Barack Obama is concerned about what the world thinks about him.
President Obama feels, as he has stated, if we are nice to regimes such as North Korea and Iran, they will respond in kind. This theory is the basis of his international relations. If we offer and give them enough, they will like us and be nice to us. He has evidenced an eagerness to accommodate Russia and forget past betrayals in order to become friends.
Dr. Charles Krauthammer in his new book, “Things That Matter,” acquaints readers with a mental disorder known as solipsism. It is the belief that the whole world is ME.
A more advanced form of this malady is “plural solipsism,” which is the belief that the whole world is “like” me. Sufferers in denial of ‘others’ develop the concept of a “common humanity,” that is, everybody thinks alike. Everybody does not “think like me.” Putin and Obama do not think alike.
“The Internet Encyclopedia of Psychology” further explained solipsim as the doctrine that, in principle, “existence” means for me, my existence and my mental outlook. Solipsists are insensitive to the possibility that any thoughts other than their own are existent. An example is when the solipsist hears the word “pain,” it is understood to mean “my pain.”
It results in a supreme indulgence in a preoccupation with one’s own feelings and desires.
That is a major contributor causing the American/Russian ideological conflict.
Putin thinks everybody thinks like him. Noted above is the idea Putin is concerned about what people think of him, and he is. However, he doesn’t think like President Obama.
Putin’s concern is not that people don’t like him, he doesn’t want them to like him. He wants them to fear him. This governs his actions. They are designed to engender fear.
President Obama wants everybody to like him and have no fear of him. This results in a policy of placation. This be nice to them and they will be “nice to you” isn’t working. The dogma of fear is showing fear does work.
Putin tends to think like the cold and cunning old KGB colonel he was.
Obama tends to think like a community organizer, however that is.
Even when they use the same words, they give different meaning to the words.
The more the world, especially America, dislikes and fears Putin, the more he likes it. It is his game. The Sochi Olympics to him were not an effort to make the world like him, but rather to fear such a country that could produce so wonderful a spectacle and provide flawless security in the face of threatened terrorism.
Putin not only talks tough, he acts tough. At a recent gathering of national leaders, Putin and Obama were scheduled to work out at the same time. Obama went to the gym. Putin’s press representatives put out the word he was going swimming in the nearly frozen lake. While Obama was showing off his skill at shooting hoops with a few members of the American press in attendance, Putin showed up at the lake shirtless and went for a swim in the icy waters with a large number of the international press recording it.
Obama needs a crash course in how to wrestle a solipsistic bear. Quick, before it is too late.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.