Thursday, 3 December 2009

Where's The Change Obama?

It has been a tough week for us pacifists and environmentalist. Hopes for an International agreement to save the planet in Copenhagen next week seem to be dwindling before it even starts and Obama, in his wisdom, seems intent on ramping up things in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I once had high hopes for Barack Obama. He isn't my President but after the devastating International effect of George W Bush's policies, i thought and hoped Obama would come in and right a few wrongs.
Almost a year on we still have prisoners locked up in Guantanamo Bay, troops continue to occupy Iraq, the Environment is put on the back burner, Israel continues to ride roughshod over the Palestinians, the threats to level Iran continue and he has just expanded Bush's war in Afghanistan.
Obama came to power promising change but i can't help looking at his record so far and thinking we are in exactly the same position as we were under Bush.
For all i know he may be doing wonders in America for his own people, although judging by his figures it seems his popularity is waning dangerously, but looking at him from the outside, he is proving to be yet another in a long list of big disappointments.
I should put it down to him being just another politician who talked the talk to get into office but altered his sights once he got there but that seems a bit harsh when he still has 75% of this presidency term still to go.
Hopefully he will up his game in his second year and show us that he isn't just rehashing the policies of George W Bush and wrapping them up in fancy speeches. I do have a growing sense that the gulf we thought existed between Bush and Obama, is not as wide or as deep as we first thought and the only change i can see is that Obama is more eloquent at explaining his disastrous policies.


David G said...

He did talking endlessly about change, Lucy, and was given the Nobel Peace Prize because of it.

In the light of what's about to happen in Afghanistan (death, destruction, etc) the award is an incredible irony.

Of course, irony is not a word that most Americans understand. Neither is peace.

Cheezy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheezy said...

I’m not sure I can match David’s penetrating analysis, but here’s my two penny’s worth – albeit with the disclaimer that I’m an outsider, so an American viewpoint may be more instructive than mine.

Obama in power is a triangulator. He’s trying to find some compromise/consensus position between two extremes. And the US, now more than ever it seems to me, is a deeply divided country in a political sense.

The thing about being a triangulator is, when you try to triangulate, and one ‘point’ of the triangle is slightly insane (i.e. in this case, the lobby calling for a surge of 80,000 extra troops in order to fight an organisation who are based in a different country – Pakistan) then your policy will start veering towards that insanity. Ergo – we now have an extra 30,000 instead.

The hawks set this agenda after 9-11, and the agenda is still strong. It causes Obama to say things like “We didn’t ask for this fight”. Well, actually mate, you did. Blatantly so in the case of Iraq... but also in Afghanistan, since the days when the Carter administration started arming and funding Muslim extremists against the Soviets, a policy continued by Reagan… and right up the present day of propping up the hopelessly corrupt Karzai government.

Say what you like about George W Bush (and we still do), he wasn’t much of a triangulator. When he was wrong, which was very often, he tended to be totally, 100% wrong.

Obama also seems to be triangulating in the area of health care now – compromising to the vested interests of the big private health insurance companies by taking the single payer option “off the table”.

It’s a very familiar story in politics. You could also say the current government here in the UK is full of compromisers and people who sound very different in power to how they did in opposition. It’s a complex tale involving how easy it is to sound ‘radical’ and ‘populist’ on the stump, compared to how difficult it is to carry out these promises – in the face of all the power structures who line up against you – once you’re holding the purse strings.

I’m currently reading Obama’s autobiography. Not a bad read. There’s a large middle section involving his work as a community organiser in Chicago back in the 80s, when huge parts of the city were beset by unemployment, crime, hopelessness. He did his best, but found that most of his efforts amounted to a ‘drop in the ocean’… I wouldn’t mind betting that , back in those days, he sometimes considered how much more he could do if he were the POTUS... And I also wouldn’t mind betting that – nowadays – he’s starting to realise the limits of even that elevated office too!

Anyway, that’s my take on it.

Falling on a bruise said...

I did think of him being handed the Nobel peace prize as he made the speech about sending more troops David, that's what sparked off my thought that actually, he isn't all that different to the last guy.

That's a very accurate, and eloquent, description of Obamas position Cheezy and it is very similar to how Brown has run the Labour Government since he got his great clunking fist on power.
It is especially galling to see Obama do it though because i had high hopes for him where as i never for Gordon Brown. Maybe i'm wrong but he hasn't done anything so far that i can see that makes me glad it is him in the big chair.

David G said...

Lucy, while America's manufacturing industries are heavily engaged in producing the weapons of war and Americans are indoctrinated to see themselves as being born to rule the world by force if necessary, there will never be peace.

America needs continuous war to survive economically and will use any pretext to start one.

Anonymous said...


your views are distorted as usual. i'll grant that you typically start your points properly, but then on every point you jump off the "deep end". seemingly you have a personal bias against americans which appears to have evolved into a deeply set mental illness.

true, some american companies exist to create weapons (like french, brit, russian, and chinese companies) and i expect those american companies are global industry leaders, but they make up a very small part of the american gdp (2 to 3%).

true, americans are indoctrinated with nationalism (people of all nations, religions, philosophies, and even other ilks like you are indoctrinated with isms) but i don't know any americans that want to rule the world - it is too much of a burden. i can assure you that only a small percentage of americans want to be ruled by others - oh yeah, we have wack jobs like you here...

true, america needs to survive economically but war and especially continuous war does not contribute to economic success - its more like a cost of doing business...


Cody Bones said...

Daniel's Back. Yay. I was getting lonely with my delusions of grandeur in wanting to rule the world. Daniel, thank you ever so much for opening my eyes, and wiping away my indoctrination. Thanks to your intellectual reasoning, and keen turn of a phrase, I no longer want to rule the world. One American at a time Daniel, One at a time, eh?

David G said...

Lucy, humans really are herd animals, some more so than others. They hate it when someone questions their closely held views about themselves and their country.

There is a close correlation between the depth of their pet beliefs and the vicious way they attack anyone who brings them into question.

This missing link here is the inability of indoctrinated people to think. They substitute indoctrination for thinking. God Bless America!

It's clear that, since WW2 finished, America has become a warmongering nation. It has spread its military tentacles all over the world. It has started endless wars on dubious pretexts and it has supported myriads of terrorists and despots and coups when it suited American objectives.

It has used torture and rendition and has murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians in foreign countries: men, women and children in its chase for resources and strategic advantage.

Yet, to the average American, these facts mean nothing, nothing at all. They live in a fantasy world, one that Hollywood would be proud of.

I've found it is useless to argue with the indoctrinated ones. They see what they want to see and that's the end of the story.

America has turned war into a business. It spends more on armaments than most of the rest of the world combined. Its rampant imperialism, its love of war, its total disregard for non-Americans and the planet, is there for all to see.

Lucy, indoctrinated America is a danger to itself and the world. Americans need to substitute thinking for indoctrination before their leaders bring about the end of the world in a nuclear firestorm!