The Magazine

Passive-Aggressive at the U.N.

Obama boldly proclaims a new meekness.

Oct 5, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 03 • By ANDREW FERGUSON
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Yet there's a kink in the logic of the president's performance, and it will become hard to ignore. For his speech was a particularly grandiose refusal to be grandiose--a high-handed refusal to be high-handed. Who is he, after all, to declare a no-polar world? Only the leader of the most powerful nation in the world would have the nerve to announce to the world that from now on, by his decree, no nation will be more powerful than any other. The declaration subverts itself, cancels itself out, as he'll discover when he comes to reap the dividends of his new no-polar world.

"Those who used to chastise America for acting alone," the president insisted, "cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone." It's only a matter of time before the other guys at the bar start to think: Oh really? Who are you to say we can't?

And what are you going to do about it?

Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.