Who is the Svengali, the Phantom of the American Presidential Opera? I have no doubt it is Obama, aided and abetted by a coterie headed by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Whilst the cultural changes probably started during Bill Clinton’s time as President, they reached their zenith with Obama. Obama was not done with his agenda and a perfect candidate was needed to continue Obama’s aims. Hillary Clinton didn’t make it and the next time round a vociferous over-ambitious unintelligent individual who lusted for what was logically beyond him presented himself.
America also had a political party desirous of power ultimately at any cost and whatever it took. The stars lined up precisely for the Democrats for the 2020 elections where their leading candidate, Bernie Sanders, was deemed too radical and dangerous, so that his chances of winning would be slim. In the background was amorphous “harmless” old Joe, who had been chosen specifically by Obama as his vice-President because he was such an empty suit and would pose absolutely no threat or opposition. Interesting that Obama didn’t want to initially endorse Biden’s bid in 2020 and tried to discourage him, knowing only too well Biden’s shortcomings and incapability.
With ever over-ambitious Biden kind of hanging in towards the end of the Democrat Primaries, he presented, in their view, the perfect candidate who could and would be controlled, thus giving Obama his third term and opportunity to finish many of his questionable policies and agendas, especially Iran. Realizing that Biden probably wouldn't last a full presidential term of four years, they needed a similarly malleable candidate for vice-president. Remember that the Democrats believed they had control of the election system well in hand as well as the mainstream media which had been so compliant and unquestioning since before Donald Trump's election, and certainly during his Presidency, continuing to act constantly as the Democrats' attack dogs.
So who to choose? There was Kamala Harris, the first to withdraw from the primaries and deeply unpopular and unappealing to Democrats and Republicans alike, and, may I add, to those of us non-Americans around the world. BUT, Kamala Harris had something no other Democrat candidate had, and that was she was Black, or half black as Obama was, and Trump was making serious inroads into the black voters. Kamala was known from her background in San Francisco and California to be willing to sell her very soul to further her career and ambition. It was speculated that she could continue to allow Obama his third term with every failure and nefarious covert agenda and scheme it included, should she replace Biden.
As we know, very little can be predicted with accuracy and the world is not a static place. No such things as vacuums exist and the minute one appears, there is a rush to fill the space. The world wasn't going to stand still out of good manners when they were handed the gift of a weak and cognitively challenged US President surrounded by handlers who were former Obama apparatchiks. America isn’t a great mystery to China, Russia, Iran, Europe or anyone else.
Smoke and mirrors cannot be used for too long before they are found out and with a world media consisting of TV available almost anywhere, except perhaps Afghanistan, the whole world could see for themselves what the new administration’s reality in the US was. They could easily analyze from the appointments to the new American cabinet what the situation and strength of the new rulers of the USA meant. In addition, invented internal cultural divisions of the most ridiculous kind, mostly designs and schemes of political agendas, were confusing, pressuring and misguiding the American people and even their military, who had all lost focus on what was important, really important.
Adding to what soon became noticeably America’s weakness, was the strength the Democrats had in the Congress, controlling both the House of Representatives and the Senate and a mindless compliant President who would sign anything and everything placed in front of him. I even suspected on Biden’s first day when he sat alone at his new desk and signed a plethora of Executive Actions and Orders for all the world to see, that what he was signing were actually blank pages which would later be typed up and/or the real Actions would later in be signed in private.
The Democrats hated Donald Trump so much they were prepared to pull the pillars of America down to expunge themselves of his presence and the very air he breathed. What they hated and resented even more was that their selected candidate, Hillary Clinton, who would have faithfully continued Obama’s actions and agenda, was soundly defeated by a non-member of the political establishment, of independent means and thought and impervious to being bribed or controlled.
Whether people liked him or not, Trump was competent, capable and strong. Not what the Democrats wanted or could stand. He may not have been an orator of Churchillian stature, but he did the job.
In this discussion we cannot ignore or disregard Obama’s policies regarding Israel and Iran. It is my considered opinion that Obama’s early Islamic upbringing played a major role in his thinking, attitude and policies, especially when it came to Israel. In his mind the Arab states, the major ones allies of the USA, had proven that they were unable to defeat Israel or in any way pressure Israel into a two-state solution with the Palestinian Arabs. A belligerent and aggressive Iran showed more capability and potential of defeating Israel, hence his turn towards Iran whilst throwing his Middle Eastern allies under the bus and basically abandoning them.
Whether Obama understood the Sunni/Shi’ite divide and the implications is anyone’s guess. In time with more critical historians, Obama’s presidency will be assessed to be an aberration and major failure taking the USA in the wrong direction and inflicting damage that will take decades to repair.
At the time the JCPOA agreement was being signed, there was a cocksureness and arrogance that was visibly discernible from Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. It seemed so clear and obvious that he had the USA, its representatives and President in his pocket. Of course one of the benefits to Iran was the transfer of $1.7 billion from the USA in cash plus an amount of $400 million after the release of American prisoners.
I always suspected there could have been a surreptitious kickback or quid pro quo to Obama and Kerry, although the latter was married to a very wealthy woman. Whether this theory can be proved is another question. Whilst Obama enjoys a lifetime’s pension for being President, could his book sales have produced the wealth he now enjoys and displays?
Biden is in a difficult bind after Afghanistan. His justification and spin are not making the grade anywhere. His possible political salvation may come from appeasing Iran so he can claim a questionable diplomatic triumph. That foreign affairs “triumph” may be spun by his acolytes and subservient and tame media, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it would be another monumental disaster. The likelihood of an opaque agreement with Iran with a plentiful amount of nudge nudge, wink wink which will be sold to the American public is more likely the outcome and Iran will be the winner and the rest of the world the loser, especially the Middle East.
This in turn will start a nuclear arms race, much unrest on Israel’s borders and possible wars. Potential issues with Saudi Arabia continuing for control of Islam and possibly Islam’s holy sites are obvious. The Shi’ites have been the lesser group of Islam from the beginning and the resentment and dislike between them is palpable.
There is a better, sane and more fruitful opportunity in expanding the Abraham Accords, but, can an Obama puppet and his Obama apparatchiks bring themselves to climb on something successful that Trump did?
How sad that such pettiness can rule American politics. When I was much younger, naive and knew substantially little about politics or American politics, I saw Democrats and Republicans as just two sides of the same coin and the difference was in the approach to achieving the same goal. This is clearly no longer the case and the influence of a tiny unintellectual, ignorant but vociferous squad of Democrat politicians on the greater Democrat party is something to wonder about. The insertion of vicious and determined Islamists into Congress is just the beginning of a push to turn America against Israel. Extraordinarily, Biden and the Democrats have succumbed to this squad of minor politicians, but then, let us not forget Obama in the background.
Three and a half years till the next Presidential elections is a long time in politics, not to mention international competition and threats, especially with increasing questions about Biden’s competency and cognitive abilities. Kamala Harris has not shown any competency either and America is faced with a terrible dilemma. The technocrats and “experts” surrounding Biden have also not shown anything the world can have confidence in. Its military suddenly seems inept and indecisive.
The 2022 Midterms will more than likely render an already incompetent, incapable and confused President a lame duck. If Congress under the Republicans can impeach and remove both Biden and Harris, the next in line will be the Speaker of the house, as was the case with Gerald Ford. Nancy Pelosi is not any better, albeit smarter. Do not underestimate the Democrats' ruthlessness and scheming. It is time the Republicans woke up.
Thus an expensive and fatal result emanates from political ambition to acquire power for power’s sake and to believe that an executive President can essentially be a figurehead whilst background individuals and forces actually pull the strings and run the show. The changes that a dominant Democrat Congress and presidency can institute until next November 2022 can add to the current disaster and the decline of American democracy.
This last US election proved Winston Churchill’s statement that “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter”, but then he also said “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.”
To end on a positive note, whilst one can never underestimate the damage of human stupidity, and more than most, Biden has displayed this, however, again to quote Churchill, for America it “is the courage to continue that counts. If you're going through hell, keep going”.
Biden is not the end nor the beginning of the end for America. The Democrats will be removed from power and then the USA can start to rebuild and heal itself, assuming elections are free and fair, a disingenuous press and media arise and an American electorate votes having learned their lesson. If not, then it is the beginning of the end of America as a world power, something the whole world will come to regret.
David Hersch is Chairman of SAIPAC, the South African Israel Public Affairs Committee. Former chairman of the South African Zionist Federation (Cape Council) as well as a former national vice-chairman of the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF). He is also former member of the South Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council). Retired businessman and broadcaster.