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Barack Obama: better never than late

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Monday, 22 March 2010

"Buck Farrack" is a hugely popular car sticker in the Commonwealth of Virginia, if my time there recently is any guide. From McLean in the northeast to Charlottesville near the centre, to Bristol in southwest corner of the state, more and more fine Christians are letting their car’s boot do the talking.

Virginians like the Brits, the French, the Japanese, the Egyptians and the Israelis, differ in many respects, but are united when it comes to their feelings for the former community organiser.

From London to Belfast, people are talking about the end of the "special relationship" with America, despite Her Majesty’s ongoing sacrifices in Afghanistan. In Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has openly criticised President Barack Obama for the better part of a year.


Relations with Tokyo are tender, chiefly because of the realisation that Obama (like Prime Minister Kevin Rudd) is warming to the People’s Republic of China, at the expense of a long and trusted ally.

In Cairo, there is anger in the highest of circles about Obama’s seeming acceptance of a nuclear armed Iran. And in Jerusalem, the Israelis no longer wonder why the President criticises Jewish housing construction while he stays “mum” on Arab housing constructions and more broadly, on human rights abuses from Rabat to Ramallah to Ramadi. They just endure his bias. “Is the President engineering the downfall of the Netanyahu government” is the quintessential barbeque stopper.

Last Friday, March 19 is a case in point. The so-called “Palestinian Authority” in the Arab settlement of Ramallah, dedicated a square to terrorist Dalal Moghrabi. Representatives of Mahmoud Abbas, he who enjoys the full confidence of President Obama, attended the ceremony. Moghrabi, many recall, was part of Islamic group which in 1978 blew up and set fire to a civilian bus, burning 35 men, women, children alive. And as for any Obama White House condemnation of this obscenity as an “impediment to peace”? Don’t hold your breath.

A moderately less self-centred administration might be asking why so many allies are worried. After all, so far it is the United States’ enemies that have attracted attention of the Obama White House and not its friends.

The president has shown limitless fortitude with the Russians as they stall an arms-control deal that could have been done late last year. He accepted a torrent of verbal abuse from Tehran, before hesitantly turning, if not moving, towards implementing sanctions. And as his administration continues to woo a terrorist listed state, Syria, he makes time to nearly sever relations with Jerusalem over a minor infraction, like the recent housing dispute.

Today, the President was due to leave the White House for the long flight from Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility outside Washington DC, to Canberra Airport (via his former madrassa (as some believe it was) in Jakarta), implicitly to lend election year support to a fellow leftist, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.


Apart from the warm reception he could have expected from our sycophantic Prime Minister and mostly obsequious Members of Parliament, he could also look forward to hassle free airport processing on arrival. Lucky for him, passports and not original birth certificates must be shown to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service agents in order to clear arrival formalities. After all, the self described “Hawaiian” for nearly two years, can’t or won’t, tender his birth certificate and put to rest once and for all the smouldering controversy over his qualification for office.

Also today, the United States House of Representatives is voting to approve an already passed Senate health care bill (and an accompanying truckload of revisions), which the United States Senate will in turn have to approve at a later date. This reform will cost $940 million (A$1 billion) and extend health coverage to 32 million Americans currently uninsured.

The President has postponed his trip to Canberra and Jakarta so as to shepherd the bill through the House. At long last both he and Congressional Democrats fathom that Americans are not taking a shine to this health care bill. Win, lose or draw in the House, the American people remain unenthusiastic.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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