Massive takedown of Obama's greatest speech EVAH on Middle East policy
You remember that speech, right? It was pretty recent. Ahdaf Soueif, the Guardian:
This wasn't slipping poison into the honey; it was smearing chemical sweeteners on to toxic pellets. Barack Obama listed what he sees as his country's "core interests" in my country Egypt and my region; his country's "core principles" governing how it will act towards us, and his policies to promote US interests within the frame of US principles. Let's translate the US president's description of his "core interests in the region" into effects on the ground:
"Countering terrorism" has implicated (at least) Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the US's extraordinary rendition programme, turning our governments into torturers for hire and consolidating a culture of security services supremacy and brutality that is killing Syrian protesters today and manifests itself in Egypt as a serious counter-revolution.
"Stopping the spread of nuclear weapons" highlights consistent US double standards as Arab nuclear scientists are murdered, the US threatens Iran, and Israel happily develops its illicit arsenal.
"Securing the free flow of commerce" has meant shoving crony capitalism down our throats, bribing governments to sell our national assets and blackmailing us into partnerships bad for us.
"Supporting Israel" has led to land, resources and hope being stolen from Palestinians while Egypt becomes their jailer and dishonest broker, losing its credibility and self-respect. ...
The blame is not all with America. We had a regime that was susceptible, that became actively complicit; assiduously finding ways to serve US and Israeli interests – and ruin us. But: we got rid of it. Peaceably, with grace and within the law. We Got Rid of It.
So when Obama says, "We will continue to do" the things described above, it's a challenge. When he adds, "with the firm belief that America's interests are not hostile to people's hopes; they are essential to them" – it's obfuscation and an insult to every citizen across the world – including Americans – who followed our revolutions with empathy and with hope. ...
In the end, our revolutions are not by or for or about the US. We in Tunisia and Egypt, and soon in Libya, Syria, Yemen, are looking for ways to run our countries to the benefit of our people and the world. We see that democracy is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. "Democratic" systems are failing their people, in Britain, in India, in the US, as millions fall into poverty, banks take precedence over hospitals and universities, the environment is degraded and the fabric of society frayed, the media are compromised, and politico-business scandals are standard entertainment.
The world needs better; and that's what we're working for.
Yep. We in the United States need to learn from all over the world.
NOTE The flip, and optimistic, side of the rentiers driving down U.S. wages to world levels (see here and here) is that every non-rentier in the world has, more or less, the same interests. One might imagine, for example, putting a world-wide minimum wage on the agenda, to eliminate labor arbitrage.