Obama at Mandela’s Funeral

by Ryan on December 10, 2013

in Anything Else,History,International Relations,Media Bias,Politics

It was all about Obama Nelson Mandela today in Johannesburg at a funeral service which saw dozens of world leaders come to pay their respects to the former President of South Africa.  It was also a great chance for President Obama to jangle the keys to turn our attention away from Obamacare and his sinking poll numbers.

During this solemn occasion, the President managed to take a selfie with both the Danish and British Prime Ministers.  Um, not so appropriate — Michelle was NOT amused.

In between selfies and congratulating himself on being present, Obama managed to shake the hand of Raul Castro.  No American President had shaken the hand of a Castro since Bill Clinton (hmm).  At a hearing on the Hill today, Secretary of State Kerry experienced why the handshake wasn’t such a good move politically, being told by Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen of Florida:

Mr. Secretary, sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant. Castro uses that hand to sign the orders to repress and jail democracy advocates. … Tell the Cuban people living under that repressive regime that, a handshake notwithstanding, the U.S. policy toward the cruel and sadistic Cuban dictatorship has not weakened.

Ouch.  This whole debacle is what it looks like when amateur-hour approaches its sixth year.

On another note, I have a few thoughts on Mandela.  Notwithstanding any of the positive good he did, Mandela was no saint and didn’t like America too much.  Comparing him to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Pope John Paul II seems like hyperbole.  It makes me wonder why we lauded him so much — at times there seemed to be more world leader photo ops than citizens in or around the stadium!  That says something.  Could it be that we laud him because Africa needs some positive role models, and given the list, Mandela will do?  Do we laud him because in today’s world we don’t have too many people to look up to anymore?  Either way, that’s a poignant line of thinking.

Regardless, at a funeral ceremony, I expect my world leaders to be more respectful; more Thatcher, less Wellstone.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

rightonoz December 11, 2013 at 2:37 am

I have to disagree with you on Mandela.

Like all he had faults, however he led the country to independence and stopped those blacks who wanted retribution from getting their way.

As for his supposed faults.
So he purchased armaments, so did the white government, and the US/UK etc were happy for them to do that.

He wasn’t anti America, he was anti some of it’s policies, but also supported other policies.

Yes, he was a freedom fighter, however the very acts that your link complains against were not too dissimilar to acts during the American War of Independence, and other resistance wars America/we werehappy to support. He was fighting a legitimate fight against a brutal repressive (remember Sharpsville?) regime that many Western including American leaders were happy to support.

America (and Australia) supported Suharto, even during his brutal purges of the Chinese under the guise of fighting communism.

As for Obama, ok not happy with his grandstanding, however shaking hands with Castro is no worse than the number of even more vicious right wing dictators many Western, including American presidents were happy to shake hands with.

Cuba exists, and will continue to despite an illogical embargo including terrorist acts such as the sinking of at least one boat destined for Cuba (See England, buses). While the Castor’s are ruthless dictators, they are no different than many the West are happy to support (or pretend weren’t that bad – remember Haiti), it’s just the label that’s involved. Batista, who they replaced was an even more evil dictator, just America friendly.

As for the Selfie – he should be ashamed.


Mike December 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Hi Oz:

You raise many valid points, but I think you were a bit sloppy this time. You refer to “right wing” dictators, and undoubtedly that is the label commonly applied to such men. But in doing so, you, and conventional wisdom use that label in a way to suggest that the ideas those dictators are consistent with the “right wing” as it exists in contemporary politics.

Today, those on the “right” support limited government and freedom to the extent that it does not infringe upon the rights of others. No dictator, ever, is consistent with the values we associate with the right.

You’re right that both the US and Australia have supported dictators for practical reasons. Specific examples include the shah in Iran and Mubarak in Egypt, regimes that did not deserve support from anyone. We also allied with Joseph Stalin at one point. But you ignore the fact that doing so was based on a prudential (not principled) necessity to stop something worse: Islamic extremism in the cases of the shah and Mubarak, or equally bad: Adloph Hitler in the case of Stalin.

As for Batista, he was only worse than what Castro PROMISED to be at the time of Cuba’s revolution. Batista is not even in Castro’s league when it comes to brutality and economic stagnation. At least when the U.S. propped up a dictator, they were not as oppressive of what the alternative was, and they were not committed to forcing their brutal ideologies worldwide, as the Soviets were.

The selfie? Yawn.

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, are you living in the US now? I’ve read that you have a business here.


rightonoz December 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Hi Mike,

Valid points, and yes, perhaps I did get a little sloppy. My point, as you summarised was that our respective governments have gotten into bed with (or tolerated) evil regimes for one reason or another.

Not living in the US (yet). Yes, I have owned a company in GA for 6 years. I have recently agreed to sell my largest Australian company to a competitor, and try semi-retirement. Last week purchased a bigger and better RV to spend more time travelling our great country. All going well, the business sale becomes final 25 February. Due diligence has been completed, and it’s down to them getting their finance etc finalised by Jan 27.

That will leave me with the Australian software business, including web design and hosting, plus the GA business which is growing rapidly.

Considering a move to the US. Owning the GA business I qualify for a Green Card (and being of good character etc :-) )

I’m back at uni, studying a MA (Writing) to add to the BCOM, MMgt, MBA and a couple of PGDip’s. (I enjoy learning), and recently published my first book, which was a requirement of admission to the degree, as my undergrad studies were in commerce, not arts. (It’s about and executive jet pilot, and a bit racy, in parts, so might not be on the Axis of Right recommended reading list)

If I don’t have cause to before Christmas, a very merry one to you and your family, plus the rest of the Axis of Right team. I’ll raise a glass of good Aussie red.

Our boys are returning from Afghanistan, heads high having achieved much, so many more Aussie families will have a better Christmas.


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