Don’t Get Nostalgic for Obama

bush_obama_nope_06So, let’s get the fun observations about Trump over with first. In no particular order, he’s a six times bankrupt, self-confessed  sexual predatorracist, anti-muslimmisogynist and serial liar. He also has very bad taste in interior décor, and is an orangeman with a questionable hair weave!

Trump is a solid, old-fashioned bastard. Someone who’ll try to evict people from their homes to make a buck for his golf course; attempt to bulldoze a widow’s home to make way for a casino and inherited his father’s penchant for racism in housing allocation. There’s no question about it; Donald Trump is your original pussy stroking baddie.

There’s no room for liberal confusion with this one. It’s clear that he’s the enemy.

Obama and Militarism

However, many on the liberal-left found Obama cool. The man has style. What’s more, he’s black! Get it up you, constipated, white ruling class! Bill Clinton could play a mean saxophone but that was nothing compared to Obama’s impromptu spirituals, or posing for selfies at Mandela’s funeral! Wasn’t he just loved by western liberals? Obama was the man!

Obama was so brilliant he got the Nobel Prize for Peace just by being elected. Didn’t we just lap him up. Oh, and wasn’t that Joe Biden a great laugh! The coolness of Obama’s Presidency, however, blinded the liberal-left to his reality.

Take Drone Strikes for example: In 2015 alone, the U.S. dropped at least 23,144 bombs on six Muslim-majority countries. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed in their homes by drones ordered by Obama. 60% of drone strikes in Pakistan were aimed at domestic residences. Obama’s drone actions have killed at least 175 children in Pakistan during his incumbency. Obama illegally targeted US citizens to be killed, without attempting arrest or trial, with drones. He then attempted to cover it up.

As Jeremy Scahill put it: “The most significant aspect of what President Obama has done, regarding drones … is that Obama has codified assassination as a central official component of American foreign policy,”

Obama “has implemented policies that a Republican probably would not have been able to implement, certainly not with the support that Obama has received from so many self-identified liberals.”

Obama was no friend of liberal democracy but easily posed as such.

Like Blair’s penchant for illegal wars before him, Obama’s actions in Libya violated the U.S.  War Powers Resolution and the legal advice provided to him by the U.S. Office of Legal Counsel. This adventurism led to death, chaos and international destabilisation.

The U.S.A has a set out series of decision making before war can be authorised. This principally means that Congress has to agree to the decision. Obama, through his use of executive action, has undercut the democratic checks and balances in the U.S. system. This has led to adventurism in Libya and throughout the Middle East.

Obama continued U.S. historic intervention the Middle East. He opposed Assad  (a continuation of a policy developed by Kissinger). He firstly fuelled ISIS to depose Assad and then directly bombed Syria with U.S. warplanes. He supported the leaders of the military coup in Egypt by rewarding them with continued arms deals. He has also continued the U.S.’s support for Israel’s military dominance of the region. This, during the time that Israel rained hell on Gaza. Obama’s role was only different from previous U.S. regimes in its subtleties and PR.

Obama consistently used NATO and the EU to expand the influence of the West. This was made evident in the Ukraine crisis, where combined EU and NATO enlargement provoked a coup against the Russia-leaning government.  As the Professor John Mearsheimer, put it:

“The United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine were critical elements, too… Although the full extent of U.S. involvement has not yet come to light, it is clear that Washington backed the coup.”

Where will Trump go with military adventurism? Well, he’s flip-flopped over whether he supported intervention in Iraq but his Putin-linked appointments give a clue to his plans for areas of foreign (non-) intervention.  Trump’s self-portrayal is isolationist, protectionist and realistic about his foreign policy objectives. It’s all about the U.S.A’s direct concerns. His sceptical position on the EU will also signal an end to EU adventurism. His love-in with Putin is also likely to temper the U.S. involvement in Russian spheres of influence. Trump probably doesn’t even know Trump’s plans for military intervention but the odds are he’ll let Russia do its thing and avoid Obama’s interventionist legacy. Unless, of course, it’s in the U.S.’s direct interests. Paradoxically, the world could be a safer place under Trump.

Obama and Trade

Obama has spearheaded two major trade deals TTIP for Europe and the TPP for Pacific nations.  These deals were clear in their intent. These deals offered incredible protection for international businesses but represented a huge attack on workers.

The AFL/CIO commented: “TPP would increase corporate profits and skew benefits to economic elites, while leaving workers to bear the brunt of the TPP’s shortcomings, including lost jobs, lower wages and continued repression of worker rights.”

Trade deals like TTIP would have a big impact on local councils. They could outlaw local authorities’ support of local businesses, allow multinational corporations to sue if councils deny fracking permits and open up services to privatisation.

Trump is not pro-worker (no shit Sherlock!); however, he is implacably opposed to Obama’s international trade deals. Americanism not globalism is his credo. He will simply always look to win deals that he sees are in the interests of the U.S.A. . The liberal governmental consensus with Obama’s international pro-business approach will be smashed. Trump’s nakedly U.S.-centric trade approach won’t allow any misinterpretation!

Trump is the bogeyman. However, in relation to killing children, military adventurism and anti-worker trade deals, don’t get all nostalgic about Obama. The man is the archetypal wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Comments (18)

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  1. w.b.robertson says:

    oh dearie me…all the do goodie, so called liberals (that is the UK`s comfortable middle class champagne socialists), will not like this piece at all. Does the writer not appreciate that Trump is the bogeyman being put up as the new target for hate? Or is he having a laugh?

  2. John Robertson says:

    Excellent piece. How could Salmond support Clinton yet despise Blair and Bush?

    1. Donnie MacLachlan says:

      How could Blair support Clinton yet despise Salmond and Sturgeon?

      1. John Robertson says:

        How could Francois Mitterand fancy Margaret Thatcher yet despise his wife? Is this a game? Actually, your question, easy?

  3. Bryan Weir says:

    Personally I think many solid, old-fashioned bastards may find this article to be quite insulting.

    1. John Robertson says:

      Let’s hope so. Wait a minute, does that include people who dress as if they’re just off for a hill-walk, like me?

      1. Bryan Weir says:

        No John, you strike me as being much too amiable. ;o)

  4. Graeme Purves says:

    Jim Bennett doesn’t tell us what Russia “doing its thing” is likely to mean for small nations close to its borders. See Christopher Silver in Newsnet Scotland for a more perceptive assessment of the implications of a return to “spheres of influence”. Those who believe that the world is going to be safer are going to be disappointed.

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      Hi Graeme, you’re right to point this out and I’ll look up the article you mention. Life for small nations on Russia’s borders will not be happy for pro-western activists. The U.S. and E.U. will pull their support and Russia will feel emboldened. Russia will pour cash and support into its proxies and undermine its opponents in “soft” attacks e.g. cyber destabilisation. Look at the recent results in Bulgaria.
      However, unpleasant as though this is for western expansionists, the prospects of armed confrontation between Russia and the West will be considerably diminished. Hence my contention that the world will be safer. However, life for pro-western activists will be significantly lonelier and more difficult.
      Thanks for making me think, though, Graeme.

      1. Graeme Purves says:

        This isn’t just bad news for the “western expansionists” whose belligerence has fed Putin’s paranoia. Hell mend them! This is bad news for the ordinary people of these small countries who are going to see their rights and values trampled on, their cultures disparaged and their elected governments destabilised and toppled as Russian reasserts its hegemony.

        1. Jim Bennett says:

          I think that’ll be a whole other article.

          However, you make very large assumptions about the ethnic make-up and cultures of said countries. My contention would be that the (very, very large) Russian minorities in such countries also have rights and cultures which require protection.

          For example,
          – when the coup leaders in Ukraine attempted in 2014 to reverse a 2012 law giving local authorities the right to make Russian a local official language; political stupidity.
          – Or even the Latvian Government’s temporary ban on Russian-speaking media outlets in 2014.
          – Also, the requirement in Estonia for “Russians born before independence to pass an Estonian language exam” for citizenship, is utterly ridiculous when 28% of the country self-identify as native Russian speakers.

          The local right-wing nationalists in these situations should recognise that a Russian-speaking citizen is every bit as valuable to them as one who speaks the indigenous language. The “Russia-bad” approach is simplistic and counterproductive. The West’s attempts to utilise it to expand their influence is as politically unacceptable to me as Russia’s attempts to do the same in reverse.

          1. Graeme Purves says:

            If you can delegitimise people by portraying them as “western expansionists”, “pro-western activists” or even “right-wing nationalists” it is so much easier to be indifferent to their fates.

            I have made no “large assumptions” whatsoever. I am very familiar with the compositions of the populations of the Baltic countries and how that plays out culturally and politically. People in Latvia enjoy access to a wide range of broadcasting in the Russian language.

  5. Redgauntlet says:

    Let’s not forget either Obama’s deplorable attitude with respect to Chelsea Manning, Ed Snowden and Julian Assange, and also the fact that an airplane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria, having been denied the use of airspace by France, Spain and Italy, when the American intelligence services wrongly believed Snowden was on board the Presidents’s aircraft.

    This just shows to what extent Europe has been in the hands of America since 1945, and maybe it’s wrong to blame Obama personally, because Obama himself, nor any recent US president, was ever the much dubbed “most powerful man in the world” but, on the contrary, the official face, the leading man, a highly accomplished actor for “the most powerful people in the world” who actually run things in America, and mark the boundaries of any President’s activity, as they will do with Trump’s….at least to some extent.

    Regarding Europe: well, Putin and Trump could, in theory divide the continent in two between them, though I’m not suggesting that is likely. Putin’s army could reach Berlin without almost a shot being fired if the American’s were to unilaterally pull out of NATO.

    So, what kind of Europe is this we have? A defenseless Europe, a Europe which is reliant on the USA, and one which is vulnerable and exposed.

    Britain and Scotland have the sea as a natural defense, but Europe does not have that, and a European Defense Army ought to be formed immediately, and the EU become a fully functioning, integrated federal state on the same lines as the USA is, ie, with as much power devolved as possible, but with a united front in terms of international relations and defense.

    1. Josef O Luain says:

      All of that seems to assumes that Russia has designs on constructing some kind of Greater-Russia.

      I believe that Russia will act to protect its strategic interests e.g. Crimea, but given its vast hinterland and its wealth in oil, gas and other strategic minerals, what would be the logic of its physical expansionism, given its current penetration re: European energy markets?

      Only saying …

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Hi Josef,

        I’m not saying the Russians are planning on doing anything. The point is that they could if they wanted to, because there is no sizable European army which comes close to the Russian army. Why would they do it? Will Europe is the richest market in the history of the world. Which is why the Americans have been picking up our defense bill for six decades. Why else would they have done that? We buy all their shit, and watch all their crap movies…

        Imagine tomorrow, Putin dies and a Russian fascist comes to power. Even more of a fascist than an authoritarian like Putin already is I mean. Then the old Soviet argument about needing the former Eastern Europe as a buffer zone after centuries of Western aggression gets recycled and we’re in a new Cold War. Except this time without American backing.

        It’s an unlikely hypothesis, but History is full of such events. Europe needs to wake up and get its act together. It’s either a big leap forward or the whole project may well collapse. We need a federal Europe now, and for that to happen, Europe has to democratize and its government become more transparent and representative.

  6. Jo says:

    Good article.

    For me it underlines why so many in the US simply could not bring themselves to vote for Clinton who, if anything, had even more extreme views than Obama when it came to foreign policy and was itching to get into a direct confrontation with Russia.

    It’s good to mention Libya too since it was just more of the same as had occurred in Iraq and now Syria. What’s even more important though is to remember that the UK backed the US plans all the way and followed the old “Let’s do regime change, we’re entitled!” nonsense which so many people are utterly sick of.

    What sickens me most is the hypocrisy. Look at Ukraine. With western approval the sitting government there was overthrown and replaced by rebels. When others (in Crimea) objected, they became the “rebels”. When Russia became alarmed (as we would ourselves if there was trouble in any region where we had a base!) it was accused of “illegal invasion”! And the subsequent referendum was not recognised by the west when the people of Crimea opted to stay with Russia. What a mess.

    The other thing, of course, that Obama declared he would do was close Guantanamo Bay. That went well, eh?

    And the biggest lie? It’s that the UK, the US and France are “fighting IS” in Syria. They’re not. They aren’t even acting with UN approval. They sideline the UN at every turn in favour of doing what THEY want. They’re there trying to bring down another leader and actually undermining the fight against IS by funding groups linked directly and indirectly to that group. And our MSM is feeding us claptrap on this on a daily basis. And people are running for their lives, climbing into anything that will float and fleeing elsewhere. And we’re all here, in Europe, shouting at them, if they don’t drown on the way, “Go back to your own country! You are migrants. We don’t want you!”

    It would make you weep.

  7. Flower of Scotland says:

    Great piece. My thoughts exactly but worried about voicing them.
    Thank you.

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      Thank you.

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