Time to think of legacy? The Obama Doctrine
A recent Obama interview, conducted by noted American-Israeli journalist Jeffrey Goldberg entitled, “The Obama Doctrine: The US President Talks Through His Hardest Decisions About America’s Role in the World,” caused me to think about the president’s legacy, something I’m sure he is now also contemplating.
With the campaign to succeed him in full swing, President Obama sat down with Goldberg to discuss US foreign policy during the Obama years. The word “legacy” appears only once in the article in a Goldberg reference to the president’s deal with Iran to prevent its development of nuclear weapons. However, in all honesty, the article is extremely difficult to read due to its bombastic editorializing on events that did not happen and willful blindness to events that did. For example, the article, seemingly with Obama in agreement, intones that Syria’s government used sarin gas against civilians. Apparently contradicting this, United Nations investigator Carla del Ponte said in an interview that the UN has no indication at all that the Syrian government used chemical weapons; she went on to say witness testimony seemed to indicate it was the opponents of the government who used chemical weapons.
It is this kind of dissembling that characterizes the Obama Administration. Giving good speeches is not the same as making good public policy. Making a good speech and then doing the opposite, or using the speech to lead people to believe one thing that is in actuality quite another has been honed to a science in the current Administration. It leads one to ask whether Obama and the journalists that report on speeches are referring to the real world or the virtual world that exists only in the Washington, D.C. “bubble.”
What is The Obama Doctrine?
Well, it depends on whom you ask, and when you ask it. In the early days of the Obama Administration, The Obama Doctrine might have been his admonition, “Don’t Do Stupid Sh*t”. This is reportedly the precise language the president used when talking to journalists! If only he had stuck to his own advice, perhaps we all would be lamenting the president’s departure from the White House. Instead, Obama immediately went on to put the first notch in the Obama coup belt in Honduras. Perhaps that’s why The Obama Doctrine changed to its next incarnation: “Leading From Behind.”
In June 2009, President Obama gave a speech in Cairo entitled “A New Beginning.” He said: “I have come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning . . . one based on mutual interest and mutual respect . . . and common ground.” Less than a year later, Egypt was in turmoil and while the Administration was talking “smooth transition,” the Egyptian people had had enough and were demanding US-supported dictator Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. The president sent the son of a CIA agent, Frank Wisner, to deliver the “it’s time for you to go” message to Mubarak. Even as Mubarak had one foot out the door, Vice President Joe Biden refused to refer to Mubarak as a dictator.
All the while, the US was busy directly funding groups (not only in Egypt) that were training young student “leaders” to follow in the footsteps of OTPOR!, the US-funded group that helped its agenda by destabilizing Serbia with protests and increased civil strife, thereby easing the ouster of Serbia’s President Slobodan Milosovic.
Occupy Movement activists were chagrined to learn that Srdja Popovic, who they had met, was actually working for Stratfor, an intelligence company that fancies itself the “Shadow CIA.” In research for my dissertation, I even found an OTPOR! manual for the destabilization of Venezuela. Popovic, the OTPOR! leader, says, “Somebody lied to you about successful and spontaneous non-violent revolution, that thing doesn’t exist in the world.”
Today, almost seven years after the Cairo speech, President Obama has destroyed Libya, oversaw the division of Sudan, is seeking to dismember Syria, continues to bomb Yemen and Somalia, and is still sending fresh US boots on the ground to Iraq.
Libya is now destroyed and its residents consider themselves the victims of a holocaust. And I agree with them.
On a recent trip, I witnessed two Sudanese women, one from Khartoum, the other from the new state of South Sudan, crying over what had happened to their country in 2011 on President Obama’s watch. I have written extensively about my personal knowledge of the machinations surrounding the sorry treatment of Africa in general and Sudan in particular by the Clinton Administration in my book, Ain’t Nothing Like Freedom. The situation is even worse under President Obama, something I didn’t think could ever happen.
Finally, while the president used the term Palestine in his speech, the fact is that the rest of the Arab world is now as much under duress and on fire as is Palestine; and the White House has admitted publicly that there will be no peace in Palestine during the remaining months of Obama’s leadership at the White House. Perhaps, leading from behind actually meant no leadership at all.
The final iteration of The Obama Doctrine focuses on the so-called “Pivot to Asia.” While the Arab world struggles to put itself back together on the eve of the post-Obama world, the US has turned its attention to both China and Russia.
The US is doing all it can to thwart China’s economic initiatives, such as The New Silk Road and the Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank. At the same time it has encircled Russia with US military bases, and eggs on hostile or at least unfriendly neighbors. It is now also prowling the South China Sea in a bid to contain Chinese ambitions in those strategic waters.
What is more, the US is using asymmetric warfare to attack BRICS, the new signature multilateral organization consisting of the “up-and-coming” economies of Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa. BRICS was founded to help guide the world away from unipolarity (featuring the US as the world’s sole superpower), to multipolarity. Given what has happened to the Arab World with US attention, Asia must be extremely fearful of what could happen to it with President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia.” In the end, it would appear that Obama has been a dutiful puppet, advancing the interests of the scions of neoliberalism at every turn, rather than advancing peace and freedom and human dignity as the world hoped he would do when he was elected.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.