Obama, the butterfly and the tank

Posted in Afghanistan, Obama by Deputy city editor on January 8, 2010

I do not know Obama but I know someone who does. One degree of separation! I know that in private, the president is funny, self-deprecating, smart. Very much you wouldn’t mind if he married your daughter. At the very least, he’s someone you’d like to invite to dinner. I heard Michelle speaks French.

But I come to bury Obama, not praise him. I think he is too nice, too rational, insufficiently ruthless, overwhelmed by the incompetence of the entire corrupt Washington polity, leader of a nation in decline, and through no fault of his own, the victim of an utterly ruthless opposition that has never accepted his election as president.

I can’t see in the health reform anything but confirmation that American congressional politics is utterly corrupt and for sale.

But it is in Afghanistan that Obama is most helpless. He has failed to control his generals and has now made his own a policy that will make everything worse.  The strategic miscalulation is epic. Obama’s best hope was that he could inspire his enemies to accept that there was a better way. But they have either rejected his story or not heard it.  Obama is at least not an idiot but neither is he Cicero.

How to end this spreading, insane war is now the only question.

2 Responses

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  1. Barry Strum said, on January 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I must admit that I agree, at least on Afghanistan. The remaining is solid, if not a bit Truman Showesque. Obama is either truly naive or is three chess moves ahead of the rest of us.

    The searing lessons of Vietnam seem to have cooled over the 40 yrs since I served there………………..welcome to the rice paddies Barack…….you Numba 1 ………..this will be your tragedy.

    • Jonathan Miller said, on January 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      Vietnam was both a sympton and a cause of Amerian malaise but above all an early warning. Afghanistan is much more significant because it will lead directly to the end of American hegemony – a bankrupt, helpless, failing nation. Britain is collapsing collaterally. Both of us bankrupt of ideas as well as financially. American hubris and British hypocrisy. A special relationship. But what is Plan B? It is all very well decrying this nonsense but what do we put in its place? Nothing ending in -ism is appealing.

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