Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Triumphalist President

"Today the American people can be proud, because this historic agreement [Paris-UN Climate Summit] is a tribute to American leadership. Over the past seven years, we've transformed the United States into the global leader in fighting climate change."
"In 2009, we helped salvage a chaotic Copenhagen summit and establish the principle that all countries had a role to play in combating climate change. We then led by example with historic investments in growing industries like wind and solar, creating a new and steady stream of middle-class jobs."
"This would not have happened without American leadership. And, by the way, the same is true for the Iran nuclear deal. The same is true for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The same is true for stamping out ebola -- something, you guys may recall from last year, which was the potential end of the world."
"We’re going to defeat ISIL and we’re going to do so by systematically squeezing them... We’re seeing steady progress."
U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Obama holds his last press conference of the year in the briefing room at the White House. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Well, nothing quite like a firm dedication to belief in self, and nothing appears to have diminished or disturbed Barack Obama's self-confidence that he is the living proof that America is still great, remaining the world power it was destined to be, because a Nobel Laureate of his stature on the world stage guided it unerringly, despite occasions when inconvenient things happened in the world; like the 'Arab Winter', like the Syrian implosion, like Libya's disintegration, like Iraq's sectarian war, like the Islamic State, like Iran's nuclear ambitions, like Russia's annexation of Crimea, and above all, like those troublesome attacks by deranged people insisting they are Muslims, but clearly are not.

His legacy projects are firmly in place, and Mr. Obama is satisfied that his place in history is a regal one, that his global leadership on climate change reflects the unwavering courage of an environmental champion. He obviously doesn't recognize the United States as the world's biggest greenhouse gas per capita emitter. China may rate as the largest emitter of carbon, but it also has a population about five times larger than that of the United States. The U.S. emits 60 percent more greenhouse gas than the 28-member EU, and three times per capita that of China.

Coal-burning furnaces remain a dominating source of power generation in the United States, representing 32 percent of electricity generation, and is destined to remain so for the next two decades at least. And while, after seven years of study, President Obama finally refused to permit one single Canadian oil pipeline -- though Canadian oil will still travel to the United States, but by rail, making it infinitely less safer in transmission -- the U.S. proceeded with construction of 8,000 miles of oil pipelines, ten times the length of the refused Keystone project. So much for defense of the environment.

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the U.S. has the political power clout to defend its agricultural subsidies, while demanding that others lower or abandon theirs. The TPP, which Mr. Obama hails as an American initiative was in fact in existence, excluding the U.S., long before he assumed the presidency. But he certainly does enjoy taking credit for successful enterprises. Washington's sneak auto deal with Tokyo attempted to cut out Mexico and Canada, but it's doubtful this revelation caused the great man any embarrassment.

As for his lauding America's leadership in dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran through the P5+1 negotiations on Iran's nuclear ambitions, no word on giving away the shop to Iranian promises that have never historically been honoured and ridding the world of its concerns about a nuclear-armed, terrorist-driven Iran, because it has the assurance of the United States that nothing can go awry. The International Atomic Energy Agency whom Tehran steadfastly refuses entry to Parchin and other questionable nuclear installations will keep tabs on Iran.

Mr. Obama's administration has failed signally in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, yet he gloats that his leadership has the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on the defensive, and it's only a matter of time before it is eliminated as a terrorist threat. His surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Syria, the Ukraine and the Iran files are merely a demonstration of the management of crises by a world leader with the confidence to do the 'right thing'. The right thing for this president was to abandon traditional allies whether in North America or abroad.

And this is the message that he celebrates, confident that the historical record will reflect his genius.

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