Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

"To choose our better history"

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jan 20th, 2009 at 09:50:27 PM EST

Obama's inaugural address was remarkable for its paucity of words, directness, and clarity of purpose.  It didn't set out any policy proposals, but set out clearly where he was coming from.  It was a call to history - to choose the better part of our history - and inspire those present by the magnitude of the changes that have been achieved in the past.

Let us consider his words in a little more detail:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

That is his only reference to Bush.  A cursory but gracious reference in the first paragraph, and then he moves on:

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

Hey, this isn't just about me, this is about all of us remaining true to our highest ideals.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Yea the Republicans fucked up big time, but playing blame games isn't going to get us anywhere.  Nor must we listen to the "centrists" and "moderates" and "appeasers" who would counsel caution, small Government, inactivity and lowered expectations.  We can do better than that.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

It's time for the adults to take over.  We've had enough childish squabbling.  We're here because you chose Hope (Obama) over Fear (McCain).  We're here because the people have overthrown the old elite and empowered themselves to take over like the revolutionaries of old.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

America wasn't great because the neo-cons proclaimed the end of history and engaged in imperial fantasies.  It was great because ordinary people worked hard, fought hard, endured great hardships, and cared for each other...

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

It wasn't ordinary American workers who let this country down, it was greedy and incompetent leaders who Governed in their own interest, who failed to take tough decisions and neglected the real economy who let this country and its people down.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

These are the same people who are now telling us that we can't do what we must do - and what others have done before us - to invest heavily in physical and social infrastructure to raise peoples standards of living and realise their potential.  Small government is the province of small minds.  Serious people do what has to be done to meet people's basic needs.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

So lets have no more of this ideological crap about "the markets will provide" and that wealth will "trickle down", that the rich need incentives to provide jobs, and that "what's good for the rich is good for America".

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

We are not going to try to torture our way to freedom.  Our forebears - who faced far greater dangers than we - explicitly rejected that option in far harsher times.  Its time we gave the chicken hawks and armchair generals their marching orders.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

So its time to get back to multilateralism and diplomacy, to soft power, and to persuasion.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

So sorry about the last 8 years, they have been an embarrassing aberration.   We will work with Europe and Russia and anyone who will work with us to address the challenges on nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and global warming. But at the same time we are not bleeding heart liberals afraid to stand up for ourselves.  You underestimate me at your peril.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

Americans are united neither by race, religion or culture but by our respect for the values of freedom and human rights distilled out of the bitter conflicts of slavery and war.  And that's the only way in which the larger world can resolve its conflicts as well.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

Yea, we fucked up badly and American Christian fundamentalism became almost a mirror image of the Islamic extremism we claimed to oppose.  We're now going to change all that.  Are you prepared to let bygones be bygones and work with us?  Terrorism, by either side, isn't the way forward.  

Please note:  I have inserted a special appeal to Muslims in my speech and said nothing directly to Israel.  They are on the wrong side of history if they continue to behave like this. Israel is an embarrassing anachronism in the way it has behaved in Lebanon and Gaza.  The Palestinians have to be given their own state, but you're going to have to work with me on this.  

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

Yea, yea, we're going to have to do something about poverty and resource depletion.  Shit, how am I going to sell this to the greedy gas guzzlers at home?  Change?  That's always for the other guy.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

We are all on the front line now, and cannot simply subcontract the task of fighting the challenges ahead to our army or to our Government.  So this is really all about you guys and what you will do over the next few years...

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
But I'm really only ask you to do what others have done before you - the real leaders, not the chicken hawks, bankers, and venal politicians who have dragged this country down to near ruin...

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you.

What you still have had to be fought for.  Forget the Ponzi salesmen who codded you into thinking you could have it all on the back of somebody elses labour, somebody elses blood, and everybody elses suffering.  We've got to roll up our sleeves and fight for it all all over again.  I am ready to lead.  Are you ready to work with me on this as our true forefathers did before us?


Obama's rhetoric is masterful in that it always accentuates the positive, whist letting the listener fill in the negative corollaries themselves.  I've filled in a few to get you going.

He is signalling that he doesn't have any time for the petty squabbling in the Beltway and in the media - about who is getting what jobs and about how unfair he is being to this or that vital interest group.  He is putting the responsibility for getting America out of this mess squarely upon Americans themselves, and promising no one an easy ride.

Yea, I know, I've read an awful lot into his script.  But he has set a standard by which we can judge him.  If he takes a one-eyed view on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, we can call him on it.  If he doesn't address global poverty, warming, oppression, and resource depletion, we can call him on it.  He has set himself a high standard.  We owe it to him too keep him to it.

Good luck to all 44's!

by das monde on Tue Jan 20th, 2009 at 09:54:57 PM EST
Obama: Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.

So what's the problem? How can things go so bad if all demands and supplies are willing to work best? Where is the black hole in the economy, or in the economy theories?

Maybe, just maybe, there is there is a deep flaw in the rules of monetary flow, causing (in particular) swift social disequilibrium.

Keynes was wondering similarly, in "The Great Slump of 1930" (hat tip to Salon's Anrew Leoanrd):

The world has been slow to realize that we are living this year in the shadow of one of the greatest economic catastrophes of modern history. But now that the man in the street has become aware of what is happening, he, not knowing the why and wherefore, is as full to-day of what may prove excessive fears as, previously, when the trouble was first coming on, he was lacking in what would have been a reasonable anxiety. He begins to doubt the future. Is he now awakening from a pleasant dream to face the darkness of facts? Or dropping off into a nightmare which will pass away?

He need not be doubtful. The other was not a dream. This is a nightmare, which will pass away with the morning. For the resources of nature and men's devices are just as fertile and productive as they were. The rate of our progress towards solving the material problems of life is not less rapid. We are as capable as before of affording for everyone a high standard of life -- high, I mean, compared with, say, twenty years ago -- and will soon learn to afford a standard higher still. We were not previously deceived. But today we have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand. The result is that our possibilities of wealth may run to waste for a time -- perhaps for a long time.

by das monde on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 02:41:21 AM EST
A very prescient comment and interesting parallel.  It looks like Keynesianism is going to come back as the ruling ideology...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 05:09:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on a few things Obama has said in the last month or two, I think he's read some Keynes.  I know he's been reading Jonathon Alter's book on Roosevelt's first 100 days, so maybe that explains it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 07:53:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In in orange and on Booman.  All recommendations welcome.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 05:42:28 AM EST
There you go. I've done my part.

I didn't see and haven't viewed the vidoe yet, but I read the text (sometimes this is best - I think Obama's speech writing staff is hugely talented). Well, I'm not disappointed.

I'm a fan of great speeches and one of my favorite sites is this collection of political rhetoric. Enjoy!

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 10:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently his main speech writer is Jon Favreau who is only 27 or so.  What I wouldn't give for that job!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 11:01:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
after the general election, Peggy Noonan, special assistant for Reagan, tells us that she received a call from the Obama speech team. She was extremely gracious, and touched by their call, in which they discussed not the inaugural they had yet to write, but what it meant to be called on to write it.

Anyways, they've done tremendous work, kudos to them.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 07:02:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RealClearPolitics - Articles - The Eloquence is in the Moment
Even in a speech without great applause lines there were plentiful indications of the new presidential style. He identified four areas of conflict -- big government versus small, taming the markets versus freeing them, preserving American safety versus saving our freedoms, fighting global warming versus altering our way of life -- and to each of them he implicitly suggested that the politics of the age had created false choices.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 11:17:47 AM EST
you could be a good speechwriter frank, all the riffs you did off obama were clarifying.

it was an amazing piece of oratory, whoever wrote it.

i heard a great interview with simon schama by bill moyers, in which simon says whenever obama opens his mouth, it sounds like one of the writers of the constitution, which i found very apt.

he's steeped himself in it till it's what he is...

for sheer rhetoric he's peerless, now for when the rubber meets the road, we wait agog in wonder.

can he pull a whole country out of a nosedive?

if anyone can, it's he.

that speech was brilliant, all the more powerful for its brevity and punch.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 01:16:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently Obama writes a lot of his own stuff - his books are regarded as exceptional for a politician - and he is a constitutional lawyer - so he should know all the historical stuff off by heart.

The problem is that writing good speeches is one thing, running a good administration quite another.  He doesn't have a huge amount of management experience although his campaign and transition were very impressively run.

The real test will come when there is some serious infighting and subterfuge between competing agencies, particularly in the military-industrial complex.  How effective will he be in combating their attempts to "play" him - in the way they played Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs...  Putting someone like Panetta in charge of the CIA was a good start.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 01:27:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still believe Presidents are figureheads. Like consciousness, presidents are there to communicate and motivate, internally and externally, what has already been decided. But they have almost no options.

That is why it is possible to have political poseurs such as Reagan and Bush Jr as Presidents.

Of course, a President can influence appointments based upon perceptions of his/her power, and the power of the political machine they have built up. But what else?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 02:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it interesting that Obama has kept his campaign organisation intact as an ongoing organisation - partly with an eye to the 2012 ele3ction cycle, no doubt, but also to act as a sort of ginger group to enable hime to continue to have the support of an activist base and avoid becoming entirely co-opted by the Beltway elite.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 03:16:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many US Presidential organizations have a similar gestation. The campaign operation creates trust in individuals, which is one of the few ways a president can surround themselves with loyalty and thus limited peace of mind.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 03:29:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
interesting perspective, to which i partially subscribe.

i think the times have called for a new politics, and he has answered that call, having previously done an enormous amount of homework to just that end.

his impressive use of the internet reminds me of chris cook's exhortations to dump the middlemen, his outreach is so granular, it's burst the banks of any institution that could have contained it and has so many believing in a better future where once they faced only a growing despair.

he has his ego in perfect harness to the needs of a people, and will lead by example, by austerity, if need be.

in this he reminds me of lincoln, another very saturnine man.

in some ways, he is rewriting the book on what being a leader should be, as well as a family man and responsible, socially aware human being.

unless he's the ultimate manchurian candidate, and all the new budget goes into 'pacifying' afghanistan, supporting israel to the continued tune of $15 million a day, bailing out billionaires...well i better stop there...

only time'll tell, if he's either the best news the political planet has had in centuries, or the slyest, most crafty, silver-tongued stooge in all of history.

my bet's on the former, but i have my moments, especially when he's doing the requisite daddy protector growl while talking about the bad guys.

i also sense some cog-diss in how one minute americans have to change from being resource hogs, and the next the american way of life is not up for negotiation, ala pappy bushman.

non quadra, as the italians say.

3 years from now we'll see obama doing photo-ops shovelling shit in his vegetable patch, riding his bike to work (not falling off his segway), and baking his own pretzels in his solar oven, (not choking on them).

one night a week in the homeless shelter, can all the pomp, and shows up for G8 meetings in dungarees.

doin' the funky chicken!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 03:34:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the script was a sufficient laying-out of principles.  Parts of it I really liked, such as the direct appeal to the Muslim world for "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."  The line...

...our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please...

...was also one I appreciated.

There was no one line in it that will live on in the way Kennedy's "Ask not..." or Roosevelt's "The only thing we have to fear..." live on.  But addressing what's relevant to people now is much better.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 04:51:17 PM EST
Heilemann: Obama's Spare Inaugural Rhetoric Signals Strategic Mastery -- Daily Intel -- New York News Blog -- New York Magazine
Even in less dire circumstances, unification is what inaugurals are all about. And at a moment like this, the imperative is only that much greater. His speech yesterday may not have been his prettiest or most intoxicating. But it may wind up serving a higher, more noble purpose: contributing to a climate where it's possible to get shit done.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 05:34:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well read, Frank!  

It was inspiring and definitely the right speech for the time.  The only glitches for me where the references to God, yet they can be replaced by 'our good nature', so there is no wall of dogma to hold against.  I suppose the mention of God for the US electorate may still be absolutely necessary, or he feels forced to remind he is no Muslim, because he´s making a bigger deal about going to church in the morning, than any ex would.

There were brilliant points about ex-regime that made me happy to see 43 forced to sit through with the disgusting, fake smirk.  At least he got some, worldwide broadcast, slaps while captive, silenced and powerless.  I hope it´s only the beginning.

I have hopes about Obama, but not instant ones and I am convinced he could not come even close to the last, in doing harm, even if he tried.  It´s a major relief of what I dread in the news everyday.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 04:43:32 PM EST
Even the Israelis seemed to feel they had to get their white phosphorus and DIME business out of the way BEFORE he came into office.  It would be interesting to see his reaction if they did it again.

He seems to be very averse to spending any political capital on megaphone diplomacy. The appointment of Mitchell as special envoy signals a patient, even handed approach - and could sideline Blair a little more as well.

But I suspect the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring with Israel will be very much more robust - and any attempt be Israel to "play" him with the AIPAC lobby could get a very robust response.  It's going to be an interesting dance for the next few months.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 25th, 2009 at 06:50:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]