Monday, February 8, 2010

What Obama Missed in His State of the Union Address!

January 30, 2010
Dallas, Texas

What Obama Missed in His State of the Union Address!
By Saeed Qureshi

President Obama’s State of the Union address (January 27) was brilliantly composed and remarkably delivered. He was easy, contemplative, passionate, vigorous, focused and eloquently articulate. Most of his 330 words’ speech devolved on economy and that was inevitably the most pressing current issue that this great power is faced with.

After the Second World War, United States has reigned supreme both as an unrivaled military and economic power. The defeat of Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the consequent shrinking of its borders and diminishing of her military and economic prowess, the glob was left open for the America to claim the international leadership. That is why senior George Bush coined the term “the new world order”, led by the United States. Woefully the span of that imperial extravaganza was short lived and the dream of the United States for lording over the world, as the lone super power was also shattered sooner than later.

The United States hung the yoke of Afghanistan followed by another stranglehold of Iraq , without realizing that if Soviet Union despite being a neighbor couldn’t make any headway in Afghanistan, how could a distant country no matter how strong it might be could triumph. Despite this, United States could have enjoyed that coveted status if it was not cut short by president G.W.Bush, the very son of the senior Bush, by his chauvinistic, overzealous and highly imprudent military adventures? The ramifications of that insane exuberance of conquering the world by G.W. Bush boomeranged in the fiercest manner and now the disastrous fallout is writ large all over America. America is entangled in wars that are like an albatross hanging around the neck.

Amazingly, in almost all the political comments, news analyses, editorial notes and Op-Eds, no one has pointed the glaring deficiency in the Obama’s most important speech of the year. He did not utter a word about the Israel-Palestinian dispute that in fact should be pivotal in the American foreign policy dossier. Immediately after his advent in the presidency, president Obama appointed two special representatives, one for Pakistan Afghanistan and the other for peace in the Middle East with predominant focus on the Palestine dispute. While one can occasionally hear of Richard Holbrooke the special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, the other special envoy Special Envoy for the Middle East, Senator George Mitchell has been quiet for considerable amount of time. There was a trilateral conference in September last year between Israel, Palestinian delegates and United States, but thereafter the peace process and the ultimate goal of creating two states seems to have been shelved. While president Obama has spoken, though briefly, about the US policy and postures in the coming months, he didn’t even, in passing, mention the biggest flashpoint in the Middle East that has imperiled the world peace besides exacerbating the bitterness between the Islamic bloc and the United States.

The gushing fervor that president Obama had exhibited at the outset of his taking office about Middle East peace has of late dissipated to such an alarming extent that he fails to mention even casually, as to what his special envoy has done so far and what was the future strategy of America in that direction. Obviously this bypassing of the Palestinian dispute reflects a studied indifference and willful and deliberate avoidance of the thorny issue whose even mention is much to the chagrin of Israel.

This glaring omission in his State of the Union address begs the question, if president Obama has fallen back on the status quo plank and wants to keep this issue in a state of abeyance to placate the internal and external forces that don’t want him to move fast on resolving it? It also surmises that perhaps the Israeli lobbies within America have overpowered or cornered him to the extent that he was not even in a position to broach the Middle East subject even frivolously.

A dispassionate and objective appraisal of Obama’s accomplishments and achievements of his agenda since his taking office would end up with preliminary findings that he tends to be excessively mild or docile and merely plays with words and thumping rhetoric but not delivering on his pledges in concrete or palpable form. He is not aggressive, nor assertive to press for actual and effective follow up of his election pledges. Despite his brilliance and scholarly eminence and indeed a lofty vision to change the status quo erected on belligerency and futile wars and internal degeneration of the infrastructure and overhauling the dwindling social and utility services network, there seems to be no tangible or an impressive change in the offing. The stimulus package has been instrumental in providing a brief relief and breathing space to the failing financial institutions but still the state of faltering economy is not going to markedly improve so soon.

It is difficult to buy the argument that Republicans were irreconcilable obstructionists to Democrats and particularly to the person of president Obama for having black pigment. Nevertheless, politics is not a garden party or a bed of roses. It is lot easier to talk big and in flowery diction but the test of statesman is to find a way out of the worst adversarial circumstances and rough poltical terrain. All the issues that embodied Obama’s agenda for change seems to be left in lurch or relegated to the back seat for the present. Except adding up the American troops by 30000 more troops in Afghanistan, a decision which is yet to be carried out, all other matters that infused the people are hamstrung.

Now Pakistan’s spectacular victories in various parts of Pakistan against the radical Islamic militants did not find any faint mention in president Obama’s “father of all the addresses” that a US president delivers once a year. Pakistan should be genuinely hurt and dejected over a blatant omission of the hope laden progress and marked breakthrough that Pakistan has scored against the enemies of United States within Pakistan and in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you forget to pat on the back of an ally who is doing an excellent and remarkable job for you, would you still expect of that partner to keep on delivering the victories in the same fashion and zeal for you?
It would have been much commendable if president Obama had spoken on the fractured relations between her two allies, India and Pakistan, and offered America’s good office to bring them together as friends. American solicitation on the festering issue of Kashmir can bring a lasting peace in the South Asian region and particularly in the Indian sub-continent. Both India and Pakistan are in the express need of a strong arbiter or intermediary to help bury the six decades lingering acrimony, and to broker peace and durable understating between the two inveterate adversaries.

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