Wednesday, November 5, 2014


The debacle of the Democrats is staggering.
The American mid-term elections gave the Republicans the Senate majority and an overall victory.  Even off-limit states like New York or California suddenly look more porous.  The Democrats paid a heavy price for President Obama's toxic cloud which obscured legitimate grievances and ambitions alike. 

The vote has its own ambiguities.  Normally, local issues prevail but this time around the growing malaise regarding America's "cloud" in the world spooked the voters.  The Republican gains leave the internal  power struggle between the establishment and the Tea Party unchanged. The Republican civil war is coming.  The Democratic brand Reid/ Pelosi has lost credibility but the party has still enough self-deception to turn to the Elizabeth Warren/Paul Krugman mantra to further auto-destruct.  As a consequence, Hillary Clinton will have to juggle with too many balls.

Obviously, the President is the big loser.  The man of "hope and change" has become the man of doubt and procrastination. His character was on trial because what voters detected was different from the earlier projection. His inner circle of advisers only inspires a sinking feeling.
It is difficult to foresee what the Administration's final act will be.  Can foreign policy be rebooted? Can some form of consensus prevail internally?  Republicans will have a 2016 presidential ambition. The Democrats will be torn between a populist alternative and bruised egos.  The President has lost his political capital and appears unable to regain his dented credibility both inside and out in the world.

This "vacuum" is all the more dangerous since other players will go ahead with ambitions which are now out of the American reach. China will start with the gigantic Silk Road project which is mind boggling.  Russia might condescend to help (in the Iran nuclear dossier) but will assert itself in its near abroad, with in the knowledge that the American president is colorblind when red lines appear.

There are also more paradoxical aspects in all this. American stocks do very well, the dollar rules, unemployment in the US in under 6%, job creation is up, energy becomes abundant...but the average American remains in his heart enraptured by his flag and the myth of exceptionalism. When he looks around or abroad he does not recognize himself in the wider mirror, which is cracked.  This creates an opening for extremes, and a dangerous cliff which the United States better stay clear of. 

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