Mon | May 29, 2017

Chronixx right about Obama’s wasted legacy

Published:Monday | April 20, 2015 | 4:00 AMDonald Wray

I have been champing at the bit, but hesitating to comment on Barack Obama's visit; the local euphoria; then Chronixx's "waste man" comment, and the subsequent backlash that will likely destroy this talented young artiste.

No other president in the history of the United States (US) ever came to office with the level of political capital (domestically and globally) that Obama had in 2008. Domestically, he had the expectation of the blacks, Hispanics, progressive whites. Internationally, he had the best possible goodwill and certainly the hopeful expectation of those in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Canadians, Western Europe, Eastern Europe (including Russia), the Africans, the Palestinians and, aptly, most of the Muslim world (including the supposed despots), South East Asia and the Far East (both China and Japan).

This wide grouping, to varying degrees, expected some measurable, positive (if not radical) shift in American policies. Identifiable CHANGE was thus, in fact, his MANDATE.

Naively, the world, in quiet optimism, held its breath in the hope that for the first time, US policies (both inside and outside of their territory) would represent beyond literal, narrow, intemperate insatiable, Anglo-Saxon interest. The rest of us hoped that we at last had a hero. Instead, he squandered this rich political capital.

Obama has cowardly towed the line of a traditionalist American president. Everything - from a first-term muting on immigration reform; to the elimination of bin Laden and Gadaffi; the disruption of Syria and Ukraine; and spats and renewed Cold War (and conflagration trigger) with Russia and China.

His conduct has led me to tersely describe him as White House spokesman Barack Obama, and not President Obama. With all his intellect, who the heck convinced him that he should adopt hard-line strategies abroad, but tactically proceed as a gradualist counter-force against aggressive, intransigent, racist attitudes and systems at home?

As proof of the error/paradox of his approach, on every occasion of his successes - whether it was for Obamacare, QE or the Cuban amelioration - he had to push, and push hard at home. And, a bolder tactic against the entrenched interests would have invariably succeeded in gaining concessions from the oligarchy.

The overall strategy would have ultimately increased global demand for American goods and that of other producers. Thus, that kind of bold scenario of promulgating CHANGE could have quite likely made the world a different place from the sabre-rattling economic doldrums it is today. Who, then, was being naive with the cowardice of towing the traditional American line or adopting 'tactical' gradualism?

The bottom line is that Barack Obama is just a career guy, who has undoubted intellect, eloquence and political savvy. He skilfully manoeuvred and avoided or postponed the crucial 'radical' transformatory issues for second term and legacy.

Take note how he even now skirts issues that are critically sensitive to his traditional audience. Watch how he skilfully made the populist, unscheduled stop at the Bob Marley Museum, which was, of course, splashed all over the media to prime the way for his propaganda parade. That's because Marley is now popular internationally, and no longer deemed a threat by the vultures, having been diluted in 'One Love'.

 

No visit to Garvey's shrine

 

He then saw it fit to proceed with a scheduled visit at the National Heroes Park - to honour those who had died in imperialist hegemonic wars, but could not find it appropriate to make a simple 'unscheduled' walkover to Marcus Garvey's shrine, within the same complex, to pay honour to this icon of the struggle for black uplift who had been a premier figure, who laid the foundation for him as a black man to reach the pinnacle of American political power. That would have irked the masters, and hence that would have been too dangerous.

As for the euphoria we are so gullibly cherishing, let me close with a familiar anecdote. I watched for a number of years, an absentee father resident overseas largely ignore the basic everyday needs of his children here in Jamaica. This is in circumstances of dire need, and during times of his enjoying fair and, sometime, fanfare lifestyle abroad.

But when on the rare occasion he contributes, it is mainly through a parade of brand-name items. And the critical observation is to watch the level of euphoria displayed by the recipients, completely ignoring his punishing delinquency over his period of absence.

It now suits the United States to re-engage with the Caribbean and Latin America for geopolitical reasons, hence the attention and the goodies. That's what I call skill, or rather 'necromancy' - the spell. That's what should teach us to always beware the Greeks bearing gifts.

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