has for a long time been an anti-Semite.

And to ignorantly parrot the leftist line that Israel is some apartheid state further demonstrates your ignorance. Arabs living in Israel have freedoms that their co-religionists in other arab nations could only dream of.

I understand that the left holds as worthless the values of freedom and democracy, but Israel provides both for everyone who lives inside her borders. The same cannot be said of any arab nation.

Affirmative action cannot b... (Below threshold)

Affirmative action cannot bring world peace. An empty suit brings nothing to the dance.

Our feckless (P)resident wi... (Below threshold)

Our feckless (P)resident will still be a corrupt empty suit that spends to much time talking about himself and to little time leading at the end of the day. He somehow believes its all about him and he couldn't be any further from the truth if it was possible.

Mr Mead is wrong about his plans for the ME, other than those plans have managed to piss off everyone in the region. The (P)resident has managed to set back the process to almost where it was at the end of the 1973 war, Israel with the victory and land, all the others holding the wrong end of a stick they tried to beat them with.

fff - another echo chamber.... (Below threshold)

fff - another echo chamber.

"And he tells Israel that they have to establish a Palestinian state."

Explain that.

I just had two staff return... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I just had two staff return from a trip to Italy. I would characterize them as liberals but not as being far left. They were utterly shocked to discover that the vast majority of people they met hated obama and were uniformly distrustful of the US government under him and nearly all expressed a desire for the return of a President like George W Bush.

They were shocked because the media here still report that Europe adores him. The media in this country no longer report the news. They report what supports their political agenda.

We should not be surprised, therefore, when we learn that the US media has misrepresented the truth about Europe and the Middle East. European governments all have an intense distrust of obama. Arab nations are not having revolutions to install democracies they are merely overthrowing their current despots for new ones and the new ones will be more tilted toward radical islam than the last.

Obama blathers on at the podium and the US media faun and faint over his empty words, but our one time allies (are they our allies still? I'm no longer sure if they would support us as long as obama is President) hold him in contempt. Contempt is one of the words most frequently used to describe Sarkozy's attitude toward obama and the snub of not being invited to the recent royal wedding should indicate the same goes for Britain. obama is an empty suit and everyone knows it but he American left.

"And he tells Israel that t... (Below threshold)

"And he tells Israel that they have to establish a Palestinian state."

"Explain that."

Turn to the Revelation for an explanation of Barry's millstone fixation. that and he is half muslum.

Its a good thing our economy is booming so he can attend ceremonies and get some golf in, relax a little after the splendid job he is doing.

Frankly, I'd rather see him... (Below threshold)

Frankly, I'd rather see him on the golf course. There, he only has to worry about impacting other players. In the Oval Office, he can impact the world... and not in a good way, either.

Sock Puppet Alert:... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Sock Puppet Alert:

"freedom fries forever" and "Art W" share the same IP...

Why is it that the lefties ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Why is it that the lefties cannot just pick a name and use it? Why do they feel compelled to represent themselves as multiple persons?

My conclusion is that they lack the ability to articulate their beliefs in any persuasive fashion and resort to a form of bandwagon marketing saying in effect, "See? Everyone thinks the way we do. You should follow us!"

Yep. And people used to believe in phlogiston and Piltdown Man too.

The problem with stupid and... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

The problem with stupid and inexperienced is that the latter costs a lot to cure and the former is incurable.

My favorite statement is:</... (Below threshold)

My favorite statement is:

"Ignorance is curable, stupidity is forever."

The (P)resident is stupid as is the sock puppet claiming to be FFF.

Obama's record on foreign a... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Obama's record on foreign affairs (amongst other things) is so utterly dismal, such an Epic Fail, that only complete idiots and America-hating partisans could defend it.

It's as tedious trying to divine into which category a given Obammunist falls as it is increasingly pointless.

I suggest rather than ask w... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I suggest rather than ask wingnuts what they thought of Obama´s Arab Spring speech- and Netanyahu´s words in the Congress, in which he could have read the phone book and received a standing ovation, -we ask the Israelis themselves? They were much less impressed... by Netanyahu.

Israel's daily Maariv, one of Israel's largest newspapers published a poll (in Hebrew), showing about 57 percent of voters believe Netanyahu should have supported Obama's initiative, rather than opposing the president.

"Sometimes I wonder whether... (Below threshold)
Ed Zeppelin:

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - from "Stuff Mark Twain Said", 3rd edition

Ed Zeppelin @ 16 wrote:... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:

Ed Zeppelin @ 16 wrote:

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - from "Stuff Mark Twain Said", 3rd edition

That would be a distinction without a difference.






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