The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

Overview

“Our country has borne a special burden in global affairs.
We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents ... Our cause is just, our resolve unwavering.
We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might.”

—Barack Obama, West Point, December 1, 2009

What has really changed since Bush left the White House? Very little, argues Tariq Ali, ...

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The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

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Overview

“Our country has borne a special burden in global affairs.
We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents ... Our cause is just, our resolve unwavering.
We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might.”

—Barack Obama, West Point, December 1, 2009

What has really changed since Bush left the White House? Very little, argues Tariq Ali, apart from the mood music. The hopes aroused during Obama’s election campaign have rapidly receded—the honeymoon has been short.
Following the financial crisis, the “reform” president bailed out Wall Street without getting anything in return. With Democratic Party leaders and representatives mired in the corrupt lobbying system, the plans for reforming the healthcare system lie wrecked on the Senate floor. Abroad,
the “war on terror” continues: torture on a daily basis in the horror chamber that is Bagram, Iraq occupied indefinitely, Israel permanently appeased, and more troops to Afghanistan and more drone attacks in Pakistan than under Bush. The fact that Obama has proved incapable of shifting the political terrain even a few inches in a reformist direction will pave the way for a Republican surge and triumph in the not too distant future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this slim but provocative volume, leftist writer and filmmaker Ali takes President Barack Obama to task for his first 18 months in office, arguing that despite the president's rhetoric of change, little distinguishes his administration from the Bush-Cheney White House. Ali's condemnation of Obama is sweeping, extending from foreign policy and the war on terror to financial, health care, and education reform on the domestic front. In prose that is crisp and inflammatory, and at times laden with sarcasm, Ali effectively makes the case that Obama has thus far fallen short of many of his campaign promises. Where the author treads on thinner ice is his assertion that Obama's intent has never been to implement reform. Far from being a progressive, Ali alleges, Obama is a "skillful and gifted machine politician" who uses "sonorous banality" and "armor-plated hypocrisy" to achieve his "imperial" aims. Ali's incendiary language may be off-putting to some readers, and Obama supporters may find the book vexing, if not outright deflating, but there is no doubting Ali's gifts as a polemicist, or the book's potential to rouse controversy in the run-up to the midterm elections. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Ali is smart as fire.”—Ian Epstein, New City

“Ali remains an outlier and intellectual bomb-thrower; an urbane, Oxford-educated polemicist.”—The Observer

The Obama Syndrome will be a powerful boost to Obama dissenters on the left.”—Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Obama Syndrome documents the collapse of the Myth into a thousand pieces.”—Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844674497
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 10/17/2010
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.

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