Don’t Get Nostalgic for Obama
So, let’s get the fun observations about Trump over with first. In no particular order, he’s a six times bankrupt, self-confessed sexual predator, racist, anti-muslim, misogynist 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.