Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Obama Effectively 'Managing Disappointment'
Jonathan Freedland today offers a shrewdly accurate take on Obama's role in the world during the one year he has presided as the most powerful man in the world. Many of us- me included- were so delighted to get rid of the awful Bush, that we expected far too much of the raw new incumbent. We felt sure the world was now changed and for the better- and it was, but not, it has transpired, by much.
We have seen how his priority measure- health reform- has dragged its way through Congress, with no guarantee a unified bill will emerge before Christmas. We have seen how he has planned to disengage from Iraq -but the slaughter on the streets of Baghdad is by means ended. We have seen the 'surge' of another 30,000 troops for Afghanistan but frew expect things to turn around there anytime soon.
And we have seen how his hands are tied in Copenhagen. The man who wanted to save the world and whose supporters naively thought would set about doing so, has very little to offer the planet, despite being the leader of the biggest polluter on it. We need to go back to Kyoto though to realise Obama's problem here. Al Gore's promises at Kyoto in 1997 were rejected by the Senate 95 to zero. As Freedland explains:
The men and women of the US senate are, after all, only reflecting the people who vote for them. The latest BBC World Service global poll showed US concern about climate change among the lowest in the world, with just 45% of Americans regarding it as "very serious", nearly 20 points below the 23-country average. A Gallup survey found 41% of Americans believed projections of global warming were "exaggerated". It is hardly surprising that those who live in the 25 American states that produce coal are wary of controls, which they believe will kill jobs and raise their energy bills.
The prospect for a substantial deal in Denmark's capital are slight; though we might extract the first instalment of something useful at a later date. When Obama touches down on Friday at the climate change summit, it might well be the case, as Freedland observes in his excellent phrase that he will again be 'managing disappointment' for those of us who hoped and expected so much more. He isn't the new liberal president of the world; merely the president of the old US of A, a great nation and democracy but which still hides its head in the sand on so many issues.
But in Fairness did anyone think really Obama was going to change America, America would bomb the world and wipe it out to save themselves, they are a country full of people who think they should be ruling the world.
I really have given up this week my wife said to me it's time to change your light bulb for a new one to save the world and I refused. Because my council refused to put lights on the Christmas tree to go green, but used twenty two spot lights to light up the town hall
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