Tuesday, May 24, 2016


President Obama is in Asia. He repeats mutatis mutandis his opening to Cuba by enlisting Vietnam in the buffer policy by stealth around China. The killing of  Mullah Muhammad Mansour is a blow to the Taliban and a warning to Pakistan. No doubt he will press the issue of the TPP in Japan, but he finds resistance home both with Democrats and Republicans.  The President looks like being in control of the pivot to Asia but he is still confronted both with the Middle Eastern fiasco at large and by the sabotage (some of his own doing) at home. Nevertheless, Raqqa might fall during his tenure, depriving ISIL of its Caliphate capital. His "persona" is not unlike Ronald Reagan's.  Both presidents remained a riddle to their entourage and both were equally uxurious and private.

The elections now are an Armageddon without boundaries. Trump relishes the moral swamp and "calculated" strategic ignorance.  Sanders plays the part in "Back to the Past".  Mrs. Clinton looks stuck in some kind of Rubik dilemma.  How long can she stand the abuse of a Republican candidate who takes cover behind the vulgar and gets a free pass for avoiding to explain his contradictions or for having to discuss the real issues?  Not enough attention is paid to the possible repercussions of a Trump victory: intellectual chaos, strategic and financial uncertainty, the moral compass of the Supreme Court in jeopardy. The Republican candidate plays poor-taste Vaudeville. Instead of going for ideas, he procrastinates, talking about others' private lives (not of the Noel Coward class) to hide his own private and business wanderings.  The Republican "elites" still shun the black sheep for now but prefer to remain silent, just in case...  Trump is a contemporary version of Guy Fawkes who might as well blow the "normal" out of the political system.  Sanders is becoming a curse which might cost the Democrats the gains which looked certain months ago.

As a consequence most of the world looks on with unbelieving eyes and ears. Obama tries to reassure but the velvet president looks almost "fickle" compared to the campains' sound and fury.

The problem is that the dividends of Obama's policies have no impact on the mindset of middle America. People do not pay attention to climate change, international trade, obscure diplomacy, Ebola or Zika virus, at a time when the improvements in the economy, which are real, seem often to favor macro over micro interests. Even affordable health care is plagued by an overdose of bureaucratic "fat".

I am sure that the future will look at the Obama years through a more sophisticated lens.  Some strategic and personal miscalculations are certain, but the personal dignity of the man and his over-intelligent soliloquies will be revisited. The more the end of his term advances the more his style will be missed already, because what might be coming is frightening indeed.

The May Grey,  so typical for southern California, covers the whole of the country now...sad !

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