November 21, 2016

Obama’s fitting end to a disappointing tenure

Obama’s fitting end to a disappointing tenure

It seems fitting that Obama’s lacklustre Presidency should end in the company of European leaders who, like him, have also lost touch with their electorate, says John Redwood. 

When he was first elected President Obama had huge political goodwill around the world. Many wished him well and were excited by his personal story. I liked the promise of a new approach to international relations. I particularly liked his pledge to close Guantanamo Bay, a blot on the Western conscience, and his wish to disengage from Middle Eastern wars. He carried with him the hope of diplomacy, a new language about reconciling differences and trying to overcome old enmities with new approaches.

Like many I feel badly let down. He never closed Guantanamo. The war in Iraq dragged on, as did the war in Afghanistan. The President often dithered, then added to the military forces involved. He went along with intervention in Libya which removed a bad government, to replace it with a rolling civil war. He bombed some of the time in Syria, as the West sought to create a third force of moderate democrats who either did not exist or who were overwhelmed by both sides in the violent conflict. It is difficult to say the Middle East is a better place today than eight years ago, though Americans have shed much blood and spent much treasure on trying to remodel several countries.

For me the worst moment of his Presidency was when he dared to come to the UK to back the Remain campaign. It was a catastrophic error for the Leader of the Free world to involve himself in a referendum in a friendly country on the wrong side, arguing with those who wanted to argue the British/EU colonial government case rather than the case of the Independence seeking Americans/UK citizens. He communicated a sense of a man who did not particularly like our country. His eviction of Churchill’s bust from the Oval Office was in itself unimportant. I understand his wish to surround himself with his own choice of greats and mentors. It did however, speak eloquently to us that he did not consider the shared crusade to rid Europe of fascism in the 1940s as an important story worthy of recollection close to his desk.

He started his Presidency with the banking crisis in full flow. The US responded more vigorously and more successfully to it than Japan had done to its crisis in the late 1980s, or the Euro area did in 2008-16. During his term the US economy has experienced a sustained but moderate recovery from the collapse it felt in the early days of his tenure. He spent much of his political capital in pushing through Obamacare, which badly divided his nation and led to the collapse of the Democrat vote in subsequent elections. In his later months in office he has seemed strangely detached from the job, surviving in it by touring the world and espousing all the establishment causes he can find.

It is perhaps a fitting end to his tenure that he spends time in Europe with a series of continental politicians that have themselves lost touch with their voters, to make common cause to be tougher against Russia. This is one farewell tour where I will not be buying the soundtrack. Whatever happened to the hopes of a more peaceful world?

4.70 avg. rating (93% score) - 30 votes
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John Redwood MP
John Redwood is the Member of Parliament for Wokingham in Berkshire. He was formerly Secretary of State for Wales in Prime Minister John Major's Cabinet. He is currently Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party's Policy Review Group on Economic Competitiveness.
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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