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Obama's careful victory lap

Matt Frei | 21:43 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

President Barack Obama speaks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky

Even in the eyes of his critics, Barack Obama has made the transition from wimp to warrior president. One opinion poll had support amongst Republicans climb by 15%. Overall his approval ratings stand 11% higher than they did last month. There was the president riffing with the press at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner last Saturday, while he had already ordered the mission that would end Osama Bin Laden's life and could have haunted his presidency, had it failed.


At one stage Seth Myers, a comedian, was joking that Bin Laden was not only alive but broadcasting in the early hours on C-Span. There were so few viewers that no-one had noticed. The president grinned a full set of teeth. As my friend David, a Republican lawyer, said: "Now that kind of nerve takes a cool cat."

It was a huge gamble, etched on the president's face in those now famous stills from the Situation Room. Notice also how the commander-in-chief sat hunched in the corner, while his war cabinet was watching the live feed of the raid, mouths agape. Other presidents would have sat at the head of the table, chest out, chin up.

Of course, since the kill Mr Obama has carefully staged his own victory lap. At Fort Campbell in Kentucky on Friday the banner Mission Accomplished might as well have been fluttering above the stage. And although most now pour scorn over George W Bush's fancy dress moment in the flight suite after the end of combat missions in Iraq, at the time just about everyone was impressed. With hubris in mind, Mr Obama has been treading a fine line. In the silence of the wreath laying at Ground Zero - to which he had invited Mr Bush - he found his voice once again.

His actions last Sunday speak louder than any words. Unlike the invasions of Iraq or even Afghanistan this was an act that needed no explanation or - for most Americans at least - justification. That in itself is a novel experience these days. Will the killing of Bin Laden end the war with al-Qaeda? No. Could it make it worse? Possibly. Could there be a violent reaction? Maybe. Will the end of Osama ensure Obama's re-election? Unlikely. Gas prices, jobs and housing are ultimately more important, as George H W Bush will tell anyone who asks. But I do predict one thing. The Donald won't have the guts to run for president now.

Comments

Page 1 of 19

  • Comment number 1.

    --- ´Donald´ the duck ?

  • Comment number 2.

    It will only be seen justifiably as a victory --- If the troops come home.

    The weapons industry and the ´mercenary´ service companies --will cry for a substitute income --- as they always do --and get !

  • Comment number 3.

    I think Obama is looking more and more impressive. Living in North America I've been surprised by the amount of racism towards him from people educated enough to know better. He is definitely one of the most impressive Presidents in living memory, the most impressive in mine.

  • Comment number 4.

    Meh, it really had little to do with Obama. Nearly every president over the past seventy years or so would have done the same thing. I'm a supporter of Obama myself, but let's not assume he had any more to do with bin Laden's death than Bush had to do with Saddam's capture.

  • Comment number 5.

    Do our leaders really believe that throwing a celebration party in the bull ring with angry bulls --- is a safe thing to do ?

    ---how many new terrorists has that made ?

    --- I thought our new Mid-East policy at least included a bit of common sense ?

    ---obviously not.

  • Comment number 6.

    As each president must take the blame for events of others’ making, I can understand taking credit whenever possible.

  • Comment number 7.

    quietoaktree, (#2. At 22:43pm 6th May 2011)

    ”It will only be seen justifiably as a victory --- If the troops come home.”
    The SEALS were sent to get OBL in Pakistan, the troops are to suppress the Taliban in Afghanistan. Different tools for different jobs.

  • Comment number 8.

    He's just doing his Job taking the personal insults and cheap shots on the chin serving people the best he can. It ain't a big deal that's his job specification / description.

  • Comment number 9.

    Barack Obama has made the transition from wimp to warrior president.
    Really? By killing a man who has been dead for ten years? Barack Obama has only demonstrated how gullible are the American people.
    Overall Obama's approval ratings stand 11% higher than they did last month.
    Right away, the US aimed to capitalize: The strike came four days after a Navy SEALs team killed the world's most-wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden. The United States launched a drone-strike aimed at killing an American-born radical cleric "suspected" of least three terror attacks. Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki evaded the missile fired in southern Yemen, which murdered two al Qaeda militants.
    The strike came four days after a Navy SEALs team allegedly assassinated the world's most-wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden.
    Awlaki's been linked to (not tried and fund guilty, just "linked") to
    1. Fort Hood shootings and
    2. Christmas 2009 plot to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger plane and a plan to blow up cargo planes.
    The United States launched two separate attacks within 45 minutes aimed at Awlaki. There has even been a rather threatening statement from al Qaeda's "General Command" dated may 3rd.
    It praised bin Laden as a "martyr" and called for attacks.
    "The blood of the holy warrior sheik, Osama bin Laden, God bless him, is too precious to us and to all Muslims to go in vain," it read.
    In addition, the statement called for Pakistanis to take vengeance on America and US allies. Al Qaeda has also hinted that bin Laden's last message, an audio recording made a week before his death, would be released soon. Also US officials said a new revelation that bin Laden had plotted to strike a US railroad proved his network could no longer launch attacks as sophisticated as the 9/11 hijackings. (Info from documents seized by Navy SEALs from bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout.)
    Meanwhile, in Pakistan, authorities arrested 40 people suspected of having links to bin Laden.
    This entire build-up seems like part of Barrak Obama's pre-election project - projecting himself as the true hero against Al Qaeda, the only potential candidate that can protect the American people against this secretive, dangerous group of vipors.
    Can't wait for the audio...

  • Comment number 10.

    United Nations Human-Rights Investigatory Team has requested that the United States disclose whether there had been any plan to capture Osama bin Laden or if Osama Bin Laden was offered any "meaningful prospect of surrender and arrest."
    Principles of engagement in such operations REQUIRE THE POSSIBILITY OF SURRENDER, firing warning shots and if necessary wounding a suspect. Killing should be the very last option.
    Anything but the foregoing procedures may be tantamount to "cold-blooded execution".
    The UN maintains that the overall situation will be taken into account, including whether US forces themselves were under attack.
    In other words, the US Government needs to answer questions concerning whether a meaningful prospect of surrender and arrest was given to Osama bin Laden, and if not, why not.
    Pakistani security officials have charged that US troops, after landing by helicopter at the Abbottabad compound, shot the unarmed al-Qaeda leader in cold blood. There was no firefight as US officials had maintained.
    It remained questionable whether the possibility of bin Laden's surrender had been built into the US assault, but from all external appearances it appears NOT.
    The United Nations stated unequivocally: "The norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially decided punishment." Also, there is much to be learned from a trial - like the truth.
    I'm guessing that the United States did NOT plan for the potential surrender of this alleged Osama Bin Laden, maybe because he was not Osama Bin Laden.
    A few days later, the Americans were dropping a drone on another Al Qaeda person in Yemen (allegedly the planner of the Ford Hood and Christmas bombings). They missed the cleric and killed two others...How was the cleric supposed to surrender with a drone falling on his head?




  • Comment number 11.

    @10 such investigations are part of the due process, usa seems to have been gung-ho and ignored protocols with definite lessons to be learned, but obama will most probably get a let-off due to extenuating circumstances and no prior criminal record etc tic (tic = taken into consideration)

  • Comment number 12.

    BluesBerry, (#9. At 14:18pm 7th May 2011)

    "Barack Obama has made the transition from wimp to warrior president.
    Really? By killing a man who has been dead for ten years? ..."

    Can you provide any evidence to warrant your claim that OBL was "a man who has been dead for ten years?"

    "... Barack Obama has only demonstrated how gullible are the American people ..."
    If your fist claim is without warrant, then the second one is also without merit.

  • Comment number 13.

    BluesBerry, (#9. At 14:18pm 7th May 2011)

    ”... a Navy SEALs team allegedly assassinated the world's most-wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden ...”
    Perhaps you have overlooked the fact al-Qaeda has acknowledged the death of Osama Bin Laden. While I appreciate that some people might find this a bit disappointing, most rational people throughout the world have acknowledged the fact and moved on.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    BluesBerry, (#10. At 14:40pm 7th May 2011)

    ”... Pakistani security officials have charged that US troops, after landing by helicopter at the Abbottabad compound, shot the unarmed al-Qaeda leader in cold blood ...”
    As the Pakistani security officials were not there when the event occurred, one might reasonably inquire upon what evidence do they base their opinions.

    Further, as you have referred to the event as “alleged” (ref here your post #9 above), how can you criticize the U.S. for engaging in activities you do not yet accept as having occurred?

    Care to comment?

  • Comment number 16.

    Little Johnny Wonder aka Little John, (#11. At 14:51pm 7th May 2011)

    "... usa seems to have been gung-ho and ignored protocols with definite lessons to be learned ..."
    You are mistaken. OBL could have stood trial, but elected to remain an outlaw.

  • Comment number 17.

    Frei: But I do predict one thing. The Donald won't have the guts to run for president now.
    ------
    Trump was trying to outdo Obama and one thing you never do is take on the President to that extent...although it probably felt like it was working for him up until Obama got Osama...

    Even I felt that Trump's criticisms against Obama were starting to get over the top and too much, although I do agree with some of his thoughts on China...

    One of my friends was telling me he was playing the race card with Obama at one of his speaking conventions and that is going too far, especially when its the PResident, you have to have respect...regardless of skin color, the PResident is the PResident is the President...

    Ultimately, President Obama showed Trump that he IS the President...and that President trumps all, even Trump...

    It was funny, too, cause' his announcement about bin Ladin broke into the last 15 minutes of Trump's show, which is its highest ratings time...no one got to see who was kicked off...

    I feel like the questioning of Obama's birth certificate is pointless and that he is our President, he was born in USA, he is an American and you don't get more American than taking down bin Ladin...

    Has Trump's gone too far criticisms against Obama hurt his chance for Presidency?
    Absolutely...I don't think I would want to vote for him...

    Just look at Indy 500, now in Indy after his comments Trump is no longer driving the pace car which is HUGE as its the biggest car race in AMerica...

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    BluesBerry, (#10. At 14:40pm 7th May 2011)

    "... A few days later, the Americans were dropping a drone on another Al Qaeda person in Yemen (allegedly the planner of the Ford Hood and Christmas bombings) ..."
    I think you will find that the weapon was a missle fired from the drone.

    "... They missed the cleric and killed two others...How was the cleric supposed to surrender with a drone falling on his head?"
    One technique is to present oneself at an American Embassy, and surrender there.

  • Comment number 20.

    @17. LucyJ.
    No LucyJ, not "especially when its the President" as it sounds like you are condoning it for anyone else except the President.
    And yes, two weeks ago you said "I think Trump would make a good President".
    Looks like Obamas made a killing with you.:>)

  • Comment number 21.

    Kane,
    I changed my mind.

    Initially, I thought it was good he had some questions and yes, considered voting for him out of despair and want for something or someone new, but Trump took criticism of Obama too far to the point of disrespect...sometimes I don't like Obama's domestic policies but I still respect the Presidency cause' I respect and love my country...some of our Presidents are better or worse than others; we, like all other countries in the world, are not immune to corruption...

    Getting back to Trump, if Trump would have instead focused on issues and not on Obama, he wouldn't be in this position today...

    I wanted to vote for Trump because I wanted someone who was not a politician, but it was too good to be true..

    As it turns out, Trump just simply went too far and too disrespectful in his criticism of Obama and even the middle of country, which is often forgot about, except in certain circumstances, is letting him know it...

  • Comment number 22.

    Kane, Well, we should have respect for all our fellow citizens, but especially teh President cause' if we want respect in our country, it shoudl extend to all levels...

    When Prince William and Princess Kate had their wedding, sure there was top security, but you could see it in the British people's eyes that whether they liked them or not, which they did seem to like them, at least if anything else they showed respect, which goes a long way, respect is everything...respect is needed for a country to thrive..

    I never liked the race card being played- whether its racism or reverse racism, both are equally bad and the same thing...people of any skin color can be racist and that's the truth..

  • Comment number 23.

    Ironically, I would put Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder in the same category as Trump race card wise...

  • Comment number 24.

    #7 Chryses

    --- I am afraid terrorists and myself may not believe in compartmentalization !

    --and no, --if the Germans were responsible for their Nazi government --then we (you) are likewise responsible.


    6. At 13:18pm 7th May 2011, Chryses wrote:
    As each president must take the blame for events of others’ making,-----

    --- the financial meltdown is Obama´s fault ???????

    ---your logic fails me !

  • Comment number 25.

    quietoaktree, (#24. At 18:12pm 7th May 2011)

    ”6. At 13:18pm 7th May 2011, Chryses wrote:
    ‘As each president must take the blame for events of others’ making’,-----
    --- the financial meltdown is Obama´s fault ??????? ...”

    Of course not; don’t be silly. Just because the financial meltdown is not Obama´s fault does not mean that President Obama is not being criticized for the U.S.’s current economic problems and difficulties. One need only note his popularity to be aware of that cruel fact of life.

    ”... your logic fails me”
    I am aware of that, but I argue with you nonetheless.

  • Comment number 26.

    @21. LucyJ.
    What do you mean, "you wanted someone who was not a politician"?, it is the job title, he would be a politician by default would he not? Just a poor one as he had no experience.
    Anyway, you changed your mind and that is the main thing is it not?
    And, what is reverse racism? I have never heard of that one.

  • Comment number 27.

    Chryses

    --- I thought our new Mid-East policy at least included a bit of common sense ?

    --- where is it ???

  • Comment number 28.

    quietoaktree, (#24. At 18:12pm 7th May 2011)

    "#7 Chryses
    --- I am afraid terrorists and myself may not believe in compartmentalization ! ...

    Feel free to believe in whatever you wish. It matters not at all; OBL remains dead, and the Taliban remain out of power. As certain tools do certain jobs better than other tools, it is wise to use each for the jobs it does best.

    "... and no, --if the Germans were responsible for their Nazi government --then we (you) are likewise responsible."
    Perhaps there are people who side with OBL against the U.S. It would seem that some of them believe that the American Federal government may be equated to the Third Reich. Sad that. I am pleased and satisfied that Justice was meted out to a mass murderer. I am more than willing to be held responsible for bringing justice to OBL, as he was too cowardly to face Justice in a court of law.

  • Comment number 29.

    First Kane you asked me for proof a while back about why woudl i consider China a threat to America?

    Here is an intensive article showing proof that their espionage poses a major threat to America and in my opinion, Chinese espionage is a bigger threat to America than the terrorists are...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110507/ap_on_re_us/us_stealing_for_china

    This article even talks about how one guy was working on stealth bombers and then he got arrested for selling the stealth bomber info to China, then shortly after he gave them info, they came up with their first stealth plane...

    WHo knew that China's first stealth likely came from spying on USA?

    WOuldn't it be sad if USA's military lost to China's military just because of their espionage?

    (sad but true, thats the only way they can beat us is by stealing from us or lying about their age, ect- they use deception to win)

    USA is the original...

    But C-a is the original thief...

  • Comment number 30.

    quietoaktree, (#27. At 18:41pm 7th May 2011)

    ”Chryses
    --- I thought our new Mid-East policy at least included a bit of common sense ? ...”

    You have asserted that there is a “new Mid-East policy.” For that to be true there must have been a prior Mid-East policy. When do you claim that this new Mid-East policy replace the old Mid-East policy? In what ways does the new Mid-East policy differ from the old Mid-East policy?

    ”... where is it ???”
    Let us not rush the gun, eh? First you must establish that there is a new Mid-East policy by identifying how it is different from the old Mid-East policy. Second, you must establish that there was no common sense in the old Mid-East policy. This is needed because you posted that you thought that the new Mid-East policy at least included a bit of common sense. This could only be true if there was none in the prior Mid-East policy. Finally, you will need to establish what might be included in this bit of common sense to which you refer.
    Ready?
    Go!

  • Comment number 31.

    Kane, its easy to get tired of politics and its hard to trust any of the politicians, because it seems like they have just run our country into the ground..

    Trump was a glimmer of hope for someone who was not like the rest, someone who might actually be able to help us because he's different...

    But ultimately, he made the mistake of over criticizing Obama rather than focusing on the issues of how to make America better...

    He simply went too far...

    THere is a place for Trump in USA, but I don't think its as President..
    ---
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_racism

    And here's an example:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Haven_Fire_Department_reverse_discrimination_case

    When a person cannot achieve being promoted because of their skin color it is racism or reverse racism and in the case above, it was reverse racism...

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    @31. LucyJ
    Ok, always described as "positive discrimination" in the UK.
    I saw Trump as part of the circus surrounding the long drawn out process that you have over there as opposed to our short circus over here.
    Over here, anyone could stand for their constituencey so long as they were prepared to pay $4000, which they would get back if they achieved a certain poll of votes.
    Anyone could stand and just about anyone did, check out Screaming Lord Sutch from the Monster Raving Looney Party, he made fortunes from doing it.

  • Comment number 35.

    @29. LucyJ.
    A very one sided document which, does suggest that some spying is going on, yet note the subtle change of tone in "American Intelligence".
    As horrible as it is, it is a part of the game but they do need to find willing cooperatives easy to come by.
    Capitalism selling itself out a bit?

  • Comment number 36.

    A little quote that I've found to be extremely true in all of this: "One right decision does not a good president make". While I give Obama the credit for this amazing feat, it still doesn't make him a good president and it certainly doesn't make him a "warrior president".
    Look at the Middle East uprisings for example; Libya is a disaster and his position on Syria is one big contradiction. When you couple this with a disaster of a domestic policy, what do you have? The economy is still in the toilet, the debt is still huge and his energy policy would be considered completely moronic by any rational person.
    Does Obama deserve the credit for killing UBL? Yes! Should he be re-elected solely on this act? No! And if that's the only reason that he can give that he should be re-elected, well, it just shows that he's accomplished next to nothing that really matters to the country at this time. Unless you count the healthcare bill that no-one really wants.

  • Comment number 37.

    #30 Chryses

    ---- The New mid-east policy was supposed to have begun with the Obama Cairo speech --- it even appears to have had some un-expected results.

    The Old mid-east policy is what some want returned --after they saw the effects of the new mid-east policy

    ---or (to quote) who´s on first !

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sShMA85pv8M

  • Comment number 38.

    The birth certificate thing was a strange game both sides were playing.

    When the POTUS, soon after calling the whole issue “silliness,” took the time to roast (of sorts) the mere Celebrity Donald, I thought maybe Trump won. But that was the week before. My advice to Obama: don’t talk about Trump anymore.

    If Trump was ever serious about running, I doubt it was for long.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    P.S. I can breathe here!

  • Comment number 39.

    Obama was a warrior president from the beginning. In the campaign he said that he would increase the effort against al Qaeda, and he did. Here is link to an article from March 2010 in Weekly Standard on the subject:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/predators-over-pakistan

  • Comment number 40.

    quietoaktree, (#37. At 23:04pm 7th May 2011)

    "#30 Chryses
    ---- The New mid-east policy was supposed to have begun with the Obama Cairo speech ..."

    OK. That's a reasonable date for demarcation.

    "... it even appears to have had some un-expected results ..."
    Perhaps, but wouldn't that depend upon what was expected?

    "... The Old mid-east policy is what some want returned ..."
    Ah, but what was it, and how was it different from the "new" one?

    "... after they saw the effects of the new mid-east policy"
    Many people fear change.

  • Comment number 41.

    marieinaustin, (#38. At 23:21pm 7th May 2011)
    ”... I can breathe here!”
    Yes. Pleasant, isn’t it?

  • Comment number 42.

    nerdalert90 @ 36

    "Look at the Middle East uprisings for example; Libya is a disaster and his position on Syria is one big contradiction. When you couple this with a disaster of a domestic policy, what do you have? "

    Just your opinion.

  • Comment number 43.

    19. At 16:42pm 7th May 2011, Chryses wrote:
    “ BluesBerry, (#10. At 14:40pm 7th May 2011)
    '... They missed the cleric and killed two others...How was the cleric supposed to surrender with a drone falling on his head?'

    One technique is to present oneself at an American Embassy, and surrender there. “
    ----------------------------

    As some poster mentioned Tombstone recently...it does remind me of the scene where the ‘cowboy’ (aka outlaw) finally learns he just has to remove his red sash if he wants to live. Get yourself to the embassy.... I see the wild west parallel. ‘Law-abiding’ is imposed.

    I'm not saying it's not necessary.... I will say we'll be hated for it.

  • Comment number 44.

    I was surprised by Obama’s “expansion of the CIA campaign.” That is a promise kept. Frontline was good this week. Here’s an interesting page from it.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/2011/05/former-cia-drone-chief-questions-policy.html

    -------------------------
    Btw, it's me. Last night I discovered on google some lady in San Antonio uses the name 'Grateful Marie.' I wanted a change, anyway.

  • Comment number 45.

    29 Lucy writes:
    "(sad but true, thats the only way they can beat us is by stealing from us or lying about their age, ect- they use deception to win)
    USA is the original..."
    ------------------------------------------
    And of course you don't indulge in espionage in China or elsewhere yourself!
    You stole 1 500 tons of patents from Germany post WW2 in what is known as the 'Great Patent Heist' and sent 10 000 industrialists, technicians etc into German factories, scientific institutions and businesses to strip the country of its intellectual heritage. The space race was won because of German physicists who were spirited out of the country and whereas pre 1945 you had won few Nobel prizes, post 45 you won most.
    So when it comes to stealing or lying, the Chinese don't need any moral lectures from you.


  • Comment number 46.

    @45. MH. Bite me. I fear a spoils of war speech coming from somewhere though.

    Have searched for any of your, should we say, forthright views on an Independence referendum on the home pages, alas nothing.
    Does it feel a bit like you have the gun to shoot yourself in the foot all of a sudden?

  • Comment number 47.

    #45

    "So when it comes to stealing or lying, the Chinese don't need any moral lectures from you."


    The Chinese invented moral lectures in 6350 B.C. They also invented lying in 6349 B.C.

  • Comment number 48.

    And so, President Obama pulls yet another rabbit out of the hat.

    It seems to me that lots of people have underestimated, and indeed, misjudged, President Obama for quite some time. Where some people see dithering, others see deliberation and toughness. (See Mardell columns "The Obama Doctrine: The Limits of American Power"; and also "The Eloquence of Force".)

    I believe your colleague Mr. Mardell was, and may still be, among the doubters (see his column, about March 29), although his view may be shifting, even if grudgingly.

    I was a skeptic when President Obama took the oath of office, but he has grown on me. The extent to which he (and, be it said, Hilary Clinton) have restored American prestige in the world is remarkable. In the last six months he has pulled rabbits out of the hat at the UN, got concessions out of Congress on a bunch of matters, had international event fall in America's favour in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Cote D'Ivoire, ... and in the meantime he gave the Oil Industry and AIPAC/Likud a bloody nose, a fat lip, and a puffy eye, gave the Saudis an elbow, and may yet see a favourable result in Syria. His speech in Cairo in the first days of his Presidency begins to take on a different look in historical perspective.

    It sometimes looks like pure, dumb luck, but he has been awfully lucky an awful lot of times since December.

    He is obtaining through patience and judicious application of all of America's diplomatic and military capabilities results that were far beyond the ability of the previous "you're-fer-us-or-agin-us", and "we'll-go-it-alone" administration.

    It seems to me that the governments of China, India, and Russia have taken note.

    The government of Pakistan learned a big lesson about President Obama this week.
    So did the government of Afghanistan.

    It is often a mistake to underestimate this very clever, remarkably patient man.

  • Comment number 49.

    #48

    "And so, President Obama pulls yet another rabbit out of the hat."


    Osama was the rabbit, am I right? All Obama had to do is say "Kill the rabbit in my hat!" and it was done by the SEALS.

    Yeay for Obama!!

  • Comment number 50.

    Has anyone heard from Mr. Trump lately?

  • Comment number 51.

    d_m, (#50. At 02:15am 8th May 2011)

    "Has anyone heard from Mr. Trump lately?"
    I hope not.

  • Comment number 52.

    Chryses @ 51

    I believe Mr. Trump discovered that when you underestimate someone you put yourself at a disadvantage.

  • Comment number 53.

    49. JMay.

    It isn't just that.

    President Obama has a knack of finding solutions to old problems by moving the goal posts, rather than by accepting them where they are. This is an uncommon skill.

    The decision to send troops, and make certain shows both wisdom and growing confidence. The success of the mission gives America back a freedom of manoeuvre that it hasn't had in years. It is no longer compelled to allocate resources to this man-hunt. That must vex the government of Pakistan no end.

    It changes the entire political dynamic of the Afghan war, because it has knocked the knees out of the bargaining positions of both the Afghan and Pakistani governments. The shoe is completely on the other foot now.

    They can no longer hold America to ransom against the backdrop of the American electoral timetable. America no longer needs their co-operation. They need America's help.

    And the lesson from Libya is that if you need America's help, President Obama is a tough negotiator who is prepared to push it right to the brink to get the terms he wants.

    There are lots of unpleasant guys around the globe who need to pay attention. The sand just shifted under their feet.

    It frees up all sorts of American resources for use elsewhere.

    The closest parallel I can think of is when the British finally relieved Mafeking and Ladysmith. Once that was done, they were no longer chained to a known position and strategy that the Boers could exploit. The war completely changed its complexion.

    It's the same here. So many things now become possible. It unlocks so many other doors - both foreign and domestic.

  • Comment number 54.

    The famous Situation Room photo is not of them watching a "live feed". The caption on the photo itself refers to them receiving updates. A live feed is not what the administration has ever claimed, to my knowledge, despite misinformation being spread through the press (and by the press).

  • Comment number 55.

    #53

    "President Obama has a knack of finding solutions to old problems by moving the goal posts, rather than by accepting them where they are. This is an uncommon skill."

    It's a very common and tired con. Here, we have 100 dollars to divide equally between you and me. Here we go:

    1 dollar for you, 1 dollar for me.

    1, 2 dollars for me, 1 dollar for you. See? 2 dollars for me, and you have 2 dollars as well. (except I now have 3 dollars to your 2)

    1, 2, 3 dollars for me, 1 dollar for you. So now you have 3 dollars. ( and I have 6 dollars to your 3), etc, etc, etc.

    Obama has accomplished nothing, of any consequence, in international politics since he was elected. But he sure managed to convince you that he has. Now THAT is an uncommon skill. But only if you are unaccustomed to political doubletalk.






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    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    @56.. quietoaktree.
    yet nowhere, am I as a Brithish citizen, more welcome than in a former colony, and that is simply because if we had not colonised them, somebody else would.
    I try to weigh up your arguement and viewpoint, but it seems self defeating to me.
    you could have been responding to this blog in a language otherwise bequeathed.
    Yes, eggs were broken for the omelette made, bit it could have been worse, it could have been a French omelette.
    If Iraq remains a democracy, in 200 years hence, no one will be more welcome than the citizens of the USA, followed by, those nasty former colonists of yours.

  • Comment number 60.

    OBAMA HAD BEST BE CAREFUL, VERY CAREFUL.
    How much does he think he can chew at one time when the United states is broke, and may or may not be able to raise its debt ceiling by August?
    Yet the victimized countries are not sitting still, and they are not broke:
    Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to a defensive pact that would fight terrorism while it eliminates US presence in the region.
    Yep, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan - the terror-fighting triangle - that hopes to cut off the the hand of the US and its allies in the region.
    The establishment of this triangular net will be quite effective to preserve security and stability in the region; the best way to fight terrorism is close cooperation between the security & intelligence apparatuses of Iran and Pakistan.
    This agreement has come suddenly - on the heels of the alleged Bin Laden assassination, on the heels of subsequent droning in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    In fact an accusation is gaining ground that says the US justifies its military presence in the region by using the terrorists IT HAS TRAINED as the pretext.

  • Comment number 61.

    This is going to take two tries:

    55. At 08:11am 8th May 2011, JMay wrote:

    "Obama has accomplished nothing, of any consequence, in international politics since he was elected. ..."

    ----------

    You could hardly be more wrong.

    This man is so smart, it's scary.

    He is tackling major, long term problems that have dogged American diplomacy as long as I have been alive. He has a clear-eyed view of America's genuine strategic interests. He has since been doing it with a degree of subtlety and patience that I do not recall having seen in American government before.

    ----------

    To see the difference, consider:

    Junior Bush came to office with the economy and budget in good shape, at peace with the world, with friends far and wide.

    Then came September 11.
    America had the sympathy of very nearly the entire world.
    Within roughly 1000 days that goodwill was completely squandered.

    That cack-handed, grossly incompetent, mishandling of policy has got to rank among the biggest foreign affairs blunders of all time.

    Each move America made cost it more friends, and made sure that American goals and objectives were achieved only at the highest cost to American taxpayers.

    Invading Iraq without first finishing the job in Afghanistan, and then leaving Afghanistan to fester for seven years, was a very bad mistake.
    The bungling in Iraq has been comprehensively documented.
    The ostentatious demonstration of contempt for, Kyoto was diplomatic foolishness.

    By the end, no government since Vietnam had spent more blood and treasure on war, and yet achieved so little of good, and so much of bad. All the while America's financial position was deteriorating.

    In the last 2 1/2 years of Junior Bush it was so bad that many countries, including Russia and China, simply ignored the President. It was public contempt by important nations.

  • Comment number 62.

    59 Kane writes:
    "Yes, eggs were broken for the omelette made..."
    We 'break eggs', others commit atrocities. T'was ever thus!

  • Comment number 63.

    Concluding portion of comment to J.May:


    By contrast, President Obama inherited the in-box from Hell.

    The first year had its rocky moments, certainly.
    However, in the last 18 months every move made in foreign policy has increased international goodwill toward America, or has demonstrated American competence, or both.

    He has repaired relations with friends and allies in Europe; with rivals, i.e., China and Russia; and with other powers, e.g., India, Brazil, Turkey.

    He has compelled allies to step up and be allies.
    He has boosted the credibility of the UN, and America's ability to work through the UN to advance US interests.

    He has obtained results consistent with US objectives where other people have had to foot the bill in whole or in part.

    And he has done it while the cupboard is bare.
    Remarkable.

    He has done things that have not been done for a long time, if ever:

    He gave the AIPAC and the Likud government of Israel a bloody nose over Egypt. Does it ever look good on them. While people weren't looking, he moved the goal posts on the Middle East. The governments of Israel and Saudi Arabia have noticed. Clearly neither they nor the oil industry like it.

    Israel has been a disaster for American policy, internationally and domestically, for 40 years. President Obama is putting Likud on the wrong side of history in one situation after another. Bit-by-bit, he making AIPAC/Likud irrelevant, and thereby undermining them. Decades overdue. Consequently, a solution in the Mid-East is closer than at any time in years. Likud can't stand it.

    Kowtowing to the oil industry has injured the United States many, many times. Again, President Obama is moving the goal posts. The oil industry hates it. It is decades overdue for America's foreign policy to be run by the government of the US by and for the benefit of the people of the US on the basis of logic, rather than by, for, and according to the desires of, the oil industry.

    The Saudis bargained hard over Libya, and President Obama had to accept an ugly compromise. But their time is coming, nonetheless. President Obama knows the power of patience. So do the Saudis.

    By slowly unraveling that complicated, interwoven three-part knot, he is, inter alia, advancing America's chance not merely of reducing defense expenditure, but also of adopting rational energy, transportation and climate change policies, and of reducing America's trade deficit.

    The death of bin Ladin does its incremental bit to undermine Likud, the oil industry, and the government of Saudi Arabia: yet another piece of the bigger puzzle jiggles into place.

    It takes a special ability to look at the whole board, to see the multitude of ways in which problems are interlinked, and then slowly and carefully, with the patience to wait for opportunities to present themselves, deftly to remove the strategic buttresses from positions that have been entrenched for many, many years.

    That takes real skill.

    ----------

    The sad thing is, while it is quite visible to anyone outside the US, Americans themselves seem not to be able to appreciate how much better America's standing is in the world than it was 30 months ago.

    If often seems that America, the culture of constant graphic stimulus and instant gratification, lacks an ability to appreciate irony, or subtlety, or anything that requires patience.

    I have watched international politics for a long time. Right now America's great power is being deployed more effectively, more economically, and with far greater subtlety, than at any previous time in my lifetime.

    America has a vigorous, young President with a very good head on his shoulders.
    So far, he appears to be America's Charles the Wise.

    Americans should be giving thanks.

  • Comment number 64.

    Bluesberry,

    We haven't heard your comments on the videos and other evidence brought back from Abottabad, showing that OBL was alive and living there up to the time of the SEAL's attack.

    Do you now admit that your 'OBL's been dead 10 years' was a bit wide of the mark? Or was he still an 'alleged' OBL?

  • Comment number 65.

    Sometimes I think when republicans consider Obama, their own internal narrative confuses itself by muddling the guy taking out the trash, with a dustman. Obama is doing a brilliant job for the US and the wider world, its a shame that his skin colour still informs the right's agenda.

  • Comment number 66.

    56. At 09:47am 8th May 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #53 Interestedforeigner

    I would be very careful when using British strategy as any sort of an ideal --unless you wish it to be used as a criticism of American strategy-- It could imply that not only the goals are similar, but also the centuries time frame !

    -----------

    In this instance I wasn't referring to strategy.
    Rather I was referring to how specific events could have a dramatic transformative effect on a conflict.

    In the South African war, the early efforts were dictated by the need to relieve those sieges. The British effort was therefore highly predictable, and suffered a number of embarrassing defeats.

    But once those towns were relieved, the entire nature of the war changed.

  • Comment number 67.

    @62. MH
    Well, I could say that atrocity were just one ingredient of said omelette, or, you were happy to quote me once, but you cannot attribute your statement of others commiting atrocities to I.
    You have used my statement as a springboard for your own assertions.
    Must do better Margaret Howard.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    Shane from Croydon, (#65. At 15:20pm 8th May 2011)

    "... its [sic] a shame that his skin colour still informs the right's agenda."

    Ah, the standard "those who dislike the actions of someone of another race are racists." It is good to see that old fashioned ad hominem arguments never go out of style - at least for some.
    LOL!

  • Comment number 70.

    Ad, (#64. At 15:19pm 8th May 2011)

    ”... Do you now admit that your 'OBL's been dead 10 years' was a bit wide of the mark? Or was he still an 'alleged' OBL?”
    Conspiracy theorists seldom admit being mistaken. Once they admit they are mistaken about one piece of their elaborately erected edifice, the whole structure may come tumbling down about their ears. It is far easier for them to just deny the facts and pretend nothing ever happened. They are people of unshakable faith.

  • Comment number 71.

    68.quietoaktree.
    Have to admit that your first question goes over my head somewhat.
    Well, you say they just do not judge me for my ancestors past, did we leave non-judgemental socities behind us then? If so, my ancestors did better than I imagined, or is it a case that, whilst they remain judgemental, they have taken the past into consideration and still offer me preferential treatment.

    Yes, America has the benefit of knowing that Africa may well be best left alone, if that be a compliment, yet still the colonies that were British were better off.

    But our atrocities were not as bad as others, are we supposed to be ashamed of that? It just means we have less to pay back, if there is anything to pay back at all, you tell me what you think we owe you, what do we owe Canada, Australia, NZ?
    Tell me what we owe.

  • Comment number 72.

    #65 Shane

    --- it almost went as far to deny he was ever born !

    -- had he not presented the birth certificate.

  • Comment number 73.

    Boy, is this blog still a luxury -- as the world crumbles around us !

  • Comment number 74.

    @74. quietoaktree
    it would seem an answer to a pertinent question is the only luxury around here.

  • Comment number 75.

    Kane: Ok, always described as "positive discrimination" in the UK.
    -----
    I cited several real life examples, but I guess BBC did not think they were approriate, although they are true...oh, well...

    Anyhew, my point is merely that people of any color can be racist and just because someone is a certain skin color doesn't mean they can't be racist...
    ----
    Kane: I saw Trump as part of the circus surrounding the long drawn out process that you have over there as opposed to our short circus over here.
    ---
    Well, Trump got the publicity he so desired...they say be careful what you wish for...

    I think Marie is right that at first Trump looked like the winner and he did achieve what he wanted to do, but at some point, he just needed to move on to another topic and some of his comments became inappropriate, I know people like to diss one another in politics, but sometimes it gets too ugly; even if I dislike some of what Obama is doing, he is still the President and Trump should try to boost our country by promoting American values (positive) not by dissing or criticizing in nasty way (negative)...keep the love flowing Trump and not the hate and you will be just fine...
    ----
    Kane: A very one sided document which, does suggest that some spying is going on, yet note the subtle change of tone in "American Intelligence".
    As horrible as it is, it is a part of the game but they do need to find willing cooperatives easy to come by.
    Capitalism selling itself out a bit?
    ---
    I don't get what you mean by subtle change?

    There's no one I dislike more in this world than someone who commits treason against our country...

    Truthfully, I don't know what capitalism means, I shall have to look it up sometime...

  • Comment number 76.

    myself: in my opinion, Chinese espionage is a bigger threat to America than the terrorists are...
    -----
    I retract the words 'is a bigger', I mean its just as big of a threat to America...

    Both the terrorists and the espionage by a certain country are equally threatening...maybe not everyone sees it this way, but I do...

    Was looking for a movie about Navy Seals, found GI Jane, good movie, although obviously a fictional film...maybe I can find another one, any recommendations?
    ---

    President Obama is on top of the world right now, he's got everything going for him and although I don't know whether I want to vote for him or not in upcoming election, President Obama, our military and our special intelligence deserves a round of applause for what they did...

    I can't help but feel a sense of relief that taking down bin Ladin is a chance for all Americans, Repubs, Dems ,and Inds alike to work together and bond, come together for the sake of our country and our children's future...

    Perhaps this is finally teh opportunity for our country, including Congress, to put down their politics and work together to truly make a difference for America...

  • Comment number 77.

    #75 LucyJ

    "Truthfully, I don't know what capitalism means, I shall have to look it up sometime..."

    ---the same act as ´love thy neighbor´ --with a different intention !

  • Comment number 78.

    71 Kane writes:
    "It just means we have less to pay back, if there is anything to pay back at all, ..."
    I think its about to start with the relatives of alleged torture victims in Kenya (including Obama's grandfather).

  • Comment number 79.

    @74 LucyJ.
    Quote "just because some is a certain skin colour, doesnt mean they cant be a racist"
    have you taken it for granted that they want to be racist?

    Thought you would be happy not to mention Trump, and any possible virtues thereof, henceforth, apparently not.

    Well, is a satellite, a spy in the sky?
    Where does the US get its intelligence information about other countries projects from. Could it be that, when the Chinese steal or spy and get there lot, they announce it as Chinese Intelligence. Just a thought.

    And I do not believe you do not understand what capitalism is, that is just being covert, surely?

  • Comment number 80.

    @78. MH.
    I have no objections to anything that any Kenyans are found to be owed, however difficult that sum may be to access.
    But could it be that, because you started your sentence with "I think", the rest of your sentence cannot be a fact, thus it entitled you to spout out the biggest load of nonsense that was available to you at the time?

  • Comment number 81.

    68 QOT writes:
    "---and our atrocities are never worse than the others --- a typical argument that follows non-payment for your sins "
    --------------------------
    Another one is:
    ".. and that is simply because if we had not colonised them, somebody else would...."

  • Comment number 82.

    @81 MH.
    What did you propose for the time then? You moan and carp about what was not right, but all you do is then sanction a mandate for us to having done nothing.
    It is just denial. Denial that their lot would have been far worse and denial that you are no better than your very own ancestors. I really do not like occupying that side of the arguement.
    A case of, "it wasnt me sir, it was the others". Own up, and grow some shoulders.

  • Comment number 83.

    Kikuyu Warriors Mash Up White Colonialists
    Radical Style - Roots Radics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mYwTpefX3E

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    Kane at 73 Bin Laden creed writes:
    "Finally sportser, always look out for where people slip the word "perhaps" in, it is a real giveaway and when it starts a sentence..."
    and again at 80 here he writes:
    "But could it be that, because you started your sentence with "I think", the rest of your sentence cannot be a fact...."
    ---------------------------
    Hm, I'm not quite sure what relevance this has to anything.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    @85. MH.
    Well alright, let me help you out a bit.
    Perhaps. adverb, meaning possibly, maybe.
    Adverb. Typically used to answer questions like, How? Why? When?

    Next time someone starts a sentence with possibly or maybe, just ridicule them, I know I do.

    @78 quote "I think it is about to start with the relatives etc etc"

    Well is it about to start? or is not about to start? What if it is not? Should I answer to it?
    "I think" must be opinion, cannot be fact.
    You put "I think" next to a fact and expect me to answer to that question as though it were fact, even though it is not even assured it is correct.
    How can I answer to that seriously?


  • Comment number 88.

    #87 kane

    --I believe MH was not intending a Philosophical Analytic discussion 101

  • Comment number 89.

    @86 quietoaktree.
    You have taken to becoming vague and not making relative points.
    I have never been to Guyana, do you think they will chase me out for being British?

    Funny enough, I do some shopping from time to time at Bookers when I am in the UK. It does seem to be a company that has evolved, does not it?

  • Comment number 90.

    @88 quietoaktree.
    and you know what, there was me giving her the benefit of the doubt.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    @91 margaret howard.
    Yawn! Yes MH that doth meet the exacting standard needed, (in my book at the least) for judicial compensation on the account of it being atrocious.
    Then compare Belgium in Rwanda and France in Algeria and compare the atrocities.
    There is cause there for you to stop ripping yourself to shreds, when that level of repayment is not asked for, nor warranted.
    Think on this, when they leave that court, they may be in the top 5% in the Kenyan rich list.
    Here would be the ironic thing for me, you would probably feel more animosity toward the British empire than they would, and in my book, far more, the pain
    would be yours.
    Tell me your not jealous of their possible windfall?


  • Comment number 94.

    @92. quietoaktree.
    Well you know, people do that do they not? Make friends by finding a common enemy, useful the Brits huh, when you are far from home.
    What is the point with Guyana? tell me, was it better when we got there than when we left? and then how is it doing today compared to when we left?
    I always say, we do not expect gratitude.

  • Comment number 95.

    Interestedforeigner:
    Thanks for your take above.

    So here’s something interesting re: Obama and Libya.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/may/08/libya-middleeast

    Not sure how source is taken and know it’s different.
    An answer to your very charitable yet saddened friend or am I getting involved in something that I should just let be?

  • Comment number 96.

    I always let The Guardian, just be.

  • Comment number 97.

    96. At 04:05am 9th May 2011, JMay,

    That is mostly the best thing to do with the Guardian, it can always be relied upon to give a very biased slant on any topic with accuracy an option rarely used.

    Well, there is still at least one real blog left on the BBC, with MH and QOT venting their fury about Britain on an American blog, how quaint, they must be suffering withdrawal symptoms due to the inexplicable demise of Hewitt's blog.

  • Comment number 98.

    European Colonialism didn't do any good to the locals. e.g. they massacred Africa
    Hitler wanted to do it but Africa and Asia was already taken so he invaded Poland
    Brits thought it was okay to kill blacks but disapproved when it came to white jews

  • Comment number 99.

    98. At 09:10am 9th May 2011, Little Johnny Wonder aka Little John,

    Is that your excuse for North America, since from whence were they colonised?

  • Comment number 100.

    Buzet You got your beef whatever that is, it is v. frustrating to blog w/ petty point scoring jingoistic americans et al. European "Settlers" Americans colonized the Americas and wiped out a lot of the indigenous tribes peoples and did a whole heap of imperialism too, setting up unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships (even tough they call themselves worlds policemen).

 

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