THE BLOG

Can President Obama Become a Statesman?

08/11/2013 01:17 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2013
  • Georges Ugeux Chairman and CEO, Galileo Global Advisors and Adjunct professor at Columbia Law School

The mission of the current president of the United States is about to fail.

Several of Barack Obama's most recent interventions cast a cloud over his ability to act as a true statesman.

1. In numerous instances, the president is still appearing as a candidate and a fundraiser.. The pathetic "Only as much as I can do on my own" in a fundraising appeal makes me sick. Mr. President, you are no longer a candidate, and appeals signed by you for 3, 10 or 25 dollars, represent a huge temptation to de-register from the Democratic Party. You have no place there. We need a Statesman, not a Salesman.

2. The recent attitude about Russia is not presidential. While Barack Obama states that the relationship with Russia has deteriorated under Putin might as well be read as a deterioration under Obama. It is particularly unfortunate to refuse to meet President Putin when the Secretary of State and the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs are holding high-level discussions in Washington DC. He did not manage to move Russia an inch from its support of Syria. One more incentive to consolidate the relationship between Russia and China.

3. The attitude on Edward Snowden was, at best, impulsive. Treating a whistleblower as a traitor or a felon is not how a president should deal with an embarrassing situation. He eventually had to admit that Snowden was right: the White House had over extended its power and will now act with transparency. How do you write flip-flop in Russian? флип-флоп!

4. His recent decision to support Apple by overturning an International Trade Commission ruling that would have banned import of some models of the iPhone and iPad is totally unheard of. It also infringes the rules of the recently signed Korea US Free Trade Agreement. Is it presidential to become anti-Samsung and put in question the whole system of patents, as the Financial Times analyzes it?

5. Unable to manage Congress, the president has been inefficient in a number of key decisions that were needed for the U.S. economy. Budget management, the limit of borrowing, sequestration, have all been defeats of the White House. September 30 is tomorrow. While there is no doubt that the GOP has been blatantly obtrusive without any regard for the economy and scientific evidence, It is up to the White House to create the conditions of bipartisanship. He could not stop it today at his "I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail" you said at Friday's press conference. "I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail."

Mr. President, the world needs a Statesman at the White House.
These recent events give the sad impression of a President who feel he needs to personally intervene in each an every aspect of U.S. politics. It needs a leader who can focus on the problems that threaten our universe, including the dreadful situation in Egypt, the relationship with Islam, the new Iranian Power. Democracy is at stake.
Sir, America no longer has a functioning democracy.

This serious warning comes from Jimmy Carter:

"At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Carter wrote. "But instead of making the world safer, America's violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends."

It is urgent that you focus on the true issues at hand, and refrain to let your politician's instinct dominate. A reform of U.S. institutions requires limitations of corporate political funding as a way to reduce Washington's lobbying. The gun registration failure will remain an evidence of your inability to control even your own political supports against the NRA lobby. You promised to put an end on the bad practices of Washington who are more flourishing than ever. U.S. democracy is corrupt.

You were a professor of constitutional law: you know that filibustering, independence of justice and partisanship are key to our democracy. You have the ability to turn the next two years into a real legacy: the man who restored the credibility of American politics from abysmal approval rates to respect and trust. You must act, and have nothing to lose. Restore democracy in the United States.

Be a Statesman, sir, if you don't want your presidency to enter in history as the most ineffective White House of recent times.