As I write this, journalist Toby Young is on Question Time, sporting a remarkably shiny head, and raging about Barack Obama’s allegedly ‘anti-British’ comments about the BP oil spill that, also as I write, is of course spraying out into the ocean and causing much death and destruction in the ocean. He tells the rabble of Britons in the audience that, should Obama desire a lesson in ‘ass-kicking’ he should tune in during the USA vs. England World Cup match. Oh, thanks Toby – way to bring in football.
Anyway, this is undeniably a topic that has to be treaded upon carefully – not least of all because of the fact than at overwhelming number of Triond users are Americans, and I have no intention of offending with rebuke of ‘anti-American’ comments. Personally, I don’t actually think that Obama’s comments alone are at fault. They have certainly caused a stir in England, and a lot of patriots are deeply upset, but politicians such as Boris Johnson have only exasperated the situation through biting back with his own acidic comments.
This disaster is, I think, not going to be resolved through name calling or pointing the finger. First of all, to blame Britain alone for the inadequacies of the clear-up procedure is absurd, simply because BP is no longer a British company. It has 10,000 British employees, and 20,000 American employees. The ratio of British to American shareholders and chairpersons are not dissimilar. This debacle was a product of negligence on both sides of the Atlantic, and the intense pressure that Obama has clearly been under – apparently from a couple of mescaline heads in the deep south – seems to have pushed him into the murky territory of finding a scapegoat.
The reality is that Obama does not hate the British, in my humble and usually misguided opinion. Politics is a twisted, crazy-ass world and Obama usually does a fine job of beating off the freaks and journalists snapping at his heels at every corner. Sure, he screwed up and made a few comments that, in combination with equally asinine comments on the British side, have inflamed an already stressful and deeply hideous situation for everybody. There’s no need to trade ad hominem arguments and token insults in place of constructive negotiation when we’ve irretrievable commodities perishing at an alarming rate across the ocean.