Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html en-gb 30 Fri 30 Jan 2015 10:38:26 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=98#comment74 73, ish-ish, further to #74.We expect our success to be marked by ongoing rises in the rate of murders. High murder levels will also discourage immigration, both legal and illegal, further restraning population growth. There are important economic benefits to the program, notably higher rates of imployment and a reduction in social security payouts as people get knocked off. Tue 07 Apr 2009 04:33:19 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=97#comment73 73, ish-ish."Hmmm. You mean we're too dense to murder each other properly over here?"(Nice play on words.)It is exceptionalism, which unfortunately you lack, that makes this sort of inovative thinking natural to us. Tue 07 Apr 2009 03:40:10 GMT+1 british-ish http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=96#comment72 69. happylaze/72 allmymarblesHmmm. You mean we're too dense to murder each other properly over here?(Specially for the Dalek, I see the invasion's on again.) Tue 07 Apr 2009 03:25:18 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=94#comment71 69, happy Jack."The UK has more than 7 times the number of people per SQ mile.but still manage to murder each other less."That is because they are less evolved. Murder is an advanced method of population control. Tue 07 Apr 2009 03:10:25 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=93#comment70 70, staphylococcus aureus.It took you a long time to thing up that weak rejoinder. Pretty poor show! Tue 07 Apr 2009 02:51:33 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=92#comment69 54. At 6:30pm on 05 Apr 2009, allmymarbles wrote: 51, staphylococccus aureus."No amount of advertising will bring me round your door.""How lucky can a girl be?"That is something lostallyourmarbles, you'll never get to find out :-) Tue 07 Apr 2009 02:17:30 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=90#comment68 Funny thing about comparing rates is that If the population density of the UK were subjected on the states would there be more or less gun crime?http://education.yahoo.com/reference/factbook/countrycompare/pd/1a.htmlBritain and frankly how are you trying to compare the US to europe as a whole when Europe has different laws on guns within states the include the ban on ownership.( So when guns get talked about the UK always does well but when intentional murders are the topic then the UK still does better but at least shows inventiveness).Which state in the US banned Guns(or restricted them in ways comparable to the UK?The UK has more than 7 times the number of people per SQ mile.but still manage to murder each other less.Maybe the Americans aren't as accepting as they pretend. Mon 06 Apr 2009 21:17:35 GMT+1 sean33z http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=89#comment67 Barack Obama is a decent strategist. His tactics are a moderate level for competence. For Afghanistan, he should shred the current military strategy for a good tactic of enlisting muslim Clerics, the Police in region, and technology. Felons lose every advantage. Mon 06 Apr 2009 18:42:09 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=88#comment66 # 60 BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote: "Besides, guns dont kill people, people do"Indeed.As the gun lobby like to say - 'Guns don't kill people. People kill people.' And as someone else suggested:'Guns don't kill people. People kill people.With guns.' Mon 06 Apr 2009 12:01:54 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=86#comment65 # 64 allmymarbles wrote: "59, John-in-Dublin."...If England is the size of New England, France the size of Texas, and Italy the size of California,""Marbles, just to be clear, I wasn't asserting that, I was quoting Bienvenue at # 57 Mon 06 Apr 2009 11:59:40 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=85#comment64 59, Dublin,You got me curious about areas so I looked up the USA and Europe. Europe is somewhat bigger, which surprised me, but then I remembered Norway, Sweden and Finland who go way north, so it made sense. I don't know if the Great Britain was included in the figures. I think so, maybe because we think of it as Europe, and it was an American source. Mon 06 Apr 2009 05:02:49 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=84#comment63 59, John-in-Dublin."...If England is the size of New England, France the size of Texas, and Italy the size of California,"You're just about right on the first two, but California is considerably larger than Italy. It's a good thing you didn't throw Alaska into the equation. It is about two and a half times the size of Texas. Mon 06 Apr 2009 04:24:01 GMT+1 timewaitsfornoman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=82#comment62 62 allmymarblesYou are probably right! Often thought that is the reason why we do not have a lot of violence - just too damn cold! Mon 06 Apr 2009 03:43:23 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=81#comment61 61, timewaits.The reason for Montreal's low murder rate is the cold. They have to squeeze all their killing into the brief weeks of summer. With global warming we can expect the rate to go up. Mon 06 Apr 2009 03:23:52 GMT+1 timewaitsfornoman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=80#comment60 BienvenueEnLouisiana If you wish to compare smaller entities, there were 29 murders committed in Montreal in 2008, with a population of 1.6m Montreal/3.6m Greater Montreal. Regrettably most were murder, suicides. By comparison, Chicago 2.9m had 509. Sun 05 Apr 2009 23:05:24 GMT+1 BienvenueEnLouisiana http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=78#comment59 59Trust me, Im well aware of where the murder capital of the US is located; I dont need the link to wiki. As for comparing crime rates per head of population, I agree with you, but I still think youd get a more accurate reading at the state lvl because the US is not quite as homogenous as European countries. Besides, guns dont kill people, people do, and often theft, murder, etc is more linked to poverty than gun ownership. Sun 05 Apr 2009 22:45:00 GMT+1 john-In-Dublin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=77#comment58 # 57 BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:"When talking about crime in the US, remember that the US is a country the size of a continent with 24hr national and international news coverage. If England is the size of New England, France the size of Texas, and Italy the size of California, it would be more appropriate to compare the crime stats of those states with those European nations comparable in size rather than with the whole of the US."I would have thought that the logical thing to do would be to compare crime rates per head of population.To take just one example, according to Wiki, the latest 'intentional homicide' rate for the US was 5.6 per 100,000 population, and for the UK it was 2.03 - ie almost 3 times higher in the US.Which is strange, as I thought all those guns in the US were supposed to DETER crime....Link is here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_rates Sun 05 Apr 2009 21:54:09 GMT+1 HerculeSavinien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=76#comment57 (Af-Pak) / (5K) HEADCOUNT! DOESN'T COMPUTE!'Defense Secretary John Hutton told BBC radio in an interview broadcast Saturday that it was "very possible" that extra European contributions to the Afghan mission would be agreed, and that a further expansion of the U.K. military presence remained possible.EUROPEAN PRESENT TROOP LEVELS Increase the prior approved addition of “Empire” Army Division of (17K), Seventeen-thousand, by another (4K) Four-thousand to Army Corp level, bringing the “Empire” total to a Field Army size of (60K) Sixty-thousand. (We know that the “Empire” military had requested an additional (2) Two Corps, of (30K) Thirty-Thousand above this number and Obama promised to look at that request in the future.), for a Field Army size of (90K) Ninety-Thousand. In addition to an Army Division size contingent of (20,315) Twenty-thousand-three-hundred fifteen foreign troops in the theater of operation; UK: 8,600 (Kabul, Kandahar, Helmand) Germany: 3,500 (Northern Afghanistan) Italy: 2,880 (Western Afghanistan & Kubul) Netherlands: 1,650 (Southern Afghanistan) France 1,515 (Kabul) Poland 1,100 (Mobile) Australia 1,070 (Southern Afghanistan)"A small number of states - Canada, Australia and the Netherlands - are fighting on their own an increasingly violent battle."PROJECTED EUROPEAN TROOP LEVELS INCREASEBELGIUM: said it will add between (35 -65) Thirty-five to Sixth-five military trainers to a force of (500) Five-Hundred, and send (2) two more (F-16) jet fighters, bringing the total number it has sent to (6) six.FRANCE: Declined the request, President Sarkozy France would not be sending reinforcements to bolster its existing force northeast of Kabul, but was "ready to do more" in the field of police training and economic aid.SPAIN: said ahead of the summit that it would add a small contingent of (12-600) twelve to six-hundred to help train Afghan army officers? UNITED KINGDOM: The (“TEMPORARY UPLIFT”) of between (500-700) five to seven hundred increasing Britain’s military strength there to about (9K) Nine-Thousand, for a four month period until British elections to be held on August 20 , with a planned withdrawal of all British Forces upon completion of the elections. But, the “Imperial Media Messiah” by way of Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, the largest contingent of that force will be ... from Britain." (900) Nine-hundred troops will come from the (UK).The long-term plan of adding (2K) Two-Thousand, British troops to the (Af-Pak) Conflict bring British troop levels to (10K), Ten-thousand, has NO! Political chance or support.Considering their optionsCanadaDenmarkGermany: Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, “We have a great responsibility here. We want to carry our share of the responsibility, militarily, in the area of civil reconstruction and in police training." (600) Six-hundred from Germany that was already in the pipeline.ItalyPolandDon’t count your chickensEuropean powers have in the past pledged to increase their commitment, and then either don't send them at all or send them over but with the precondition that they can not engage hostiles - just defend already heavily fortified bases. "The European NATO allies will contribute, temporarily, in smaller numbers," if at all! The “Imperial Media Messiah President” claims that there will be (3K) Three-thousand European Combat Troops and (2K) Two-thousand trainers, but the numbers don’t add up.Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the (N.A.T.O.) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Secretary-General, warned that new laws proposed by President Karzai of Afghanistan sanctioning child marriage and marital rape had made it harder to raise more soldiers. “We are there to defend universal values and when I see, at the moment, a law threatening to come into effect which fundamentally violates women’s rights and human rights, that worries me,” he said. “I have a problem to explain to a critical public audience in Europe, be it the (UK) United Kingdom or elsewhere, why I’m sending the guys to the Hindu Kush.” Sun 05 Apr 2009 21:25:52 GMT+1 BienvenueEnLouisiana http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=74#comment56 When talking about crime in the US, remember that the US is a country the size of a continent with 24hr national and international news coverage. If England is the size of New England, France the size of Texas, and Italy the size of California, it would be more appropriate to compare the crime stats of those states with those European nations comparable in size rather than with the whole of the US. Or perhaps an even better comparison could be made by comparing the combined crime stats of the whole continent of Europe with the stats of the USA; and Im speaking from a state that is no stranger to crime.As for the G20 summit, I think things are going pretty well-N. Koreas missile launch aside. Sun 05 Apr 2009 21:15:45 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=73#comment55 Justin:Regarding GiftsYES, Justin--I think that you are going to repent for those earlier comments about the gifts...-Dennis Junior Sun 05 Apr 2009 18:31:03 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=72#comment54 54, allmymarbles -Perfect! Sun 05 Apr 2009 17:48:00 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=70#comment53 51, staphylococccus aureus."No amount of advertising will bring me round your door."How lucky can a girl be? Sun 05 Apr 2009 17:30:38 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=69#comment52 Ref 35 gunsandreligion"...sort of like War of the Worlds, except that we did it to ourselves."Yes. And these people were like the knot of survivors gathered up by the young artillery man who started digging a hole to live in an underground world, but soon lost initiative through lack of leadership.All they needed was a boss. Someone to tell them, "You do this." and, "You go there." Once given leadership these people acted. They are not lazy, nor stupid. Simply followers that need strong leadership. They do not mind being followers. They look for leaders. Sun 05 Apr 2009 17:10:03 GMT+1 davep01 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=68#comment51 "He will do his best to help with that brutal reminder... that the terrorists in Afghanistan threaten Europe more than they do America." That rings as hollow now as under his predecessor. Alienating Muslims at home is certainly more problematic for Europeans, and going along with the US in Iraq did Britain no favours security-wise. It's time Europe extracted a real price for wasting lives on this fiasco - serious action on Palestine (no more nonexistent "road map" smokescreens) and an end to the kind of ludicrous sabre-rattling that seems to be on the back burner re Iran but seems still to be in vogue on North Korea. Enough of US "persuasion and pressure", we saw that under Bush and his predecessors, and succumbing to it has been a disaster for the world. Obama's real need is to get out of the morass of the past eight years, so let's help the guy out - and that means setting the price as high as possible. Sun 05 Apr 2009 16:09:15 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=66#comment50 lostallyourmarbles #32You can leave your front door unlocked, your back door unlocked, put a neon sign on the roof of your house, or pay for a front page ad in the New York Times for all the good it will do you. No amount of advertising will bring me round your door :-) Sun 05 Apr 2009 14:55:44 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=65#comment49 22: "The word 'strategician' cannot be found in any dictionary. Why did he not use the perfectly adequate word 'strategist' "Another portmanteau word perhaps? Combining strategist and magician? Appropriate, no? New words are being coined all the time.25, allmymarbles -Agree with you about word extensions (and the rest), but get a kick out of these accidental portmanteaus (do not doubt this was accidental on Justin's part).48, british-ishIt seems the new word struck you in a similar way as it did me. Sun 05 Apr 2009 14:39:22 GMT+1 seanspa http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=64#comment48 british-ish, very well put. Sun 05 Apr 2009 14:37:59 GMT+1 british-ish http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=62#comment47 45. At 10:51am on 05 Apr 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:Sorry to be thick, but what is the difference between a strategist and a 'strategician' ?I think the first plans for eventualities over the long term, and the second pulls a couple of rabbits out of a hat and everybody thinks it's the same thing. Sun 05 Apr 2009 12:02:02 GMT+1 Andrew Prescott http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=61#comment46 I am not a linguist (or a lingiuscician!) But in my humble opinion: Strategist and strategicianI wouuld suggest that the suffix 'ist' suggests a person who 'believes in something or holds to certain principles'. 'ician' suggests someone who is a more active practitoner of a skill.So strategician may be a newly coined word, but seems a very good one to me. Sun 05 Apr 2009 10:47:55 GMT+1 Andrew Prescott http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=60#comment45 "You can't tar all of the United States with the same brush. Like anywhere else it will depend on where you live. Knife crime is rampant in the UK, so the chances of being stabbed to death appear to be greater there than in the USA -and that too will depend on where you reside. I haven't checked the statistics, but my guess is that Mayfair and its Los Angeles counterpart, Beverly Hills, have a lesser chance of capital crimes than, say, Brixton and Compton."If you read my e-mail you will know that I very clearly did not 'tar the whole US with the same brush'. I indeed made the very points you make.Does the knife crime in UK come anywhere close to matching the 10-20,000 gun deaths in US? My very point is that those deaths occur in certain places, and one could add that they do not make the news unless they happen in an unusual place or an unusual number of casualties all at once. Sun 05 Apr 2009 10:41:05 GMT+1 lordBeddGelert http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=58#comment44 Sorry to be thick, but what is the difference between a strategist and a 'strategician' ? Sun 05 Apr 2009 09:51:43 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=57#comment43 ref #41That you actually think foriegn policy is an Obama stregnth confirms your extreme politicla views. He has made several error including oveture to Iran his silence on human rights violations in Venezuela his politcal gaffes with Gordan Brown etc. Sun 05 Apr 2009 09:48:09 GMT+1 KScurmudgeon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=56#comment42 The pictures of Obama's first comments on the G20 summit were priceless - not so much for him, but for the image of Hillary standing in the background. She was for the first time the devoted, silent soldier, stalwart behind her leader, projecting only solid support for every word, every implication, every purpose he gave form and expression. There was no grandstanding in her, no smirking 'hey there, look at me' come on. Only grim purpose, the President's purpose, the nation's purpose, Obama's purpose. For once she had the dignity of Madeline Albright, with the drive that is only her own. She will now be truly formidable.Considering where they were a year ago, and the things that were said about him with respect to her, and about her with respect to the presidency, he appears to have pulled off one of the great political coups of the decade. He appears to be a leader of the first rank.KScurmudgeon Sun 05 Apr 2009 08:21:24 GMT+1 Young-Mr-Grace http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=54#comment41 Re Post 13. by allmymarbles "then Europe will have gotten a free ride on our stimulus package."I would suggest that the real "free riders" will be those old enough to be sadly gone before the bill for the debt becomes due and especially those not leaving children behind to pick up their share of the tab. You're all doing very well !! Sun 05 Apr 2009 08:03:53 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=53#comment40 The only area in which the president has real power is foreign affairs. This is Obama's forte and this is where he will shine. It was my belief in this particular ability that got him my vote. Congress will continue to stumble along, keeping its pork, maintaining its corruption, and doing whatever it can to keep the status quo. The world as a whole has center stage in this new era. Congress can stay in Washington. Sun 05 Apr 2009 07:11:19 GMT+1 Young-Mr-Grace http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=52#comment39 There seems to have been a lot of interest in Carla, Michelle and the other spouses. I wonder if there if a gap in the publishing market for a new magazine. Anyone interested in buying "Leaders Wives"You're all doing very well !! Sun 05 Apr 2009 07:09:12 GMT+1 Young-Mr-Grace http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=50#comment38 Justin says "....the White House's inferior lunch (chilli con carne, since you ask) in order to come and enjoy the taxpayer-funded version round the corner..."Just wondering who pays for the white house lunch if not the taxpayer. Is it sponsered - perhaps the beans are arranged to spell out the name of the corporation footing the bill - but then these days most corporations are either being bailed out by the taxpayer or reliant on banks who are being bailed out. Or perhaps the chilli had to be paid for by the journos but in Justins case the expenses bill would find its way back to the BBC and eventual paid for by the licence fee which is a tax in all but name.You're all doing very well !! Sun 05 Apr 2009 07:06:24 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=49#comment37 34, publius."Now; let's see. What event took place during January which signalled change?"Of course you mean Obama. I think the thought that the war was going to end in Iraq was a big factor. In fact, although it is rarely mentioned in the media, I think it was the war that caused the slow-down in spending. This was apparent earlly in 2007, long before the market started to fall. There is no rational reason for the market to go up as high as it is right now and is probably due to a lessening of panic. Obama's radiant smile is enough to cheer anyone up. Sun 05 Apr 2009 06:56:36 GMT+1 KScurmudgeon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=48#comment36 Justin, you are the first journalist I have heard of that has looked beyond today's deadline and recognized the Prez for what he is - a very intelligent gent who looked far into the future before he ever set his foot into the ring.The splash and dash is essential for a successful leader; yes, something Obama has that is reminiscent of JFK, Billyboy and Tony Blair, and so evidently lacking in G Brown (a pity, as he seems to be intellectually competent), but that is not who Obama is. For all his black coolness, Mr. Barak Hussein Obama (did you hear him use the full name the other day, as if to disarm all those who have been leaning on that Hussein bit hoping to injure him?) is way beyond most of his peers and all of those poor fools who are following him about (yourself evidently excepted). On a dozen or more fronts, Prez Obama's strategic initiatives are advancing on schedule - against Ms Pelosi and her gang-of-the-Left in the House, against the oppositionist Republican rump who will have less and less ground to stand on as the bi-election approaches, against all the cowards of Europe, against Osama-AliBaba in his magic cave, and against those entrenched priesthoods of power here in the states like the medico-insurance cabal, the hither-to unassailable financial princes of Wall Street, and the brokers of corruption in Washington who work against the interests of the nation as a whole - whether it is the moneychangers to be driven from the temple or the stables to be washed clean, we now have the man for the job. The complexity of the job seems to be matched by the complexity of the effort. Certainly a good many journalists have already thrown up their pens and said 'He's trying to do too much at once!', but it may be that the man is right - it can only be done this way - all at once, attacking on all fronts, laying siege at every gate and every wall, until the City is taken. This will get more impressive, his effort has only begun.KScurmudgeon Sun 05 Apr 2009 06:49:39 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=46#comment35 33, guns."32, Ms. Marbles, I could tell you a joke about Hoboken, but you've probably already heard it and the mods probably wouldn't let it through."Hah! I don't live in Hoboken, so you will have to adjust your image. I even don't like Hoboken. It is a fake Manhattan. Sun 05 Apr 2009 06:47:14 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=45#comment34 #34, publius, sort of like War of the Worlds, except that we did it to ourselves.That's what is practically unique about us Americans, we don't need anybodyto invade us to bring us to the brink of collapse. Sun 05 Apr 2009 06:45:42 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=44#comment33 Ref 13 allmymarbles"The curious thing about crashes is that one part is realistic and the other is panic."Your point is well illustrated by only looking back at November-December 2008 and January 2009. The economy was in a dramatic free-fall. There seemed no hope of stopping the free-fall. People were scared beyond making reasonable decisions. Those of us that have investments bit our collective fingernails and lost sleep. The very large number of people living day to day were toying with ideas of making ends meet by robbery.Anyone may well question the last sentence of my statement. I live in a blue-collar neighborhood where most people live hand to mouth. Nobody has ever taught them the self-discipline of saving for a rainy day. Several, single-family homes are now shelter to two or more families all struggling to put food on the table. I have spoken with several people who, in the course of conversation, tried to recruit me in a desparate, hair-brained sceme to rob! They had nothing to eat. They were losing their homes. Their children were growing out of clothes. They were in a panic.I have worked with the homeless for years. I gave my neighbors resources that would help them. Not money. Names and locations of churches serving free meals on different days, secular food banks, places where they could get their children shoes and warm coats. Governmental and privately-funded social agencies that could help them with their needs to heat their homes and keep the lights burning. These people had never been unemployed. They are good people at wits end without resource.I am certain that anyone looking into their eyes when I was speaking with them would be chilled. We are all animals. We will resort to exta-ordinary means to survive. There was a wild, animal look in their eyes. I was on guard, lest they think I was weak and my wallet was more rewarding than my life.By the beginning of March, these same people became more cheerful just hearing news that something was being done. They have used the resources I gave them. Received help and direction. They are working again. Temporary jobs, day jobs, jobs they are capable of performing. All low paying jobs that do not provide enough in wages to return them to complete, self-reliance even at the most minimal level. But jobs. Hope.They are simple people without clear goals. They look to the leadership of others; easily swayed. They are a majority. The unskilled factory worker. The person working for a janitorial service. The sub-sub contractor that picked up and completed jobs from over-booked contractors. Hospital aides. Security guards. The people many of us do not notice, because we do not see them even as they stand beside us on a street corner.People we do not want to meet in a panic situation. They have limited their own education to a the lowest, common-denominator focused solely on their own survival.They are workers. These people are working again. That means more than wealth to them. It makes them happy to feel that they are doing some thing that pays wages. A return to life where they leave home each day at an appointed hour to do a task that produces a paycheck at the end of the week. They have jingles in there pockets. They recognize that something changed. Now; let's see. What event took place during January which signalled change? Sun 05 Apr 2009 06:04:43 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=42#comment32 32, Ms. Marbles, I could tell you a joke about Hoboken, but you'veprobably already heard it and the mods probably wouldn't let it through. Sun 05 Apr 2009 05:50:16 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=41#comment31 30. David.I live just across the river from Manhattan. From morning until I go to bed my back door is unlocked. In the summer it is open. No one has stabbed or shot me, though some might like to. Sun 05 Apr 2009 05:45:02 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=40#comment30 29, guns.I don't remember if it was a Rockefeller, or a Vanderbilt (but someone of that ilk), who had the same experience as your grandfather. It was a shoeshine boy who gave him a tip. He sold everything just before the crash. Sun 05 Apr 2009 05:42:08 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=38#comment29 #10. AAPrescott: "Where I used to live in US we finaly got tired of the gun shots every night amonst other things that I would not describe as civility."You can't tar all of the United States with the same brush. Like anywhere else it will depend on where you live. Knife crime is rampant in the UK, so the chances of being stabbed to death appear to be greater there than in the USA -and that too will depend on where you reside. I haven't checked the statistics, but my guess is that Mayfair and its Los Angeles counterpart, Beverly Hills, have a lesser chance of capital crimes than, say, Brixton and Compton. Sun 05 Apr 2009 05:39:49 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=37#comment28 #28, Ms. Marbles, my grandfather on my mother's side was the really smart one in the family. A week before the crash in '29, he withdrew allof his cash from the bank, and locked it in a safe.He paid his employees out of that cash ($10,000) all during the depression,and didn't have to lay anybody off. In fact, the best year for the companywas 1937.He told me that what spooked him was that bellhops and elevator operatorswere giving him stock tips. That convinced him that the crash was coming. Sun 05 Apr 2009 05:23:35 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=36#comment27 26, guns."If Cramer thinks that we've seen the bottom, then it is definitely time to short something.I think Cramer is trying to recover from his devastating interview with Jon Stewart. Cramer has always had the air of a trickster. He had this thing going (and maybe still does) where he told his faithful horde that he would let them know when he was going to buy something before he bought it. It seems that would be a self-fulfilling prophesy of a rise in the stock price (at least temporarily). So transparent.P.S. Your uncle was a smart guy. Sun 05 Apr 2009 05:04:06 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=34#comment26 #22, as a corporate strategist, I feel compelled to differentiate myselffrom run of the mill "strategicians," who are probably tacticians who can'tget the title right for their business cards. Sun 05 Apr 2009 04:50:13 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=33#comment25 16, 19, 20, St. D, Ms. Marbles, MAII, short the rally, it's a classicbear trap. I haven't looked at the charts because I'm out of the market,but I recall the advice of my now deceased uncle who told me that whenthe market is going up, brokers have all of the accuracy of a dart board gamewhen it comes to picking stocks; when the market goes down, they don'thave a clue as to what to do.If Cramer thinks that we've seen the bottom, then it is definitely timeto short something. Sun 05 Apr 2009 04:45:27 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=32#comment24 22, keen."Why did he not use the perfectly adequate word 'strategist'?"There is a tendency to make our language clumsier and clumsier. How about "comedic" instead of "comic" (a perfectly good word and one syllable shorter) or just plain "funny." Note that Justin, in coining the ugly word "strategician," has needlessly added an extra syllable as well. I see this trend as a depersonalization of the language. The extra this or that makes the meaning less direct. In general our poor language is losing a lot of its color. People no longer have "lovers": they have "relationsships." That sounds pretty sterile. I'll bet they are missing out on a lot of fun. Sorry. Instead of "fun" I should have said "comedic experience." Sun 05 Apr 2009 04:23:25 GMT+1 Jeebers76 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=30#comment23 I've been doing some thinking.It is a VERY remarkable thing that Europe and America, through the G20 summit, have agreed to work together. One of the things that my American history prof has said about the Depression is that it was a global catastrophe, and the only way to really deal with it is globally. A single country trying to spend itself into prosperity and restart it's economy will have limited results at best. Turns out that the US New Deal was actually effective at stimulating the economy, but the govt didn't go far enough, and indeed they backed off on spending. This caused a sudden dip in the economy where before it had been steadily improving in the late 30's. What really got the USA out of the Depression was truly massive govt spending in gearing up for WWII. What would life had been like had we instead spent that much on public works? Pretty amazing I'll bet, but Hitler and Japan needed to be stopped.This time around, there is no great global war. How about we work on civic improvements instead of war machinery? Sun 05 Apr 2009 03:03:19 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=29#comment22 20, staphylococcus aureus."What makes you think the prospects of a depression are behind us?"So now you have a reading problem. Cramer said the depression was behind us. No me. And the last thing I want is for the market to rise to former levels. They were nuts then and would be nuttier now. But you seem not to have noticed the extent of the rally. We went down around 6500 and are now at 8000. That is a strong comeback. Too big for me. Sun 05 Apr 2009 02:44:34 GMT+1 keenSLfan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=28#comment21 Justin Webb should use a spell checker. The word 'strategician' cannot be found in any dictionary. Why did he not use the perfectly adequate word 'strategist'? Lord Reith must be turning in his grave!KeenSLfan Sun 05 Apr 2009 02:17:29 GMT+1 Via-Media http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=26#comment20 15 middlecroonySorry, I'm a bit dense this evening- I know I should, but I'm not catching your "prime directive" reference. A hint? Sun 05 Apr 2009 02:08:41 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=25#comment19 marbles"The interesting thing is that if the so-called market pundit, Cramer, is correct, and the depression is behind us, then Europe will have gotten a free ride on our stimulus package."Cramer is almost always wrong. He is one of the most consistently reliable negative indicators of the stock market I know of. What makes you think the prospects of a depression are behind us? Because the media hasn't played it up much lately? Because the stock market went up 14% after it fell 60%? Go take a hard look at the DJI between the summer of 1929 and mid 1932. You will see that every time it went down, it went up again only less then it went down and the next time it went down, it went down further. About six false rallies before it hit bottom with a 90% drop and it took two and a half years. If we follow that track, we have another year to go.Little has actually changed so far. The government has made promises it hasn't kept yet. New money is not flooding into the system just yet. It will not change until the government starts printing money and giving it away and Obama had better start thinking about America's welfare and stop worrying about the rest of the world or the benefit of all that spending will be quickly dissipated and won't do us (or anyone else in the long run) much good. Unemployment rose by two thirds of a million last month alone. Pundits will tell you employment is a lagging indicator. Don't you believe it. When orders come in, companies hire people to do work. They are not coming in. Housing prices continue to fall. The banks are being allowed to lie about the value of their toxic assets in a desperate effort to substitute the feel good factor for genuine economic turnaround and growth. We are not coming out of the forest, we are still headed into it or so it seems to me. BTW, Europe did get a free ride...with the bailout of AIG. A lot of our tax money went to USB Warburg, Paribas, and Deutchebank. It's too bad we can't get a government that thinks of its own citizens first. If we go down the tubes, nobody else anywhere and that includes India, Brazil, and Canada will escape either. Sun 05 Apr 2009 02:02:30 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=24#comment18 16, saintD.Right now we are experiencing a high, of sorts, which is not necessarily a good thing. Before the bust the market was seriously overpriced and going back in that direction will only lead to another bust. I am hoping the market stays level, even though I am modestly invested and, like everyone else, in the red. Sun 05 Apr 2009 01:45:43 GMT+1 Via-Media http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=22#comment17 12 british-ishI'm inclined to agree with you, but I have reservations. I find it morally questionable to go into another country, turn things upside down, and leave. We've made the mess, so I can't help but feel that we're morally responsible to work toward a solution to putting things right. I don't have a problem with asking for more of NATO's help, because at least at the outset, Afghanistan was more of a multinational effort, and there seemed to be some consensus that action was needed. Our conduct since we ousted the Taliban is much to blame, because we ignored the unfinished business while we were on our great adventure a few countries over. But I still think- if it isn't now doing more harm than good (and I won't argue w. those who'll say it is doing more harm now)= that we should try to fix what we broke. Sun 05 Apr 2009 01:41:03 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=21#comment16 Ref 12, British-ishOur purchasing power diminished when we decided to spend close to $1T a year financing crusades with borrowed money, which resulted in us paying over $200B a year in interest. Obviously, companies such as Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater USA and our oil industry have benefited immensely from the "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that doesn't translate into prosperity at home. The more money we spend overseas the less money we have to invest in infrastructure, education, R&D, and modernizing what remains of our industry. Sustainable international commerce must involve fairly balanced trade, unfortunately, since we have so little to sell our trade deficits are almost as horrible as our budget deficits. Borrowing may give an illusion of prosperity, but that prosperity is nothing more than fantasy if it does not include job creation, improvements in education, R&D, and robust investment in infrastructure and industry. Sun 05 Apr 2009 01:38:20 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=20#comment15 Ref 13, MarblesI think the specter of a great depression is quickly dissipating, but I'll be surprised if we get out of the deep recession we are in this year. There are simply too many companies, banks, and financial institutions on the verge of bankruptcy, and unemployment continues to rise at a troubling rate. Unfortunately, our industrial might has been transferred overseas to increase profit margins and as part of a ridiculous strategy that assumed we could survive as a service-oriented society. Somebody underestimated those foreign workers that answer our calls when we call a Help Desk. No matter how much money we pour into companies like GM they remain saddled with the huge debt they incurred when they bought Saab, Open and Vauxhall. Obviously, the problems affecting the auto industry were exacerbated by the collapse of the economy, loss of consumer confidence, rising unemployment, and out of control debt which results in people not buying cars or other high ticket items.The same goes for the banks. A case in point is Bank of America which was relatively prosperous until they made the fatal decision to buy Merrill Lynch; and I doubt the derivatives market will recover any time soon. The US stimulus package and the $1T that will be invested to stimulate the global economy will help, but I think our society is going to have to readjust its expectations when and if we get out of this recession. We simply owe too much money at all levels. We don't have the resources to bring down our national debt and unfunded liabilities to a manageable level and the investments that must be made to save our economy are aggravating the problem from a fiscal perspective. The worst problem, of course, is the lack of liquidity of our financial institutions. The proposal to buy some of their "toxic assets" is a step in the right direction, but it may not be enough to make them solvent.Again, I think things will turn around, modestly, sometime next year, but I doubt we are going to be singing happy days are here again any time soon. Sun 05 Apr 2009 01:24:37 GMT+1 middlecroony http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=18#comment14 Maybe we're all starting to realize a general "prime directive" is nessassary. Sun 05 Apr 2009 00:35:04 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=17#comment13 1, guns."Of course, Chou En-lai is said to have told Henry Kissinger that he was 'pretty smart for a white man,' indicating his opinion of the passing glory of Western civilization."Chou En-lai may have also exposed his vulnerability. The weak spot in his case was his assumption of superior intelligence. If you want to get the advantage over someone, you play to his weak spot. Sun 05 Apr 2009 00:22:07 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=16#comment12 8, saintD."Obama managed to persuade reluctant european leaders to help stimulate the economy by reminding them that they have as much to gain and lose as we do."The interesting thing is that if the so-called market pundit, Cramer, is correct, and the depression is behind us, then Europe will have gotten a free ride on our stimulus package.The curious thing about crashes is that one part is realistic and the other is panic. When the junk crashes, viable buisnesses go down with them. Supposing that Obama has inspired confidence and money starts moving, the emotional aspects of a depression could well be voided. But that still leaves the problem of the junk. I am having a problem resolving this. Do you have any ideas on this? Sat 04 Apr 2009 23:29:38 GMT+1 british-ish http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=14#comment11 8. At 9:38pm on 04 Apr 2009, saintDominick wrote:The statement about Europe being more of a target to terrorist attacks than the USA is not only true, it is a not so subtle reminder that unless they join us in solving the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan the impact of that conflict is bound to affect global stability and commerce for years to come.Yes it will; it already has. (But affecting commerce? The only commerce emanating from Afghanistan now is the produce of poppies.) Frankly, that is the most stupid thing--being blindingly obvious to his audience --he's said so far. But Justin is being disingenuous, all that represents merely a presidential, domestic, political strategy. Pouring more troops into Afghanistan, widening a conflict into an undeclared war on Pakistan is only broadening already fairly disastrous and ineffectual tactics. Sorry, but I very much doubt NATO countries are going to pour in thousands of soldiers to continue that. They are only offering some for the pre-election and election period. There isn't a single European electorate that would now countenance much more, however charming Obama is. And both European politicians and their electorates know by now this Afghanistan problem is likely to be with us longer than the new American president will be.After that, someone is going to have to come up with a properly thought-out, and better, long-term strategy. No point leading where others think it is folly to follow. Sat 04 Apr 2009 22:06:03 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=13#comment10 Obama has always been a long-term planner. This was obvious in his run for the presidency. Whenever I thought he had made some horrible mistake, or had let an opportunity slip by him, I was proved wrong. His behavior was part of a master plan. I assume that in his negotiations with the world powers he has not changed. We have a calculating and ingenious president, downplayed by a brilliant smile. Sat 04 Apr 2009 22:04:50 GMT+1 Andrew Prescott http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=12#comment9 Justin I have to ask you about your comment on American gun violence. I have never in my life had any anxiety about walking in any of the places that I have frequented in UK. Where I used to live in US we finaly got tired of the gun shots every night amonst other things that I would not describe as civility. I think you need to travel more widely then you will discover where the 10-20,000 homicides occur every year in the US compared with the 10-20 in UK and 50-100 in Canada. Yes we really are talking about 1000fold difference. And the majority occurs in certain places in certain states and certain places in those states. But yes you are thorougly Americanized in basically not seeing this aspect of American life if you avoid thos places. Sat 04 Apr 2009 21:59:00 GMT+1 allmymarbles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=10#comment8 An insight into the reporter's life and one of his priorities - food. Sat 04 Apr 2009 21:55:09 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=9#comment7 Obama's strategy and purpose have been evident in everything he has done since he reached adulthood. His friendly. but firm, statements demonstrate not only a long term vision, but a clear message of where and how he plans to lead the rest of the world. Gone are the days of the USA relying on China to serve as mediator between us and North Korea, or attending the Olympics and ignoring Tibet in hopes of getting a few crumbs to keep us going. Obama managed to persuade reluctant european leaders to help stimulate the economy by reminding them that they have as much to gain and lose as we do. His overtures with Russia indicate a departure from the provocative policies of recent years and, perhaps, a recognition that Russia can play a key role in stabilizing the Persian Gulf. The statement about Europe being more of a target to terrorist attacks than the USA is not only true, it is a not so subtle reminder that unless they join us in solving the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan the impact of that conflict is bound to affect global stability and commerce for years to come. The difference is that our requests are now delivered with grace and respect rather than ultimatums or threats.What I am really looking forward to is his visit to Turkey. Judging by what he has been doing thus far, I would not be surprised if clear signals are sent Iran expressing not only a desire for dialogue and reconciliation, but a request for cooperation in solving the problems that plague the Middle East.The main difference between the present and our previous foreign policy strategy is that instead of reacting to events we are now being proactive and leading the world. Not a moment too soon. Sat 04 Apr 2009 20:38:16 GMT+1 mary gravitt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=8#comment6 A good time was had by all in attendance. Sat 04 Apr 2009 20:31:03 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=6#comment5 There are no free lunches Mr. Webb. Obama's message is a warning, just like he warned in Berlin last summer. Maybe it's the last one, I hope so. The warning is that Europe's free lunch on America's tab is over. It's time for Europe to start picking up its own share of the bill or the US will walk out of the restaurant. That is what I hope he's telling them. That's what a lot of Americans like me want him to tell them. How do you know it's so safe in the White House Press Bubble? How do you know where that chilli came from? Mad cow disease takes 25 years to affect you, e-coli just a matter of hours. The French have a knack for covering up the worst stench whether it's sauce on your food, perfume on your body, or rhetoric on the body politic. I'd take my chances with the chilli. No guarantees but somehow to know the French is to mistrust them. Sat 04 Apr 2009 18:51:51 GMT+1 scotstoungirl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=5#comment4 As no 3 dianaatkin talks her ivy league phoney baloney everyone else will sit and watch the UK detiorate i.e. housing, healthcare, jobs, education, culture and history go by the wayside. She hates Bush so much that she can't even give a solution for what she thinks the UK or the US should do in the future. Just blame George for everything is that it? Poor guy isn't even in the White House anymore . . . Sat 04 Apr 2009 18:43:22 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=4#comment3 2, newsjock - "This aspect of realisy"I know this is a minor typo, but it struck me that it could be a great portmanteau word combining "reality" and "heresy." Because of course, one man's reality is another man's heresy. And this is exactly what Obama is having to negotiate around. Sat 04 Apr 2009 17:39:21 GMT+1 dianaatkin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=2#comment2 "One matter of substance: to understand Obama you must study strategy. For tactics he cares nothing. Whether a few more continental gendarmes with feathers in their caps go to Afghanistan or don't go is not a matter he will care about. What he wants at this summit is to lay the ground for Europe to commit over time and as the circumstances become propitious, with elections over etc. He will do his best to help with that brutal reminder - imagine the upset it would have caused if it had come from George Bush - that the terrorists in Afghanistan threaten Europe more than they do America."Of course, given the financial strain on the globe at the moment diplomacy is the only option available to Obama. Also, Europe is threatened by terrorism from 'Afghanistan' (Al Qaeda) because of its associations and allied status to the US - a lot of which pre-credit crunch no one could do a lot about since behind the scenes the US are a pressuring bunch with tentacles everywhere. Remember the steel tariff dispute? The Canadian softwood lumber dispute? All lost to the US. So don't tell me this isn't actually a cap-in-hand exercise because it is - and if the globe doesn't sit on the US and sort it out in future there'll be the same old trouble when a die-hard republican who thinks he's been put in power by god gets elected. Sat 04 Apr 2009 17:18:40 GMT+1 newsjock http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=1#comment1 A shrewd summary, Justin.As you say, international action is not about public commitments for today or next week. It is long-term bonding with other nations to achieve a distant goal.This aspect of realisy is usually ignored by the media, and so a small one-off action is termed a "watershed moment". At this rate the media guys will trivialise themselves out of a job. Sat 04 Apr 2009 16:47:49 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/04/obama_the_strategician.html?page=0#comment0 Of course, Chou En-lai is said to have told Henry Kissingerthat he was "pretty smart for a white man," indicating hisopinion of the passing glory of Western civilization. Sat 04 Apr 2009 15:21:03 GMT+1