Obama as Global Anti-Community Organizer
This is the epitaph that James Petras writes in “dishonor” of Obama and his administration in his article: “The Obama Regime’s Military Metaphysics Rejects Diplomatic Opportunities”:
They fought the Wars
They turned friends
friends of our enemies.
They stood alone,
i n splendid isolation,
And said it was their only choice.
Remember when Sarah Palin mocked Obama for being a mere “community organizer.” Were it only so. If only he had had any capacity to be one. If only he had had the sensibility of a statesman rather than a reactionary political gamesman. If only he had been committed and empathetic about promoting communications between or among other nations.
Petras has a lot to say about Obama’s disastrous leadership internationally:
At every opportunity, with precise consistency, the Obama regime rejected fresh overtures from adversaries, choosing instead to rely on a now discredited “double discourse”, of talking peace and engaging in war, of talking trade and increasing sanctions, of talking about greater Asian engagement and fomenting economic pacts which exclude the second biggest economy in the world.
Obama’s deep, long-standing and pervasive links to the 1% of Americans affiliated with notorious Israeli ideologues and his pandering to their lobbies and wealthy fund raisers has led to a rigid adherence to colonial-military policies that eschew any diplomatic compromises which might dim the megalomaniacal vision of “Greater Israel”. Obama’s myopia is ‘structural’. He follows the dictates of prestigious Ivy League advisers whose judgment is forever defined by “what’s good for Israel” and whose academic expertise is clouded by pea-brained assessments of what ‘others’ want and how they will react to perpetual belligerency.
The world view of the Obama regime is one of mirror looking in an echo chamber: it cannot visualize and accommodate the interests of rivals, competitors or adversaries, no matter how absolutely central they are to any meaningful compromise....
Petras enumerates on the “structural” causes for the Obama regime’s incapacity to achieve any degree of wholesome diplomatic success:
1) His embrace of a “military metaphysic” which identifies violence as the key to empire building, independently of the context, correlation of forces and possibilities of victory.
2) His overweening commitment and submission to Israeli dictated Middle East policies transmitted and implemented by the domestic Zionist power configuration.
3) His overwhelming commitment to FIRE – capital (finance, insurance and real estate) over any long-term large scale commitment to rebuilding the productive sector and the welfare state.
4) His commitment to short term goals of “regime change” – destroying adversaries – over and against pursuing long-term economic linkages and incremental concessions.
As Petras sees it, in the past year Obama has blown at least seven opportunities to make our global village a more peaceful and comfortable place. James Petras has very definite takes on Obama’s failing policies with seven particular countries in the past year. His analyses deserve a serious read, I believe. You may not agree with all his evaluations, but he certainly makes a strong case for our current president being a consistently short-sighted rejector of diplomacy.
Petras explains that Iran has had the US in the UN Security Council insisting it was intent on developing a nuclear bomb, even when US intelligence agencies have found no evidence of that. The US has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran, threatened it with war countless times. The US administration keeps rejecting opportunities for diplomacy. Petras stresses that even in mid-2013 when Iran elected a new President Rohani, whom Petras describes “by all accounts, a pragmatic, conciliatory and flexible political leader” and who has expressed a desire to engage with the Obama administration over economic recovery and future nuclear weaponry and uranium levels Obama was not at all interested. Petras declares that instead of reaching back:
... the Obama regime supported a Congressional resolution drawn up and promoted by Zionist zealot David Cohen of Treasury and the Israel lobby (AIPAC), to tighten oil sanctions even further. Obama and Congress chose military confrontation, threats and regime change over and against pursuit of a grand diplomatic opportunity which could include: (1) securing an intrusive supervision of Iran’s nuclear program; (2) reduced enrichment of uranium; (3) Iranian co-operation in securing the peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria; (4) access to a multi-billion dollar petroleum market.
Petras mourns how Mahmoud Abbas’ regime in “occupied Palestine” is overly compliant in negotiating with Israel. Abbas is willing to accept 500,000 Jewish colonial settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the “no return” policy of exiled Palestinians, 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners, a constant and harsh Israeli military presence in Galilee, and a ten meter Wall surrounding “a series of non-contiguous territorial islands.” Abbas also did not object to John Kerry’s appointment of Martin Indyk, a notorious pro-Zionist, as the US mediator asserts Petras.
Israel just has announced an expansion of 3000 new housing settlements. Obama and Kerry offer no objection to Israel’s latest illegitimate annexation of what Petras describes as “the last 20% of what was ‘historic Palestine.’” Washington apparently has promised to pay off the “stooge” Abbas regime with four hundred million dollars. With this scenario, Petras concludes, Obama keeps “Zionist bankers” happy and alienates the Palestinians and millions of Muslims around the world by denying Palestinians serious relief from Israeli oppression. Kerry’s faux-diplomacy is political kabuki.
Petras contends that ever since 2001 the US has engaged in destabilization efforts to overthrow the “democratic-nationalist” government of Venezuela’s President Chavez. Petras:
Threats, military coups, large scale funding of electoral opposition parties, violent street demonstrations and referendums are part of the imperial repertory that has been tried and failed to stem the tide of Venezuela’s policy of expanding public ownership, social welfare and regional integration (ALBA). With the death of Hugo Chavez and the election of President Maduro, Washington refused to accept the electoral outcome, validated by international observers and governments the world over. Washington launched its defeated client candidate (Capriles) on a destabilization campaign first via violent street actions and then in a regional crusade, both of which made no headway and only further isolated the US in Latin America.
The Obama-Kerry regime, having failed to destabilize the Maduro regime, ‘apparently’ decided to try diplomacy, following the common sense precept: “if you can’t defeat them by force entice them with peace”. At a conference in Guatemala, Kerry called the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua for “a new relation, the re-opening of Ambassadorial ties and diplomatic negotiations” … Venezuela’s President Maduro responded favorably, eager to lessen tensions and reach a peaceful accommodation.
Then Samantha Powers, Obama’s nominee to be the US Ambassador to the UN, in testimony before Congress, declared that upon appointment she would prioritize “the fight against state repression in Venezuela”, in other words, intervene in Venezuela on behalf of the opposition. Kerry endorsed her positions, highlighting Washington’s hostility to the Maduro government.
Kerry’s overtures were exposed as a phony ploy of no consequence. Peaceful reconciliation went out the window. No negotiations took place. In order to retain ties with its client opposition, Washington closed the book on ending its isolation in Latin America and eliminated prospects for any economic openings which might have benefited US business interests.
Petras explains that at the beginning of term two, Obama announced his intention to improve relations with Russia. President Putin was receptive. Petras emphasizes the degree of Putin’s willingness to engage with the Obama administration:
President Putin backed (1) the US-NATO assault (“no fly zone”) on Libya; (2) the US designed economic sanctions against Iran; (3) allowed the US to ship arms and military personnel through Russia to bolster the occupation of Afghanistan; (4) and convinced President Assad of Syria to participate in negotiations in Geneva with the Islamic terrorist-led opposition backed by Saudi-Turkey-NATO. Putin went along with US policy on Israel-Palestine.
Obama was set to attend an OECD meeting in Russia along with a one-on-one meeting with Putin, but then Russia granted Edward Snowden asylum. Obama sharply protested Putin’s stance, despite countless times that the US itself had refused extradition requests such as for Checnyian terrorists and Russian fraudsters from Russia.
Putin, to mollify Obama’s objections, restricted Snowden to not disclose further NSA revelations. It did not soften Obama’s stance at all. He and his cabal continue to threaten Russia “with dire consequences”. Obama even canceled their one-on-one meeting.
Petras offers this history of the US and Syria, Syria which Petras labels “a co-operative adversary”:
For years Bashar Assad worked closed [sic] with the US in (1) curbing Al Qaeda terrorists; (2) preventing cross border attacks in Israel; (3) denying sanctuary for Iraqi insurgents fighting against the US occupation of Baghdad;(4) complying with US policy by withdrawing troops from Lebanon.
Petras maintains Obama ramped up the differences of the US and Syria and became determined to make Syria into another US “client-state” by demanding and amorally strategizing and perpetrating “regime change”. Petras writes:
Instead of continuing a policy of diplomatic pressure and tactical collaboration, Obama joined with an unholy alliance of Gulf State Islamic autocracies, ex-colonial European powers (especially France and England), Israel’s secret services (Mossad ) and Turkey Islamist President Erdogan in arming, financing, training and providing sanctuary to armed Islamic mercenaries led by Al Qaeda brigades. Syria was riven by conflict, the economy was destroyed, security was non-existent and millions of refugees fled to Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey and beyond. Thousands of Jihadists from afar journeyed to the neighboring countries, received arms, paychecks and terrorist training in pursuit of a “Taliban style” regime in Syria as a springboard to destabilizing pro-US client states in the region. Turkey’s and Egypt’s (under Morsi) intervention on behalf of the Islamic uprising provoked internal mass popular protest, weakening the US collaborator regimes.
Obama’s “all or nothing” attempt to establish a Syrian client regime via violence has produced a “no win” situation: either Assad retains power as a less co-operative adversary or the Islamic terrorists establish a regime that serves as a springboard for one, two, and many caliphates. In the midst of this negative scenario, through Russian mediation, Bashar Assad agreed to pursue negotiations with the opposition in Geneva. The Obama regime seized diplomatic failure from the mouth of a face-saving peaceful resolution: it failed to convince the terrorists and rejected the diplomatic option.
The war continues and refugees destabilize neighboring clients and Obama’s incapacity to recognize failures and seek diplomatic ‘half way solutions’ erodes imperial pretensions.
The 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, Petras explains, is the longest war in US history, a war costing hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands and thousands of dead soldiers and Afghanistan citizens. The violence of the war spread beyond the Afghan borders to such areas as Pakistan.
Obama at first seemed to be responding to citizen pressure and fiscal crises by promising to withdraw most of our combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Petras sees it as obvious that once the US withdraws the corrupt Hamid Karzai regime will have to go and the US will have “to cut its losses” and negotiate directly with the Taliban.
Petras explains that when the Taliban opened an office in Qatar in late 2011 it indicated that it would be willing to begin talks with the US. But at that point Obama insisted that Karzai be present for the negotiations. Obama sabotaged an opportunity for important communications for withdrawal to commence. The Taliban also was demanding total US military withdrawal. Once again, Petras insists it is inevitable. Obama refuses to discuss such a consequence and is thus prolonging military violence and corruption in Afghanistan by refusing to deal with reality.
Petras sees the US and China as having highly “complementary” needs and issues. China is a potential major source of investment for the United States. Petras declares, “US-China cooperation offers opportunities for greater integration and joint ventures which can exploit market opportunities.” He goes on:
Faced with the historic opportunity to forge an economic partnership with an emerging global power, Obama has opted to isolate China by (1) actively promoting regional trade agreements (the Transpacific Partnership) which pointedly exclude China, and (2) intervening and fomenting territorial and maritime disputes between China and its neighbors and supporting separatist ethno-religious groups in China.
The Obama regime raised illusions that he would turn from his losing and costly Middle Eastern military adventures toward the more lucrative and profitable Asian markets, when he announced a “pivot to Asia”. Instead of a reasoned and balanced shift toward (1) expanding US economic bridgeheads in China and (2) seeking to deepen financial penetration and technological links, Obama simply transferred his failed militarist ideologically driven policies to Asia. He sided with Japan in a South China Sea dispute. He is inciting the Philippines and Vietnam to contest China’s maritime claims. He is securing new military base agreements with Canberra and Manila. The Obama regime has (1) fortified its forward bases aimed at China, (2) encouraged and supported separatist Tibetans, and (3) armed Uighur terrorists.
The Obama regime has attempted to undermine China’s economic linkages in Asia without providing any comparable alternative. The end result is that China still remains as the pre-eminent trading partner for most of the members of what Obama conceived of as a “US centered” Pan-Pacific trade alliance. Furthermore by bluster and provocative military maneuvers, Obama has pushed China into a closer and deeper strategic economic and political alliance with Russia. Obama’s “isolationist ploy” was dead in the water. Commodity exporters like Australia, Indonesia, Peru, Chile, and Colombia can ill afford to shun China, for the simple fact that the US offers no alternative market! Nor can Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan find an alternative market for their high tech exports. Nor can the US replace the massive infrastructure investments that China has made in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Pakistan.
Obama’s policy of mindless military posturing, accompanied by vacuous ideological sniping, has lessened US economic opportunities, and heightened military tensions. Obama’s belligerent policy toward Beijing in pursuit of a US centered and hegemonized Asia lacks economic substance and client states willing to sacrifice economic gain for the dubious “honor” of housing US military bases pointed at threatening their principal economic partner.
Petras concludes about Obama's overall foreign policy:
The Obama regime has systematically rejected opportunities to resolve conflicts and move on to a more moderate and balanced foreign policy, one more in accord with the real capacity of the US economy and state. Current and recent foreign policy discussions and decision makers have been blinded by a ‘military metaphysic’ whose only ‘calculus’ is based on the capacity to project military power independently of the real consequences. Obama’s diplomatic initiatives lack substance and most often are neutralized by parallel military moves and aggressive interventions.
How much blood has been shed since Americans elected the so-called “peace candidate” of 2008? Has Obama ever come close to taking “diplomacy” out of a US foreign policy tool box cluttered with sophisticated weapons of mass or limited but profound destruction?
[cross-posted on open salon]