lundi 16 août 2010

Obama prend position en faveur du projet de mosquée près de Ground Zero

Dans un plaidoyer en faveur de la liberté de culte, le président américain Barack Obama a défendu vendredi 13 août un projet controversé de mosquée près du site des attentats du 11-Septembre à New York. Obama intervenait pour la première fois dans ce dossier potentiellement explosif. "En tant que citoyen, en tant que président, je crois que les musulmans ont le même droit de pratiquer leur religion que quiconque dans ce pays. Cela comprend le droit de construire un lieu de culte et un centre communautaire dans une propriété privée dans le sud de Manhattan", a-t-il affirmé lors d'un repas de rupture du jeûne de ramadan à la Maison Blanche.
"Nous sommes aux Etats-Unis, et notre engagement en faveur de la liberté de religion doit être inaltérable. Le principe, selon lequel les gens de toutes les croyances sont les bienvenues dans ce pays et ne seront pas traités différemment par leur gouvernement, est essentiel à ce que nous sommes", a ajouté le président, en citant le premier amendement de la Constitution des Etats-Unis qui garantit la liberté de culte.

"dieu de pacotille"
M. Obama prend ainsi spectaculairement position dans une affaire qui provoque une polémique de grande ampleur depuis que le conseil municipal de New York a approuvé en mai la construction de cette mosquée. Ses déclarations interviennent aussi alors que des associations de musulmans américains se disent inquiètes d'un "climat d'islamophobie exacerbé" dans le pays à l'approche du 11 septembre, qui coïncide cette année avec la fin du ramadan, calculé sur le calendrier lunaire.
Les partisans du projet de New York soutiennent que la "Maison Cordoba" aidera à surmonter les stéréotypes dont continue à souffrir la communauté musulmane de la ville depuis les attaques contre les gratte-ciel du World Trade Center, qui avaient fait environ 3 000 morts.
Des représentants politiques de premier plan, comme Sarah Palin, l'ex-candidate républicaine et égérie de la droite américaine, ou Newt Gingrich, ancien président républicain de la chambre desreprésentants, ont appelé à l'abandon du projet. Mark Williams, porte-parole du Tea Party, un mouvementultra-conservateur très critique, a estimé que le centre culturel serait utilisé "par des terroristes pour vénérer leur dieu de pacotille". Ils assurent quant à eux que construire une mosquée si près de Ground Zero est une insulte à la mémoire des victimes.
Vendredi, M. Obama a reconnu la sensibilité de la question, soulignant que "les attentats du 11-Septembre ont été un événement profondément traumatisant pour notre pays". Et il a refusé tout amalgame entre musulmans et les terroristes d'Al-Qaida. "Rappelons-nous toujours contre qui nous nous battons et pourquoi nous nous battons. Nos ennemis ne respectent pas la liberté de religion. La cause d'Al-Qaïda n'est pas l'islam, c'est une déformation caricaturale de l'islam", a encore expliqué le président américain. "Ce ne sont pas des dirigeants religieux: ce sont des terroristes qui tuent des hommes, des femmes et des enfants innocents. Al-Qaïda a tué plus de musulmans que de gens pratiquant toute autre religion", a-t-il plaidé.

‘WHY HE HAS He FALLEN SHORT?’
by Frank Rich

The Promise: President Obama, Year One
by Jonathan Alter
Simon and Schuster, 458 p

(…)He was the one so many were waiting for—not only the first African-American president but also the nation’s long-awaited liberator after eight years of Bush-Cheney, the golden-tongued evangelist who could at long last revive and sell the old liberal faith, the first American president in memory to speak to voters as if they might be thinking adults, the first national politician in years to electrify the young. He was even, of all implausible oddities, a contemporary politician- author who actually wrote his own books.
The Obama of Hope and Change was too tough an act for Obama, a mere chief executive, to follow. Only Hollywood might have the power to create a superhero who could fulfill the messianic dreams kindled by his presence and rhetoric, maintain the riveting drama of his unlikely ascent, and sustain the national mood of deliverance that greeted his victory. As soon as Inauguration Day turned to night, the real Obama was destined to depreciate like the shiny new luxury car that starts to lose its book value the moment it’s driven off the lot.
But still: How did we get to the nadir so fast?
The BP oil spill, for weeks a constant fixture on the country’s television and computer screens, became a presidential quagmire even before Afghanistan could fulfill its manifest destiny to play that role.
“I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill,” wrote Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal on Memorial Day weekend.
Obama chose to devote the first Oval Office address of his presidency to the crisis in the gulf—on June 15, nearly sixty days after the Deep- water Horizon rig had exploded.
To many progressives, Obama’s too-cool handling of the disaster was a confirmation of a fatal character flaw—a professorial passivity that induced him to prematurely surrender the sacred “public option” in the health care debate.
(…)The Obama-hating tag team of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and its Tea Party auxiliaries attacked him for not being passive enough. To them, the President’s aggressive show of action was merely further confirmation that a rank incompetent and closet socialist (or is it National Socialist?) had illegitimately seized the White House to subvert America and the free-enterprise system.
Even the near-universal praise that greeted his firing of the Afghanistan commander, General Stanley McChrystal, came with asterisks from both ends of the political spectrum.
His approval rating, somewhere between 45 and 50 percent depending on the poll, still made him the most popular national politician in the country.
(…)Obama made 502 promises during the campaign. At the one-year mark the totals showed that he had already kept 91 of them and made progress on another 285.
Alter goes on to cite some of Obama’s more substantive achievements. Despite continued violence and political stalemate in Iraq, he was on track to withdraw combat troops (however loosely defined) by his stated August 2010 deadline.
He pushed the Pentagon to abandon “don’t ask, don’t tell,” expanded AmeriCorps, increased funding for national parks and forests, and “overperformed on education”. And then there’s the piece de resistance, the health care bill, which among other things will extend Medicaid to some 16 million relatively poor people. “
(…)“Whatever happened next—however bad it got—Barack Obama was in the company of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson now in terms of domestic achievement, a figure of history for reasons far beyond the color of his skin.”
That achievement has since been joined by another legislative victory for Obama’s domestic agenda, the enactment of what he has called “the toughest financial reform since the ones we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression.”

The Promise is a credible guide to what’s gone right, but also to what’s gone wrong and what, we must hope, can be fixed.
(…)There is nothing in these pages to contradict the idea that Obama is the smartest guy in every room, hard as he works to avoid advertising that fact.
(…)As Alter observes, F.D. Roosevelt may have been a second-class intellect with a first-rate temperament, in the famous judgment of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., but Obama “came to office with both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament.”
To which one might respond: If he’s so smart, and so sane, why has he fallen short of his spectacular potential so far? That shortfall is most conspicuously measured by his escalation of a war held hostage by the mercurial and corrupt Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai; a woefully inadequate record on job creation; and the widespread conviction that the White House tilts toward Wall Street over those who have suffered most in the Great Recession.
(…)Among those critics who are fundamentally sympathetic to Obama, explanations for his disappointing performance abound. To many, he is not and never really was a progressive, only a cautious pragmatist.
(…) Obama is also faulted by disappointed fans for his surprisingly subpar political skills. The master orator who left millions of Americans fired up and ready to go during election season has often come off as aloof once in office, and has proven a surprisingly prolix and lackluster salesman for his own policies.
(…)Alter’s chronicle confirms that the biggest flaw in Obama’s leadership has to do with his own team, not his opponents, and it’s a flaw that’s been visible from the start. He is simply too infatuated with the virtues of the American meritocracy that helped facilitate his own rise. “Obama’s faith lay in cream rising to the top,” Alter writes. “Because he himself was a product of the great American postwar meritocracy. ” This led Obama to hire “broad-gauged, integrative thinkers who could both absorb huge loads of complex material and apply it practically and lucidly without resorting to off-putting jargon”—and well, why not? Alter adds:
(…)Obama’s faith in that team has nothing to do with any particular affection for captains of finance (his own campaign donors included), or their financial institutions, or wealth. “Over and over in his career, often to Michelle’s chagrin, he had turned down chances to make more money,” Alter writes. Obama is if anything annoyed by Wall Street’s hypocrisy and tone-deaf behavior. “Let me get this straight,” he said at one meeting about TARP and its discontents. “They’re now saying that they deserve big bonuses because they’re making money again. But they’re making money because they’ve got government guarantees.” Obama’s angriest moment in his first year of office came when he heard that Lloyd Blankfein had claimed that Goldman was never in danger of collapse during the fall 2008 financial meltdown—an assertion the President knew was flatly
Obama complains that he doesn’t get enough credit for stabilizing an economy that was teetering toward another Great Depression when he arrived in office.
(…)The Promise depicts a carelessness and dysfunctionality in the economic team that at times matches that revealed by Rolling Stone in the military and civilian leadership of the team managing the Afghanistan war.
(…)His achievements so far have been accomplished in spite of obstacles that would fell most mortals—the almost uncountable messes he inherited from Bush-Cheney, a cratered economy, a sclerotic Congress in thrall to lobbyists and special-interest money, and a rabid opposition underwritten by a media empire that owns both America’s most-watched cable news channel and its most highly circulated newspaper.
Indeed it could be argued that the matrix of crises facing Obama would have outmatched any Bush successor, no matter how talented. (They certainly would have drowned John McCain, whose utter cluelessness about the economic crisis alarmed even his Republican allies in 2008.) But Obama knew what he was getting into when he ran for president, and the question that matters now is how he can do the job better.
Can Obama self-correct? He remains the same driven, smart, psychologically balanced leader we saw in the campaign, and to these familiar attributes, Alter adds another quality that is less frequently displayed in public—an utter lack of sentimentality. He’s “the most unsentimental man I’ve ever met,” says one aide, summing up for many of his peers. That trait may be the most useful of all if Obama undertakes the ruthless course corrections that are essential to the realization of his promise. (extraits du New York Review of Books)

COMMENTAIRE DE DIVERCITY
UN PRESIDENT POUR TOUTES LES SAISONS
"Rappelons-nous toujours contre qui nous nous battons et pourquoi nous nous battons. Nos ennemis ne respectent pas la liberté de religion. La cause d'Al-Qaïda n'est pas l'islam, c'est une déformation caricaturale de l'islam".
Voilà qui rappelle les accents forts du discours du Caire et renoue avec la rhétorique hardie d’un Président prenant parti résolument pour l’interculturel et le dialogue des religions et des civilisations, l’inverse en somme du « Clash of Civilisations », cher aux conseillers néo conservateurs de Bush Junior.
Le président Obama reprend donc l’offensive après un fléchissement de popularité résultant d’une succession d’épreuves : le désastre écologique provoqué par BP ( “I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill,” Peggy Noonan), la terrible crise financière (“the toughest financial reform since the ones we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression.” B .O.) la difficulté d’imposer la réforme dite du Health Care , le renvoi du General Stanley McChrystal, l’acharnement médiatique du lobby de Rupert Murdoch’s sur Fox News et des membres du Tea Party le décrivant comme un dangereux « incompetent and closet socialist or is it National Socialist? » determiné à saper les fondements du capitalisme américain.
Avec 45 à5O% de soutien dans les sondages, il maintient un taux de popularité que lui envient les dirigeants européens qui plafonnent à 25%, (à l’exception de Cameron, le nouveau venu britannique), ce qui fait de lui l’homme politique américain le plus apprécié du pays.
On peut imaginer le désastre qu’aurait pu provoquer un troisième mandat de Bush ou même un président Mc Caine peu fiable sur le terrain économique.
C’est que l’arrivée de Obama, premier président américain de couleur à la maison blanche avait une dimension quasiment messianique après les calamiteuses années Bush. Cela avait éveillé des espoirs insensés et une très irrationnelle obamania : « a Obama of Hope and Change ».
Le vrai Obama, président métisse en chair et en os ne pouvait que décevoir un investissement aussi excessif de l’imaginaire collectif.
Sur 502 promesses électorales il en aurait réalisé 91 après une année aux affaires et mis 285 autres en chantier, ce qui n’est pas si mal.
Certes, il patauge en Irak et semble s’enliser en Afghanistan mais il a renoncé à l’hypocrisie du “don’t ask, don’t tell,” en matière militaire. Surtout, “he has overperformed on education and extended Medicaid to some 16 million relatively poor people. “
(…) De quoi hisser Barack Obama au niveau de Franklin Roosevelt et de Lyndon Johnson qui passent pour avoir été les plus performants sur le plan intérieur.
Selon Jonathan Alter, auteur de « The Promise: President Obama, Year One », ouvrage dont cette analyse du NYT est tirée,
“F.D. Roosevelt may have been a second-class intellect with a first-rate temperament, in the famous judgment of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., but Obama came to office with both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament.”
Mais il s’empresse d’ajouter avec perfidie: ” If he’s so smart, and so sane, why has he fallen short of his spectacular potential so far?”
Et d’évoquer comme circonstances atténuantes, le manqué de fiabilité du président Afghan Hamid Karzai, son allié obligé; une montée du chômage, une certaine ambiguïté de Wall Street. “Obama’s, explanations for his disappointing performance abound. To many, he is not and never really was a progressive, only a cautious pragmatist.”
Mais son talon d’Achille, au rebours de ce qu’il avait lui même regardé comme son atout majeur c’est son équipe de « super » conseillers, la crème de la crème triés sur le volet parmi l’élite de la méritocratie.
Des gars et des filles faits du même bois que celui dans lequel il se sait taillé. « Obama’s faith in that team has nothing to do with any particular affection for captains of finance (his own campaign donors included), or their financial institutions, or wealth. (…)Obama is if anything annoyed by Wall Street’s hypocrisy and tone-deaf behavior. “Let me get this straight,” he said “They’re now saying that they deserve big bonuses because they’re making money again. But they’re making money because they’ve got government guarantees.”
Face aux défis et ils furent considérables, il arrive à cette fine équipe de dysfonctionner dangereusement.
“Can Obama self-correct?” Sans doute a-t-il la capacité et l’énergie de se ressaisir “He remains the same driven, smart, psychologically balanced leader we saw in the campaign, “and he is the most unsentimental man I’ve ever met,” says one aide, summing up for many of his peers.”
Il a le profil intellectuel, le caractère trempé et équilibré pour continuer à nous épater et à nous faire rêver.
On aurait bien sûr aimé un mot d’analyse de Alter sur sa manière de régler le conflit israélo palestinien sur lequel l’histoire indéniablement le jugera. Wait and see.
MG

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