By Kumar David –
Obama and Lanka’s opposition must show no mercy!
There are times when one must drive a political crisis to a ruthless finish to terminate a pernicious adversary whose continued survival will be iniquitous. Obama and the joint opposition in Lanka, each in their spheres, surely smell blood these days. Obama must finish off the Republicans for a decade. Events have played into his hands; the point is whether he has that killer instinct the moment demands. The Rajapakse regime has abruptly been caught flat footed and can be bloodied. No I am not saying it can be brought down in months, but its face can be ground in the dust so that it will limp on a cripple for the remainder of its term. Lanka’s opposition, does it have the hard-nosed intelligence to drive home the advantage of the moment – oh sigh! Still, neither my dismissal of Obama as short on testosterone, nor disdain for the stunted aptitude of Lanka’s opposition, will stop me from having a damned sassy say at speaking my mind more openly than usual today.
Let’s talk about Obama first; if only his spherical appurtenances were feral enough, he would refuse to blink, right up to, and over the “fiscal cliff”. This is also the time to press a reset button on US-Israeli relations, to tell Netanyahu where to get off, and to reconstruct US-Arab and US-Muslim relations in alignment with the Twenty-first Century. All that mush about eternal love for Israel was election talk; now elections are over, its time to get real and hard nosed, time to grow up. Obama set off on the road of rebuilding relations with the Arab and Muslim world but backed off when he got no support at home and was blocked by the powerful US Israel lobby. The US-Israel special relationship dates back to the Cold War and the Arab nationalism of the post-war period. But that’s a long gone world. Long run US interests now lie in ditching Israel and dealing with newly semi-democratic Arab nations. Obama must press reset buttons, one by one, step by step.
Is Obama tough enough?
Next let’s tackle the economy. Obama must not blink right up to, and over, the fiscal cliff. The ‘fiscal cliff’ is a term to describe the end of Bush Tax Cuts due to expire in a few weeks, after which, across the board tax increases come into effect and everyone, including low income earners, pay more. Simultaneously, fiscal expenditure on defence and other discretionary items, as well as social security and medical aid will come under pressure. The panic story sold by Wall Street and American capitalism is that this will lead to a double edged (private and public) decline in demand which will trigger a second recession. Their chorus is “Let the rich continue to enjoy Bush era tax cuts to prop up demand, invest and rebuild the economy”. Recession talk is bollocks! There will be more recessions in the US in the next decade, but that’s to do with the fundamentals of capitalism. The so-called fiscal cliff is a scare story to panic Obama into approving tax cuts across the board; for poor as a smoke screen, for the filthy rich, the essence of the plot. Compromiser Obama may fall for it.
If the US goes over the so-called fiscal cliff it will be a good for the Obama Administration. First, tax cuts will reduce consumption, but by nowhere as much as Europe-on-austerity diets. Some belt tightening is essential for US capitalism if it is to ever climb out of the hole it has fallen into. Second, further cycles of recession will be benefit capitalism by clearing out moribund enterprises. There is nothing for the Obama Administration to fear if America falls off the so-called cliff; if Obama plays his cards properly he can come out a winner.
The important motive for taking the fiscal plunge is political. Obama can blame Republicans in Congress, who will, in any case, continue to be as obstructionist as before. Obama wants to let the Bush tax cuts on the rich and companies expire, but keep them for 90% of lower income earners – a populist measure, not economic rationality. That’s my point; let tax cuts expire for everybody and blame the Republican dominated House of Representatives and the Republican minority in Senate. “Bloody obstructionist sons of bachelors!” must be the battle cry. The target, the 2014 Congressional elections, when the entire House and one-third the Senate come up for grabs. From right now Obama’s objective must be to smash the Republicans in 2014 with an appeal to voters to give him a Congress he can work with instead of saboteurs. If he is strategic and cold blooded, he can win control of Congress in 2014 and drive the Republicans into the wilderness for years.
Tables turn on the lynch-mob
In Lanka a deaf and dumb 113 signed a piece of paper without knowing what would eventually be written on it. This is further proof, if needed, that the UPFA is stuffed with toadies grovelling at the feet of the Pakses to safeguard sinecures and dip their fingers into slime baskets. It is beyond belief that the mob would sign up to a motion of such monumental importance without extended, itemised discussion, and without conducting their own thorough investigations, prior to formalisation. Only poodles sit or stand when commanded by the master. Now the tables have turned and the lynch-mob is public laughing stock! The statement released by the CJ’s lawyers, I guess is 100% true, no way can they risk anything else at this conjuncture. In which case, the egg on the face of the Pakses and the lynch-mob is inches thick.
It is also very significant that Rauff Hakeem, DEW and Thondaman are not among the signatories. Tissa Vitarana who initially signed seems to have been instructed by his party to withdraw. I am not sure of Vasudeva’s situation though his signature is not there. Are some pro-government parties going to step back and let the SLFP drown in its own excrement? The CP has issued a statement of dissociation from the impeachment resolution; this is important. Some commentators have suggested that what the Dead Left does, does not matter since it is dead anyway. Well there’s more to politics than that; when a decaying structure is crumbling, every brick pulled away, expedites its fall. When rats leave a ship, it proclaims a stinking sinking story.
This then is my point about driving home the crisis. I forecast the last quarter of 2012 as the turning point in the fortunes of the Rajapakse regime, the beginning of its end. I am prophet enough to see that, but not prophet enough to foretell the funeral date. Six months, thirty-six months, I don’t know; but it’s downhill, all the way from now. The opposition however needs to get its act together; it needs the firmest unity, and merciless, relentless determination, to drive home the stake.
Can Obama or Lanka’s opposition rise to their tasks? I don’t know, we have to wait and see