An interesting Russian look at the Obama presidency.
Appeared in Bulgarian at A-specto, translated by Valentina Tzoneva exclusively for SouthFront
The one who is guilty for the problems of the Russian economy, health and education, is leaving. He conspired with sheikhs and reduced the oil price to cause problems for us with the budget. We did not want Crimea, but we had to take it because if we did not, then NATO would have taken it and then the Apocalypse would have come. He incited our ordinary and good people to piss in elevators and break lights in the entrances of buildings. He got them drunk with chemicals for cleaning bathtubs and gave them syringes with drugs. He created Islamic State (forcing Russian supervisory authorities to monitor whether we did not miss to say that “this organization is prohibited in Russia”, spending resources on paper, words and air time) and taught Islamic State to trade in oil. He sowed “color revolutions” so we could reap storms, but we managed and captured Aleppo.
We will miss this man
At the beginning of his term in the presidency he looked like a grownup who learned at the “workers’ faculty” of Harvard, a character from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. One dear, lop-eared good guy, with a not-bad-sense-of-humor, a product of previous continuous care under the slogan “Workers of all countries unite”.
We’ll miss you, Obama
It seems to us that no program with shrill clowns started without you. Without you, the sweet and energetic Margarita Simonyan (Chief Editor of RT TV channel) and her machine, RT, did not know whether she would receive a budget. And because of you, she got it. What a thing! To have such an honor, Trump will have to go a long way. Now let’s talk seriously about the “legacy”. We can turn it upside-down, but in a sense, the president of America is a world president, even if only because this country produces nearly 1/5 of the global GDP. The analysis of the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama, has one circumstance which prevents many people from being as impartial as when dissecting frogs. Barack is an African-American; the first one in the US presidency. It was his “bonus” obtained in advance. And it was almost the main achievement of this man in the eyes of the rest of the world. Did it remain his only achievement? Here, that is the question. The triumphing politico-correctness sets, of course, complex issues. It seems to us that many liberals believe that to criticize an African-American president harshly is racism. We should not be saying that he has failed, even if this is so. Racial issues in America have long been a taboo. This includes in practice the topic of “black racism”, which is not up for discussion, representing the expression of the extremes which the struggle for racial equality reached. In this sense, the posture of “ever offended by the legacy of the slave owners” is not the best for establishing an atmosphere of goodwill and genuine equality in race relations in America, which otherwise has all the legal, cultural and institutional capabilities. But what did not work for Obama despite the hopes of many people? According to cautiously-expressed opinions of some, the presidency of the African-American encouraged “black racism”. Black riots that erupted while he was in office in a number of cities on the occasion of the “atrocities of white policemen” have meant that police became unnecessarily cautious in their attitude to a certain contingent of the black population in order not to cause new unrest. However, recipients of food stamps (coupons for free meals) reached a record number of 44,200,000 (say about 13% of the population). Many of these people, descendants and professionals, are on social support. For example, 40% of recipients of the coupons are white, 25% black and 10% are Hispanic. In other data, in proportion to population, white recipients of coupons are 7-10% and 25-30% black. If we talk about the economy as a whole, now it is in better shape than at the beginning of Obama’s presidency. Now the unemployment rate in the US is 4.6%, which is at the lowest level since 2007. However, many analysts give credit for getting the country out of recession to the program of “quantitative easing”, which began with Bush. At that time, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates near zero and held a questionable in terms of social justice policy of “rescuing” corporations and banks that were “too big to fail”. For the two terms of governance of Obama, 17 million jobs were created in America. But at the end of his reign, the number plummeted to 8 million. Under the Clinton administration, 21 million were created. Also, under Clinton’s administration there was not such a massive increase in government debt (the debt increased by 1.3 trillion dollars). Under Reagan, 15 million jobs were created, while government debt rose by 1.8 trillion. Under Obama, the national debt of the United States grew by 9.2 trillion dollars, reaching 19.9 trillion dollars. In comparison with Bush, whose administration was considered unfortunate, the debt increased by 5 trillion dollars. Separately, the aggregate tax burden on people and corporations under Obama rose by 1 trillion dollars. Out of those, 377 billion (according to the House of Representatives in Congress) accounted for the middle class, which did not make their lives better. The burden of the new bureaucratic regulations, introduced by the Obama administration, which the Republicans call “socialism”, is estimated at 900 billion dollars. Obama began a reform in the medical field, but it was not the best option for those who work and pay taxes. For the middle class, the cost of medical insurance increased. Now the first job of the new administration is to bury this reform. Obama’s administration dealt a devastating blow to the party of Democrats. He began as a progressive “president modernizer”, who was supposed to make a breakthrough in the status quo, fairer rules in the economy for the middle class and reduce the gap between the poorest and the richest. However, the middle class continues to shrink, the country has become even more divided and property divisions have increased dramatically. The inadequate reaction of a part of American society after the victory of Trump is one of the symptoms of this failed policy. The hopes in the modern president proved to be futile. The presidency of the first African-American proved incomprehensible in domestic politics. And above all, the “merit” of Obama in the failure of his slogans of “change” raised the phenomenon of Trump as the fruit of “rebellion against the establishment”. Under Obama, the Democratic Party lost 717 seats in the lower house, 231 seats in the upper house, 63 seats in the House of Representatives, 12 governor seats and 12 seats in the US Senate. Today, 32 state legislatures are fully under the control of Republicans (both Chambers), 13 are under the control of Democrats, while the remaining seats are shared between them. In the international arena, according to the majority of analysts, the management of Obama led to the weakening of America. If we have to put it more crudely, it was eight years of verbiage that might not be bad for the enemies of America, but did not bring stability in the world. “The most impressive result” is the Middle East. Obama’s speech in Cairo in 2009 was a starting point. It was an attempt of reconciliation with the Islamic world after the mess that Bush created in Iraq. But it turned into tinkering with Islamism, which nevertheless “did not forgive” America. From the White House, Obama welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt, led by the “moderate Islamist”, Morsi. Obama personally welcomed in the White House Nur el-Din, a member of the organization “Mosque al-Islam” or “Islamic University” in 2012. The ideological leader of this “university”, Omar Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 in the US as an organizer of the first attempts to attack the World Trade Center in New York. In his soft approach to radical Islam, Obama remained true to himself throughout all these eight years. He carefully avoided the term “radical Islam” even when defining Islamic State. From here to a high degree stems his dual policy on the so-called moderate Syrian opposition that America supported together with vassal and Wahhabi regimes of the Persian Gulf. By contrast, however, Gaddafi’s regime in Libya was ousted and then the country plunged into chaos and ruin. The nuclear deal with Iran reached an agreement, but it did not lead to blocking the country’s nuclear program, and is the epitome of Obama’s personal ambition and selfishness. For the exact same reason he tried to push Islamic State from Mosul before the beginning of the presidential elections, but it did not happen. Reconciliation with Cuba at the end of his rule, delayed by 25 years, is also in this series. At the same time, the ambitious global projects, the Transpacific and Transatlantic Partnership, stalled and will be buried by conservative revanchists in Trump’s team.
Obama’s policies towards Russia were equally incomprehensible from any angle, be it “pro-Russian” or “anti-Russian”. On the one hand, there was an attempt to recharge; on the other hand, unfortunate from a diplomatic standpoint, was the bet on Medvedev and the demonstratively expressed reluctance to Putin’s return to the Kremlin. On the one hand, weakness and backing off (as the hawks see it) in respect of Moscow; on the other, a series of completely unnecessary confrontational attacks against Moscow and personally against Putin. It’s true that the relations between Putin and Obama did not go well right from the start. Putin believed that the US president was “false” and definitely did not like how he moralizingly waved his finger at him at personal meetings. Something like the opinion expressed in the address of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom by our manufacturer of witty phrases, Sergei Lavrov: “Who are you to teach me?” And last, the Obama administration decided to shoot it straight from the Russian track, blowing up the hacker scandal, causing something like a new “Watergate”, handing another portion of anti-Trump sentiment to the media. It was a paradox – a part of the ruling elite in America openly undermines the legitimate victory of the new president, calling it “the work of the Russians”.
But the essence is not in it; is there any evidence at all in the published report of the intelligence community? As a matter of fact, there isn’t. There are some attacks and assumptions that resemble a text from the press, manufactured by “copy & paste”. Exaggerating the sinister role of RT does seem phantasmagoric. It is possible that the secret part of the report contains accurate facts about the hacker attacks, but this is not evident in the reaction of the Congressmen. More important here actually is the main message of the actions of Obama: Putin’s Russia is an enemy and there should be no recharging. The hacker scandal is another bubble of the Obama administration, and then everything else follows. If a while ago they had treated the Chinese hackers’ activities with such pathos, now the relations between the two countries would be entirely hostile. If Nixon was so “demanding” toward the Brezhnev regime, there would be no détente, nor disarmament. The outgoing US administration, under the influence of personal insults, is trying to put US-Russian relations in such a trap that makes it impossible to improve them. And for starters, the approval of Rex Tillerson’s candidacy as Secretary of State in the Senate began with torpedoing, accusing him of sympathizing with Putin.
Often such surveys on management mandates of presidents or governments of other countries sound like: “You see the mote in your neighbor, and do not see the beam in your eye”. But the thing is that the methodology of such surveys is, in most cases, universal. We can answer that when the end of the presidency of Vladimir Putin comes, we must recapitulate it with the same methodology.
Author: Georgy Bovt
A badly-written (or maybe just badly translated) article. A few interesting nuggets of information in there; but overall both the language and the reasoning are too tangled and convoluted.
Yeah, I believe people can get an intellectual summary of Obama’s presidency in other ways than from a russian article translated first into bulgarian and then into english.