Responsibility in the country, responsibility in the world

How is President Obama like the United States?

Answer: both get blamed whatever they do.

In the continuing antics of the US House of Representatives, the Boehner team wants President Obama to wait for their permission to do anything. After they’ve played about with the federal law-making system till it’s completely broken, they want the President to just leave it lying broken and bleeding in the halls of the Capitol.

So, if the President tries to make the Affordable Health Care Act, which Congress passed in 2010, phase in more smoothly, they sue him.

But they expect him to act when they don’t know what they want. Then it’s the President’s fault for not doing enough. Why isn’t he acting faster to solve the child immigration crisis brought on by a law passed by Congress and signed by his predecessor in 2008?

On the international scene, similarly, other countries sit around waiting for the U.S. to solve the latest problem, and then everyone blames us for whatever we do or don’t do.

We broke Iraq, in Colin Powell’s term, so we own it. and of course we and we alone are responsible for saving people being massacred there.

According to an AP story today,

This is going to be a long-term project” that won’t end and can’t succeed unless Iraqis form an inclusive government in Baghdad capable of keeping the country from breaking apart, Obama said at the White House….

“We can conduct air strikes, but, ultimately, there’s not going to be an American military solution to this problem. There’s going to have to be an Iraqi solution that America and other countries and allies support,” he said.

In other words, the country that Western powers artificially carved out after World War I will be broken till the U.S. finally lets its pieces go their separate ways. Till then, while everyone else watches, we’ll be sending in bombing missions and advisors and security forces to protect our security forces.

Afghanistan–we also broke it, and it’s still broken too. Western Europe broke Ukraine by trying to tear it out of the Russian orbit, and Russia’s Putin rushed in and picked up a prime chunk of it.

And then there’s the 70-year piece of tragic theater playing out between Israel and Palestine. The cooped-up people who have been killed in large numbers recently are inhabitants of Gaza, which is part of Palestine, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, which was broken up by the Western powers after World War I. Even their next-door neighbor Egypt won’t let needed supplies in over the border. Everyone’s waiting for the US to fix that disaster too. 

If we do anything (other than give both sides money and equipment) it’s our fault, and if we don’t, it’s our fault too. Over generations, the US has created a culture of dependency, and now we can’t break the cycle. I don’t mean just the culture of dependency of Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan; I mean the dependency of the world, waiting for us to do something.

It makes you think the people in power better not keep breaking things, doesn’t it? Except the culture of dependency on the US, that is.

When legislators and countries won’t do their job, there is gridlock. Gridlock isn’t good for anyone, at least anyone who believes in democracy.

In the US House of Representatives, the people in power aren’t taking the responsibility to do their job, which is to pass laws for the benefit of the country. If Americans are paying attention, they will go to the polls in November to say what they think about irresponsible legislators.

And the countries of the world aren’t taking the responsibility to do their job, which is to advance their own citizens’ interests while trying for good relations among countries, which is also in the interest of their own citizens and all citizens of the world.


About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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4 Responses to Responsibility in the country, responsibility in the world

  1. Reagan had a Republican Senate and Democratic House and on the domestic side got Congress to pass a massive overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code while internationally he brought an end to the Cold War. He didn’t complain about Tip O’Neill and Rostenkowski, he had drinks with them.

    When you leave vacuums instead of SOFA [status of forces agreement] in places you’ve brought peace, you will squander that peace. ISIS and Iraqi turmoil are the result of Obama not signing the SOFA thus creating a vacuum. Obama does not act decisively on foreign affairs because he does not believe we have moral authority.

  2. John Edwards says:

    An interesting (if a little weak) linking of domestic and international events.

    First, the matter of Congress, which Mr. Smith gets only half right; they also have a responsibility not to pass laws which are bad for the Country (like the “Affordable Care Act”, AKA Obamacare). Obamacare was passed by Congress on a completely partisan basis; and even then Democrats had to use bribes to sitting Senators (the “Louisiana Purchase” and the “Cornhusker Kickback”). Senator Reid used every trick in the book to pass this monstrosity, and then people like Mr. Smith wonder why the opposition party is trying to stop it; or why it’s still very unpopular with the American people. Try for a moment to get off your partisan soapbox, and maybe you will learn something.

    As for the international events, we did break Iraq, and we have a certain (limited) obligation to try to help (no one can fix that place except possibly the folks who live there). Afghanistan was broken when we got there, and will be after we leave (which we should have done right after Osama Bin Laden was killed). I don’t care who blames us for what; we should move forward taking actions that are in our own national interests, and helping our (real) allies when appropriate.

  3. Thanks for comments and actually, I don’t disagree with either. I wish the US did have the moral authority it used to have, and that people in Congress negotiated together as they used to do. I thought in 2009-10 that Obama should have pulled ACA and told voters to think about it and vote on it in November 2010. The good parts might have received more attention, especially among people with preexisting conditions, those subsidized for insurance they never had, parents of offspring up to 26…. The ACA as passed fed into the rise of the Tea Party to an extent that apparently caught Obama and others by surprise. Iraq and Afghanistan–in my view, we should never have broken them or tried to put them back together. I agree “no one can fix that place except possibly the folks who live there”–and that goes for any place, including the US, which is becoming increasingly dysfunctional.

  4. Pingback: War authority–why and for what? | politicswestchesterview

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