Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Obamanomics and US – The Great Divide Within

The reforms of Obama is being heatedly debated in the United States between the two sects of American public. The first sect is Pro-Big-Business guys who feel that Obama hates Business, is driving US to State Capitalism and feel that he is an anti-colonialist like his father Obama Sr.

Taking a strong opposition to Obamanomics, Dinesh D’Souza in his Forbes Article, “Obama’s Problem with Business” articulates his scathing attack on Obama:

A good way to discern what motivates Obama is to ask a simple question: What is his dream? Is it the American dream? Is it Martin Luther King's dream? Or something else? It is certainly not the American dream as conceived by the founders. They believed the nation was a "new order for the ages." A half-century later Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of America as creating "a distinct species of mankind." This is known as American exceptionalism. But when asked at a 2009 press conference whether he believed in this ideal, Obama said no. America, he suggested, is no more unique or exceptional than Britain or Greece or any other country.

Perhaps Obama shares Martin Luther King's dream of a color-blind society. The President has benefited from that dream; he campaigned as a nonracial candidate, and many Americans voted for him because he represents the color-blind ideal. Even so, King's dream is not Obama's: The President never champions the idea of color-blindness or race-neutrality. The race issue simply isn't what drives Obama

What then is Obama's dream? We don't have to speculate because the President tells us himself in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father. According to Obama, his dream is his father's dream. Notice that his title is not Dreams of My Father but rather Dreams from My Father. Obama isn't writing about his father's dreams; he is writing about the dreams he received from his father.

From the anticolonial perspective, American imperialism is on a rampage. For a while, U.S. power was checked by the Soviet Union, but since the end of the Cold War America has been the sole superpower. Moreover, 9/11 provided the occasion for America to invade and occupy two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and also to seek political and economic domination in the same way the French and the British empires once did. So in the anticolonial view, America is now the rogue elephant that subjugates and tramples the people of the world.

It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.

The other faction which support Obamanomics feel that Obama is trying to save the American Middle Class. For them, Obamanomics also means understanding that America has to now adjust to the new realities of globalization. Simon Tay, in his Forbes article titled “America’s Call to globalization” states that America needs to react proactively to Asia’s Rise and Obama himself represents the new economic realities in the globalized world.

He says ” For a long time, globalization has effectively meant "Americanization." This has meant that others in the world adjust to American mores and culture and that the dispersion of American brands across the world accompanies the spread of commercial interdependence. Americans had little to adjust to in globalization when it was the same as Americanization.

This, however, will change in the globalization that is coming in the wake of the crisis. This deeper globalization is coming back to America in hybrid forms that take in more influences from more sources, especially from a rising Asia. The new globalization is not as such Americanization but is something that could be called "Global-as-Asian." This would be more of a two-way street for people, trade, finance, influence, and ideas.”

Perhaps President Barack Obama can provide not just a political message but a personal example of Global-as-Asian. As a child, Obama followed his mother to live in Indonesia and, from 1967 to 1971, at the formative ages of six to ten, he attended the Besuki Elementary School in Jakarta before returning to Hawaii for school and going on to Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

The Besuki school did not espouse an extremist Muslim religion, as rumors falsely alleged when Obama was campaigning for office. The school had mixed races and religions, including Christians and international students. Given this and his own background, the young boy who is now president could fairly be said not to be a product of a typical American education but instead to have received a kind of international education.

America does need Asia. The rise of Asia can help drive the American recovery and growth if the economies remain linked and American companies can find ways to grow in Asia. But the American need for Asia cannot be politically supported if America comes out of the crisis severely weakened and with a loss of confidence. A weak and shaken America will be likely to see greater anti-Asian, protectionist sentiments, and against allowing more influence and investment to flow from the region into the United States.

On the other hand, if it can show signs of recovery and rebuilding after this crisis, then America can respond proactively to the rise of Asia and the new and deeper processes of globalization--Global-as-Asian.

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