I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to get to the end of a speech by US President Barack Obama. He is so dishonest that one cannot believe even the opposite of what he says. I wonder whether he himself really believes his fairy stories, outrageous assertions and dangerous delusions. How can he, having at his disposal secret intelligence reports which must paint an entirely difference picture of international realities?
Here is the man, who, as Obama never tires of boasting, leads the most powerful country in the world. With one flick of his pen, he can order the destruction of almost anyone, anywhere. With one flick of his pen, he sends drones to kill undesirable individuals, according to kill lists made up by subordinates. «Who shall we take out this week?», he must muse to himself, before selecting fresh victims. Sometimes the designated «targets» are «hit» and sometimes not. Sometimes, too often in fact, it is bystanders who are killed. Entire families, wedding parties, people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Why, with one flick of his pen, Obama can order the destruction of entire countries. Take Libya, for example, or Syria.
What a man he is, what power he possesses! Obama is a 21st century scourge of American justice, the iconic itinerant judge of Hollywood legend, meting out punishment to evil doers with a noose in one hand and a six-shooter in the other.
Just read his recent «State of the Nation» speech to the US Congress. It’s like listening to the proverbial school yard bully – you remember? – there is always one in everybody’s adolescence, boasting that no one dares to challenge him. «Go ahead», the bully says, «hit me!» If you didn’t hit him, don’t you wish you had?
Here is Obama’s version of the schoolyard bully’s boast: «The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined». Oh la, is that something to boast about? Are there not more constructive uses to which even a modest part of that money, some $600 billion annually, might be invested without jeopardising US security? The United States could take the risk; the Russian defence budget represents around 10% of US spending.
Obama’s boasting does not stop there. «Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they call us». I wonder what «surveys»? And what «people» call on the United States? «Moderate» jihadists in Libya and Syria? Or fascists in the Ukraine and SS veterans in the Baltics? Or the Turks, Saudis, and Qataris who back Daesh? Or every right wing, neo-fascist cabal in Latin America?
It sounds like an international Most Wanted list though by no means comprehensive. No wonder they don’t call Moscow or Beijing. Mariia Zakharova, the smart Russian MFA spokesperson in Moscow, commentedthat «If the world calls Washington first, what happens next is that Washington calls Moscow». A provocative response worth of laughter, but unfortunately when Washington calls Moscow, it’s no laughing matter.
The boasting does not end there. Obama cannot resist a disparaging comment about the Russian Federation. «Even as their economy contracts, Russia is pouring [in] resources to prop up Ukraine and Syria – states they see slipping away from their orbit». What is Obama talking about? Ironically, the Russian government is «propping up» the US backed fascist junta in Kiev. Inter alia, it has provided natural gas on favourable terms and restrained anti-fascist forces in the Donbass from striking back against daily Ukrainian bombardments. Russia supports the so-called Minsk peace accords which the Kiev junta has never respected for a single day. Moscow did not retaliate when Ukrainian fascists cut off electricity to the Crimea. One wonders if Russia’s tolerance of the Kiev junta will ever finally be exhausted. Don’t blame us, President Vladimir Putin said recently, for what Kiev fails to do.
As for Syria, Russia is not «propping up» the Syrian government, it is assisting the Syrian Arab Army to fight Daesh and al-Qaeda foreign mercenaries backed by the United States and other NATO «allies» or regional vassals.
«Priority number one», Obama said, «is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks. Both al-Qaeda and now ISIL [Daesh] pose a direct threat to our people…» Well, yes, they do. But call it «blowback» because the Obama administration has been supporting such groups in Libya and Syria either directly or indirectly.
Obama’s dismissive references to the Russian Federation and to President Putin are understandable. It is Putin who exposed US duplicity in the Middle East, on the one hand claiming to fight Daesh and on the other supporting it or turning a blind eye to its war against the Syrian government.
It is the Russian Federation, not the United States, which is delivering the heavy blows, assisting the Syrian Arab Army to fight Daesh and al-Qaeda on the ground. It’s a standing joke that Obama approved $500 million to train and equip «four or five» Syrian combatants.
Heaven help Obama if the American people ever fully grasp what the US government has been doing in their name. The US president clearly wants to cover his tracks by going on and on about his commitment to fight Daesh when even now NATO member Turkey and US vassals Saudi Arabia and Qatar train, shelter, supply and finance Daesh. This is all too complicated for many US citizens to grasp. They are understandably preoccupied making ends meet in the dog-eat-dog world of everyday life in the United States for which Disney World narratives and NFL football are the prescribed narcotics.
And yet for all his boasting, Obama attempts a little false modesty. «We… can’t try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis», he declared: we learned our lessons in Vietnam and Iraq. Hilarious. I guess he means don’t get caught subverting other governments and don’t take casualties putting «boots on the ground». Obama’s knowledge of American history appears limited, or he doesn’t want to share it with us. If the United States cannot «take over… every country that falls into crisis», it is not for want of trying. Indeed, the principal US modus operandi is to create crises and then to overthrow whatever unfortunate government happens to displease the Washington «Deep State». The so-called «colour revolutions» are only the most recent form of US subversion abroad. One Latin American leader asked facetiously why there was never a coup d’état in Washington. The answer is simple, he replied with a wry smile, there is no American embassy there.
«Fortunately», Obama proposes a solution. «There’s a smarter approach», he advised, «a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies; but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us, and make sure other countries pull their own weight». In the ethnocentric bubble of US exceptionalism, first, it’s boasting and threats, then, it’s allowing «the world to work with us» whilst we «make sure other countries pull their own weight». What audacity! It’s enough to make one gasp for air.
Compare Obama’s boasting and saber rattling with recent public statements by President Putin. It’s like comparing a crude-talking, fork-tongued carnival sharper to a polished, truth-telling statesman. «Do you realise what you have done?» Putin asked at the UN last September. Obama gave his dissembling answer in the «State of the Union» address. Clearly, he does not. Nor unfortunately, do the candidates who would like to replace Obama next year. Not even the so-called «socialist» progressive Bernie Sanders offers any hope. His line on Russia is just as hostile as any of the other presidential candidates with the possible exception of Donald Trump. Poor President Putin and poor Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will have their work cut out for them dealing with the new US administration.