Thursday 14 November 2019

O'Doherty: Putin schools Obama in big boys politics

Shake it off: Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama at their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
Shake it off: Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama at their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Like anyone who grew up in the 1980s, I well remember the sheer terror caused by the classic Threads, which was a shockingly uncompromising look at Britain following a nuclear war.

Threads was a classic piece of British miserablism which remains a profoundly depressing piece of television (it's available on YouTube, and really is worth a watch).

In that TV movie, the source of tension was Iran, and a face-off between the two great superpowers soon develops a life of its own and inevitably escalates into a global apocalypse which neither side wanted but weren't able to stop.

I was reminded of Threads on Wednesday night when the news came through that not only had Russia launched their first air strikes in Syria - against 'rebels' backed by the CIA, in a rather pointed two-fingered salute to the Yanks - but had also given the Americans an hour's notice to get their own jets out of the air.

Obviously, the US weren't going to be told what to do by the Russians so they refused to comply and warned that unannounced military operations in the no-fly zone would result in swift and brutal retaliation and...

Actually, that's not what happened at all.

Instead, the Obama administration bleated that the Russian military had been "unprofessional". What next? A disapproving text from Obama to Putin?

It's not so much that Obama is a coward. Nor is it anything to do with the fact that he is a Muslim sleeper agent sent from Kenya to destroy America, as some of his nuttier critics still seem to be believe.

No, Obama will ultimately be remembered as a weak-willed, ineffectual community organiser from Chicago who was promoted far beyond his abilities purely on the basis of his colour.

We've become so used to mindlessly repeating the insults against George Bush that many people seem intellectually incapable of accepting that Obama is far worse - a disgrace to his country, his people and his office; the worst American president since Jimmy Carter and a man who will leave the world in a much worse state than when he found it.

The great mistake of the 'Birther' movement and the sundry crackpot conspiracy theories surrounding Obama was that you don't have to make up stuff up to make him look bad.

From pandering to the race baiters and hucksters like Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter (as I've said before, they're just the KKK with corn rows) to having a foreign policy which seems to consist of not having a policy at all, should anyone be surprised that someone like Putin sees Obama as a feeble, ineffectual poseur?

Frankly, when they posed for that brief photocall the other day, it looked as if Putin was about to demand Obama's lunch money, such was the disparity in gravitas between the two of them.

Obama's defenders, of course, are guilty of reverse racism; they seem convinced that any criticism of him is colour related, and, ergo, any of his critics are racist.

That was a handy tactic to silence opposition in the first few years of his term, but his reign has been such a catastrophe that surely only the most determinedly stupid could try to defend him now.

Frankly, he has spent the last few years looking so disengaged and bored with the job that he had the expression of someone who would have taken a severance package if it was offered to him.

Obama is not a Muslim, nor does he hate America.

He is just a truly terrible, ineffectual president whose motto should be remembered as 'No we can't.'


So, farewell then, Lena Dunham. The creator of Girls and bafflingly popular icon to millions of daft women everywhere has announced that she is quitting Twitter and has also admitted that her HBO show will be dropped after next season.

Few people have ever represented the dumbing down of popular culture more than Dunham, not because her show was terrible — it actually had a few good lines, in the first season, at least. No, it was more the fact that she personifies the weird mix of aggression and victimhood which has lead to Millennials being dissed as ‘Generation Wuss’ by Brett Easton Ellis.

Her star has fallen in spectacular fashion which is at least some sign that we haven’t all gone completely mad. But fresh from the controversy over her admission of sexually abusing her sister and making a false rape allegation which cost her publisher millions, she has now compared bad reviews to domestic violence.

In typically incoherent terms, she said of reading sites like Gawker and Jezebel: “It’s like, it’s literally, if I read it it’s like going back to a husband who hit me in the face.”

Everyone’s a critic these days, of course, and the likes of Gawker and Jezebel are pretty poisonous, but what sort of idiot thinks a negative comment is like being punched in the face?

Maybe she should get together with Johnny Ronan and they can compare notes on how to make a crisis out of a drama.

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