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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
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Obama’s Careful Phrasing Conceals Disasters

Obama's State of the Union address touted an American return to world leadership, but concealed the failure of Obama's policies, especially in the Middle East.
Barack Obama state of the union

Obama’s policies don’t—in the strict sense of the term—reward businesses for shipping jobs overseas; they merely punish businesses for remaining in America. Taxing executives more while adding to the regulatory and cost burden will make things worse.

He continues:

We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.
And soon there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.This sounds good but it’s a fantasy. To speak of doubling U.S. exports is insane except for one point. If Obama’s policies lead to massive inflation and the decline of the dollar, foreign customers will want to unload their dollars and take advantage of relatively falling American prices. This will not, however, benefit the American people much.

If one wants to analyze Obama’s claims the auto industry is the place to start. Look at the policies of General Motors, the most favored and government-influenced of all American companies, which has shipped jobs overseas. If American cars are on those foreign streets, it will be because they were manufactured in China. (I wonder if Obama’s choice of South Korea rather than China as the Asian country in his list was deliberately made to conceal that fact).

And then, par for the course, he announces a new and unneeded additional bureaucracy called the Trade Enforcement Unit that will carry on investigations that could be done by existing institutions. That’s how Obama creates jobs.

He continues,

I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough.Well, in fact it is easy to show that his investments in wind, solar, and battery industries have been an abject failure. One would have thought Obama would avoid that topic except that his immunity to prosecution by the mass media makes him bold here. There are deep structural reasons why China is ahead—lower wages, lower costs, less regulation, and less safety. That’s not going to change. Obama is doubling down on a losing proposition.

Then he produces a real whopper:

Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies.This is a coded reference to the anti-Iraq war argument that intervention in that country was tying down American forces that could be used elsewhere. Obama is saying: Now that we are out of Iraq we’ll really get those terrorists!

Yet Obama has claimed victory over the terrorists while U.S. forces in Iraq were at their height. His own statements undercut that argument. And what big new way is the United States been striking blows at its enemies since the withdrawal? I cannot think of anything (continued drone strikes in Yemen?). But if you think that the Benghazi terrorists (not the California videomaker), the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas in particular, the Syrian Brotherhood and Salafists, Hizballah, etc., are “enemies” then how has the Obama Administration escalated efforts against them now that it has pulled all those troops out of Iraq and can spare them for other operations?

Like much of Obama’s speech, if one actually pays attention to the language and claims, it dissolves into ridiculousness.

Obama continues:

From Pakistan to Yemen, the Al-Qaida operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.I see no evidence of that. The biggest hits to the al-Qaida leadership, except for the killing of bin Ladin—happened during the Bush Administration. Of course, Obama carefully picked his examples. Where other than Pakistan and Yemen might they live in fear? Certainly not in Libya.

Then we come to the “Arab Spring”:

As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo, from Sana’a to Tripoli.Obama could have said the same thing two years ago. Since then, however, the shaky coalition government in Tunisia is crumbling after the most courageous opposition leader was assassinated and the Brotherhood is tightening its hold. In Egypt, the Brotherhood is in power and at the very moment Obama was speaking was engaged in repressing street protests. In Yemen, substantially nothing has changed. In Tripoli (it was wise not to mention Libya’s other main city, Benghazi) there is a reasonable level of success. Perhaps the greatest change in governance has come in Iraq, but Obama doesn’t want to mention that because that would imply a tip of the hat to George W. Bush. By the way, is Obama going to urge Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader, to hold elections when he visits Ramallah in late March? He’s still governing three years after his term ended.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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2 Responses to “Obama’s Careful Phrasing Conceals Disasters”

  1. Anonymous says:

    nothing like praising oneself and will probably tell the military, to love one another, like he tells us homosexual behaviour is okay. Wonder why his fingers are so long?

  2. I am sure that our president is the "Chamberlain" appeaser of our century.His appointments of Hagel and Kerry are solid proof of this. I believe his agenda may be much worse as he weakens our military, and wants to negotiate with an enemy sworn to destroy us,"the Great Satan. The American people may have voted for the destruction of there own nation, as we know it."

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