Monday, January 26, 2009

The Seven Days of Barack Hussain Obama

These items are taken from the New York Times headlines of the succeeding day.

Day 1 (21 January 2009):

Obama to Close Foreign Prisons and Guantánamo Camp

...imposes new rules on government transparency and ethics, freezes the salaries of his senior aides, mandates new limits on lobbyists and demands that the government disclose more information.

Day 2 (22 January 2009):

installs high-level emissaries to handle the Arab-Israeli issue and Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Day 3 (23 January 2009):

President Obama on Friday stepped squarely into the fractious effort in Congress to assemble an $825 billion economic recovery package

Day 4 (24 January 2009): Give him a break, it's the weekend (Saturday)

Day 5 (25 January 2009, Sunday)):

President Obama will direct federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday. (The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and signifies a sharp reversal of Bush administration policy regarding emissions)

Day 7 (27 January 2009)

President Obama dispatched his special envoy, George J. Mitchell, to the Middle East on Monday, kicking off a diplomatic initiative that Mr. Obama pledged would be vigorous and sustained, but would start off primarily as a listening tour.

I wouldn't say that is bad going for a newly installed Crown Prince who was always considered long on talk and short on specifics.

12 comments:

Anant said...

I think you forgot one thing: he order military strikes against Pakistan, see
here.

Rahul Basu said...

More precisely, over the lawless tribal areas over which even Pakistan has lost control and where the Taliban has been killing people and blowing up schools to stop girls from attending schools. I presume you are aware of this, see here.

Anant said...

Thank you, o learned one! But how does dropping more ordnance encourage children to go back to school? Pray tell!

AMOK said...

Obama could have ordered an end to the strikes within Pakistan. Let us face it however -- one cannot expect a foreign power to display much MORE respect for human life than the local powers. They have their own interests, like the Taliban have theirs and the Pakistani government have their own. Will it send the girls back to school? No. Is it sad and reprehensible? Yes. Perhaps Anant can offer up an alternative solution to the one Mr. Obama has pursued? Since even Col. Quaddafi has started writing in the NYTimes I am hopeful that Anant will oblige us.

Anant said...

AMOK: thanks for vesting this awesome responsibility in me. Why is it impossible to imagine diplomatic means in Afghanistan? Why not bring (heavens forbid!) Taliban to the table along with the Afghan `Government', USA, NATO, `tribal elders' from Waziristan and the Government of Pakistan? Whether one likes it or not, this will have to happen sooner or later?

Rahul Basu said...

Surely you are joking Mr Anant? I agree with 'All of the above' but bringing the Taliban to the table? I don't see that happening any time soon. You might as well try and get Osama bin Laden to the table....

Anant said...

Rahul: The comparison with bin Laden is not fair; until the invasion of 2001 many Governments did engage with the Taliban. [How can one discount the bloody history of Afghanistan? All Governments since 1979 have come in to power with backing of only big powers, and through violent means.] I am not looking into the legality or legitimacy of the political forces in Afghanistan, but rather at the reality and practicality. Can any one wish away the Taliban? Stated differently: yes, there is an alternative to dropping bombs, but the big powers do not want to use that alternative. You are, of course, correct that there is virtually no chance that the US will engage with the Taliban, atleast in the near future.

Rahul Basu said...

Anant: Surely it's the other way around...what is the chance that the Taliban will talk to the US, or will allow girls to go to school, will allow women to go around bare-headed and to work...

I realise US bashing is always fashionable amongst a certain set, but thou doth try too hard, Sire. At least I think I am clear which side I am on, on this matter. Perhaps a sabbatical in Khandahar or in the SWAT region would be a good way for you to get a feel for life under the benevolent Talibans. You might also want to read The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns but oops! I forgot! That's all 'imperialist' American propaganda. Poor me, I always seem to be taken in by this and their 'neo-liberal' ways...

Anant said...

Rahul: you are unjust again! I am against dropping bombs, whether it is dropped by USA or USSR or DPKR or the Taliban. If the Taliban is indeed a political force, then they too would have to talk to the US, whether or not they like it. Also, is it so that the ordance dropped by the US is killing only Taliban or is it killing precisely those girls who should be in school? In any case, the Government of Pakistan has also called for an end to dropping bombs in the tribal areas. So I am not really alone, nor just in the company of the Taliban!

AMOK said...

Anant: Thank you for your considered response. Taliban, the Afghan Government, USA, NATO, tribal elders from Waziristan and the Government of Pakistan at the same table. Yes. Indeed. I am so pleased to learn from you that the Taliban and the tribal elders are ready to come to the diplomatic table. My impression of the Taliban was destroyed when they let the killers of Rupin Katyal go free. And yes -- their diplomatic handling of the statues at Bamiyan. I cannot really fathom whom to phone to get the Taliban and the Elders to the table. So this brings us back to the old story. Who will bell the cat? I agree, killing civilians is reprehensible and should end.

O Learning One ( there is only a unique Learned One ) please share your further thoughts. Who indeed will bell the cat?

Anant said...

AMOK: gosh, I seem to have really opened a can of worms. Yes, I too share your feelings about the Kandahar hijacking. I agree with all you say. But back to the question of how to prevent civilian deaths. I don't think daisy-cutters, tomahawks and bombs dropped from drones can really tell girl children from fanatics. I think I have said enough. Now let me hand the mike to the learned one!

AmOK said...

Hello Learned One?

We CAN'T HEAR YOU!

Is the mic working?