The Obama Syndrome by Tariq Ali
Surrender at Home, War Abroad

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Written early in 2010 and initially published in September 2010, The Obama Syndrome predicted the Obama administration’s historic midterm defeat. But unlike myriad commentators who have since pinned responsibility for that Democratic Party collapse on the “reform” president’s lack of firm resolve, Ali’s critique located the problem in Obama’s notion of reform itself. Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency by promising to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and his economic team brought the architects of the financial crisis into the White House. Small wonder then that the “War on Terror”—torture in Bagram, occupation in Iraq, appeasement in Israel, and escalation in Pakistan—continues. And that Wall Street and the country’s biggest corporations have all profited at the expense of America’s working class and poor.

Now a thoroughly updated paperback continues the story through the midterms, including a trenchant analysis of the Tea Party, and Obama’s decision to continue with his predecessor’s tax cuts for the rich. Ali asks whether—in the absence of a progressive upheaval from below—US politics is permanently mired in moderate Republicanism. Already called “a comprehensive account” of the problems with Obama (The Huffington Post), this new edition is sure to provide a more “powerful boost to Obama dissenters on the left” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

About Tariq Ali

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Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.
Published September 1, 2011 by Verso. 213 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Obama Syndrome

The Guardian

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Ali points out that Rahm Emanuel, Obama's now-departed chief of staff, "referred to left-liberal critics of Obama as 'fucking retarded'".

Oct 31 2010 | Read Full Review of The Obama Syndrome: Surrender...

Publishers Weekly

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In this slim but provocative volume, leftist writer and filmmaker Ali takes President Barack Obama to task for his first 18 months in office, arguing that despite the president's rhetoric of change, little distinguishes his administration from the Bush-Cheney White House.

Oct 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The Obama Syndrome: Surrender...

New York Journal of Books

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Editor of New Left Review, London-based Ali criticizes Barack Obama’s obedience to the same corporate and military powers that controlled previous American administrations.

Oct 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Obama Syndrome: Surrender...

London Review of Books

In this lecture Tariq Ali talks about why the war is unwinnable and can only lead to a bloody stalemate.

Apr 19 2010 | Read Full Review of The Obama Syndrome: Surrender...

Socialist Review

As Barack Obama and the Democratic Party face a humiliating rebuff in the mid-term elections both these books offer an appraisal of his tenure in office.

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In Barack Obama, David Maraniss has written a sweeping narrative which reveals the real story of Obama's beginnings: child of a black man from Luoland and a white woman born in Texas.

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Outlook India

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Jul 23 2014 | Read Full Review of The Obama Syndrome: Surrender...

International Socialist Review

(Although Obama once declared himself in favor of single-payer coverage, this option was never put on the table.) Ali quotes an assessment of the U.S. financial infrastructure at the start of the Obama administration: “If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is ...

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The point is that the reader of such critical newspaper, critical of Israel policy, sometimes even critical of Zionism, that reader is surely appalled by what s/he reads about Israeli racist citizenship laws, or about Israeli draconic apartheid in the Occupied Territories, or about the death toll...

Oct 20 2004 | Read Full Review of The Obama Syndrome: Surrender...

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