Sunday, June 20, 2010

Zuckerman Imagines He Knows How the World Sees Obama.

Mort Zuckerman launches a typical right wing assault on Obama in the US News, but it's his determination to state how the rest of the world sees Obama which I find so distasteful.

The global community was puzzled over the pictures of Obama bowing to some of the world's leaders and surprised by his gratuitous criticisms of and apologies for America's foreign policy under the previous administration of George W. Bush.
Wrong on both counts. We were not remotely surprised that Obama observed the customs and cultures of other countries, that is simply what we expect leaders to do. Neither were we "surprised" by his criticisms of George Bush, indeed, we wildly welcomed his change of policies.

But Zuckerman doesn't stop there.
One Middle East authority, Fouad Ajami, pointed out that Obama seems unaware that it is bad form and even a great moral lapse to speak ill of one's own tribe while in the lands of others.
I well remember George Bush standing in the Israeli Knesset and comparing Obama to the Nazi appeasers, did Zuckerman object to that at the time? I doubt it.
He urges that things "must be done" and "should be done" and that "it is time" to do them. As the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Les Gelb, put it, there is "the impression that Obama might confuse speeches with policy." Another journalist put it differently when he described Obama as an "NPR [National Public Radio] president who gives wonderful speeches." In other words, he talks the talk but doesn't know how to walk the walk.
Well, when it came to health reform and reducing the US and Russia's nuclear missile capabilities, he certainly knew how to walk the walk.

These are historic things which Obama has achieved. But right wingers are going to continue with this insistence that all Obama does is talk rather than lead.
America right now appears to be unreliable to traditional friends, compliant to rivals, and weak to enemies.
This is such cliched right wing nonsense. Zuckerman is, with this trite sentence, saying that Obama is being too hard on the Israelis and hasn't yet bombed Iran. And he imagines that the rest of the world is disappointed that Obama has not continued the discredited and failed policies of George W. Bush.

Zuckerman has every right to think what he thinks, I just wish he would stop telling us that his views - or those of the few people he can find who agree with him - somehow represents a global opinion of Obama's presidency. Because nothing could be further from the truth.
Struggling at home, President Obama has maintained much of his high popularity abroad after more than a year in office, a new global survey has found, receiving high marks for his handling of the economic crisis and the lowest for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“People around the world are starting to realize that not everything is going to change under Obama,” said Johannes Thimm, an expert on American foreign policy at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “But it’s remarkable that the general bounce back from the Bush administration in the negative standing of the United States has held up.”

“Now the big challenge is for Obama to meet the expectations that he’s created around the world,” Mr. Thimm said.

So, it is utterly wrong for Zuckerman to imply that the world is disappointed that Obama is not behaving more like George Bush, we are actually delighted that he is not doing so.

I notice that right wing blogs are all enthusiastically linking to this garbage, which is further proof that the US's right wing really are talking to themselves a lot of the time and hearing only what they want to hear.

Click here for Zuckerman's article.


Anonymous said...

I bet he was really sickened when bush kissed the Saudi King on the lips. I bet he wrote a whole bunch about bush kissing him on the lips, right?

Kel said...

Exactly. It's such manufactured outrage.