January 27, 2010

Life in the Trench

Though the importance of the economy and health care isn’t lost on us, justification to blackout on foreign policy it is not. People may not care about Afghanistan right now, but they should realize the forces at work.

No longer a matter priorities, President Obama and his officials have used a sputtering economic recovery and health care pileup to dim the lights on Pakistan, Israel-Palestine, and Yemen. He couldn’t be happier the attention is off his foreign policy and he’s not going to change.

Obama aids claim he’ll coming out swinging in his State of the Union address. With campaign manager of the year David Plouffe back in the saddle, Obama is expected to be “feisty,” aggressive, and uncompromising - in his move to the center. All to razzle the spirit, dazzle the eye and capture the mind.

"In this speech, what he'll discuss more than anything is getting our economy moving again," Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said matter-of-factly.

One of the main initiatives to lower the budget deficit seems designed to consume every ounce of oxygen in the national debate. Obama is set to announce a three year spending freeze, “on many domestic spending programs and outline other measures to rein in the U.S. budget deficit.” A spending freeze is perfect because it sounds heavy and like it may work, but is difficult to understand.

Other topics will include new ways to regulate banks, reform Wall Street, and reverse deepening unemployment.

The White House has deftly manipulated their mistakes to great effect. No, Obama officials haven’t and aren’t going to admit their mistakes, but they will make sure you’re focused on particular mistakes, the ones at home and not overseas. And for the first time in recent memory they’ve perfectly hyping and controlled the US media.

The Wall Street Journal, whose “fiscal responsibly” doesn’t apply to America’s defense budget, isn’t talking foreign policy. Neither is the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, or Christian Science Monitor. Take a look at this Business Insider report.

The one thing Obama must say tonight isn't Afghanistan.

And these are just samples; go to any mainstream news site and you will see very little foreign policy discussed in editorial boards and op-eds. America is consumed by the economy and health care, and rightfully so, but Obama is also playing us.

Leftover space will be devoted to explaining the way forward on health care. This, however, isn’t so certain. Obama is said to be undecided on what to do: push ahead, scale down, or overhaul. His advisers say the time allocated to health care is unclear “because of its diminishing prospects.”

Not so different from foreign policy in the end. Ironically this could be our one hope, that Obama is so paralyzed on health care that he has no choice but to drop it and speak of something else. We have to figure he spends a little time on foreign policy.

He has nothing except leaked cables and General Dostams’s return in Afghanistan, so he has to beat the drum a few times before jetting to London. We expect hostility towards Iran as well.

But the bottom of a Reuter’s report fittingly states, “The foreign policy portion of Obama's speech is not expected to be lengthy and will probably focus on U.S. involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Forget about Palestine.

And so us bottom dwellers will be left with crumbs.


  1. I agree: Israel/Palestine will not get a mention. Neither will much of the rest of the world.
    He will stick mostly to the economy, and domestic issues.
    He will give "stay the course" lip service on AF/Pak, but nothing substantial.

  2. We'll have to survive on what goes unsaid.

  3. LOL: Very well said. Yes, we will be listening for the sounds of silence. What is not said, is more important than what was said. Keep listening. LOL.

  4. While we realize our theme and imagery can be off-putting to some, days like today are exactly why we've taken metaphorical refuge in the deep. Listening to Obama’s State of the Union speech is literally like floating motionless through the dark, straining our eyes and ears to detect the faintest trace of food and predators. A lot of people will get eaten or go hungry tonight.

    We will feed off his silence.

  5. Algae and plankton for the masses. While the uber elite feast top side. I think he is still buying time.