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5 Reasons Why President Obama Made The Risky Bet



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May 04 2011
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In stock market you either bet to long or short your desire stocks. Of course there’re more choices in options trading such as playing the spread game of which you get to keep the premium if the options you bought expire out of value. It was precisely the same dilemma that hit President Barack Obama before he authorize the strike by U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six that eventually killed Osama bin Laden. In fact, it took President Obama 16 hours of thinking to approve the mission despite all the positive indicators that someone of very high value was residing in the million dollar mansion.

The nightmare of “Black Hawk Down”, the disastrous 1993 battle in Somalia in which two American helicopters were shot down and some of their crew killed in action, constantly being mentioned during meetings before the final decision to strike the “mansion” outside of Abbottabad, without the knowledge of the government of Pakistan. The stake was very high but the potential returns could be very rewarding. Just like investing stocks, options or other financial instruments, you either make a great profit or suffer a huge loss.

Osama bin Laden Operation - Obama Decision Time

In the case of President Obama, it could cost him his presidency should the “Black Hawk Down” history was to repeat itself. Already many knifes were at his throat ready to send him out of the Oval Office. His ratings in managing the economy couple with escalating oil prices and stubborn unemployment were not in his favour. He had to decide fast and the fact that his administration officials were split over whether to launch the operation, wait and continue monitoring or go for less risky bombing assault didn’t help President Obama at all.

 Osama bin Laden Operation - Obama & Team in Situation Room

Finally he made the bet and four top aides were summoned to the White House Diplomatic Room where he gave the greenlight to strike. The operation was perhaps the most risky and critical in Obama’s entire life that he was practically “stone faced” as seen in a photo where his team was updated realtime on the mission in the White House. Tours of the White House was even cancelled on Sunday in order to prevent suspicious that some sort of crisis was going on with all the high-level security officials holed up in the Situation Room.

Four helicopters (two main assault copters with another two as backup in case of trouble) with 79 American commandos flew in at low altitude and entered Pakistani airspace using sophisticated technology intended to evade that country’s radar systems. Some speculate that the Americans had either jammed the Pakistani air defence system or the Pakistan government / military knew of the operation all along because of the one hour journey from Bagram and returned after the 40-minute mission. If indeed Pakistan government didn’t know about the operation until it was over, then their air defence system sucks big time.

Osama bin Laden Operation - BlackHawk Navy Seals Team

The code name for Osama bin Laden was “Geronimo” and only after everyone in the Situation Room received “Geronimo EKIA” (Enemy Killed In Action) was the mission accomplished. President Obama’s bet works and the death handed Obama a sweet major national security victory, just as he begins campaigning for re-election in 2012. So, why did President Obama decided to go ahead with the most risky option in this operation? What was he betting against? What benefits would he get should he bet the right horse?

1) Repair his poor economic management

President Obama won his presidency because his “Political Change” worked wonderfully at a time when the Americans were sick and tired of former President Bush’s disastrous economic policy. But two years into his presidency Americans are increasingly rejecting President Obama’s big government solutions to America’s economic problems.

 President Obama Poor Economic Management

The fears over the current state of the US economy, concern over high levels of unemployment, the unstable housing market, rising gasoline prices and most importantly the towering budget deficit are flushing Obama’s approval ratings down the toilet. He hoped to bring down oil prices a few notches with decline in geopolitical risk. And now with the latest success, dealing with other issues that has direct influence over oil prices such as the Libyan crisis could be much easier.

2) Improve confidence in his leadership as the Commander-in-Chief  

Obama’s Leadership Rating drops to a staggering 37% by Feb 2011, the lowest level since he took office in January 2009 and obviously a disaster for his re-election campaign. Compared to former President Bush, Obama has not proven a bit on his leadership militarily.

 President Barack Obama - Commander in Chief

Sept 11, 2001 attacks on American soil by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda were the defining moment of Bush’s presidency and the sudden feelings of patriotism among Americans skyrocket thereafter helped Bush stay in office. Using the same argument, Obama thought if he succeeded in capturing or killing Osama in the operation, it would rejuvenate his presidency chances.

3) Fulfilling his 2009 Presidential Campaign Pledge

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to scale back the estimated 156,000 U.S. troops from Iraq and Kuwait while boosting 10,000 more to reinforce the U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He also pledged to continue hunting down bin Laden. At that point of time, it was presumed that the al-Qaeda operation generally and Osama specifically were concentrated along the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders.

 Barack Obama Troops Deployment

If indeed the high-value suspect in the mansion targeted in the operation is Osama bin Laden, then Obama would have fulfill his pledge, not to mention a stronger justification in bringing back more troops back home.

4) Silencing his critics especially the Republicans

Traditionally, Repulicans have a reputation in U.S. politics for being stronger than Democrats on national security issues. And history shows that the Americans would rally behind their president during a war, at least during the initial stage. It sure feels good to be treated as a hero, no matter big war or small battle.

Democrats vs Republicans 

A successful operation taking place under his authorization and watch would give Obama and his party the trophy that his predecessor George W. Bush failed to secure. And Osama bin Laden is no ordinary trophy obviously.

5) Strengthening American greatness to rally supporters

In a speech to the United Nations, President Obama once stated that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.” While his objective was to adopt a softer instead of confrontational approach with other countries, it doesn’t goes well with most of the Americans.

 American Greatness Superpower

The simple logic was that a U.S. president who does not accept America’s greatness in history can never lead the world’s only superpower with force. President Obama was accused of out of touch with the American people and he has undermine the United States as a global power, something that most Americans cherishes. Obama administration was easily blamed for the failure in containing Iran’s nuclear programme and the latest weakness in dragging its feat in solving Libyan crisis.

Therefore, by successfully taking out Osama bin Laden’s decade-old long threat, other countries who had the perception that U.S. was a weak country under an incompetent president would now need to reassess the situation once again. It would be extremely foolish to poke the country that would not think twice about sending its military might into your territory, without you even notice it. Hence the immediate country that needs a lot of explaining to do now is none other than Pakistan.

 Osama bin Laden Killed at Abbotabad

Although Pakistan succeeded in getting China’s support, the United States vowed to “get to the bottom” of the matter, never mind that Pakistan cries it didn’t know or helped Osama bin Laden in any way despite the fact that Osama lived comfortably in a fortified compound in the Pakistan military garrison town of Abbottabad. It remains to be seen if the U.S. Congress would withdraw the US$20 billion direct aid for Pakistan to help fight militancy since al-Qaeda’s Twin Towers attacks.

Those who think this is another bluff from Obama administration and Osama bin Laden is still alive are plain idiots. The fact that it came from the highest office of the United States government was sufficient to prove the death of Osama is for real. On the contrary, it would be plain stupid on Obama administration to fake the death simply because Osama bin Laden can easily broadcast video of him holding today’s New York Times to prove he’s still alive. Maybe the release of Osama’s gruesome photograph, which is now under consideration, would convince the doubters.

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