Sunday, May 17, 2015

Obama's Irrelevance

Barack Obama is becoming irrelevant.  With a Republican-controlled Congress, he cannot implement much of his agenda.  When he tries, he has to ally himself with the Republicans, as he recently did on trade policy.  The result was to aggravate the Democrats in Congress, who used the moment to extract concessions of their own.  Now, the Republicans don't like Obama, because he's a Democrat.  The Democrats don't like Obama, because he's not really a Democrat.  And Obama finds himself without any real friends in Washington.  Not that anyone has real friends in Washington, except maybe their dogs.  

ISIS does its best to give the President opportunities to shine.  With every atrocity, the extremists provide another excuse to drop a smart bomb or authorize a Special Ops raid on the hideaway of some senior nasty guy.  But in the war against terrorism, there is no Omaha Beach, no Bastogne, no bridge at Remagen, no unconditional surrender.  And there won't be much opportunity for a President to build a lasting legacy. 

The President would like very much to pivot toward Asia.  And smaller Asian nations, watching China literally construct territory in the South China Sea, would like America to swivel their way.  But the increasing chaos of the Middle East keeps sucking the President into its vortex.  He dreams of detente with Iran, seemingly unaware that making nice nice with the ayatollahs will probably increase the desire of Saudi and Gulf State Sunnis to support Sunni insurgents in Iraq and Syria (possibly including ISIS) in order to counterbalance growing Iranian power.  A gain in stability could be met with an increase in instability.

But even as Obama recedes into the background, the Republicans can take no comfort.  They will achieve little in Washington without control of the White House.  And they're bogged down by a mosh pit full of Presidential hopefuls, none of whom have captivated the electorate.  Perhaps they, too, are fading into irrelevance.

No comments: