Monday, July 15, 2013


The world is "full of sound and fury", but the American administration seems not to be engaged.  Both internally and externally one has an almost eerie impression of disconnect.  It is one thing to acknowledge that problems might look too difficult to resolve in the short term, but it is another to see an administration appearing clueless, with a hand of losing cards in the global bridge game.

There is no need to attempt to summarize the many situations which are in need of therapy.  Everybody is familiar with the sight of this armada of unsolved problems which are surrounding the White House, which appears increasingly to be on the defensive, if not logged-out. The conceptual vacuum and the inappropriate signals given are starting to create a malaise which is aggravated by numerous flash points (IRS, various over-zealous wiretapping of US and foreign citizens and interests, the Edward Snowden spin-off, Obamacare in the ER, immigration, not to mention the many international disturbances which might derail an existing fragile equilibrium in many parts of the world.)

The Obama nouveau of Berlin, Oslo, and Cairo is no longer. The voice of the United States does not carry its former gravitas, which acted sometimes for the worse, often for the better.  Absence does not lead to fondness. It corroborates a sense of disengagement. The President appears often to have become "blase", aloof almost, preferring "texting" thoughts rather than submitting them to a reality check. Personally I appreciated the President, although Mrs. Clinton was my first choice.  I still like the person but I wish the creative, agile mind of earlier days would dislodge the seemingly passive, almost fatalistic strain of today. True, Congress prefers trench warfare over compromise but the "pique" of members of Congress over the President's demeanour is real.  George W. Bush created a bad mood among most allies and appreciation among foes. President Obama went from pop star cult to an almost indifferent "nonchalance," unconvincing while "Rome is set on fire."

Washington is in need of a script, the more so since Europe plays mostly "dummy," while China and Russia are consolidating the acquired advantages in the absence of a credible new American strategic
road map or Realpolitik Kissinger-style (Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine, George Kennan's "Containment", or the ideas of  Neo-cons like William Kristol or Richard Perle--there is no need to agree with them, but there should be an open mind recognizing the intellectual coherence thereof.)   Sometimes this administration looks like a remake of President Carter's journey, which met its inglorious end in Iran's desert. What an omen!

Obama might still find it in him to rebound and find a "coda" for his "yes, we can."  He needs to engage both Congress and the people inside and abroad.  He has to confront, leave the path of distance which only adds validity to the "American decline" school of thought.

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