MANILA – What exactly did Barack Obama, the first black POTUS, accomplish in the first 100 days of his presidency?
If you were to pose this question to Obama?s advisers and image makers in the White House and his media sycophants in Washington and New York, theyâ€™ll surely tell you he did a lot more than his predecessors, particularly George W. Bush, in the same period of time.
Yes, they?ll proudly recite how Obama tackled whatâ€™s called the â€œonce-in-four generationsâ€ turbulent economic crisis, and such domestic problems as improving the health care system, climate change, immigration, and many other innumerable issues.
Not only all this, theyâ€™ll also claim that Obama lifted the â€œspirits of a divided nation” in these tough times, and that Americans felt both pride and relief over the enthusiastic welcome he received during his first tour of key capitals in three continents of the world.
Like other Obama watchers, I can say that the new POTUS had an excellent time doing all those things in 14 weeks or three months and 11 days, as of last Wednesday, including giving his daughters a dog named â€œBo.â€
Well, he may indeed have gained admiration both in America and abroad, but there were also plenty of things he did that other Americans did not like. As a recent Pew poll showed, public opinion about Obama was â€œsharply dividedâ€ along party lines. Some Democrats approved of what he has been doing, while Republicans, naturally, did not. And there were enough other Americans who disliked Obama to constitute a significant force in political life in their country.
While itâ€™s true that Obamaâ€™s popularity remains high, still he needs the goodwill of his first 100 days to address the terrible problems that stand before him such as the two intractable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the continuing financial crisis, the prospect of nuclear enemies and other dangers that he does not know about yet like the â€œswine fluâ€ pandemic that started in Mexico and spread to the US, Europe and East Asia.
[ad#obama180x150]At all events, Barack Obamaâ€™s 100 days are over and his real work as the 44th POTUS is still to come.
There was one other very important thing that Obama did with regard to American foreign relations.
He confronted the â€œdoctrine of American exceptionalismâ€ as practiced by the Republican Bush administration that dismissed long-accepted international rules of behavior and rejected the canons of diplomatic practices.
In its place, Obama has moved American foreign policy in a â€œnew direction.” Obama departed from the Bush administrationâ€™s foreign policy approach by â€œembracing a longer tradition of American foreign policy and insisting that the US canâ€™t achieve great objectives on its own, even though itâ€™s harder to forge true partnerships and sturdy alliances than to act alone.”
A certified pro-Obama liberal elitist has labeled it the â€œObama Doctrine” that seeks to regain the worldâ€™s sympathy by acknowledging that while the United States is a great nation built on worthy principles, it is not perfect. That is, he explained, the â€œdoctrineâ€ is â€œa form of realism unafraid to deploy American power, but mindful that its use must be tempered by practical limits and a dose of self-awareness,” limits that the â€œdefenders of the recent past have trouble accepting.”
By the way, the word â€œdoctrine,â€ as I used to tell my students in political science, is rooted in the Latin for â€œteaching.â€ I guess that the Obamaniacs, like Bushâ€™s own sycophants in his time, just want to dress up Obama?s â€œnewâ€ foreign policy or program with a grand and sweeping word like â€œdoctrine.â€
Every president likes to have his policy or program as a historic â€œdoctrineâ€ and to have his name attached to it.
When Harry S. Truman provided economic aid to Greece and Turkey â€œto work out a way of life free from coercion,” it was called the â€œTruman Doctrine.â€
Then there was the â€œEisenhower Doctrineâ€ that asserted the right of the United States to use force to combat aggression in the Middle East from any Communist-controlled nation.
When Richard Nixon started the long process of extricating US forces from Vietnam and then announced that in the future the US, while helping its allies, would require them to assume major responsibility in manpower and money for their own defense. The news media then called Nixonâ€™s approach as the â€œNixon Doctrine.â€
When George W. Bush declared that â€œif you harbor a terrorist, youâ€™re just as guilty as a terrorist” as a policy aimed at Afghanistanâ€™s Taliban, it was fleshed out by his White House spinners as the â€œ Bush Doctrine.”
And today, Obamaâ€™s very own spinners in the White House and the captivated news media have labeled his new foreign policy approach as the â€œObama Doctrine.â€
They all seem mindless of the possibility that if it turns out to be unsuccessful, it will hang like an albatross around the neck of Barack Obama throughout American history!