Several bloggers have commented on the first hundred days of the Obama Presidency, especially in context of the edited volume Threats in the Age of Obama, to which I contributed a chapter.
The threat I wrote about was the collapse of the military-industrial complex, possibly as a result of financial crisis.
My evaluation of President Obama, with regard to keeping the military-industrial complex strong, is in two parts. First, his foreign policy, and second, his economic policy.
Obama’s foreign policy has been brilliant. The team of Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates may be unmatched in modern times. A coherent, and frankly brilliant, policy of reaching out to important partners while focusing our defenses in sensible ways has contributed to an astonishingly safer world. An example of this one-two punch is Clinton’s “G-2” meeting with China while Gates pushes kill the F-22 (in spite of corrupt Congressional opposition). This helps incorporate China into the global regime we created, helps establish them as partner, and paves the way for (among other things) Taiwan’s best stock market rally in 19 years.
And when the chance permitted itself, we killed some pirates too. We are clearly signaling who are friends are, who are enemies are, and what we can do about it.
Obama’s foreign policy grade is a high A. Absolutely brilliant.
Part of keeping the military-industrial complex relevant is making sure it is aimed in ways that are not intolerate to future policy makers.
Obama’s economic policy has been disastrous. As America’s economy experienced echoing shocks, as the incompetence of New York bankers (many of which were under the jurisdiction of New York Fed President Tim Geithner) were compounded by give-aways and bailouts lobbied for by Tim Geithner (among others), Obama’s choice was inexplicable: he named Tim Geithner as the Secretary of the Treasury.
Geithner’s response have not merely been made in a technical sense: for worse, they have been aimed at destroying the free-market financial system in the United States. Nearly every day brings new of a new scheme by Geithner to prevent banks from experiencing the consequences of their bad bets. The latest conduit for Geithner’s capital-laundering is Chrysler. While Geithner’s Treasury Department extended saved Chrysler from an bankruptcy for a time, they never used secured loan. That means that the “loan” to Chrysler is in fact a gift to Wall Street.
I was ignorantÂ of the depth of Geithner’s belief that bankers should not lose money regardless of the decisions they make. Obama shouldÂ not have been. Further, when Geithner actually proposed to guarantee all debt in the banking system, Obama should have used all that opportunity to begin nationalizing the zombie banks, taking back the grants we have to Goldman Sachs and other large institutions, and re-establishing a free market.
Obama absolutely as failed at this, and his policy is authoritarian-leftist. Obama’s economic hostiles appear designed to increase governmental control over the economy, destroy the middle class as an independently wealthy sector of the economy, and establish a statist model of economic stasis.
Obama’s economic policy grade is F. It can hardly get worse.
All other things being equal, Obama’s foreign policy brilliantly helps modernize the military-industrial complex that lies ahead.
All other things being equal, Obama’s economic policy is the operationalization of the greatest threat to American power in the Age of Obama.
I am amazed at how popular Threats in the Age of Obama has been in the blogosphere.
Currently, 30 of the top 30 google results for Threats in the Age of Obama brings up mentions of the book that Mike Tanji edited (and for which I wrote a chapter, “An Outbreak of Democracy.”). Just as cool, searching for in the age of obama brings up three references to our edited volume, and two to Gwen Ifil’s The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. (And she has the publicity of PBS behind her — we just have a legion fo co-authors and fans, such as Radio Patriot, Devost.net, and others!)
The opinion of academics whose conclusions most closely serve the administrationâ€™s partisan leanings and defense goals come to dominate foreign policy. And because the academics are specialists, who are rarely given to investigating outside their discipline, galactic-sized chunks of reality completely escape their attention.
That explains the utter weirdness that has characterized U.S. foreign policy for decades and the escalating number of purported Black Swan events to beset these shores. (â€™Well it just happened like a bolt out of the blue, Mr President.â€™)
Tanji, a former supervisory intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, is well-aware of the limitations of the Virtual Think Tank (see his essay on the topic, which Iâ€™ve linked to above). But clearly he hopes its unfettered scope will prevent the worst oversights to arise from the blinkered research
Very cool! Threats in the Age of Obama can be purchased from Amazon.com.
Some of the contributors:
Dan tdaxp, Christopher Albon, Matt Armstrong, Matthew Burton, Molly Cernicek (PDF), Christopher Corpora, Shane Deichman, Adam Elkus, Matt Devost, Bob Gourley, Art Hutchinson, Tom Karako, Carolyn Leddy, Samuel Liles, Adrian Martin, Gunnar Peterson, Cheryl Rofer, Mark Safranski, Steve Schippert, Tim Stevens, and Shlok Vaidya.
And most importantly of all: Michael Tanji.
Soob just wonders who designed the cover!
My chapter in the volume deals with 5GW, which is also the theme of an upcoming Nimble edition on 5GW. In celebration both of the chapter and the books, I share two amazing 5GW-themed pieces from Joseph Fouche: “Is 5GW Necessary for a Functioning Republic?” and “Neglected Strategists.”