Parallel Obama policies could become a head-on collision

Seems impossible for a head-on collision from parallel sources, but it could happen because of Obama's leadership by delay. Photo: Considering the options (AP)

CHARLOTTEOctober 7, 2013 – While Washington’s attention is currently focused on domestic economic issues, the Middle East continues to run amok. History has a way of reminding us that the appearance of relative calm in the Arab world, by our standards anyway, has no relationship to the eternal flames of radical Islam regardless of how quiet it might seem.

History has also demonstrated yet another troubling aspect of White House leadership, or the lack thereof, with its perpetual philosophy of governing by delay.

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The topics of the day, as it has been for the past week, are the government shutdown and the upcoming debt ceiling debate. While that continues however, there is still on-going violence in Syria and Egypt which have not gone away. They are simply being ignored, at least for the moment.

What we have is domestic policy and foreign policy operating on parallel tracks that somehow appear to be racing toward a head-on collision.

The stalemate continues in Washington with both sides sniping at each other to the extent that it is more impossible than ever to obtain the truth. Talking points rule the day which leads to a barrage of misinformation from both sides.

War memorials are closed, but Barack Obama’s golf courses our open. Cancer studies are being halted, but some government workers are being told to return to their jobs. National parks have closed their gates, but congress keeps getting paid.

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Meanwhile the media is keeping score as though the whole exercise is some sort of political playoff game where the Republicans and Democrats are deciding a winner while the American people lose.

Obamacare opened for business the same day the government shut down. As expected there were widespread malfunctions in the system which received massive coverage across the country. Like most new undertakings, the glitches were anticipated and, to be fair, focusing upon them before the system even had a chance to function was unrealistic.

On the other hand, it wasn’t as though the Affordable Care Act was implemented overnight. There were three years to get the system ready and running and, at the very least, to have some credible means of handling the problems.

And there’s the rub. Governing by delay. It is the mantra of the Obama administration to always put off today what you could have done yesterday. We have seen it time and again. Nothing is ever more important than that almighty round of golf.

Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey, but the photo-op with Gov. Chris Christie was only considered a necessary evil before the president flew off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.

How many ‘red lines” did we have to draw before the situation in Syria became serious? Even then, Obama made a dire announcement at the While House before heading to the first tee. The list goes on and on.

So while we are distracted from what is happening in Syria by the economic battle in Washington, Russia is gaining strength in the Middle East and other Arab nations are becoming increasingly concerned.

Eventually the leadership concept of “we’ll deal with that tomorrow” is going to bite us at a time when we can least afford it.

That is not to say domestic issues are not relevant and should be ignored, but wasting time with mindless childlike temper tantrums and talking points are not the way to govern when the world has bigger problems on the horizon.

The basic problem in Syria remains. Either al-Assad will be victorious and continue his dictatorship or the rebels will win and Islamic extremists can move in to take control. Neither is a positive solution which is why it is necessary to keep paying close attention.

Yet while the Syrian situation is serious and puts Russia into a stronger position for calling the shots, there are more critical issues to deal with in Egypt and Iran. Though Barack Obama claims Al-Qaeda is dead, Yemen and Iraq are still breeding grounds of terrorism and other countries in the region threaten, as they always do, Israel. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

The administration needs to learn to “walk and chew gum” at the same time rather than focusing so much on its image and misleading the American people.

If we do not, then those parallel lines will eventually converge, and it will not be pretty

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (  

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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