What's Ahead

Obama Hot Spots

1) Pakistan is a de facto belligerent, analogous to Syria without the billions in US aid. It is nuclear, and anti-Democratic (despite its national elections); its various semi-government entities and religious fanatics are against most that we are for. It offers Obama only bad and worse choices, and his campaign promises of hot pursuit into Pakistan look remote. Look to see gradual estrangement and an outsourcing of the problem to India.

2) Inflation or Collapse? I don’t think we are near a Great Depression by any metric—GDP performance, unemployment, or bank collapses. But at some time in the near future, the enormous bailouts, reprieves on debt, spiraling federal debt and borrowing from overseas, expansion of the money supply, envisioned near zero-interest loans, and trillion-dollar plus savings in gas and energy prices will, in the manner of a perfect storm, begin to create a great inflation. When capital invested in stock, cash, bonds, or real estate brings no interest or profit, then indebtedness has less of a down side, and inflation starts to roar.

3) Unbridled Left. So far the Left has held its tongue, still basking in a return to power of liberal government and perhaps the most ostensibly leftwing President in our entire history. That means the centrist appointments and flip-flops are permissible for a time and contingent on heart-and-soul, true-believer policies and appointments to come. But if that should not materialize, and war, recession, and inflation take off the veneer of Obamania, then watch the rumbling escalate into 1968-like furor.

4) Another 9/11? Wiretapping. Renditions. Predator attacks in Waziristan. The killing of insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. Increased border security. All that has been as useful in preventing another attack as they have proven easy fodder for leftist critics. I think Obama realizes that (1) if he ends the above, and we get hit, the Left will take no responsibility for such laxity, but (2) suggest our vulnerability was due to tactical shortcomings of his administration (or perhaps justified retaliation from our enemies) rather than their zeal for the disastrous repeal of past safety measures.

5) Condescension. Americans are sincerely proud of our meritocratic system that puts no institutional hurdles in the way of anyone of any race or religion reaching the highest office. We forget American exceptionalism on that account, especially in the wake of global hysterical approval of the Obama victory. Yet those abroad who think his ascension marks a radical change in American foreign policy into something more resembling their own—leftist, statist, collectivist with financial and ethical claims on the United States—may become sorely suprised. In truth, the world is mostly a far more illiberal place, as we have already seen in some racially awkward remarks from the leaders of Russia, Italy, Venezuela, and Iran. So if Obama proves to be a staunch supporter of American values and interests (more a JFK abroad than a Jimmy Carter), expect intemperance from the Chinese, Russians, Arabs, and some South Americans (all with questionable records of tolerance for racial diversity in general and equal-handedness for blacks in particular).