September 19, 2009


The Scourge Persists (BOB HERBERT, 9/19/09, NY Times)

[T]he fact that a black man is now in the White House has so unsettled much of white America that the lid is coming off the racism that had been simmering at dangerously high temperatures all along.

It would obviously be convenient for Mr. Herbert if criticisms of the President could be written off to race rather than incompetence, because he could likewise claim that people regularly make fun of his column because he's black, not because he's insipid.

But you have to wonder if the unsettling aspect of the Obama presidency isn't that so many people had so much vested in his Magic Negroness, which his campaign exploited to its fullest, that the recognition that he's not only not a magical creature but not a very good leader is more traumatic than the normal disappointment with a politician.

Tired Protectionism (New York Times, 9/19/09)

After President Obama decided to impose a 35 percent tariff on Chinese-made tires, China reacted angrily and predictably: threatening to impose its own tariffs on American auto products and chicken meat. Nationalist bloggers urged China’s leaders to strike back even harder and to stop buying United States government debt.

Both governments need to make sure the situation doesn’t spin out of control. A trade war would have no real winners and millions of losers in both countries. [...]

Neither side can claim the high ground. Mr. Obama acted unwisely, invoking a never-before used section of American trade law that allows him to penalize even fair Chinese competition if it results in sharply increased imports and job losses in the United States.

Shattered Confidence In Europe (Ronald D. Asmus, September 19, 2009, Washington Post)
President Obama's decision to shelve the Bush administration's missile defense plans has created a crisis of confidence in Washington's relations with Central and Eastern Europe. The defense architecture the administration proposes may make more strategic sense in addressing the immediate Iranian threat. Nevertheless, it runs the risk of shattering the morale and standing of transatlantic leaders in the region who now feel politically undermined and exposed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2009 6:45 AM
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