Thursday, December 3, 2015


The photos which were published on the occasion of the President's youngest daughter's 14th birthday show Obama as a proud father, self-secure, happy. Obviously he is a great family man.

His comments regarding the San Bernardino shootings show another Obama, a man who appears to be unable to leave behind some form of "holding pattern".  At this early stage of the FBI inquiry caution is required, of course. Nevertheless, the linguistic contortions of the President, who remains unwilling to call things by their name or to keep issues separate, are becoming a liability.  He leaves both the Americans "word shocked" and foreign leaders at a loss. In Heidegger's words he is more sollen than sein. His perceived aloofness has created a credibility gap. Foes and friends alike find themselves in a remake of "Delphy sur Potomac".

The Administration makes links where they are not warranted, creates expectations that stay empty, and takes half-measures which are unconvincing. From climate change to Syria, from terrorism to Iran, policies look shaky, in part because the President chooses to remain stubbornly hostage to his former commitments. Today's problems will not be solved by yesterday's policies. The man of "change" risks being seen as the ultimate immobiliser. 

America looks stuck in an approximated mood.  The Fed, the Pentagon, State, are perceived as being frozen in some form of "airplane mode".  Everything in the world seems to happen despite the United States, rather than because of them. This gives rise to a frustration, especially among Republicans. Unfortunately, they react in the worst possible fashion, making a further right-turn which pushes them into a religious/populist/reactionary frenzy. The Democrats resort to their spending/regulatory habits, with disregard (for now) for some form of financial discipline.

When America does not lead, understudies step in. This seldom benefits the quality of the play.

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