Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama’s State of the Union Message Tells Us Far More About the State of Obama

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
28 January '10

Significantly, President Barack Obama’s discussion of foreign policy came only at the end of his State of the Union message. Obviously, domestic matters and especially the economy come first. Yet international affairs are not only vital but often have been the issues on which administrations are judged, no matter how unlikely that seemed at the time.

It is apparently considered impolite to point out that Obama has no previous experience and little knowledge of international affairs. And yet that fact affects the fate of the globe every day. The really interesting question is whether the State of the Union message showed any growth in his ability after one year in office.

Sadly, the answer is “no.”

Here are the themes he expressed.

First, he implies that it is all George W. Bush’s fault, having left him with two wars. Yet there is a strange point here that no one has noticed. These wars, except for Obama's long hesitation about making a decision on Afghanistan, have caused him little trouble or criticism in relative terms. On a list of administration failures during its first year, a long list of other items prevail which cannot be blamed on Bush: embarrassing gaffes, messing up on Iran and the “peace process,” subverting allies in Central Europe, apologizing and undermining U.S. credibility with dictators, mishandling the Islamist terrorist prisoners, and so on.

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