Friday, January 9, 2009

A Crisis Unlike Any In Our Lifetime

From yesterday's speech by President-elect Obama:

Throughout America's history, there have been some years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare. Then there are the years that come along once in a generation—the kind that mark a clean break from a troubled past, and set a new course for our nation. This is one of those years. We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime.
Economic issues are not the only, and not even the most important matters which we face in our lives. I have chosen write on economic issues because that is where I think I have sufficient understanding combined with a perspective that adds something valuable to the debate. However, to view the current economic crisis as greater than the attack on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001 is to reveal a dangerous complacency and a critically flawed world view. Even as mere political drama or hyperbole, such statements are inexcusable for a man about to assume the highest political office of our country.


Darin said...

Have you noticed that when the issue of foreign policy came up (such as with Israel and Palestine) the response by Obama was "only one president at a time"? Yet, Obama and his elite, with their wise and trusted understanding for economics (ha), have already taken "the wheel" in economic policy. I find something a little disturbing about all of this (of course Bush hasn't done us any favors economically, lately). I suppose one potential positive is that Obama has pretty much reneged on his campaign promises.

"But once the legislator is elected and freed from his campaign promises, oh, then his language changes! The nation returns to passivity, to inertia, to nothingness, and the legislator takes on the character of omnipotence. His the invention, his the direction, his the impulsion, his the organization. Mankind has nothing to do but to let things be done to it; the hour of despotism has arrived." Frederic Bastiat's, The Law

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard the comment about which you write, but I agree with its sentiments. The current economic crisis puts us at risk of weakening our ability to respond more than 911 did. We are involved in two wars. If we sink far enough into recession of depression, how will we sustain our efforts and replace equipment? We seem to be heading for the position in which the USSR found itself at the close of their involvement in Afghanistan. Namely, unable to sustain its military due to economic considerations.

Comparison of foreign and domestic policy and statements about them is an apples and oranges situation. Anyone is free to say what they will about domestic policy, and a president elect can make statements about the economy and discuss with legislators his views without upsetting the government. However, statements contrary to our current foreign policy without authority to act can only undermine our position and confuse foreign nations. The business equivalent would be vehement disagreement in the boardroom followed by a unified statement issued to the press. You don't air your dirty laundry in public, especially when it's foreign policy laundry.

You have to admit, it's going to be nice to have a president who doesn't think the same thing on Wednesday as he thought on Monday, regardless of what happened on Tuesday. Changing your mind in light of new information is commendable.


Darin said...

Happy New Year, Anonymous! Maybe this year you will have a name :-)

I have a different view, I suppose. The current president resides over domestic issues, such as the economy, as well. Therefore, I really do not see the difference you have indicated. Additionally, I view - what I have mentioned above - as a showing of weakness by Obama in his "one president at a time response". Can he not have an opinion? Can he not voice his opinion like he had during the campaign? Furthermore, given the very fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization, why would any U.S. political opinion jeopardize American foreign policy (assuming he does not support terrorist organizations)? I think the reason is twofold; Obama's weakness on foreign policy (as represented during the campaign) - although in my opinion his domestic policy proclivities stink as well - and his past ties to pro-Palestinian members.

I also seem to have different opinion from you on pragmatism. See the following link (Of course, unless you are a subscriber to TOS you won't be able to view the entire article)

Beth said...

Dear Anonmous1,

Thank you for your thoughts. I think you make a good point in that a president-elect must be careful in what he says, knowing that he is not yet the president. What is said can have significant ramifications--but I think that goes for both domestic and foreign policy matters. This is especially true in such unstable economic times combined with the amount power government has in economic matters. Expectations of Obama's economic policies clearly effect current economic planning and the stock market.

It is a fine line to walk, trying to give some forewarning without inappropriately usurping the current president's constitutional powers. Fortunately the days are numbered where that will be the case.

I do think it is possible for Mr. Obabma to give recognition to the significance of the attack sustained on 9-11 without compromising Pres. Bush. And yes, our ability to defend ourselves is intimately related to our economic strength. However, my concern is that Mr. Obama does not place sufficient priority to the threat posed by radical Islamists. His recent comments only served to reinforce that concern.