The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Obama’s Gamble

Posted by The Futility Monster on December 2, 2009 @ 22:32

Will Obama ever get to be so famous and successful and loved that we only refer to him by his initials? So far, the answer's no...

I don’t have much time to blog today. Fancy that, I’ve been busy…

But my initial reaction to Obama’s plans for Afghanistan was not really a surprise. It was obvious he was planning a major escalation of the conflict. I’m glad he appeared to take some time to think about it, because he will make no greater decision during his presidency.

But if it all goes wrong, that will be it. The end of what could have been a historic presidency.

It’s remarkable how we can be talking about the end of his term when it’s barely begun. But everything in American politics has always been about looking to the future. Those years soon fly by. In 12 months time, Obama will be starting to consider his re-election effort, which will make him even more cautious and more centrist.

Hard to believe that given how much he appears to have bottled out of pushing the agenda he was actually elected on, but still…

Obama is investing his entire political capital in this decision. Political capital that he had in abundance at the start of his presidency, and now is in very short supply. He still just about maintains majority approval in the country – and it will be interesting to see how those figures react in light of this decision – but all signs point to a tough re-election battle right now.

He may be right. I would hate to have been in his position to take this decision. You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Leaving the country now would be a disaster. Staying is a disaster. So maybe Obama is trying to split the difference: in quickly, do the job, out quickly. That would make sense; it would match his pragmatic nature.

But it’s easier said than done. After all, we’re still there now, eight years on.

The American people, and most of the world, have little appetite for further wars. People, though, will be prepared to take one last gamble with Obama on Afghanistan.

If it’s wrong, though, then there is no way back. A presidency that had the potential of being the next FDR laid waste. A new generation of cynics will be born: the youth that helped propel Obama to the leadership of the Free World will turn their backs on Democrats once more.

Amazing the difference a year can make.


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