Thursday, February 11, 2016


Confronted with a chorus of critics of its foreign policy, the White House witches have come up with the "strategic patience" mantra.  Hence the dictionary of euphemisms was enriched with a new concept.  Meanwhile, everything has gone downhill.  Flawed rules of engagement continue to undermine the US military action against ISIL.  Even the economy is nose-diving because of failing oil prices and the unconvincing handling by the Fed.  The one thing that Obama has going for him is his trade legacy, both with Europe and Asia, but even there the tailwinds do not help, since Hillary Clinton reversed course and spoke out against them.

Which brings us to the campaign.  Seldom has an electoral process felt so long and unbearable. Soundbites and cheap shots have overshadowed mature political discourse.  The worse of the right and of the left marginalizes the better, which is still able to breath under the current circumstances, in a country which seems unrecognizable.

Who is to blame? Unfortunately, the President bears a huge responsibility in this "debacle". The community organizer of yesterday is seen as a detached, patronizing, polarizing leader, of what? The country no longer listens.  Democrats have turned left. Republicans have turned away. The White House is hostage to its virtual self-aggrandizement, ignoring directions. It condescends without further explanations.  Meanwhile, the world continues to veer into a downward spiral. North Korea launches, Iran plays arsonist, Syria is in hell, ISIS grabs, Ukraine flares up, while supposed allies distrust and enemies receive a free-pass. Essential bilateral relations with Europe, China, Russia are ready for the emergency room. There only remains that "Fair is foul, and foul is fair". 

Unfortunately, the post-Obama years do not look promising for now.  In the short term the main Republican and Democrat contenders look and sound equally unprepared and unappealing. On both sides the supposedly more prepared ones, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, smell more of mothballs than of creative reset.  Trump and, to a lesser degree Cruz, walk out of a Weimar mindset.  Rubio and Kasich sound at times more informed...but the proof is still in the pudding.  The elites mourn the former better "salad days" but if they continue to sulk , American politics will be decided by coleslaw and the pulpit! 

Maybe secular Europe, which can hardly sort out its own problems, should be less contemptuous of the US, but it is hard to overlook the accumulative deficit of a discredited foreign policy of what claims to be the Number One powerhouse. Not only did Obama fail to connect with his own, he ended up undermining his early capital of goodwill and post-Bush feeling of relief worldwide.  This very abstract president became a lonely man, who lost a large chunk of the trust invested in him while pursuing erga omnes an agenda which is no longer backed but by a shrinking "coterie".  The "strategic patience" has become another casualty of a reality check, rejoining the lexicon of "leading from behind" and the infamous "red line", inter alia.

March will be a bumpy road, indeed!

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