With apologies to Rod Serling and his classic “Twilight Zone” TV series, there is a signpost up ahead in America, and it reads “The Chaos Zone.” The firing of General Stanley McChrystal is just one piece of a jumbled public policy puzzle that now threatens the presidency of Barack Obama.
Let’s take it step by step. Afghanistan is going poorly because the Afghan government is corrupt, and the folks distrust their leadership. So there’s not great enthusiasm to fight the Taliban, even though those killers are despised as well. Also, to avoid civilian casualties, U.S. and NATO forces rarely call in air strikes and have a virtual checklist before firing at bad guys. Now, their commander has been fired because of a stupid article in Rolling Stone magazine, of all publications. Couldn’t it have at least been Reader’s Digest?
Back home, the oil spill continues to gush unabated. To say this situation is chaotic is understating it by miles. Recently the Coast Guard stopped vessels from vacuuming up oil slicks in order to check out the life vest situation. Geez.
The economy may not be in chaos, but is anyone banking on it, pardon the pun? I mean, anything could happen at any time. Stocks could drop 1,000 points in a day. Is anyone in charge here?
And then there is Mexico. Chaos in Spanish is “caos.” Drug cartels run entire cities, and more than 23,000 people have been murdered since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels. Like the Afghanis, many Mexicans despise the corruption they see all around them. And so they try to come to the United States to escape poverty and violence. The U.S. government knows all this, and yet it will not secure the southern border, adding to the chaos on both sides of it. This has been going on for decades.
Smack in the middle of all this sits President Obama in the Oval Office. Is the oil slick his fault? Was he the cause of the dumb comments made by General McChrystal and his staff? Is Mexican violence on the president? The answer to all those questions is no. Mr. Obama had nothing to do with them.
But now he does. He must clean up the oil, the fallout from McChrystal, and stop the border madness. These things are all in motion on his watch.
The problem for the president today is one that Herbert Hoover had back in 1929. So many things are out of control that it may be impossible to round them all up. That is the chaos zone. It brought down Hoover, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, to name just a few.
President Obama was slow in reacting to the oil spill. He seems loathe to send the National Guard to the border. Afghanistan? Who the heck knows? Same thing with the economy.
Americans like strong leadership that appears to have things under control. Anybody seen that recently?