Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vaclav Havel on President Obama

Maureen Dowd has a good column today (here) about Obama's
continuing willingness to compromise on everything -- so that he appears to stand for nothing.

In the past couple of weeks, Obama refused to meet with the Dalai Lama because he does not want to offend the Chinese prior to his visit to China next month (it sounds like Obama does plan to meet with the Dalai Lama afterwards). Havel's analysis of the decision:
"It is only a minor compromise. But exactly with these minor compromises start the big and dangerous ones, the real problems."
I'm not sure that I agree with Havel that dissing the Dalai Lama is only a minor compromise. It strikes me as an incredibly poor decision (and very ironic, coming so close in time to Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize).

Here's Dowd on Obama's unwillingness to stand firm and show true (moral) leadership on the difficult issues:
"Franklin Roosevelt asked to be judged by the enemies he had made. But what of a president who strives to keep everyone in some vague middle ground of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, without ever offending anyone?"
326. On what issue will Obama (finally) be uncompromising? It's surely not going to happen on health care or financial regulation, and it seems he'll try to find the middle ground on Afghanistan policy too. On what policy will he decide to make a stand?

327. Dowd's piece says that Havel is now 73 years old. Does he live in the Czech Republic? What does he do? Is he writing poetry?

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