. . . the pilot is a 'wingless wonder' who has never flown before!" That is the sort of announcement you might expect from the White House in November - but which you will definitely not hear or read - if Obama wins. The financial hurricane has already hit mainland America but the economic one has yet to devastate Main Street, America. What will Obama do? I don't know, and nor does he. No shame in that, hardly anyone does know, but in times of emergency there is a tendency to cling to dogma. Needless to say, Obama's version, more soppy socialism to match his already soppy thinking, is the worst one possible for the situation. However, I sense a streak of ruthlessness in him which might - repeat, might - take some of his clueless supporters by surprise, but then necessity is a stern task-master! There are no panaceas available to deal with the slump that has already started. Like a doctor in a plague-hit area armed only with sticky plasters, Obama will have precious little to dish out for comfort as a means of bolstering his popularity which, I suspect, will drop like a stone before the 2012 election. That is just on the home front . . .
Overseas, "troubles will come not single spies but in battalions", starting with China. Their desire for Taiwan has been supressed for too long. Now, hyped up with their Olympic 'success' and facing a home population that might become restive if there is any diminution of their standard of living, a foreign adventure against a frail and sickly Uncle Sam will be very tempting. So question #1 for Obama is what will he do when the Taiwan card is played? Does anyone know? Does he know? I doubt it, so he will have to do some quick thinking!
Then there is the highly dangerous instability within nuclear-armed Pakistan and the fraught situation on the border areas with Afghanistan in which lurk, with almost complete safety, the fast-growing Taliban. Already, some observers are suggesting the equivalent of the Tet offensive might take place in Kabul timed to test a young and inexperienced president who has a reputation (not yet earned, I might add) for being soft on international affairs and who is, in any case, bedevilled with a faltering economy. Of course, it is possible that he, in order to demonstrtate to the world that he is no push-over, might 'do a Kennedy in Cuba' (the action of another young and inexperienced president) and over re-act in Pakistan. Certainly his words in regard to Pakistan during the campaign have been very belligerent - but will he put the American army where his mouth is?
Meanwhile, the Russian 'mafia' (it is silly to think of it as a government) will be positively eager to seize any scraps that a wounded America leaves lying around. After all, they can safely ignore the Europeans whose tender gas-filled testicles are safely in a Russian vice. So where will they push - Ukraine seems favourite, but perhaps they might take an easier target in one or more of the tiny countries in the Baltic. What will 'president' Obama do about that? Do you know? I certainly don't! Does the Democratic party know? Of course not!
On top of all these grand strategic problems there remains, as always, the activities of the 'usual suspects'. The Iranians continue to struggle amongst themselves but give every appearance of forging ahead with their bomb and everyone knows that the second the Israelis believe it's birth to be imminent, they will attack. The USA will then be tasked with keeping the Gulf open for oil supplies which will not be that difficult but will require determination - and money - from Washington. Pin pricks from South America are certain to increase but the world-wide slump is likely to inhibit their ambitions even more than most. Finally, South Africa looks likely to slide downhill into internal strife, possibly even civil war - and they are a main supplier for all sorts of essential commodities such as gold and platinum.
I have no idea how 'president' Obama will cope with all these problems but optimistic I am not! Perhaps more important is the question of how the American people will re-act, after all, they are the great sheet anchor that both holds and steers a presidency. At the moment a huge section of them appear to be filled, in the usual American way, with great optimism, enthusiasm and hope for the future with their about-to-be-crowned president, but as another, truly wise American once said, in a phrase that will be echoed in Peking, Moscow, and sundry caves in the Hindu Kush, "Never give a sucker an even break!"