Footnote to the Egypt blog

No, Obama didn’t do what W wudda done, and I’m sorry I got all despondent and impatient because he seemed to be so slow, undecided, and halfhearted in doing what he shudda done.

And he is currently doing what he oughta do, it seems, in the Bahrain situation.

Yes, we have no right to run the affairs of other nations. But we do it. We can’t pretend that we don’t carry decisive weight in the affairs of a country like Bahrain. What’s the good of the elephant pretending that it’s not in the room?

What behooves the elephant is to move its feet very, very carefully, use its trunk with delicacy, be patient and restrained as befits its great size and strength, and above all, never go into musth.


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Footnote to the Egypt blog — 8 Comments

  1. What I find enormously encouraging is that Obama seems to be devious. An intelligent, tactical-thinking man who knows how to wait, when to hold ’em. And, if you need further proof of his cunning, consider his Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton is just the pit bull you need in the job. Obama should not tell us what he is doing on the foreign policy front; it would be totally stupid. He should be artful, bland, and full of bluff.

  2. Given the penetrating intelligence and wisdom of her books, I find Ursula Le Guin’s political views, as expressed in these few blogs, shockingly, despairingly naive. I mean, surely she has read and engaged with Noam Chomsky? (Not to have done so is to “court genuine ignorance”, as The Nation once put it.) Here he is, in an interview with the Democracy Now channel, one of many, many pieces, on Obama’s less than honorable – in fact, sordid and shameful – role in the projection of US power and business interests abroad:

    As for the idea of the US as an elephant that should heft its weight around carefully and with restraint, this is just the ‘liberal defence of murder’, as a recently published book put it.

    When it comes to fiction, there’s no one to touch Ursula Le Guin. When it comes to politics, I think her hunch, expressed in her first blog on Egypt, that she has little to offer, has been proved to be sadly true.

    Kind regards

  3. Pingback: Big Chief takes on Ursula K Le Guin | Big Chief Tablets

  4. Is Stuart an Internet troll posturing and seeking attention we should not give him? Well, he posted a noted on his blog titled “Big Chief takes on Ursula K Le Guin” 3 minutes after the above sniper attack. Decide for yourself.

    Back on topic, it’s very difficult. The US has a horrible history. Obama’s making some kind of shift — significant? Who knows. Is he well meaning but hamstrung? Handling secrets that would change our minds, too? Or just weak and indecisive? I don’t think we have any way to know.

    I’m hopeful that he is a sly, poker-faced secret Taoist making quiet subtle moves at the right time and avoiding the spotlight because the mere discussion of US action changes realities on the ground, often for the worst. But I admit that this is blind optimism, wishful thinking with only a tiny bit of evidence behind it.

  5. What makes Obama different from the last N U.S. Presidents is that he’s a grown-up. I think the last one of those was Jimmy Carter, but I’m prepared to accept the answer “Dwight Eisenhower” as well.

  6. Over on one of the news sites a pundit points out that, hey — there are Americans in Libya right now. Egypt and Yemen too. You cannot just go out and muscle the countries that get on your nerves, unless you want another Iranian-hostage crisis scenario.

  7. Of course, as a blogger, I am posturing and seeking attention, it goes with the territory. But a troll? Surely one comment does not a troll make? And my comment, for all its bluster, has behind it genuine and serious concern. I love Le Guin’s writing, I’m patiently working my way through everything she has written. I know how seriously she takes her responsibilities as an author. So, if she’s going to disturb the universe of political discourse, it should surely be on the basis of careful study and thought, not on the basis of Obama’s PR machine, which surely needs no help from Taoists or anarchists.

    Do we have any way to know what Obama is really up to? Sure. It’s very simple. You look at what he says, at what he does, at the historical record. It’s all there for those with the eyes to see. Chomsky has dedicated a lifetime of activism and careful study to these problems. We should listen to what he says.

    All the best

  8. [a very late reply]

    &, by the way, a lot of the credit for the US response here has to go to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who, it seems to me, is not sitting in Obama’s chair because she had feminist ideals she wasn’t willing to compromise in the election. Credit, however, to Obama for listening to her counsel, rather than that of Secretary of Defense Gates, who likely supported the Mubarak regime.

    Would that he had been as wise in his choice of economic counsel!