Before we get to this latest frolic in the Obama Narrative, let's take a moment to remember the Battle of Midway, fought from June 4-7, 1942. It was a huge World War II naval victory over Japan that tipped the advantage decisively toward America in the Pacific.
World War II naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison, in his book "The Two Ocean War," described Midway as "a victory not only of courage, determination and excellent bombing technique, but of intelligence, bravely and wisely applied." That victory came at a terrible cost. Morison describes the bravery of American dive-bomber pilots, the initial squadrons massacred by anti-aircraft fire before the rest succeeded in destroying four Japanese carriers. Morison reminds us of "the threescore young aviators who met flaming death that day in reversing the verdict of battle" and urges, "Think of them, reader, every Fourth of June. They and their comrades who survived changed the whole course of the Pacific War."
That was Midway.
Now comes President Obama, who enroute to a G-20 summit in China dropped by on Thursday at the Midway Atoll for some climate-change grandstanding, a golf-cart motorcade tour and some snorkeling.
According to the New York Times, Obama did make brief mention of the Americans who died defending Midway in World War II, praising their "courage and bravery" and calling Midway "hallowed ground." But that part of the visit was apparently so perfunctory that the Associated Press reporter missed the message (or did he?), and instead described Obama's mention of "hallowed ground" as a reference to the place Midway Atoll occupies "in Native Hawaiian tradition."
Obama's main purpose in traveling to Midway, according to a White House fact sheet, was to "mark the significance" of his own "historic conservation action" (has Obama done anything during his presidency that the White House has not described as "historic"?) in creating, off the coast of Hawaii, "the world's largest marine protected area" — and to "highlight firsthand how the threat of climate change makes protecting our public lands and waters more important than ever."
By all means let's do our part to clean up crud on land and sea. But what in the name of Solyndra does that actually have to do with "climate change"? What Obama's really highlighting firsthand is his own extravagant diktat that the climate change debate "is settled" (which it is not); and his dictum that man-made climate change is both "a fact" and a threat so monumental that it towers over all others (never mind a disintegrating post-World War II order, a rotten Iran nuclear deal, global proliferation of Islamic terrorist attacks, an expansionist Russia and China, and North Korea's preparations for a fifth nuclear test).
In the world of the Obama narrative, it follows that almost any government controls, regulations, caps, licenses, subsidies and other instruments of state planning are richly justified by promises that the result will be to fine-tune the climate of the planet. On such grounds did Obama last December subordinate the U.S. Constitution to the United Nations-fostered climate change agenda, by entering into the Paris climate accord via "executive agreement," without submitting it as a treaty for ratification by the Senate. During Obama's visit to China this weekend, we can expect plenty of "climate change" common cause with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose ecological projects include transforming reefs in the South China Sea into military installations.
When American men fought and died for victory at Midway in 1942, they were defending America, a free country — a place of free speech and free markets. That system is the best hope of adapting to whatever change of climate might come along, man-made or otherwise. Capitalist democracy leaves room for innovation and offers incentives for inventions that genuinely work and are wanted. That is not true of intricate and overbearing climate deals, ginned up by governments, imposed by bureaucrats and endowed with no mechanism that ensures the link Obama loves to proclaim between climate-change central planning and economic growth.
In other words, Obama's choice of Midway as a poster atoll for his latest climate-change riff was not just a snub to the heroes of World War II or the freedom they fought for. It was a travesty.
Of course, Obama did invite us all to appreciate the natural beauty of Midway, where he said he looks forward "to knowing that 20 years from now, 40 years from now, 100 years from now, this is a place where people can still come to and see what a place like this looks like when it's not overcrowded and destroyed by human populations."
That's nice, except what it seems to mean right now (and presumably for the next century) is that unless you're the president, or a government employee with work that takes you to Midway, you probably can't visit the atoll at all. Under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midway has become a place where visitor services are "reduced." According to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office, they've actually been suspended since 2012.
According to this blog site, what was once a well-tended atoll maintained by a private outfit in cooperation with the Department of the Interior has fallen into ruin since the government bureaucracy took over all services. I don't know how much credence to give that story, but it would hardly be the first time that government has set out to improve something, and instead managed to wreck it. The GAO report says the Fish and Wildlife service has been accelerating the ruin by tearing down historic properties without giving any public notice.
Not that the local scene is utterly off-limits to the likes of ordinary Americans — whose presence, unlike Obama's golfcart motorcade, would spoil the magic of these islands. The Fish and Wildlife service offers a virtual, historical tour. If Obama wants to reduce carbon emissions, maybe he should have set us all an example by settling for that.
Ms. Rosett is Foreign Policy Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum, and a foreign affairs columnist for Forbes. com.