Thursday, April 14, 2016

Obama's legacy

As far as I can see he is good intentioned had some successes but has been disappointment on the whole. Charlie Savage, in an interview here, focusses on a 'turning point'.There are many reviews of his book "Power Wars" includin one in The New York Review of Books (behind a firewall) which says ""Gradually, other points of continuity between the national security policies of Bush’s second term and the Obama administration became evident. Obama revived the military commissions charged with conducting trials of detainees. He continued to classify the struggle against al-Qaeda as a war to be fought under military rules. He also increased drone strikes, maintained the NSA’s secret surveillance programs, and prosecuted whistleblowers with greater zeal than any administration in history. What happened?

Savage offers an explanation. Obama’s supporters on the left thought he was a civil libertarian, but they were wrong. What Obama cares about, Savage argues, is not civil liberties, but the rule of law. Confusing the two is understandable, for both are central to American constitutionalism. But they are fundamentally different. Civil liberties are substantive rights; the rule of law is about legal legitimacy. What Obama’s team aimed to do was provide a firm legal foundation for his policies, including those that civil libertarians oppose—policies like preventive detention, targeted killings, and extensive surveillance."
These two indicate to me lack of strong convictions and fear of failure.

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