28 August 2008

Barack Obama - a Chance and a Challenge

I would never ever call myself a 'prophet', but some have used the word 'prophetic' recently with regards to my analysis of and comments on the US presidential election campaign.

Well, to make this quite clear: I have neither a 'sixth sense' nor any special insider connections to the political parties in the USA and their activists. All I did at the begin of the year was to look at the situation, the people involved (at that time there were still 26 different individuals seeking the nomination in either the Democratic or the Republican Party) and then I analysed their potential chances of being elected, first inside their own party, and then in November by the US voters.

In entries from January 4th, January 9th and February 1st I predicted - correctly, as it turned out - that this year's presidential election would be contested by Senator Barack Obama (right) for the Democrats and Senator John McCain (below left) for the Republicans.

Despite strong initial support for Senator Hillary Clinton, especially from Irish Americans and from a lot of groups and institutions here in Ireland, I could not see her being successful in the quest for the White House. Right from the start her campaign was too arrogant, aggressive and simplistic. The message that came across was basically: I was already in the White House for eight years as a wife, so now I am entitled to another eight years there as President.

Well, if the USA would like to install a hereditary system of government, they could do so openly and through legislation. But doing it through the back door is neither fair nor clever. Actually, had Hillary Clinton been nominated and won the election in November, the USA would have had a spell of 24 (and perhaps even 28) years under the rule of either a member of the Bush family or the Clinton family. This is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind in 1776.

In fact, in the more than two centuries the USA had an elected President, George W. Bush is only the second case of a President's son being elected President as well. (The first was John Quincy Adams, the 6th President and son of the 2nd President John Adams.)

Hillary Clinton also failed to realise that her support for the illegal war against Iraq and the still ongoing and equally illegal occupation of this country by US troops was a huge negative burden for her campaign. She and her advisers made further a crucial mistake by underestimating the potential of Barack Obama, in particular his great appeal to young people and ordinary citizens who are fed-up with the Bush administration and the right-wing Republicans.

So it was clear for me from the outset that only Barack Obama could be a true alternative to the current administration. Even though I have neither a vote nor any influence in the USA, I did support his candidacy from day one. And I am glad that, despite all attempts by Bill and Hillary Clinton to throw political mud at him, the junior Senator from Illinois has now taken the first and very important hurdle and received the official nomination of his party.

It will now depend on the maturity and common sense of the American people if he can go all the way to Washington and become the 44th President of the USA. Personally I hope he will, as he is - in my opinion - at present the only person in US politics who could stop the rapid decline of the USA in political as well as economical terms. And he is also the only one who could - with at least some chance of success - try to repair the extremely damaged image his country has now in the world, thanks to eight years of arrogance, ignorance, blunder, crimes and war crimes under George W. Bush and his cronies.

For both the USA and the rest of the world a President Obama would be a chance as well as a great challenge. Without drastic changes of policy, attitude and behaviour the USA are doomed to complete failure, which would subsequently - and probably quite speedily - lead to a collapse of the USA as we know her. The example of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire stands as a clear writing on the walls of the White House already...

A few days ago US police and FBI discovered a plot by right-wing extremists to assassinate Senator Obama. I sincerely hope that the United States have learned the lessons of the past 45 years and are now able to prevent such crime and tragedy. With the murder of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and his brother Robert in 1968 the USA took large steps back into the Dark Ages. Subsequently the country fell into the hands of the crook Richard Nixon, the cynical war monger (and ex-CIA boss) George H. W. Bush and then - most tragically - into the lap of the by far worst leader the USA ever had: George W. Bush, a lazy and uneducated criminal and war criminal who came to power through a coup d'etat and destroyed all trust and credibility the United States had left in the world.

Should Barack Obama be murdered like the Kennedy brothers, the USA would rightfully be seen as a nest of vipers and killers by all the world. So I really hope that the vast security apparatus for which the US tax payers spend billions of Dollars every year, will do its job properly this time.

However, I do not expect miracles from a President Obama. Should he win in November and get to the White House, he will still be an American politician, bound into a long-established system of powers and vested interests. No-one, regardless how ambitious or alternative he might be, is able to change the whole system completely.
President John F. Kennedy - ably assisted by his brother Robert (then Attorney General), Dean Rusk (Secretary of State) and Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense) - made honest attempts and managed to achieve quite a lot, before he was murdered by the forces of reaction.

Barack Obama would run into the same political mine fields and barriers that vested interests in Washington have created around the White House. Those obstacles are well guarded, no matter who is President. However, if anyone at this point in time could make a difference and bring back some degree of dignity to US politics, it would be Barack H. Obama.

With his choice of Senator Joseph "Joe" Biden (right) for the position of Vice President he made a shrewd move. It not only brought vast amounts of tradional Hillary Clinton supporters into the Obama camp, it also bolstered the campaign substantially where it was weak: in the areas of foreign and defence policies.
Joe Biden, a solid and sincere working-class American of Irish stock, is probably the most senior and most experienced US politician in these areas. Being also a man who does not shy back from an argument, he is the ideal match for Barack Obama, whose strength is more the bigger picture and the principal direction of politics.

In my analysis in January I suggested John Edwards as a possible running mate for Obama, and I still think that this combination would also have been a very powerful Democratic ticket. But in the selection of Joe Biden the Obama campaign has gone even further than they would have with a selection of John Edwards. I do hope that the majority of US voters will see the light and elect Obama and Biden in November. If not, no "God bless America" and no shoring-up of the vast damage done to the ship of state by the current administration, will help to save the USA.

As things are, we are currently witnessing once again history in the making. The future of the USA and with that the future of the civilised world will be decided within the next ten weeks. So, watch this space and keep watching the USA.

The Emerald Islander


P.S. There is one thing I find very strange in regard to the reporting about Barack Obama. Many journalists speak of him as the potentially "first black President of the USA". This is not a correct description, as Senator Obama is of mixed race, the son of a black Kenyan father and a white American mother from Kansas. So why is he then always called "black"? What is wrong with being of mixed ethnic background?
By calling Barack Obama "black" the people who do it ignore completely his white mother, who brought him up alone after his father had left the USA.
In US 'politically correct' public speak the word black is no longer used (except by black people) and instead the currently fashionable version is 'African-American'. In Barack Obama's case this is probably the most correct description, since he is indeed the child of an African father and an American mother.

3 comments:

The Wild Goose said...

It is a joy to see you back. My son and I have just enjoyed together your entry.

Defiant Symmetry said...

Very well written and well thought out.

THE EMERALD ISLANDER said...

Thank you both for your kind comments.

I do try to put things proper, and what I write is always based on good research and deep analysis.

Most people these days - including many journalists - look at everything on a day-to-day basis. This makes often shallow reading. Sadly only a few newspapers, magazines and radio stations employ a real political analyst.

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