The Brief Reign of a Boy King: The Obama Legacy Unearthed

by Jennifer Matsui and Stella La Chance

The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have forced Obama into an uncomfortable but familar posture: On the one hand, in order to preserve at least the appearance of credibility, the candidate of hope and change has to feign solidarity with the people who expressed their hope by flooding into the streets of Tunisia and Cairo demanding change in leadership of their US-sponsored tyrannies. On the other, as the man charged with the responsibility of prolonging the death-gasp of a doomed Empire, Obama had to work overtime behind the scenes to make sure that any political changes forced upon America’s satraps in the Middle East remain cosmetic and trivial. This dilemma accounts for the mixed messages being issued from the White House throughout the crisis as each mangled response contradicts an earlier stance.

More recent developments on Mubarak’s “dignified” exit reveal even more cynical contempt for Egypt’s long suffering people on the part of the Obama administration as Egypt’s recently appointed VP Omar Suleiman, the CIA’s ‘go to guy’ for its offshore torture enterprises has reportedly been installed as Mubarak’s puppet successor.

What better illustrates Obama’s flailing and ineffectual leadership style than a comparison of his rhetoric in Cairo shortly after taking office with his current posture regarding developments in Egypt? In his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama affirmed his “unyielding belief” in the universality of democratic struggle, and the “yearning” of all people to live “under the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, towards government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people”. Words that in retrospect reveal the insincerity behind them as his administration attempts to downplay the “government by the people, of the people . . . ” stuff as it applies to the Arab world, and push forward a more moderate and “realistic” solution to what they consider an unfolding ”crisis” in Egypt and beyond: Millions of people peacefully united in a struggle to break free from a brutal, authoritarian regime headed by a corrupt tyrant.

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