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David Brooks on Obama’s Cairo speech

07/06/2009

David Brooks, a conservative commentator, writing in the NY Times looks at Obama’s Cairo speech. The article is an interesting and reasoned consideration.

He suggests that in conisdering Obama and indeed a number of his inner circle we should first and foremost remember that they are from Chicago. Brooks then posits an interesting view of politics and behaviour in Chicago and suggests this as an analogy for much of the behaviour and postures taken by the Obama administration.

It is an interesting viewpoint. In some respects it is quite a persuasive argument.

On that basis readers might like to take a look at this piece by Ryan Lizza, which Adam posted on during the presidential campaign.

Brooks finishes his article with:-

This speech builds an idealistic facade on a realist structure. And this gets to the core Obama foreign-policy perplexity. The president wants to be an inspiring leader who rallies the masses. He also wants be a top-down realist who cuts deals in the palaces. There is a tension between these two impulses that even a sharp Chicago pol is having trouble managing.

It is here that the divide comes. It is where Tony Blair fell down and in the end went for the style over substance. Hence the jibe about Tony Obama.

A major part of Adam’s concern is this desire by Obama and Blair before him to be liked. Further, reading Brooks piece whilst it may be appropriate to back off a bit in some areas, Adam is concerned that any deals struck will be unequal and in the end be seen as appeasement and thus encourage some to twist America’s tail even more. See Christopher Caldwell.

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