Obama: ‘Peace in Our Time’

Barack Obama

It was either an embarrassing slip, or a frightening revelation of the president’s true worldview. Either way, the words “peace in our time,” made infamous by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as he promised an illusory peace with Adolf Hitler in 1938, should never have been in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address. Yet they were, and went virtually unnoticed until caught by conservatives on social media.

The phrase appeared in a passage on foreign policy, in which the president pledged to defend the nation while resolving differences peacefully [emphasis added]:

And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice–not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

The sentence is rather tortured, but the idea seems to be that promoting socioeconomic equality around the world can help prevent conflict. It echoes the “root causes” theory of terrorism, which is that poverty produces extremism or at least provides it fertile ground There is some truth to that, although many terrorists come from middle class origins, and target America precisely because it symbolizes the values the president described.

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