Monday, December 28, 2009

Obama End of Year Scorecard

HAVANA – Cuba's foreign minister called President Barack Obama an 'imperial and arrogant' liar Monday for his conduct at the U.N. climate conference, a reflection of the communist island's increasingly fiery verbal attacks on the U.S. government...

Read entire post: Top Cuban Official Says Obama Lied In Copenhagen
By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer


Obama's lost face
American Thinker: "Why did Chinese premier Wen Jiabao choose to publicly humiliate Barack Obama at Copenhagen? " More

EDITORIAL: Obama the party crasher - Washington Times
 "Foreign leaders were avoiding the president in Copenhagen"

Barack Obama is not used to being the guy not invited to a party. At the Copenhagen global warming conference, however, he found that not everyone wanted to hang with him. Our president can't take a hint...
Mr. Obama did make history at Copenhagen, but not in the way he expected. It says a great deal about American power and prestige when international leaders go to so much trouble to avoid meeting with the president of the United States. The American Century is over"

Obama has lost points in the blame game
Opinion | The Australian:
Karl Rove THE US President boasts of earning a B+. In fact, he has the worst ratings of any president at the end of his first year." more

Obama's Real Report Card
Sultan Knish: "As Obama's first year in office approaches, his long calendar of corruption and failure flutters its windblown leaves into the abyss of the past. Let us take a brief look back at the full unmitigated ugliness of the Sham in Chief's first year in office... for a proper report card." More

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How Chicago Obama Tackled Chinese Snub

Obama refused to cool his heels
Jonathan Leake
The Australian 21 December 2009

FOR Barack Obama it would have been a humiliation too far. First he had been invited to a meeting with Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Premier, only to be confronted with a relatively junior official. Then, once the President's team had located Wen, Obama was told to wait outside while the Chinese leader tried to conclude a private deal with Brazil, India and South Africa."

To the US delegation this looked like a deliberate snub - and Obama was having none of it. As his security staff shouldered aside the Chinese minders, he strode into the meeting room at the cavernous Bella Centre on the outskirts of Copenhagen.

'Mr Premier, are you ready to see me? Are you ready?' Obama said.

US officials later insisted the President did not barge in uninvited on the surprise meeting, but was merely showing up on time for his talks with Wen."

'We weren't crashing a meeting; we were going for our bilateral meeting . . . we found the other people there,' he deadpanned."

"However, the scuffles, along with a second battle as Chinese officials then let their own camera crews into the room while trying to block their British and American rivals, told their own story.

The Sunday Times"

Obama Busts In On Climate Change Meeting Oliver Willis

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Obama, a Constructed Public Persona?

Tiger, Barack, and the Law of Transitivity:
Lisa Schiffren
American Thinker:

..."We are staring because we've been had. Betrayed. We see now that the image was all a fraud...The larger lesson here is about how much artifice -- sustained, deliberate deception -- goes into the construction of a public persona when there is profit to be made or power to be had...

...Because Barack Obama is about as completely manufactured a political character as this nation has seen. His meteoric rise, without the inconvenience of a public record or accomplishments, and the public's willing suspension of critical evaluation of his résumé allowed his handlers and the media to project whatever they wanted to on his unfurrowed brow...

They constructed a persona that would make the American electorate comfortable with a barely-known, first-term senator with a left wing voting record, a deliberately obscured personal and professional past, and no traditional qualifications for high office.

...After a year in the spotlight, Barack Obama, hailed as a brilliant man and a creature of destiny who would heal us all, is himself falling rapidly to earth. (Thankfully, his family life remains above suspicion.) The flaws that were airbrushed out of the candidate photos are becoming glaringly obvious under day-to-day scrutiny of his public performance in the White House... matters a lot if the president is revealed to be an inexperienced, excessively ideological, and weak man who is naïve about the world and uncomfortable exercising American power during a time of war. It matters if nothing in his training would have equipped the president to understand what it takes to stimulate job growth, or ameliorate a recession, or to end an overseas conflict successfully. It matters that he is uninterested in the science behind global warming -- and wishes to use the issue to amass power and reorder society. It matters that he has no interest in the construction of policy...

..."many voters from both the center and the far left who believed in the Obama magic are increasingly dismayed by watching the human god fall to earth. This is a major problem because, as Shafer notes, the impulse of the betrayed is to tear their fallen deities to shreds."

Read entire post:Tiger, Barack, and the Law of Transitivity

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic

Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic
By Gabor Steingart

President Barack Obama's Tuesday speech left a bad taste in many mouths. "Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric -- and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.

One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama's speech would be well-received.

Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond 'enthusiastically' to the speech. But it didn't help: The soldiers' reception was cool.

One didn't have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama's speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan -- and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war -- and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate."

Just in Time for the Campaign

For each troop movement, Obama had a number to match. US strength in Afghanistan will be tripled relative to the Bush years, a fact that is sure to impress hawks in America. But just 18 months later, just in time for Obama's re-election campaign, the horror of war is to end and the draw down will begin. The doves of peace will be let free.

The speech continued in that vein. It was as though Obama had taken one of his old campaign speeches and merged it with a text from the library of ex-President George W. Bush. Extremists kill in the name of Islam, he said, before adding that it is one of the "world's great religions." He promised that responsibility for the country's security would soon be transferred to the government of President Hamid Karzai -- a government which he said was "corrupt." The Taliban is dangerous and growing stronger. But "America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars," he added.

It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage.

Obama's Magic No Longer Works

But in this case, the public was more disturbed than entertained. Indeed, one could see the phenomenon in a number of places in recent weeks: Obama's magic no longer works. The allure of his words has grown weaker.

It is not he himself who has changed, but rather the benchmark used to evaluate him. For a president, the unit of measurement is real life. A leader is seen by citizens through the prism of their lives -- their job, their household budget, where they live and suffer. And, in the case of the war on terror, where they sometimes die.

Political dreams and yearnings for the future belong elsewhere. That was where the political charmer Obama was able to successfully capture the imaginations of millions of voters. It is a place where campaigners -- particularly those with a talent for oration -- are fond of taking refuge. It is also where Obama set up his campaign headquarters, in an enormous tent called "Hope."

In his speech on America's new Afghanistan strategy, Obama tried to speak to both places. It was two speeches in one. That is why it felt so false. Both dreamers and realists were left feeling distraught.

The American president doesn't need any opponents at the moment. He's already got himself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Arabs Have Stopped Applauding Obama :A foreign policy of penance has won America no friends

The Arabs Have Stopped Applauding Obama
 The WallStreet Journal

'He talks too much,' a Saudi academic in Jeddah, who had once been smitten with Barack Obama, recently observed to me of America's 44th president. He has wearied of Mr. Obama and now does not bother with the Obama oratory.

He is hardly alone, this academic. In the endless chatter of this region, and in the commentaries offered by the press, the theme is one of disappointment. In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth.

He has not made the world anew, history did not bend to his will, the Indians and Pakistanis have been told that the matter of Kashmir is theirs to resolve, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the same intractable clash of two irreconcilable nationalisms, and the theocrats in Iran have not 'unclenched their fist,' nor have they abandoned their nuclear quest."

"There is little Mr. Obama can do about this disenchantment. "He can't journey to Turkey to tell its Islamist leaders and political class that a decade of anti-American scapegoating is all forgiven and was the product of American policies—he has already done that. He can't journey to Cairo to tell the fabled 'Arab street' that the Iraq war was a wasted war of choice, and that America earned the malice that came its way from Arab lands—he has already done that as well. He can't tell Muslims that America is not at war with Islam—he, like his predecessor, has said that time and again."

"It was the norm for American liberalism during the Bush years to brandish the Pew Global Attitudes survey that told of America's decline in the eyes of foreign nations. Foreigners were saying what the liberals wanted said."

"Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama. In the Palestinian territories, 15% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 82% have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn't seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14% and those unreconciled, 69%. In Egypt, a country that's reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 70% do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63% in 2008 to 68% this year."

"Mr. Obama's election has not drained the swamps of anti-Americanism. That anti-Americanism is endemic to this region, an alibi and a scapegoat for nations, and their rulers, unwilling to break out of the grip of political autocracy and economic failure. It predated the presidency of George W. Bush and rages on during the Obama presidency."

"We had once taken to the foreign world that quintessential American difference—the belief in liberty, a needed innocence to play off against the settled and complacent ways of older nations. The Obama approach is different."

"Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt, Mr. Obama and his lieutenants offered nothing less than a doctrine, and a policy, of American penance. No one told Mr. Obama that the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one's own tribe when in the midst, and in the lands, of others."

"The crowd may have applauded the cavalier way the new steward of American power referred to his predecessor, but in the privacy of their own language they doubtless wondered about his character and his fidelity. 'My brother and I against my cousin, my cousin and I against the stranger,' goes one of the Arab world's most honored maxims. The stranger who came into their midst and spoke badly of his own was destined to become an object of suspicion."

"Mr. Obama could not make up his mind: He was at one with 'the people' and with the rulers who held them in subjugation. The people of Iran who took to the streets this past summer were betrayed by this hapless diplomacy—Mr. Obama was out to 'engage' the terrible rulers that millions of Iranians were determined to be rid of."

"On Nov. 4, on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran, the embattled reformers, again in the streets, posed an embarrassing dilemma for American diplomacy: 'Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them,' they chanted. By not responding to these cries and continuing to 'engage' Tehran's murderous regime, his choice was made clear. It wasn't one of American diplomacy's finest moments."

"Mr. Obama has himself to blame for the disarray of his foreign policy. American arms had won a decent outcome in Iraq, but Mr. Obama would not claim it—it was his predecessor's war. Vigilance had kept the American homeland safe from terrorist attacks for seven long years under his predecessors, but he could never grant Bush policies the honor and credit they deserved. He had declared Afghanistan a war of necessity, but he seems to have his eye on the road out even as he is set to announce a troop increase in an address to be delivered tomorrow."

"He was quick to assert, in the course of his exuberant campaign for president last year, that his diplomacy in South Asia would start with the standoff in Kashmir. In truth India had no interest in an international adjudication of Kashmir. What was settled during the partition in 1947 was there to stay. In recent days, Mr. Obama walked away from earlier ambitions. 'Obviously, there are historic conflicts between India and Pakistan,' he said. 'It's not the place of the United States to try to, from the outside, resolve those conflicts.'"

"Nor was he swayed by the fate of so many 'peace plans' that have been floated over so many decades to resolve the fight between Arab and Jew over the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean. Where George W. Bush offered the Palestinians the gift of clarity—statehood but only after the renunciation of terror and the break with maximalism—Mr. Obama signaled a return to the dead ways of the past: a peace process where America itself is broker and arbiter."

"The Obama diplomacy had made a settlement freeze its starting point, when this was precisely the wrong place to begin. Israel has given up settlements before at the altar of peace—recall the historical accommodation with Egypt a quarter century ago. The right course would have set the question of settlements aside as it took up the broader challenge of radicalism in the region—the menace and swagger of Iran, the arsenal of Hamas and Hezbollah, the refusal of the Arab order of power to embrace in broad daylight the cause of peace with Israel."

"The laws of gravity, the weight of history and of precedent, have caught up with the Obama presidency. We are beyond stirring speeches. The novelty of the Obama approach, and the Obama persona, has worn off. There is a whole American diplomatic tradition to draw upon—engagements made, wisdom acquired in the course of decades, and, yes, accounts to be settled with rogues and tyrannies. They might yet help this administration find its way out of a labyrinth of its own making."

"Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author of 'The Foreigner's Gift' (Free Press, 2007)."