Politics

Barack Obama: War President II

novy.

Posted to Politics on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 12:48:20 AM EST (promoted by port1080). RSS.

Lots of pundits argue that U.S. President Obama has been unsuccessful in dealing with America's economic problems (even as DJIA hits 12,200, again). Far fewer pundits fault Obama's foreign policy. His assassination of Osama bin Laden and of dozens of other al-Qaeda figures, his military victory in Libya, and his expansion of America's role in Afghanistan and Pakistan justify considering him America's latest War President, someone who increasingly makes leftists' skin crawl.

Will it do Obama any special good come November 2012 to be thought to have been more successful in implementing Republican foreign policy than Bush? Will Arab Spring revolutions be seen as resulting from Bush policies, Obama policies, or Bush/Obama policies? Will democracy bring "moderate Islamism" to power throughout north Africa and southwest Asia? Will Syria be next?

Tags: edited by Port1080, written by novy, Obama, war, War President, Get Your War On (all tags)

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Re: Barack Obama: War President II

port1080.

Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 01:00:12 AM EST

none

Policy-wise, I think the closest analogue to Obama among recent (as in, 20th century) Democratic presidents might be JFK.  People don't draw that analogy very frequently due to the way JFK's term ended, but I think it's fairly apt.  You have a young president that lefties really buy into due to his "hope and change" message, but when he gets into office he's as or more aggressive than the Republicans on foreign policy (remember Bay of Pigs?  escalating involvement in Vietnam?), and while he does pass or try to pass some key parts of a liberal agenda, for the most part he actually governs pretty conservatively relative to expectations.  The big difference being that JFK was elected and governed during perhaps the zenith of America's worldwide economic dominance, while Obama is perhaps dealing with the beginning of the end of our centrality to the world economy.  On any measure other than the economy (and I think it's fair to say that in both JFK's case and Obama's case, outside forces have dictated economic conditions more than anything either president did), I think you'd have to say that Obama has been more successful than JFK...but when unemployment is hovering around 9%, it's hard to see that.

Allons-y!

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Re: Barack Obama: War President II

novy.

Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 02:58:55 AM EST

none

I can see your Obama-JFK analogy (with Obama's health care in place of JFK's racial initiatives).

I can also see comparing Obama to Bush-41, in that both of them handled foreign policy very smoothly and both strengthened American alliances, but they also both presided over unhappy economic times.

As for long-term American economic or military decline, I don't buy it. As soon as you stop bleeding hundreds of billions every year on foreign energy imports, you'll do just fine again. China may eventually have higher GDP numbers than you, but then China has been betting on you and your economy for 25 years, so they would be more likely to invest in you than fight you.

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Re: Barack Obama: War President II

Ephraim Gadsby.

Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 06:10:11 AM EST

none

"Far fewer pundits fault Obama's foreign policy"

That tells you something about the views and nature of the pundit class, and nothing else.

"Will democracy bring "moderate Islamism" to power"

Egypt and Libya's new dictators are less moderate and more Islamist.

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Re: Barack Obama: War President II

harzerkatze.

Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 09:12:32 PM EST

none

Will Arab Spring revolutions be seen as resulting from Bush policies, Obama policies, or Bush/Obama policies?
I have to say, it seems to me the Arab Spring happened DESPITE Bush/Obama policies. The Bush foreign policies that Obama continued were very effective in undermining the prestige of western democracies (Western democracies torture too!), but the Arab Spring revolutionaries went for a change towards democracy despite that.
One reason why islamic parties feature so strongly now after having played no role in the initial revolutions may be that the US made sure that western democracies are seen as having no moral advantage whatsoever. When you have lived all your life under the arbitrariness of a dictator, and you see that the common alternative has no moral high ground, but comes across as just another occupying power after a countries' ressources that will assassinate people, abduct people, hold them indefinitely without trial and torture them - well, then you look for someone who might have a higher moral standard. It may seem comical to us to seek that with the islamists, who to us look like huge bigots and murderers, but I believe to the common man on the Arab street that looks different.

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