Obama, Hamlet and the Tragedy of Procrastination

Pretty much anyone who has read any Shakespeare has read the sad tale of Hamlet. And pretty much anyone who has done so will know that the tragedy occurred largely because Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, was plagued by the inability to make a decision and to act. Simply put, Hamlet was a procrastinator and the play, although action packed, is largely a “should I or shouldn’t’ I,” debate. Or, “To be or Not to be” in the words of the Bard.

Barack Obama ascended to the position of President of the United States with a “Yes we can” campaign. He was the prince who brought with him the hope and the positivity that a lacklustre war fatigued country was looking for. He embodied the very essence of what was achievable in America and reminded the citizens of that great country what was possible.

Fast forward nearly 7 years and what remains, as on the set of Hamlet is death and confusion, and the destruction of hope, the very thing he walked onto the stage carrying. The very thing he had promised his people.

He is not dissimilar to our tragic prince. He speaks magnificently and his soliloquies are profound but when swords are drawn he is immobilised. Unable to make a decision, he has repeatedly spoken of red lines should Assad of Syria use chemical weapons on his people, and yet he did just that and today more than 200,000 have died in that conflict.

In December 2011 on announcing the withdrawal of troops from Iraq he famously stated that it is “Harder to end a war that to begin one” and went on to describe the success of the US in that area. Just over 3 years later thousands of civilians in the region are dead and ISIL controls large portions of the country.

He wagged a finger at Vladimir Putin and threatened him with more finger wagging should Russia not exit Ukraine and yet the status quo remains and Putin has not blinked.

The Benghazi murder of the US Ambassador Chris Stevens and the civil war that has followed has left many thousands dead with more than a third of the counties population fleeing the area to Tunisia. Again Obama warned that the perpetrators would face the “full weight of the American justice system.” Given the track record of late, one has to wonder if that is a threat or reassurance.

He boldly and rather famously stated that Iran would never be allowed nuclear capability and yet has reacted so negatively to being told, or at the prospect of being told, that Iran stands on the threshold, that it is almost unbecoming of the prince. He has all but covered his ears with his hands and shouted above the noise, and when that didn’t work, he has stormed out of the room demanding that anyone who wants to continue to be his “besty” storms with him. So childish has been his response.

The Prime Minister of Israel was invited to speak to a joint session of Congress by the Speaker of the House. He didn’t force his way in, he didn’t gate crash and he is doing so legally. Like him or don’t like him (Obama has made it clear he doesn’t), agree with him or not, I am certain that somewhere in Obama’s job description is a paragraph about being able to cope with those who irritate him. One of the difficulties with being the Leader of the largest democracy on the planet is that one might have to tolerate those who annoy you, at least from time to time.

A nuclear Iran is not an Israel problem alone. Nor is it an American one. Iran is openly intent on the genocide of large areas of the globe. It openly supports terror and publicly and repeatedly states its intention. Given Obama’s track record of indecision and of poor choices and of empty rhetoric, the American people and indeed the world, have no choice but to listen carefully to what the Netanyahu has to say and to decide for themselves whether Iran is to be or not be a nuclear state.

About the Author
Howard Feldman is a lawyer, a physical commodity trader by industry and a writer by obsession. He is very active in the Jewish community and passionate about our world.
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