A second term President has the potential to do a lot more in his second “first hundred days” than in his first term. But being hamstrung by party bickering and lack of majority, President Obama will struggle with his budget and other domestic reforms.
Hamstrung Presidents usually turn to foreign policy, where they’re not as dependent on the agreement of pork-barrelling politicians.
With his choices for Defense Secretary and replacement CIA Head, President Obama has sent out a pretty clear signal that he intends to tackle the thorny foreign issues head-on.
Having secured the Afghan withdrawal, he’s now lining up to deal with Iran, and what people call the “Middle East” – by which they mean the situation of Israel’s isolation from its neighbours, and the consequent desperation of the Palestinian people.
The President was not helped by John Petraeus’ ignominious resignation from the CIA. I was previously a Petraeus fan, thinking him honest and effective if not a little mad in that typical American military-monk archetype. But when he didn’t even bother to try to tough out his post-affair shit storm, I thought him rather sadly lacking in the determination and clarity he’d exemplified as a soldier.
Allowing this digression to develop a little further; most men if honest, would be perhaps covertly approving of Petraeus’ extracurricular choice. A woman who lifts weights, can match you on your daily run (dawn running being mandatory for military-monks) and has featured as a model for Kriss machineguns ticks a lot of the boxes.
However… Petraeus seems to have been rumbled by the FBI investigating another General’s involvement with another woman. But did Petraeus commit any crime? No. Despite unfounded accusations, there were no security implications: honey-traps only work if one party can be made to feel ashamed enough.
However, instead of giving two-fingers to the media, Petraeus resigned immediately.
But surely, as head of the CIA, Petraeus was required to dispute this as an illegal investigation – and certainly to tell everybody that his activities were none of anybody else’s business?
Maybe Petraeus could have taken a leaf out of the book of Frances’ cheese-eating, surrender-monkey politicians…? And I don’t suppose his highly successful wife thinks any the better of him now.
So… my point being that Petraeus bailing-out let down the President in his battle to make some serious second-term progress in sorting out the world.
But this sad little vignette is reflects a much wider American problem. Just as a good man for running the CIA was trashed for doing what a great many males – especially in North America – would like to have done themselves (were they to be so lucky), so do a great many other serious, important matters get hijacked by national prurience, media outrage and other irrelevant influences.
Why do the 1.7m men, women and children being terrorised in the Gaza Strip, not receive more help from the USA; while Israel is allowed to establish illegal and illogically vulnerable settlements on Palestinian land?
Why are brutal governments and criminal cartels making so much money out of selling drugs to consumers in the USA?
Answer: The greatest nation in the world is hamstrung by it’s version of democracy.
As one example, the US Government is forced by its Jewish population to avoid supporting the obvious requirement for Palestinians to have their own state. Many other major issues in US politics are dominated by marginal groups coming together over single issues then using their ability to swing votes to achieve undue influence. In this example, even though Jewish people comprise only 2.1% of the total USA population (less if you count practising Jews or those of Jewish parentage) this minority continue to prevent Palestinian autonomy.
USA’s $70bn annual “war on drugs” spending is implacably supported by various minority lobby groups – particularly the churches. Individuals who think through the logic of this massive waste of money and its actual effect on young people, cannot influence these lobbies. The right to bear guns is yet another example.
Democracy should ensure one vote for one man or woman. Instead, pastors dictate policy to politicians in return for the votes of their congregations, as do other minority group leaders across the board. That should be illegal.
Why should these unelected people wield such enormous influence? This sort of improperly obtained power is inevitably accompanied by corruption and hypocrisy. Some of the same pastors – and other leaders, with monotonous regularity get caught out misappropriating the monies, dallying with hookers, sex crimes, doing drugs etc. They certainly don’t deserve the influence they exercise.
Just as one person must have one vote, so too should each person be permitted to live their own life within the law, according to their own preferences and morality. The law should safeguard their rights to privacy and freedom from the moral influences and beliefs of others – including the impoverished requirements of political correctness.
If we were to achieve a true “One Person, One Vote” in which each person could take their own decisions and vote accordingly, we’d be free from the over-riding influence of vociferous, extremist minorities. I’m obviously hopelessly naïve in making this point, but these groups are the real enemies of true democracy, Bully-Boys in the Land of the Free.