Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor for The Australian, had a hilarious piece in a recent edition comparing “the One” with Richie Cunningham and the Fonz of the early sit-com Happy Days. It was just too good to pass up and not share with others who may not read The Australian.
IT may seem rather unkind to express some serious doubts about US President Barack Obama just now.(Not really , I have been doing it for the last 18 months) He is wowing the UN with talk of nuclear disarmament. He is mesmerising the Group of 20 with talk of global recovery. He is leading a policy review that talks of winning in
He has stirred hearts in the
It's a lot of very impressive talk. And yet, and yet...
Machiavelli said for a prince it is better to be feared than to be loved.
For much of his presidency, most of the world feared George W. Bush. For a brief, shining moment after the 9/11 terrorist attacks,
That is the perfect situation for any
Here's my worry about Obama. Lots of people love him and he is indeed very lovable. But I wonder if anyone at all, anywhere in the world, really fears him.
Let's move forward a bit from Machiavelli for our strategic guidance. Let's refer instead to the great classic of American strategic pedagogy, Happy Days.
Happy Days pivoted around the friendship between two very different American teenagers, Richie Cunningham and Fonzie Fonzarelli.
Richie was clean-cut, wholesome, an absolute goody-goody, and everybody loved him. Fonzie, especially in the early series, was a tough nut. Greased-back hair, always astride his outlaw motorbike, decked out in Marlon Brando T-shirt, Fonzie inspired fear and envy in men, and swoons among the gals.
Everyone was frightened of Fonzie. He could banish bad guys with a look. In one episode, Fonzie tried to teach Richie his style. Richie practised the grimaces, the flexes, the stares, but alas the bad guys were not impressed and certainly not deterred.
In the midst of a desperate scrape, Richie turned to Fonzie imploringly and asked: Why are my deadly looks, threatening flexes and strategic grimaces having no effect?
Oh yeah, Fonzie replied, I forgot to tell you. For all that to work, once in your life you have to have hit someone. You cannot imagine a deeper strategic insight.
At some point, Obama is going to have to do something seriously unpleasant to someone.
Obama's one serious foreign policy initiative during the presidential campaign was to promise that he would talk productively to
Which enemies, by the way, did he have in mind? The following list may not be exclusive but certainly
Yet the striking thing, almost a year into the Obama presidency, is how little substantial talk with these enemies has gone on and how what talk has gone on has produced absolutely nothing. Nada. Zip. Diddly-squat.
You see, I don't think any of
The Iranians have made a kind of pantomime dance out of mocking dialogue with Obama. He wants to talk about their weapons-based uranium enrichment and their flouting of International Atomic Energy Agency rules. The mullahs of
Obama set the September deadline partly so the Iranians could tremble before the assembled might of this week's UN General Assembly.
The Iranians said the talks would begin on October 1 and that is when they will begin. And the Iranians don't plan to talk about their uranium enrichment program. Instead they will talk about the injustice of supposed
Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, the Iranians took a couple of extra measures. They appointed a man wanted by Interpol for his part in blowing up a Jewish centre in
A genuinely tough sanctions regime on
So far Obama has courted popularity with
He gave the Arabs all kinds of rhetorical concessions, many of them factually wrong, in his
The action on the missile defence system will have any merit only if the Russians eventually join the most comprehensive sanctions regime against the Iranians.
Obama tried to give the Palestinians, and the Arabs more generally, an Israeli settlement freeze in the
Of course, should Obama finally decide to take real action on
I have been in
It's too early to make that call, but I'm starting to get worried.
My remarks to the article in the comment section were as follows. See if you can think of some early sit-com characters that would aptly define “the One”.
Obama is more likened to Ralph Mouth(Malph) of the same series. Ralph was all mouth and no action. When it came time for action one could always count on Ralph to be hidden under one of the booths in the diner or trying to cling to the Fonz.
While we are recalling triva let me suggest that Lenny and Squiggy, of Laverne and Shirley show fame would fit in perfectly in "the One's" circle of advisors.