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Saturday, October 03, 2009



Speaking of failed foreign policy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/01/iran-agrees-to-send-enric_n_307193.html

And had Obama not gone to Copenhagen, what then? Since other leaders were there, we would have been seen as the arrogant Americans who need not condesend to ask for the games. Meanwhile, at home, the Right Wing noise machine would be saying he didn't even try.


A.I.: no other President ever made such a trip. Obama surely didn't have to start now. And surely not at this moment. And since when does Obama have to do something because of what the "right wing noise machine" machine would do. This was a numb skull play on the highest shelf. Even the New York Times agrees.


An alternative thesis: the President made the trip knowing we would lose, and went to demonstrate America can be a good loser:


George Mason

How can this be? We were told during the campaign that with is powers of oratory
and persuasion all the people of the world would bow down before Obama, and his wish would be their command. Iran would disarm, Russia would be pacified, the
Palestinians would come to love the Israelis and Al Quaeda would beg forgiveness.
Yesterday he could not push Chicago into 3rd place. Maybe it has something to do with the condition that Obama and the rest of the Chicago political machine have
left their city in (the IOC could not have been impressed with the recent media
coverage out of Chicago). Political climbing and patronage being more important
than crime control, there are too many neighborhoods that have been left to gangs
of feral young people. Cleaning this up should be work for "Community Organizers"
but that would get in the way of promoting a national socialist agenda.


Cory: I remember back when Bush 41 mispronounced Saddam Hussein's name. His fans (there were such men!) argued that it was on purpose because the alternative pronunciation was an insult in Arabic. Maybe. I still think he just got it wrong. But when a President's supporters bend over backward to believe virtually any positive interpretation of his actions, he's always a genius!

Even if it had the motive you creatively adopt here, it was still a bone headed play. He had no reason to believe that "American redeemed by grace in the face of defeat" would be the headline. It wasn't. And even if it was, it was hardly worth the cost. I honestly don't know whether the President is a dummy or not. I see precious few signs to the contrary. But this was a dumb thing to do.


My point was not that Obama need respond to the wishes of the Right Wing noise machine. It was that he would receive criticism whether he made the trip or not and therefore, the criticism (noise machine) is irrelevant.

The whole response, thus far, is classic "...mountain out of a mole hill". A primary reason critics offer for Obama not to go is that the U.S. is somehow above having its leader make a personal pitch for the games--that after leaders of other nations have. It's one more example of American elitism harbored in some political circles.


A.I.: I thought that the "Right Wing noise machine" was offered as a reason for Obama's decision. We seem to agree now that it was not. As for the mountain and molehill, I agree in part. There is no basic loss for Obama in terms of power or position. But at a time when his political capital is in worse shape than the employment figures, it was a serious mistake to risk more of it in a situation that he could not control. And it did make a big impression on the press, at home and abroad where it might count the most. Obama can't pretend to be the world leader on the Iran question without acting as the leader of a very special nation, so it was silly to worry about giving the impression of elitism, if that is what he was doing.


And the point again is that he was going to be criticized whether or not he went. If there was or is a price to pay in terms of political capital, it was going to be paid anyway. Others will make of it what they will. My take is, at least he tried.

Being a "very special nation" does not mean we must be an elitist nation. Part of our being special is possessing military and economic muscle second to none. Other nations understand that, we need not rub their noses in it.

Obama has been presenting a far less arrogant face than Bush in pursuing foreign policy goals. Whether that was a consideration in this instance, I have no way of knowing. My guess is, it's just this Administration's way of approaching the world.


A.I.: we have about beat this one into the ground. I admire your stamina in defending the President, but this was clearly a bone-headed move. It risked and lost political capital in a case where little was to be gained. If the President had not intervened, there would have been no story. None. As it is, the story was all over the national and international press, and it was embarrassing. If that is not a bad move, what would be?

I am sure you are right that this was "just this Administration's way of approaching the world". If Bush was arrogant, his arrogance has been replaced by Obama's narcissism. The President's address to the IOC and the First Lady's, were all me, me, me. I am not sure that that's an improvement.

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