The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad


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He writes clearly, driving to the point effortlessly and brings such a rich knowledge of recent history to whatever he is describing that it's difficult to think of an effective counter argument. It's a credit to Ali that he wrote this book in , quite early in the Obama presidency, but wrote with such insight about the man that nothing that happened in the following 6 years lessens the force of this work. He goes after a president that came to office full of promi I've become a Tariq Ali fan.

He goes after a president that came to office full of promise. There's a huge building going up in Chicago to honor him, for being a symbol of progress to those who value optics, I suppose. While being a relaxed, smooth, easy-going person he cracked down on whistleblowers like no president before him.

He carried on the assassination by drone program without a pause. He ruled out the much needed public option while allowing the insurance and pharma industries to write the Affordable Care Act, guaranteeing corporate profit first and only then seeing what might be left to address the healthcare needs of the people who have no political power to offer and who are lost in the intricate maze of rules and paperwork that bring in the bucks for all the middlemen. He told the big banksters that he was all that stood between them and the pitchforks, then directed his attorney general to bring no charges against them, just as he flouted justice by dismissing all the war crimes of the G.

Bush years telling us we should not look backward. Dealing with a Republican Congress that would not give an inch, Obama presented himself as a conciliator. Little being accomplished was the predictable result for a president that drifted through 8 years of seat warming. It is all documented by Ali, often by quoting Obama and then showing what actually happened, or more often did not happen after the words had faded from hearing.

Ali provides lots of background information on the Arab Spring and foreign affairs to show how when it came to democracy vs tyranny, Obama was ready to maintain the status quo as was true of his predecessors. Obama was being himself. We the people were deceived into believing he would be something for us that is not in his nature. The deception was wildly promoted by the Democratic Party, by those who knew that he could be depended upon to not change course. It is the same bunch that are now pushing for another sure-to-disappoint Joe Biden. We were fooled. Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden don't get monuments and the president showed them no mercy.

It's all they can do to stay out of prison, but people like those two have our interests at heart and have paid for it. Obama came out of nowhere, leveraged skin color into office after office and left enriched, even possessing an absurdly awarded Nobel Peach Prize, while we scratch our heads realizing that nothing significant happened on his watch. The lesson is that we are given the appearance of democracy while the underlying corrupt system continues to operate at least undisturbed if not enhanced. In that effort, President Obama served flawlessly. Aug 27, Simon Wood rated it really liked it.

The case presented is persuasive: from his origins as a flunky for the Democratic party machine in Illinois and Chicago the home of the Daley dynasty with it's stranglehold on the state Democratic party to his time as a member of the U. For Ali his record as president is lamentable. Health Care reform was retarded by the vested interests of the private insurance sector; the program that was eventually enacted is skewed towards their financial interests rather than towards those who struggle to access health care. Experts predict that this will render the limited benefits gained grotesquely expensive before this decade is out.

The policy of charter schools, a variant of which the Conservative party and their Liberal lackeys are touting under the name of "Free Schools", is likewise manna from heaven for the private education sector. On the economy, Obama has preferred to re-engage those who were up to their necks in the formation of the problem in the first place such as Lawrence Summers in preference to even considering those such as Joseph Stiglitz "Freefall" who have a record of being prescient on the failings of the last decades, and have constructive ideas with regard to getting the economy moving again, for the majority and not the few.

Abroad it is business as usual, nothing has changed. Iraq runs on as before, and as the war in Afghanistan extends into its tenth year and into Pakistan there is little sign of an improving situation, indeed the opposite as it becomes increasingly bloody for all those involved. The fact that the Israel Lobby demonises Obama tells us more about what they have been used to with the Bush II and Clinton administration, it is not an indication of a new even handed approach.

With the recent mid-term elections it must now be clear even to the most delusional of Obama supporters that the window of opportunity for progressive reform is firmly shut.


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The Republican Party, mouthing its usual platitudes about "small government", augmented with a heavy smattering of the deranged, delusional and dangerous tea-partyists, has its hands on the purse strings. The United States is in for a rough ride, and the collateral damage will likely extend well beyond its borders. Stylistically "The Obama Syndrome", with the exception of the opening chapter on the Black experience of U. There are odd occasions when the prose stutters in a very un-Ali way, and the size of the subject, namely the current state of politics in the U.

One suspects that it was slated to be published in time for the mid-term elections for maximum relevance, and the effort to meet this deadline explains the books shortcomings, though it should be said that Ali can still be brilliantly and brutally funny. As a bonus the appendices include an article by an American doctor on working in a County level Emergency Department which will horrify the British reader, and an article of Ali's on Yemen originally published in The London Review of Books that was written in response to talk within the Obama administration and the media about escalating the American intervention there.

This is an interesting rather than an exceptional book that is still more than worth a look. Jan 21, Mark Hebden rated it really liked it Shelves: politics. The main appears to be vain and conceited but those are characteristics present in all politicians, as are avarice, greed and selfishness but Obama does all this with a cloak of respectability about him that Ali expertly pulls away to reveal the President in all his naked, shambolic glory.

Ali tells us that Obama is a textbook rightwing American conservative with all then trademarks and history that brings. There are some interesting tales from his early days on the Chicago political circuit where it seemed the attitude was kill or be killed, and he certainly proved himself the carnivore and alpha male. The insinuation is that George W. Bush may have bombed the crap out of the middle east, but at least had the decency to declare war first rather than authorising covert operations that kill indiscriminately away from the prying eyes of the independent media who were so skilled in finding out about atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other hand this book is a polemic that completely ignores the good that Obama has done, at the very least in his own country and for his own people.

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His original policy ideas have been watered down to some sickening levels but there was some will there for change, unfortunately that will has not been strong enough and this book is a powerful if rather intoxicated attack on the first black president of the United States. Mar 06, Jibran rated it it was amazing Shelves: history-politics. His policies in Af-Pak, his stance on Iran and his staggering silence on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories was there to be seen since before he was elected.

Handling of the financial melt down and Health Care reforms both get a detailed treatment in the book. The author predicts that Obama will probably be a one-term president. Jan 12, Luke rated it it was amazing Shelves: politics. Insightful critique of Obama's first year and a half in office. While delving into some of Obama's less savory actions, Tariq Ali's primary goal is to draw a connecting line between the policies of the Obama administration and those of its predecessor. He traces the continuity of these neo-liberal policies through the Bush years to the Clinton administration, which consolidated the gains of the "Reagan Revolution" while simultaneously speaking a language of liberal compassion.

The parallel with Insightful critique of Obama's first year and a half in office.

The parallel with Obama is striking. Ali writes about the wars, the healthcare reform, racial politics, disaster capitalism, the place of science in the Obama administration. He includes a very illuminating chapter on the charter school movement and its disastrous effects on public education.

This book is highly recommended. Apr 22, Dale rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , politics.

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Ali charts the course of Obama's presidency from his early days in the Illinois legislature, through the vacuous 'yes we can' campaign slogan, to the massive escalation of war in Afghannistan, the vast increase in the use of drones, the increasing use of state secrets privilege to prevent judicial review of administration actions, the continuing bank bailouts, financial deregulation, health insurance corporate giveaway, and the rest of the sorry legacy of Obama's first days in office. Oct 12, Steffi rated it it was ok Shelves: I think Tariq Ali, like Zizek, is publishing a few too many books for his own good.

Alas, this collection of essays 'takes stock of the first 1, days of the Obama Governement' so written sometime in So it's a little outdated as there are and will be a trillion books on the legacy of Obamas's eight years in power. But since I already bought the book, I might as well read it currently 'mopping up' all my unread books before I am going to buy news ones in Anyhow, a few important t I think Tariq Ali, like Zizek, is publishing a few too many books for his own good.

Anyhow, a few important things to note: 1.


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Problem URL. Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. The Obama syndrome : surrender at home, war abroad. Responsibility Tariq Ali. Edition Updated pbk. Imprint London ; New York : Verso, Physical description x, p.

Tariq Ali - Obama, Pakistan and the US empire

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More options. The Gulag Archipelago. How to Defend Australia.

The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

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