I see no sign of BP hiding from its responsibilities but see every sign of a company struggling to find a solution in incredibly difficult circumstances. A bit of recognition of that from Obama wouldn't go amiss. Instead of coming out with anti British and anti oil company sentiment and pandering to populism, Obama should roll up his sleeves and give BP his and his government's support in the clear up operation.
A friend of mine in Washington, Daniel Forrester has some interesting comments and questions for me and for you, dear reader...
It's striking that you have not mentioned the BP oil spill on your blog. This event in the US has solidified new perceptions of Obama that will dog him for years to come. In addition, this will reset the rules for so many things that have been ignored for years. We might as well be on the moon as we try to do this. This is man on the very edge of the technology he so proudly deploys. Shocking events like this are coming at us now - from derivatives with no transparency to oil spills. No country is immune from such low probability but high consequence events. World leaders better get good at thinking through the downside of things as rosy forecasts on issues like sovereign debt will prove fatal. The shocks will continue to come; its the way the world works now. No cyclical answers to massive systemic problems.
So many questions:
What, if anything, does this mean for UK and American relations as BP Global has its heritage based on the UK even though its the US arm that owns the spill?
What would Cameron do if faced with such a moment?
What should BP do that they have not? Can they be trusted?
What would it mean for the coalition in terms of rules, regulations and energy policy if this happened off the coast of Scotland, let's say? Would it break the coalition up? Could it break apart more than that?
What say you and your wise readers as this event is live with no end in sight. I can't begin to tell you how sad this makes me and so many Americans. An entire region will never be the same in my lifetime - if ever.
Of course BP must take responsibility for what has happened, but I see no sign of them shrinking from that. But disasters like this are always possible no matter what measures are in place to prevent them, and politicians need to recognise that, as well as ensuring that proper investigations take place to establish what happened and why.
And isn't it interesting how Obama constantly refers to the company as "British Petroleum", a name it hasn't used for decades. Why would he do that, I wonder. I think we know.
BP is not blameless in this disaster. How could it be? Mistakes were clearly made. But let's assess those mistakes on the basis of what actually happened rather than the fact that BP is, wait for it, "foreign".
I used to think Barack Obama was a different sort of politician. I now realise I was wrong. He's just as much of a brazen populist as the last Democrat in the White House, Bill Clinton.