Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Quo Vadis, Barack Obama …?
By Ben Tanosborn
ccun.org, July 18, 2009
Obama is coming home after two difficult summits, Russia and the
G-8, to a domestic agenda not likely to yield better results. If our
pessimistic selves paint a world which is economically poisoned and
environmentally doomed, Air Force One’s landing at Andrews AFB will bring
back this president to the epicenter of it all; for both disasters –
economic and environmental – had their start right here, in the good old US
This American President is unquestionably not as big a barker
as the previous one, but to most Russians – and not just Vladimir Putin – he
is probably another smiling, soft tone messenger of the same unrelenting
American empire. And the world of détente remains just that; a
compromise held by pins of mutually-assured destruction in the hands of
self-appointed, loyal guardians of tribes, nations, ideologies and the rest.
Many in America appear totally surprised at the cool – uneventful at
least – reception that President Obama received in Moscow. Duh!
What did we really expect... an exuberant welcome to our charismatic leader
just like those our copycats Euro-cousins give him? Not in a thousand
years! Russians have had it with post-cold war America and its
berating behavior as if the victor in a hot-war never fought.
Obama took to the Russians the very same message that George W. Bush did;
new messenger, same old message from the very powerful “AMIC” (American
Military Industrial Complex)… you know, the mythical-yet-real organization
President Dwight Eisenhower warned all Americans about half century ago.
While signing a face-saving agreement which reduced the number of
missiles aimed at each other – yet not changing in the least how either or
both nations might be reduced to smithereens – the Russians also consented,
gleefully one suspects, to allow flights over their territory carryings
troops and weapons en route to Afghanistan. Obviously, the Russians
vividly remember US involvement two decades ago helping the Taliban that
cost them so many dead… an indirect way of paying us back for “our
contribution” to their decade-long conflict in Afghanistan; a prelude to a
possible second Vietnam for the US. A Pyrrhic victory for Obama at the
Kremlin… and on to Italy for the POTUS!
L’Aquila was a fitting
locale, ‘though coincidentally, as the meeting place for the G-8.
Abruzzo, a region devastated three months earlier by earthquakes, was now
hosting the discussions on the two major issues – both with catastrophic
implications – that confront the world: the deep recession affecting the
economy of most nations, and the ominous environmental implications facing
the entire planet, usually linked to economic growth. But Obama’s
opportunity to have a tête-à-tête with China’s Hu Jintao while at L’Aquila
did not materialize, as the president of the world’s most populous nation
had to abruptly depart to tend to domestic affairs – disturbances of the
ethnic variety – at Xinjiang.
Perhaps it was just as well that
Jintao and Obama did not meet. One gets the feeling that Mr. Obama is
not prepared to answer the two trillion dollar question that the leader of
the soon to be second largest economy in the world would have for him.
America’s economy and our people’s pseudo standard of living have been
subsidized in the past 10 years by the Chinese masses through a government
that purposely, and smartly so, kept “forced savings” (non-consumption) in
the national coffers while still permitting a noticeable increase in the
citizens’ standard of living. Chinese savings that kept the US economy
propped up instead of being declared insolvent. Now, after observing
the workings of US capitalism, and the resulting debacle which has occurred,
the seemingly obsequious Chinese are getting weary, jittery and concerned of
what games the US might play in the valuation, or devaluation (!), of its
dollar… and whether they might end up partially paying for our economic sins
of the past. But a major confrontation remains in the wings, Obama’s
visit to China planned for later this year; and with an economy likely to
get worse by then, things for Mr. Obama do not bode well. As with
Russia, a wide Barack smile won’t substitute as response to legitimate
questions these leaders have and which require straightforward answers, not
just diplomatically-treated bullshit.
Like Obama’s trip to mend
fences in the Middle East, these summits to Moscow and L’Aquila will be
little else than a political show, not much different from those Bush Jr.
attended. Our policies remain in effect, only the packaging has
changed. Israel may have completed its withdrawal from Gaza as Obama
was sworn into office, but in almost six months since then, the four-year
embargo of Gaza by Israel continues… and misery in the little, overpopulated
strip of land reigns supreme. Now, a Palestinian peer tells me, they
(leaders in Gaza) are starting to look at the EU for help in getting Israel
to face not just juridical issues but humanitarian as well. “Obama,”
he says, “is all words and no action; but what can you expect when his Chief
of Staff is Rahm Emanuel.” Last week a delegation from the European
Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) met with Javier Solana, EU Foreign
Policy Coordinator, to discuss pertinent details and try to have Israel
abide by international laws, and respect the rights of Palestinians.
Now President Obama returns to face a Congress that for the most
part answers to its preferred corporate constituents, through their lobbies,
and not its true constituents: the people they represent. So look for
legislation in such critical issue as healthcare to be watered down to a
level that will keep Americans at the healthcare tail end of that provided
in most industrialized countries, or even some socially-enlightened
developing nations such as Cuba. And count not on legislation, or
investigation by the Department of Justice, on criminality that occurred
during the Bush-Cheney years; no matter what additional discoveries are
made, such as the surveillance program started under the old regime and now
surfacing. However, on this latter issue, Obama is personally to blame
after his incredulous remark “that we must look forward.” As if any
kind of crime that is perpetrated under the political mantle has a statute
of limitations that takes effect the moment a new administration takes the
reins. This… from a constitutional scholar!
Quo vadis, Barack
Obama? Can you tell us the path you have chosen to take?
There are some progressives in the nation who claim that Obama is a chess
player when it comes to politics… that he is four moves ahead in the game;
and that eventually Obama’s true progressive colors will triumphantly
emerge. As much as I would want that to be true, it is wishful
thinking at best… and comedic treatment of reality at worst.
painfully taken me almost six months to realize that Barack Obama is not the
agent of change this nation needs; an agent we are unlikely to get through
political evolution in a corrupt two-party system. Nonetheless, better
Obama at the helm that one of the many Republican nuts itching to deliver us