Embarrassed To Be American

Embarrassed To Be American

Nancy
Morgan

 

For the first time in my life, I’m embarrassed to be an
American.

Last weekend, as tens of thousands of Japanese were fighting for their
lives after an 8.9 earthquake devastated their nation, our President, after
giving a generic “We’re with you” statement, remained noticeably
absent.
Not really absent — Obama could be found
on the golf course
Saturday afternoon.
As a Japanese nuclear
reactor melted down
and threatened a catastrophe of biblical proportions,
Obama was otherwise engaged Saturday night, having a rollicking good time at
Washington D.C.’s annual Gridiron
Dinner
. Joking with journalists.
There is something quite shameful about watching our President attending a
dress-up dinner, trolling for laughs, as one of America’s allies struggles for
life. I’m embarrassed for America, and I send my personal apologies to the
Japanese people for the insensitivity of our President.
As the turmoil in Libya continues
to escalate
, threatening severe geopolitical consequences, it is France
(France?) that has filled the global leadership void by proposing
a no-fly zone
over Libya. What is the President of the free world doing?
During his Saturday afternoon radio address to the nation, Obama was busy
lecturing Americans about the role of
women
. And writing
an op-ed
about the virtues of gun control.
Obama did take the time to give his blessing to a call by the Arab League
for a UN no-fly zone over Libya. Obama called it an “important step.” This, as
government tanks continued to pound Libyan protesters. I’m embarrassed that,
under Obama, America is becoming comfortable following world events instead of
shaping them.

Obama has clearly signaled that he is content to leave
America’s fate in the hands of the United Nations. He seems to believe that a
global consensus should trump American sovereignty. For Obama, this relieves him
of the need to make the tough decisions usually required by American presidents.
For the rest of the world, Obama’s actions and lack of actions signal weakness.
And Obama has never learned the basic lesson that weakness does not appease, it
emboldens.

I’m embarrassed that America’s president has chosen to punt on every recent
issue of importance — from Libya to Egypt to the economy. As Obama sits firmly
on the fence, refusing to make any decision that might impact him unfavorably,
3rd world countries, Islamic fanatics and France scramble to fill the world
leadership vacuum. America is AWOL — seemingly more concerned with fat poor
people than with events that threaten to permanently undermine US influence
around the globe.
The ramifications of U.S. abdication of leadership on the world stage will
have severe consequences. These consequences will apply to conservatives and
leftists alike as, more and more, America’s autonomy will be held hostage to
terrorist nations that supply us oil, and to China, who now holds about 30%
of our debt
.

Obama’s policy of dissing our allies and kowtowing to
our enemies is not leadership. It is folly. A folly that has the implicit
endorsement of the American people, who willingly elected Obama as their
representative.

I’m embarrassed that America, under Obama, has chosen to bury our head in
the sand. I’m mortified that the priorities of our president are so puerile. And
I’m ashamed that America, under Obama, is acting more like a global lap-dog than
as one of the world’s remaining superpowers.
Nancy
Morgan
is a columnist and news editor for
conservative news site
RightBias.com
She
lives in South Carolina

Japan’s Third Disaster

Japan’s Third Disaster

By Thomas
Lifson

 

Disaster has come in threes to Japan. Earthquakes,
tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear power plant explosion. The crisis there may
get worse, but it is already bad, and will have a huge impact on Japan’s future,
even if the feared meltdown never takes place

Fukushima can only
aggravate the already very uneasy acceptance of nuclear power by the Japanese
people.  As the only people on earth to have lived through nuclear attacks on
their cities, fears of radiation entering the environment  are even greater than
overseas. Peace Park and its museum in Hiroshima make an indelible impression of
horror, one that is part of the Japanese cultural DNA.

Japan is utterly
dependent on foreign sources for energy, and so nuclear power seemed a natural
for it, and the government and business establishments threw themselves behind
the project of bringing nuclear power to Japan. (Full disclosure: in the course
of my consulting work I have worked with a number of major players in the
Japanese nuclear power industry).  To a large extent, they succeeded, but not
without controversy.

I lived in Japan at the time of construction of
several major nuclear power stations, which faced serious, adamant opposition.
The opponents inevitably raised serious question about safety in the event of
earthquakes, and were always assured the utmost precautions would be taken. The
usual pattern was for local groups in the rural regions chosen to be bought off
one way or another, with increased tax revenue and other funds making their way
to locals, and opponent groups to be bulldozed.

Tokyo Electric Power, the
owner of Fukushima, is a massive company, supplying the same amount of
electricity Italy consumes to its customers.  It was once highly respected, but
had a scandal over a cover up of defects at its nuclear plants,  resulting in
the resignation
of its chairman and president in 2002, and  will no doubt come in for serious
criticism no matter what the outcome of the Fukushima crisis. Toden (as the
Japanese call it — Wall Street calls it TEPCO) also has the inevitable
reputation for arrogance that accompanies a big power company building and
operating major facilities in rural areas.

Recovering from the quake and
tsunami is already going to be a huge challenge, financially and otherwise. If
Japan faces pressure to shut down its nuclear power facilities, it will be a
catastrophe for Japan, leading to shortages of electricity and financial
disaster for electricity users. Japan’s 54 nuclear stations account
for a third of its power, scheduled to hit 40% by 2018, but their importance is
far greater than that figure reveals.
The nuclear plants are base load
plants, running all the time, supplying the basic demand for electricity. Peak
load power is provided by hydrocarbon-based fuels and hydro. If nuclear is shut
down, it will require bigger purchases of oil, LNG, and coal, costing Japan
more, and inflating demand and prices on world markets. If the base load
capacity is taken offline, it is a real challenge to keep the peak fscilities
running 24 hours a day, and there is no extra margin for peak load
demands.

So I expect that Japan will be roiled by questions about
continued operation of nuclear power, that Tokyo Electric will be rocked, and
that the consequences will compound the difficulty of rebuilding.  What a sad
outlook for a country on its knees.

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