Obama in the Spin - Americas

Obama in the Spin

Posted by Aneela Shahzad on

The last week has witnessed a swift change in the United States’ foreign policy doctrine. It all seems to have started on Sunday, when President Obama made a surprise visit of Afghanistan, a symbolic one. The visit symbolized two things – the US arrogance, whereby the US President did not consider an uncoordinated visit as a breach in the sovereignty of another nation – and the US President not meeting the Afghan President, which shows the distance between the so-called democratic government in Afghanistan and the US and its stationed troops, after over ten years of fruitless intervention.

In his visit, Obama had nothing to say to the Afghan people, nor to the thousands of NGOs that have been inducted into the Afghan society to uplift it, nor anything to the Afghan women for whose welfare the American daisy-cutters had upheaved the soil of Afghanistan ten years ago; he had only come to see his troops and thank them, perhaps for keeping Afghanistan occupied for more than a decade.

In fact, a lowly comment from the president was reported, which shows the pathetic vision of the American people for the rest of the world, ‘the president said he frequently tells corporate leaders, “If you want somebody who can get the job done, hire a vet”.’ He also said that “America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end” and that “We are going to make sure that Afghanistan can never again — ever — be used to launch a terrorist attack against our country”. And in the coming next days, Obama made it very clear what he means by ‘responsible’.

On Tuesday, in a statement from the White House, Obama said, ‘We have to recognize that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one. The future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans. But what the United States can do — what we will do — is secure our interests and help give the Afghans a chance, an opportunity to seek a long, overdue and hard-earned peace’. Sadly, US interest is usually only oil and a complete open-market for its global corporate companies, and the human rights bla bla is never anything America can really do anything about.

On Wednesday, another interesting leak from the White House officials hit the news. ‘President Barack Obama is weighing sending a limited number of American troops to Jordan to be part of a regional training mission that would instruct carefully vetted members of the Free Syrian Army on tactics, including counterterrorism operations, administration officials said’.

This was explained by Obama’s speech on the same day at the US Military Academy at West Point; a speech that is being termed as a major foreign policy speech of the postwar era. Between sweet words and a lot of self-aggrandizement of America’s leadership role in the world, Obama made clear that the US will unilaterally pursue its interest, whatever the cost be for others, he said:

‘The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it: when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger…  International opinion matters, but America should never ask permission to protect our people, our homeland or our way of life… when (there is no) direct threat … we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action’.

Sadly, the ‘way of life’ of the American people and their European allies is full-force hegemony on matters around the world, and a completely free market for its global corporates and those of its allies. 

This fact has been acknowledged by another event on Tuesday; the Conference on ‘Inclusive Capitalism’, initiated by Henry Jackson Society (HJS) and co-hosted by the City of London Corporation and EL Rothschild investment, in London. HJS executive director Alan Mendoza explained the thinking behind the project, “… we felt that such was public disgust with the system, there was a very real danger that politicians could seek to remedy the situation by legislating capitalism out of business.” Lady Rothschild, who co-hosted the conference, told the NY Observer, “I think that a lot of kids have neither money nor hope, and that’s really bad. Because then they’re going to get mad at America. What our hope for this initiative, is that through all the efforts of all of the decent CEOs, all the decent kids without a job feel optimistic. Earlier, she had admitted that ‘inclusive capitalism no longer exists and has become ‘an oxymoron… It is really dangerous when business is viewed as one of society’s problems’.

Coming back to Obama’s speech, he made a clear indication that the US is going to make a shift from all-on invasions of countries as it has done previously, to creating a worldwide liaison of good-terrorists that will defend the people of the world against dictators like in Syria, kidnappers like Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda affiliates like in Yemen. He said:

‘… invading every country that harbors terrorist networks is naïve and unsustainable… (today, terrorism has become) decentralized (with) Al-Qaeda affiliates and extremists… So we have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat… So earlier this year I asked my national security team to develop a plan for a network of partnerships from South Asia to the Sahel… a new counterterrorism partnerships fund of up to $5 billion, which will allow us to train, build capacity and facilitate partner countries… including training security forces in Yemen whov'e gone on the offensive against Al-Qaeda, supporting a multinational force to keep the peace in Somalia, working with European allies to train a functioning security force and border patrol in Libya and facilitating French operations in Mali… we will step up our efforts to support Syria’s neighbors — Jordan and Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq — as they contend with refugees and confront terrorists working across Syria’s borders.’

So this explains the leak about training the good-terrorists of the Free Syrian Army against the Syrian government. Itis true that most people consider Bashar Al-Assad as a bad guy, and so were perhaps Saddam and Qaddafi – but the issue is what happens to those countries once the bad guy has been ousted – who is responsible for terrorism becoming rampant throughout Iraq and Libya today, so much so that they have practically become exporters of terrorism to other parts of the world? Earlier, we had a problem of a dictator who was making things difficult for his own people – later we have total chaos for those people, non-existence of governance and a constant threat factor in their societies.

So how is Obama’s new policy going to make this better? It should be understood that if Al-Qaeda affiliates are getting diffused all around the world, and if the US is going to make so-called counter-terrorism against them in a counter-diffused formation – then there is going to be absolutely no possibility of any moral accountability upon these actions from the US and its allies, as the only news that will come out of these diffused, ungoverned parts of the world will be what the US media itself will establish. The world will increasingly become terror-prone and more and more areas will enter small-war zones. And by the end of Obama’s second term, there will be two world consciences; one that is tuned to the world mainstream media that will be applauding the US’s non-combatant policy, and another that will be living in all the small-war zones that will practically arise in almost all the countries of the world that have anything that hinders US interests and its ‘way of life’.

Obama simply told the world that the US will be intervening anywhere in the world where it deems right to, by all and any means except all-out war. He said, ‘When we have actionable intelligence, that’s what we do, through capture operations… or drone strikes, like those we’ve carried out in Yemen and Somalia’.

So when America says it is not going to be ‘isolationist’ and will be ‘internationalist’ in its approach to dealing with crises abroad – that means that the peace and the ‘way of life’ of any of us, hitherto living a comparatively safer and socio-economic life – may be under threat – at any time in the near future.