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Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Barrack Obama: the great orator (?)
From time to time, a senior politician puts in an abysmal performance and gets away with ludicrous, or non-existent, answers. George W. Bush was 'a class act' in this respect. I particularly remember watching his televised news conference on 13 April 2004:
American President George Bush grimaced, sighed, rambled and chuckled under his breath on Tuesday, before saying he could not think of a single mistake he had made since the September 11 attacks.Here's how Reuters reported it.
Bush appeared a total buffoon, not for the first time.
Move on five years and we have a new US president who is hailed as a great orator. The contrast with The Shrub is, of course, quite marked but, faced with a similar, very well thought-out, question from the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson, did Obama do much better? I happened to watch the news conference live and I thought that, although he waffled for some time, Obama actually said very little. Here's the devastating question:
A question for you both, if I may. The prime minister has repeatedly blamed the United States of America for causing this [economic] crisis. France and Germany both blame Britain and America for causing this crisis. Who is right? And isn't the debate about that at the heart of the debate about what to do now?A pretty good probe, don't you think? It's clearly a question more of the Have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife-yet? type, to which there isn't a diplomatic answer.
Well, here's a link to an amusing transcript of Obama's waffled reply, together with the author's suggestions about what Obama is thinking while he is 'replying'.
This reminds me of nothing so much as George W. Bush at his best. According to many accounts, Obama has been well-received around the World, but the nonsense he talks about Turkey may come back to haunt him and, indeed, us all. Here are some Turkey facts: the country is secular, even though its 72 million inhabitants are more than 90% Muslim. For Obama to talk about the country as being part of the Muslim world is risible and dangerous: there are religious Turkish parties that want Turkey to become a Muslim state and Obama's words will only encourage them.
Several years ago, I had a discussion with a former Turk, now a naturalized Briton; he explained that, with such a large population, an attachment to 'The Nasty Religion', and exaggerated literacy rates, the country would not be a welcome member of the EU for many years. Monsieur Sarkozy and Frau Merkl well-realize this. That's why they oppose Turkish membership. For Obama to push this is a bit much: he doesn't seem to understand Europe at all.
The Turkish army is the one secular institution that 'can be relied upon'. They have made it clear that attempts to Mohammedanise the country would cause a counter-coup. As democrats, we don't want that, do we?
Obama has made a good start; by contrast to his predecessor, he's brilliant, but The Shrub wasn't much competition. If Obama, through ham-fistedness or over-concern for the American view when a guest in Europe, creates a Muslim Trojan horse, there would be the devil to pay.
If you don't understand, keep your trap shut, Barrack; you managed it pretty well with Nick Robinson's question, didn't you?
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