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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the empire lives on « Previous | |Next »
September 19, 2012

Tom Dispatch makes a good point about the trajectory of Obama's foreign policy. Recall that Obama was opposed to the use of hard military power of the Republican hawks in the George Bush administration and their national security state.

What has happened since 2008 is that Obama has:

expanded the country’s war in Afghanistan, struggled to keep American troops in Iraq (before fulfilling his predecessor’s pledge to withdraw), and oversaw escalating military interventions in Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere. [He has] failed to close Guantánamo, radically expanded the robotic assassination program, continued and expanded domestic surveillance, vigorously pursued and used the Espionage Act against more governmental whistleblowers than all other administrations combined (but prosecuted no one else in the National Security Complex for illegal activities), and kept his own extensive kill list, personally okaying assassinations.

Mitt Romney would be worse: more profligate military spending, even more troops to send to war, and possibly the addition of a new war or two to the American agenda---eg., restart a cold war with Russia, and possibly undertake a hot war against Iran.

As John Feffer says:

President Obama has largely preserved the post-9/11 fundamentals laid down by George W. Bush, which in turn drew heavily on a unilateralist and militarist recipe that top chefs from Bill Clinton on back merely tweaked.

America has no intention of giving up its empire or its massive machinery for waging war. The US is now “pivoting” to Asia with drones flying surveillance from Australia. Australia is part of the US's elaborate network of its own drone bases on foreign soil.

Seumas MIlne in The Guardian observes that:

Since launching the war on terror, the US and its allies have attacked and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq; bombed Libya; killed thousands in drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; imposed devastating sanctions; backed Israel's occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians to the hilt; carried out large-scale torture, kidnapping and internment without trial; maintained multiple bases to protect client dictatorships throughout the region; and now threaten Iran with another act of illegal war.

They assume that the U.S. has had nothing but good intentions for the past century, but the intended beneficiaries of its generosity don't get it solely because they've been misled by their leaders and media. Presumably drones don't exist the occupation of Iraq in 2003 was just a little misunderstanding,

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:53 PM | | Comments (10)


It's it's either the devil you know, or the devil you also know, but not quite as well...

Since World War 2 [just to take a convenient date] has any US president NOT waged war against some peoples somewhere in the world?
[Actually I might check that out via Wiki, what the hell its a reasonable place to start.]

My point is that it is NORMAL for the US to use its military forces to kill people in the world.
Been going on all my life.
That doesn't excuse such, but it does show that there is something deep within the US psyche/society/economy/whatever that causes them to attack and kill people around the world.

Many Americans appear to be oblivious to their country's role in decades of coups, tyranny, sanctions and occupations across the Middle East.

I worked with a bloke from Chile for about a year... he was definitely NOT a fan of the US.

Funny how this topic pops up immediately after the Sydney riot discussion. Our meeja is outraged by that event... suggesting that Muslims are too quick to resort to violence. Yet the actions of the worlds worst serial offender goes unquestioned.

Oh um... wait... that's because they're the good guys, right?

The paranoid Islamophobes' harsh rhetoric and support for endless war against the entire Muslim world in turn gives Islamic fundamentalists potent arguments to use in their battle against the West.

I reckon that the most damaging action the United States has done since 9/11 -- in terms of both lives and money and strain on US forces -- was invading Iraq, even though Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11.

The US wanted Iraq's oil.

Watching Hillary Clinton addressing a house committee this week, the complaint was of the failure of the US's propaganda effort through inadequate funding.
Not the information effort, the propaganda effort. Eg, they are not trying to explain some thing legitimate they are about, but to spin or obscure some things that many would regard as unsavoury.
What is their mindset? Are they doing wrong to justify the propaganda, you wonder.
What, really, are they doing at all?
A person's conscience troubles them, they stop. It is referred from within ones innermost self; I don't kick the dog because it hurts her, I know what pain is, so I stop because what I do saddens me.
This is rather than complain that I don't lie well enough, as if lying changes the wrongness of something?

"What is their mindset?"

These quotes should give you an indication of what many of the power elite believe....

"The United States makes the UN work when it wants it to work, and that is exactly the way it should be, because the only question, the only question for the United States is what is in our national interest. And if you don’t like that, I’m sorry, but that is the fact."

"If I were redoing the Security Council today, I'd have one permanent member because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world."

~John Bolton ... US ambassador to the United Nations (August 2005 – December 2006)

I recommend these articles by Naomi Klein.
"Baghdad year zero:
Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia"

The first shows part of the motivation for the attack on the Iraqi people [and elsewhere in the more general global context over generations] amd the gap between propaganda rhetoric and realpolitik reality.
Worth reading all of it particularly the details of the occupation.

Here are just two brief extracts that illustrate that US agression is never intended to be 'benign' [as the propaganda claims] but carefully calculated pillage for the benefit of a few.

"On August 5, 2004, the White House created the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, headed by former US Ambassador to Ukraine Carlos Pascual. Its mandate is to draw up elaborate "post-conflict" plans for up to twenty-five countries that are not, as of yet, in conflict. According to Pascual, it will also be able to coordinate three full-scale reconstruction operations in different countries "at the same time," each lasting "five to seven years........But if the reconstruction industry is stunningly inept at rebuilding, that may be because rebuilding is not its primary purpose. According to Guttal, "It's not reconstruction at all-it's about reshaping everything."

Chilling, in its remorseless greed.
These are truly evil people.

No matter what he says in public, Obama is just continuing a long tradition.

But just to make sure... the glorious Mr Bolton gave him this advice in 2008...

"Do not let global 'public opinion' about the United States, from Albania to Zimbabwe, dissuade you from doing what you think is right for America. Your job is to defend and advance our interests and values, a task which invariably will displease our adversaries, and even many of our friends, especially those who wish we were, well, more European in our behaviour and attitudes...we should try to shift international public opinion to support our policies, not modify our policies to try to satisfy international public opinion."

So what's new?