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First Tough Decision That Gets Actually Made

November 18, 2008

So far, since his election, Obama has given the impression that he tries not to offend too many people too much with his decisions. (Actually this behaviour started earlier. Even his pick of Biden as his VP was aimed at minimising risk.) Of course, his as of now few and careful choices for his incoming administration don’t make everyone happy. But with all the promises Obama has made and the expectations he has built up in people (and which he’s trying to lower since his election) he is bound to disappoint some people some time. Since you can’t fool all the people all of the time the goal is to keep enough people happy all of the time so as not to get into serious trouble.

The first paragraph sounds like a prelude to speculation about whether Mme Clinton will become Secretary of State. But this is not what the French Cowboy wants to engage in. (One thing is clear, though: should Hillary Clinton take the job then it will be because both she and Obama will believe to be gaining from this. And how likely is it that they’re both right?)

What the French Cowboy is wondering is how Obama will decide on the missile defense system to be set up in Poland. Would he really reverse the agreement between the Bush administration and the Poles? His latest comment on the issue was that he would approve of the system only “when the technology is proved to be workable.” A pseudo argument, of course, that means nothing except that Obama wants to keep all doors open for him. This alone probably means that he is against the agreement.

Should Obama really decide to act against the missile shield it will be his first decision that might actually cause some tough and unwanted reactions by the wrong people. It will signal weakness (among other things) and this invites aggression when you are in the playing field with Putin (Medvedev, it you insist), Ahmadinejad, Chavez, you name them. The world is gonna test Obama.

The upside (interpreted generously): There’s at least one thing about which Biden was right.

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