Editorial Commentary / Opinion
Scott Sullivan : How to rescue Obama II
“Political power is the one aspect of
which cannot be faked.” Stalin, 1923
So, does Obama hold political power in Wasington? No. Last week, in a classic Freudian slip, -- i.e. when a political commentator makes a verbal blunder that reveals a highly embarrassing political truth -- the democratic party’s Mark Shields referred to Barack Obama as the Senator from Illinois, not as the current US president.
Mark Shields is not the only leading Democrat who dreams about returning Obama to the Senate. Opposition to Obama is surfacing throughout the Democratic Party in all parts of the US. Democratic Party activists now fear that Obama is wrong on key issues and that he will drag down the Democratic Party to catastrophic defeat in the 2010 congressional elections,
In the past few weeks Obama has displayed an astonishing degree of political ineptitude on the issue of health care reform -- an issue selected by Obama personally as defining his presidency. After weeks of intense national debate on health care issues, Obama is now clearly deferring to Congress on policy and is apparently incapable of articulating his specific objectives on health care reform.
Likewise, on national security issues, Obama is deferring to holdover Bush appointees like Robert Gates and his allies at CIA. To Obama’s misfortune, Obama has followed Gates and the US Neoconservatives into the quicksand of Afghanistan.
On Iraq, Obama defers to Gates and the Iraqi Kurds, who want to break up Iraq to create a separate Kurdish state. As a result, Iraq faces political disintegration and all out civil war. Gates refuses to rein in the Kurds, his main political allies in Iraq since Bush 41. In fact, Kurdish self-determination – regardless of the horrific cost from regional instability -- has been the true Bush/Gates/NeoCon legacy for the US invasion of Iraq.
Finally, Obama is deferring to Gates on Honduras, where he supports political factions controlled by Hugo Chavez. Gates has ignored the emerging authoritarian trends by the pro-Chavez factions in Honduras which led to today’s crisis. Today, Gates is ignoring the authoritarian trends by pro-Chavez factions in Bolivia which are leading to crisis. Moreover, Gates is ignoring Iran’s buildup of terrorist forces in Venezuela, Bolivia and Central America that are preparing to launch attacks on US targets, thereby creating yet a fourth crisis for Obama.
In short, as Stalin noted earlier, the reality of who holds political power cannot be faked. Obama is out. Washing ton DC’s traditional power structure -- which includes NeoCon dominance of US foreign affairs via Gates and CIA -- is in.
So, what should Obama do now? Obama must become another Richard Nixon, who always favored a strong US stance on policy. Nixon been called many names over the years, but he has never been criticized as irresolute or indecisive.
Obama must, above all, choose strong dramatic policies, as with his plan for national health insurance and Nixon's plan for détente with China so that both together could confront Russia. Hint for Obama -- Iran is the new China, and Hugo Chavez is the new enemy!
Scott Sullivan is a former Washington government employee and was the Senior Advisor for International Economics at the Crisis Management Center of the National Security Council, 1984 - 1986. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views.
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Petroleumworld News 09/09/01
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