Mar 11, 2010 1:09 pm


A recent survey is sending shock waves through the power elite. A new poll reveals that Americans believe that Barack obama failed to deliver on his campaign promise to restore America's good name in the world:

The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin -- 51 percent to 41 percent -- Americans think the standing of the U.S. dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama's presidency.

"This is surprising, given the global acclaim and Nobel peace prize that flowed to the new president after he took office," said pollsters for the liberal-leaning organizations.

It is surprising only to American soft/smart power advocates who delight in reset buttons. American citizens get know better. They understand that Barack Obama's treatment of America's allies, most specifically, Eastern Europe, does not inspire confidence as they no longer know what American stands for. It certainly does not encourage leaders to expend political or strategic capital on the US. They read about Brazil taking side with Iran. They see the shoes Indonesians are hurling at a man they should celebrate as one of their own. And they intuit just how costly all this may be to American strategic posture as described by John feller Okinawa and the new domino effect:

During the Cold War, the Pentagon worried that countries would fall like dominoes before a relentless communist advance. Today, the Pentagon worries about a different kind of domino effect. In Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries are refusing to throw their full support behind the US war in Afghanistan. In Africa, no country has stepped forward to host the headquarters of the Pentagon's new Africa Command. In Latin America, little Ecuador has kicked the US out of its air base in Manta.

All of these are undoubtedly symptoms of the decline in respect for American power that the US military is experiencing globally. But the current pushback in Japan is the surest sign yet that the American empire of overseas military bases has reached its high-water mark and will soon recede.

Ironically, Japan, the country that focused attention on the America's strategic decline, is ruled currently run by an Obama wannbe. His name is Yukio Hatoyama and he shares his model's unenviable fate. Gideon Rachaman describes Hatoyama and his travails thus. See if he does not remind you of Barack Obama and his troubles:

China is about to overtake Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. The country’s national debt has hit an awesome 180 per cent of gross domestic product, (un)comfortably the highest in the world among rich countries – and there is no credible plan in place to hack it back. Toyota, a company that used to embody Japan’s reputation for quality, is enmeshed in a safety and public relations nightmare. Last year, the Japanese economy shrank by more than 5 per cent. And the high hopes that surrounded the reformist government of Yukio Hatoyama, the prime minister who was elected last summer, have quickly dissipated. Mr Hatoyama’s approval ratings are sinking and the Japanese business and civil service establishment seem eager to dismiss him as an ineffectual clown. . .

When Mr Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan took power last August, it broke more than 50 years of almost continuous administration by the Liberal Democratic Party. The DPJ is keen to differentiate itself from the LDP in almost every respect, and foreign policy is no exception. In an interview last week, Katsuya Okada, Japan’s foreign minister, said that the LDP followed US foreign policy “too closely”. “From now onwards,” says Mr Okada, “this will be the age of Asia.” The foreign minister adds that talk of Japan choosing between China and the US is meaningless, and that Japan’s friendship with America will remain “qualitatively different” from its relations with China. But some DPJ party members have called for a policy of “equidistance” between China and the US. . . .

So what is Mr Hatoyama up to? The uneasy suspicion in Tokyo is that even the prime minister himself may not really know. Mr Hatoyama, it is said, often proposes grand- sounding schemes – whether on climate change or Okinawa – without really thinking them through.

Luckily, Democratic elites have to put up with periodic elections. Citizens may take a chance on articulate novices especially when entrenched rascals need to be taught a lesson but they also know enough to use the next round of elections to throw the new incompetents out. Hence, an Ahmadinejad does not get reelected where elections are not stolen and the damage such a hot head can cause is limited by the division of power mechanisms. Those here and abroad who look at autocratic China with envy better remember it and stop counting America and democracy out.

Two related items:

Grovelling With Gadhafi The apology tour hits a new low.

Putin seeks to bolster links with New Delhi Putin knows and opportunity when he sees one. Obama has been dissing India by not selling it high tech. As a good neo Capitalist he is going to make them pay.

Alexander Kadakin, Moscow’s ambassador to New Delhi, said Russia had given India’s military the technological edge to defend itself from terror attacks and hostile neighbours, such as nuclear-armed Pakistan.

“No country in the world has offered India the technological deals as my country has done. We have shared the most sensitive and newest [technological] developments,” he said.

comments powered by Disqus