Note: I wrote these words on the 4th September this year. It turns out that I was broadly right. Mr Obama took a big risk, and now seems to have outflanked the neo-cons. We can all be grateful to him. Here is what I wrote:
Since the only notice I take of America is to loathe it and wish for its collapse, I may not be best qualified to comment on its internal politics. However, I suspect Mr Obama is playing a clever game. He doesn’t want another war in the Middle East. He opposed the Iraq War. He’s spent five years saying no to an attack on Iran. Going to war in Syria will probably mean fighting Iran and annoying the Russians and Chinese. The best outcome of an intervention will do nothing for him or his friends. So, having been nagged rotten by the whole gang of crazed neo-cons into supporting their war, he’s broken the rules of the game. He was expected to press all the buttons on his own authority, and let the Congressmen make prosy speeches about supporting the Government, and then vote the necessary funds and shut up. What he’s done instead is to tell these people to decide for him. That means the sticky-fingered drunkards and debauchees the Americans turn out in diminishing numbers to re-elect will have to get up on their hind legs in public and risk losing their meal tickets at the next election. If they vote yes to war, and – as it almost certainly will – it goes tits up, Mr Obama drags them down with him. If they vote no, he can shrug and go back to doing whatever else he’d rather do. It also means he can sack a few of the warmongers forced on him.
Most of his opponents assume that Mr Obama is just a stupid black man who has been elected twice by various ethnic voting blocs. I suspect he’s a great deal cleverer than they are. Of course, both propositions may be true. To succeed in American politics, you only need to gabble a few set phrases in front of the television cameras, and know which bribes to take. Beyond that, an IQ in the low 70s is probably an advantage. But I suspect – or hope – that Mr Obama really is clever. He may be the most effective President his country has had since the second Mr Roosevelt. The difference is that, where Mr R inflicted America on the world for three generations, Mr O seems to want all its rottenness to curdle at home. I know which I prefer.
We shall see. SIG