It's the best thing that could have happened for Obama. The Chinese currency situation is looking worse and more inscrutable by the minute. His effort to save individual homeowners from foreclosure has clearly failed miserably. The "official" unemployment rate is ten percentage points below the unofficial rate — and who knows what the real rate is? Even Wall Street, the worst possible measure of the strength of the productive sector, can't sustain a bull market in a bear economy. The United States government has, to all intents and purposes, reached a point of functional overload.
Life, liberty, and property? What are those? As for the pursuit of happiness, a.k.a., the acquisition and development of virtue . . . uh, huh. Anyone who is seriously concerned about the moral breakdown of society seems inevitably to want to use the State to ram a private version of truth, love, and justice down everyone else's throat. How well that recipe for failure works can be seen in today's earlier posting on the career of the supremely individualistic Alexander the Great.
Consequently, Obama desperately needs something to direct attention away from his own complete lack of vision, effective leadership, and his apparent belief that the State can solve any and all problems by simple fiat. I could imagine that the "secret meeting" this morning at the White House consisted of Mr. Obama giving heartfelt thanks to General McChrystal before letting the man know that his Commander-in-Chief is going to throw him to the wolves and (to mix metaphors) crucify him. "Firing" a military commander — especially one who uses foul language! (How could this country ever tolerate a soldier in the line of battle who uses "the F-word"?) — is the only way to 1) save Obama by distracting the public, and 2) save Obama by offering a scapegoat, and 3) save Obama by giving the appearance of actually doing something.
Well . . . Mr. Obama could always do something that has the potential actually to work . . . .
First, officially reprimand General McChrystal. He should never have spoken critically of the administration . . . any more than he should speak uncritically. At least in public. Mr. Obama should, however, ask himself the one question no one seems to be asking: is what General McChrystal said true? If so, what are you going to do about it? You don't make a bad situation any better by ignoring legitimate and accurate criticisms and surrounding yourself with a crowd of adoring lickspittles who hang on your every word and praise you endlessly.
Second, send him back to work. Told that General Grant was behaving scandalously by swearing and drinking whiskey (!!), Abraham Lincoln informed the complainants, "I can't spare that man. He fights."
Third, give the man what he needs to win: an effective counterinsurgency strategy. We suggest a variation on Capital Homesteading — which wouldn't be a bad idea for the United States, either. Widespread direct ownership of the means of production is the best and most effective way to secure each person's natural rights. With the recent discovery of vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, the country has the potential to make every citizen a direct owner of that wealth through the establishment of a Natural Resource Bank, with every citizen a shareholder. As for the economic growth and development of the rest of the country, make every citizen a direct shareholder in a soundly structured central bank.
Obviously, we can't even outline the basic principles of such a strategy in this short posting, but that's already available in the book, Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen. Why not send something to Mr. Obama and suggest that, instead of looking for scapegoats, he start looking at ways to save this country and the rest of the world instead of his own public image?