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Le Temps, Switzerland

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U.S. Midterms: Obama Weakened When World Needs America Most (Le Monde, France)

 

"Why the rejection? The president of course suffers from the discredit of the entire political class. Americans are tired of seeing the incessant failure of the democratic system. However, it is in regard to the international turmoil that the president appears the weakest. Obama embodies the dilemma of the United States today, forced to play world policemen all the while dreaming of not having to. One thing is certain: on our mangled planet, a weakening of the president of the United States is not good news. What other world power could send in the cavalry when things go awry? China? Putin's Russia - which loathes Western values? The United Nations, whose chronic impotence is well known?"

 

By Dominique Simonnet and Nicole Bacharan*

 

Translated By Martyn Fogg

 

November 3, 2014

 

France Le Monde Original Article (French)

Let us recall "Yes, we can!," Barack Obama's devastating smile, his lyrical speeches extolling the values of America, the global enthusiasm welcoming the inauguration of the first Black president in the history of the United States, and the shared feeling that the American dream was still alive. Six years later, halfway through his second term, Mr. Obama looks worried and sounds tired: it's no longer a question of The Audacity of Hope. On November 4, the Democratic Party risks losing the legislative elections - and Barack Obama will find himself facing a hostile Congress with a Republican majority. As for his popularity, it has fallen to 43 percent, a level considered abysmally bad. No, the president can no longer make dreams come true, and America has the blues.

 

Why the rejection? The president of course suffers from the discredit of the entire political class. Americans are tired of seeing the incessant failure of the democratic system, the sterile debates and the systematic blocking of decisions in Congress. "Washington is broken," the president noted bitterly. Of course, in a system where everything has to be negotiated - and with the radicalism of the ultra-right Republican and the Tea Parties that reject even the principle of compromise, that is the principal cause. But the president has not appeared to be a good strategist. Unlike a Bill Clinton or future candidate Hillary, who despite all the snubs still exude a passion for the public good, Barack Obama doesn't much like the political game, the circumstantial alliances and concessions to the media, all of which are necessary to grease the wheels.

 

The economy, usually the primary criterion by which voters make their choice, should plead in his favor: America, where some people confuse dreams with reality and regularly announce its decline, is doing quite well. The president has managed to prevent the banks from collapsing, has regulated the financial sector and has established a system of health insurance that includes millions of additional people.

 

Collective anguish

 

Moreover, GDP growth has returned (1.7 percent in 2014, forecast to be 3 percent in 2015) and unemployment continues to fall (5.9 percent in September 2014). To promote economic activity, the Obama administration has implemented moderate dose of interventionism by the federal government and a softer tax policy with incentives to investment and relocation.

 

America leads in the new economy (information-sharing networks, the Internet of Things and renewables). Yet Americans remain worried. Many people work part-time, wages have risen only slightly, income inequality is widening and the jobs available don't always match the college degrees so dearly paid for by heavily-indebted students. The weakened status of the European Union, with its internal dissention and the recession in France, adds to the collective anguish. And Mr. Obama doesn't have the dynamism of a Franklin Roosevelt, that enthusiastic sea-captain who restored confidence in the storm.

 

However, it is in regard to the international turmoil that the president appears the weakest. He wanted to end hazardous military engagements on the other side of the planet, but reality has caught up to him. If the Americans approved of his withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, they realize that the effects were not well accounted for.

 

Hesitant, indecisive

 

Against terrorism, Barack Obama thought he could conduct a war by stealth with drones and without ground troops, and by remotely eliminating leaders written on the Kill List submitted to him every Tuesday by the secret services. But the terrorist horror is winning, the Middle East is bloody and ablaze and part of Africa is subject to barbarism. Mr. Obama appears hesitant and indecisive.

 

We remember the red line drawn for Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad and his backtracking when Assad crossed it. From Damascus to Moscow, from Tehran to Pyongyang, one conclusion was drawn: Mr. Obama is weak; America fights wars only defensively. Anything - or almost anything, goes. Notwithstanding warnings from his intelligence services, the president underestimated the determination of the Islamic State, and he reacted far too late in Iraq and Syria. He, the man of the 2009 Cairo speech who focused on compromise and the outstretched hand, is now confronted by a world gone mad, facing enemies driven by hatred and devoid of common sense.

Posted By Worldmeets.US

 

War-weary Americans nevertheless approved of the interventions in Iraq, Syria and the fight against terrorism, because they have no other choice. Obama embodies the dilemma of the United States today, forced to play world policemen all the while dreaming of not having to. One thing is certain: on our mangled planet, a weakening of the president of the United States is not good news. What other world power could send in the cavalry when things go awry? China? Putin's Russia - which loathes Western values? The United Nations, whose chronic impotence is well known? Only Europe could, and should, raise a finger. The urgency is finally to develop a genuine European diplomacy and a real common defense. France, which in this area at least, courageously assumes its responsibilities, could take the initiative. The United States needs solid partners - because nobody wants to see an America alone and disenchanted, saying "no, we can't."

 

*Nicole Bacharan and Dominique Simonnet are the authors of "Secrets de la Maison Blanche" (Secrets of the White House), published by Perrin, 384 pages, 21 euros.

 

 

PAST ELECTION COVERGE:  

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: With Romney in the White House, 'War is More Likely'  

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Walesa on Romney: 'We are Alike'

Les Echos, France: China's Leadership Transition No Match Next to America's 

Kommersant, Russia: Romney's 'Caveman Proclamations' No Longer Worry Kremlin  

Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: 'Thank You America': Now Obama Has to Deliver

La Stampa, Italy: Obama's Last Campaign

Corriere Della Sera, Italy: 'Obama Prototype': Rome's First Black Emperor, Septimius Severus

La Stampa, Italy: America's $5 Billion Election Race: A Sign of 'Nastier' Things to Come?

Rceczpospolita, Poland: Obama's Win: 'Somehow, Poland will Have to Live with it'    

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: On Obama's Visit, Dresses are Lost in a Sea of Suits

El Espectador, Colombia: U.S. Election: 'Best that Could Happen to the Cradle of Liberty'

Le Monde France: Obama Victory Exposes Hubris of Sarkozy and French Right

Huanqiu, China: American Democracy: A Great Show but No Fun to Participate in
Estadao, Brazil: In Retaining Obama, Americans Choose 'Known' Over 'Dangerous'

Independent, U.K.: After the Battle, the Wake: Inquest and Drink for Reeling Romneyites

Independent, U.K.: Obama Readies to Build Bridges, but Needs New Allies

HN, Czech Republic: Obama Reelection Means 'More Bad News' for Europe
The Daily Nation, Kenya: After Victory is 'God's Plan' says Momma Sarah Obama

Liberation, France: After 'Giving Us a Scare' - Obama Wins Again
Guardian, U.K.: Mitt Romney Betrayed By Hardline Republicans

Economist, U.K.: Obama's Win Raises Questions for Republicans

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Romney is the Better Choice for Poland

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Obama Must Be Told: Europe is No Less Important than Asia  

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Election in America: Romney Gives Poland an Opening    

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Romney's Blunders Give Poland a Boost!  

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Walesa on Romney: 'We are Alike'

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Romney's Biggest Weakness Exposed on Sojourn to Poland

La Stampa, Italy: Second Term Trials will Reveal Mettle of 'Enigmatic' Obama

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Obama's Lesson: Poland Can't Count on the United States
De Volkskrant, The Netherlands: Betting on Obama to Quickly Show His Greatness
Le Figaro, France: Obama Version II Ready to 'Return Blow for Blow!'
Folha, Brazil: Obama's Legacy Depends Most on U.S. Energy Transition
Xinhua, China: Barack Obama: 'Handsome and Young to Hoary and Old'
El Universal, Mexico: Influence-Flush U.S. Latinos Must 'Exploit Unprecedented Moment'
Ottawa Citizen, Canada: Obama Fails to Make Convincing Case for Strong Government
Globe & Mail, Canada: Obama Talks Alternative Energy While Counting on an Oil Boom'
Globe & Mail, Canada: Obama Pragmatist, Meet Obama the Liberal '
Economist, U.K.: Barack Obama is from the Government, and He is Here to Help You
Belfast Telegraph, North Ireland : Obama's Toughest Battle is Upon Him
NZZ Switzerland: Obama II: Prepare for America's New Danger- Averse Global Course

 

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Posted By Worldmeets.US November 3, 2014, 3:55 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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