“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”
Obama’s foreign policy is now official, its been explained on the White House web site. No big surprise, to me at least. Especially since on day three of his presidency Obama used his “license to kill” to approve missile strikes in Pakistan. Some of the dead were children. Yes, blowing up the homes of suspected terrorists and anyone who happens to be around in complete defiance of another nation’s sovereignty and international law has worked so well for Israel. We know how much everyone loves Israel. Sorry, I’m digressing. Granted, I didn’t hold out much hope for change with Obama, but it’s worse than I imagined. The only changes he’s making in American foreign policy is a promise to pull out of Iraq and a promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison. Yes, promises.
I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s look at a few items from the web site. Remember, this is the new improved official Obama foreign policy. First, Afghanistan:
“Afghanistan: Obama and Biden will refocus American resources on the greatest threat to our security — the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will increase our troop levels in Afghanistan, press our allies in NATO to do the same, and dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan’s economic development. Obama and Biden will demand the Afghan government do more, including cracking down on corruption and the illicit opium trade.”
OK. The idea that some mountain tribesmen in the Himalayas are the “greatest threat to our security” doesn’t pass the laugh test. It’s been the central plank in the past eight years of Bush’s bogeyman foreign policy, and it looks like it’s going to stay. The idea that we are going to “win” the war in Afghanistan, revitalize their economy, or get NATO to send more troops is a crack dream. And yeah, their corrupt powerless puppet government is going to do more. This is like a letter to Santa Claus, it’s a wish list, not foreign policy. Then Pakistan:
“Pakistan: Obama and Biden will increase nonmilitary aid to Pakistan and hold them accountable for security in the border region with Afghanistan.”
Well, this is easy. Pakistan is responsible for the mess we made by invading Afghanistan. And the mess we are making by firing missiles into Pakistan. Obama may be be taking a page from the Israeli playbook here … blaming others for the problems we caused.
He goes on to discuss nuclear weapons:
“A Record of Results: The gravest danger to the American people is the threat of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon and the spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes.”
Huh? The chances of terrorists getting a workable nuclear weapon and getting it into the USA is remote in the extreme, and it’s hard to see how it compares to countries like Russia and China that could deliver hundreds of nuclear warheads to the US mainland with a few hours notice. Or global warming, the collapsing economy, or a dozen other things. And then there’s the dangerous regimes line, the same old Hollywood good guy bad guy crap.
I had dared hope for a president with a bit more nuanced approach to foreign affairs. And maybe a president who told us that we really don’t face that many threats, hell, the USA is one of the safest countries the world has ever known. The last serious threat to the US mainland was in 1812 for God’s sake. The native Americans were suppressed by the 1970s. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan went down in flames in 1945. The Soviet Union collapsed nearly twenty years ago. We spend more money than the rest of the world combined on defence … but we’re still not safe? I dunno, I’m pretty sure the citizens of England at its height or Rome in its glory didn’t consider bandits on the other side of the planet as anything resembling a “gravest danger.”
It goes on, the site practically slavers in it’s support of Israel. I guess with Israelis cheering the murder of Gazan children he just wanted to join the jubilant crowd? It does say that Obama will make a priority of settling the Palestinian problem and endorses the two state solution. It’s a little unclear to me how this is going to be accomplished without Israel giving up some land. Look at this map, I don’t see anything here for the Palestinians but some isolated cantons completely surrounded by Israeli controlled territory, hardly a viable state.
Oh well, those of us who dared to dream that Obama would end the “war on terror” jargon were the ones on crack I guess. The only change in Washington under Obama is going to be the names on the White House stationery. The economy will continue to decline, our confrontational foreign policy will continue to destabilize parts of the world we have no business being in in the first place, and Americans will continue to be bombarded with propaganda about the terrible threats we face. And with a continuation of Bush’s policies, sooner or later it will all come crashing down. In our arrogance we are creating what we fear most.
On the plus side, this will be my first and last post railing about Obama, since the title of the blog says it all. I just had to get it out of my system.
(The above image of then candidate Obama trying on a cowboy hat is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and its use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Maybe it’s just me, but more and more I see a smug arrogance in his expressions … not an expression I want to see on the face of the President of the USA.)