The issue isn't Obama, any more than it was Bush before him. The issue is US power
by Owen Jones
How easy it was to scrutinise US power when George W. Bush was in office.
It was a simple time, for simple minds...
After all, it was difficult to defend an administration packed with such repulsive characters, like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, whose attitude towards the rest of the world amounted to thuggish contempt.
I wouldn't describe their contempt as 'thuggish'...
Many will shudder remembering that dark era: the naked human pyramids accompanied by grinning US service personnel in Abu Ghraib;
...previously acknowledged to be a mistake committed by stupid soldiers and a lax general...
the orange-suited prisoners in Guantanamo, kneeling in submission at the feet of US soldiers;
...pretty much what prisoners do if they're smart...
the murderous assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
...which the hard boyz in that city asked for...
By the end of Bush's term in office, favourable opinion of the US had plummeted even in allied countries,
...who now whine that the U.S. has turned against them and ignores them...
and those desperate for a Republican rout in the presidential elections ranged from resolute socialists to committed Tories.
...happy now? No? Of course not, you're the type of folk who complain upon being hanged with a new rope...
It was a bad dream that went on for eight years, and no wonder much of the world is still breathing a sigh of relief.
Particularly Iran, China, Russia and Syria...
But US foreign policy these days escapes scrutiny.
It's also beaten logic to flinders...
In part, that is down a well-grounded terror of the only viable alternative to Barack Obama: the increasingly deranged US right.
That's us, baby, deranged, bwha-ha-ha...
A deliberate shift to a softer, more diplomatic tone has helped, too.
It makes it easier to hear Y'urp-peons whimper...
But it is also the consequence of a strategic failure on the part of many critics of US foreign policy in the Bush era. As protesters marched in European cities with placards of Bush underneath "World's No 1 Terrorist", the anti-war crusade became personalised.
Bush seemed to be the problem, and an understanding of US power -- the nature of which remains remarkably consistent from president to president -- was lost.
There are those who say that in many ways, Champ's foreign policy is just Bush-lite. Not so as evidenced by Iran, Syria, Libya, etc., but you have to be pretty far Left not to see the differences between the two men.
This week, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, demanded that the US allow independent investigation over its use of unmanned drones, or the UN would be forced to step in.
Sure boys, step in. You'll be every bit as effective as you've been in Gazoo, Syria, Libya, Serbia, Bosnia, Rwanda, the Congo, and Haiti. We're just shaking in our boots...
These drones target militants, it is claimed, but according to a study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between 282 and 585 civilians
...also known as 'camp followers'...
have died in Pakistan as a result. In one such attack in North Waziristan in 2009, several villagers died in an attempt to rescue victims of a previous strike.
It might be better for the 'civilians' to stay a discrete distance away from the hard boyz...
According to Pakistan's US Ambassador, Sherry Rehman, the drone war "radicalises foot soldiers, tribes and entire villages in our region".
No, Sherry-baby, they were pretty well 'radicalized' before the drones came flying overhead. But anytime you and your country want to step in and get control of the hard boyz, let us know, and we'll be happy to ground the drones a while to see how serious you are.
After the latest strike this week, Pakistan's foreign ministry said the attacks were "a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity and are in contravention of international law".
Pakistan isn't willing to control the jihadis, so it itself is contravening 'international law', and thus doesn't deserve any respect for its sovereignty...
Its Parliament has passed a resolution condemning the drone war.
See my reference above to 'shaking in our boots'...
It is armed aggression by the Obama administration, pure and simple.
It beats invading...
If it was happening under the Bush presidency, the opposition would be vociferous and widespread.
We finally agree on something, but not for the reasons you think...
But while there were 52 such strikes in Pakistan in eight years of Bush, there have been over 280 in three and a half years of Obama. Numbers have soared in Yemen and Somalia, too.
Coincidentally where the hard boyz also are operating...
Two months ago, former US President Jimmy Carter
Worst U.S. president of the 20th century...
described drone attacks as a "widespread abuse of human rights" which "abets our enemies and alienates our friends". He's not wrong: the Pew Research Center found just 7 per cent of Pakistanis had a positive view of Obama, the same percentage as Bush had just before he left office.
You might ask what percentage of Americans have a positive view of Pakistan...
But, in the West, Obama can get away with acts that Bush would rightly be pilloried for.
Yep. That's one of our complaints, too...
Indeed, he seems to think it's all a bit of a laugh: in 2010, he jokingly threatened the Jonas brothers with a Predator drone strike if they came near his daughters. How droll, Barack.
You should see him around Speaker Boehner...
Guantanamo was iconic of Bush's brutality, and after his election Obama signed executive orders mandating its closure. The camp remains open for business, pledged to take new "high-value" detainees if captured.
If we closed Gitmo we'd simply open a camp at Ice Station Zebra...
The same goes for Obama's pledge to shut down CIA-run "black site prisons" in Afghanistan. At least 20 secret temporary prisons remain in place, with widespread allegations of ill-treatment.
By all means open a camp for them in Northern Ireland -- I believe you chaps have some useful experience in that regard...
US involvement in a senseless, unwinnable war in the country -- ruled by a weak, corrupt government that stole the 2009 presidential election with ballot stuffing, intimidation and fraud -- continues.
Biggest mistake Bush made was to enlarge the Afghan war in 2003 to engage in 'nation building'. There was no nation to build. Of course he made the mistake because he listened to Democrats, Europeans and the U.N. I'm hoping our next president is wiser than that...
Under Obama, the US role in the Middle East remains as cynically wedded to strategic self-interest as ever.
As opposed to Russian foreign policy, which is wedded to Russian .. er, self-interest...
Despotic tyrannies like Saudi Arabia are armed to the teeth: in 2010, the US signed an arms deal with the regime worth $60bn, the biggest in US history.
I do believe, old chap, that the Brits also sell a few arms to the House of Saud...
Obama has resumed sales of military equipment to Bahrain's dictatorship as it brutally crushes protesters struggling for democracy.
Or said another way, Iranian-sponsored Shi'a agitators...
Last year, Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain with tacit US support.
Second instance we know of an Arab country staging a successful invasion in the Gulf, and the first that we didn't subsequently squash like a wormy apple. Moral of the story: always get our permission first...
And even when the US-backed Mubarak dictatorship was on the ropes in Egypt, Obama's administration remained a cheerleader, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arguing that the "Egyptian Government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people".
Mursi is the new Mubarak. It really doesn't matter who wins in these internal conflicts, so long as the winner knows to listen to what we have to say...
Coupled with the US's ongoing failure to pressure Israel into accepting a just peace with the Palestinians,
It took Owen three-fourths of an essay to play the Paleo card. The only 'just peace' the Paleos want, Owen, is Israel destroyed and the Joooz all dead. You'll have to pardon the Israelis for not offering their throats up to be cut...
no wonder there is rising global anger at Obama.
Since it's all his fault...
But of course, the issue isn't Obama, any more than it was Bush before him. The issue is US power.
Bwha-ha-ha. A little jealous, Owen? We have something you want? You think you'd know better how to use the power if only you had it? You're a character right out of The Children of Men, only more desperate for attention...
But despite its best efforts -- and as menacing as it can be for Pakistani villagers and Bahraini democrats -- its power is in decline.
First we were losing to the Soviets, then to the Japanese, then to the Europeans. We're presently losing to the Chinese. Watch us.
The US share of global economic output was nearly a quarter in 1991; today, it represents less than a fifth. The financial crash has accelerated the ongoing drain in US economic power to the East.
How's the Euro doing lately, Owen? How soon will the Brits be bailing out the Greeks, Spanish and Italians?
Latin America, regarded as the US's backyard since the 1823 Monroe Doctrine claimed it for the US sphere of influence, is now dominated by governments demanding a break from the free-market Washington Consensus.
With Venezuela and Ecuador failing and Argentina floundering? The countries doing best on that continent are the ones who are most like the U.S. -- Chile and Brazil.
And the Iraq war not only undermined US military prestige and invincibility, it perversely boosted Iran's power in the Middle East.
Only because Obama bungled the peace...
With the last remaining superpower at its weakest since World War II,
We might fail one day. Obama might succeed in dragging us down. Or someone after him. Just remember, Owen: when we go, you go.
there is an unmissable opening to argue for a more equal and just world order, restricting the ability of Great Powers to throw their weight around. And a word of warning: if we don't seize this opportunity now, one superpower will simply be replaced by another -- and our world will be as unequal and unjust as ever.
Learn to speak Mandarin, Owen, so that you and Tom Friedman can kowtow together...
Owen? Trim my toenails. That's all you're qualified for
Posted by: Frank G ||
You were certainly busy with this one, Doc.
But re. the naked human pyramids I somehow always end up thinking of the pyramids of 10,000 skulls some ancient conqueror used to build at the entrance to cities that opposed him - it was intended to discourage the others.
-- and our world will be as unequal and unjust as ever.
Because living in the longest period of peace in Central Europe since the collapse of the Roman Empire hasn't been anywhere near utopia, but it's been a long way from the unending destructive fratricidal conflicts that filled over a millennium in between. Yeah, those were fun times of equality and justice. /sarc off
I remember that conqueror Glenmore.
Something about stacking shackled human bodies then covering them with plaster. Quicker than digging a mass grave in rocky ground. A task for his new slaves, to show them their end. It left a monument to his passing still visible today.
The Western world's media are again filled with speculation, leaks, purported leaks and flat-out disinformation about whether and when Israel will use military force against Iran's nuclear-weapons program. As America's Nov. 6 elections draw inexorably closer, pundits and commentators are assessing whether Israel can take seriously President Obama's assurances that he will not permit Iran to become a nuclear-weapons state.
Of course, Mr. Obama has created during his presidency the most antagonistic relationship ever between Israel and the White House. Nonetheless, his administration is now embarked on a systematic publicity campaign to persuade Israelis and Americans he will use military force in the long run, if only Israel will refrain from doing so in the short run.
How much confidence can Israel have in the assertions of Mr. Obama's advisers that they will, in fact, launch such an attack before Iran crosses the nuclear-weapons finish line? We hear constantly that "all options are on the table." Unfortunately, this is a statement that the Obama administration itself doesn't really believe, that Tehran finds laughable and that Jerusalem should ignore.
h/t Gates of Vienna
This week a German doctor in Bavaria filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg.
Rabbi Goldberg's "crime"? He performs ritual circumcisions on Jewish male infants in accordance with Jewish law.
The doctor's complaint came shortly after a ruling by a court in Cologne outlawing the practice of male circumcision.
The Austrians and the Swiss also took the ruling to heart and have banned infant male circumcision in several hospitals in Switzerland as well as in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg. Denmark and Scandinavian governments are also considering limiting the practice of circumcision which has constituted one of the foundational rituals of Judaism for four thousand years.
Meanwhile, in Norway Dr. Anne Lindboe has come up with the perfect way out of the artificial crisis. Lindboe serves a Norway's ombudsman for children's rights. And she proposes that we Jews just change our religion to satisfy anti-Jewish sensitivities. She suggests we replace circumcision with "a symbolic, nonsurgical ritual."
It's worth mentioning that circumcision isn't the only Jewish ritual these enlightened Europeans find objectionable. Sweden, Norway and Switzerland have already banned kosher slaughter.
...The people involved in banning or attempting to ban circumcision are not on the political fringe of their societies. They are part of a leftist establishment. They are doctors and lawyers, judges and politicians. This doesn't mean that all their fellow leftists are anti-Semites. But it does mean the political Left in the Western world feels comfortable keeping company with anti-Semites.
No, of course it's not that these people are antisemites. It is just that they do not see as antisemitic things that antisemites want.
This state of affairs is even more striking in international affairs than in domestic politics. On the international level the Left's readiness to rub elbows with anti-Semites has reached critical levels.
While the Europeans have long been happy to cater to the anti-Semitic whims of the Islamic world, the escalation of the West's willingness to accept anti-Semitism as a governing axiom in international affairs is nowhere more apparent than in the Obama administration's foreign policy.
h/t Gates of Vienna
What if Christmas was a traditional time for Christians to set about bombing one another? We might find that strange, but the recent "holy" month of Ramadan in Iraq was celebrated with bombings and shootings that killed 409 people and wounded 975 according to an August 20 Agence" France Press report from Baghdad.
Apparently if you are an observant Muslim, abstaining from food, drink, smoking and sex during the day of the "holy" month, the best way to work out your stress is to kill fellow Muslims. This was the case of Ramadan which ended on August 18 this year or a day later depending on whether you were a Shiite or a Sunni.
It wasn't just Iraq. There was a spike in killings of both Muslims and infidels in other countries where Muslims are either the dominant population or a major part of one. In Nigeria Boko Haram, a Muslim group, claimed responsibility for a spate of bombings in Kaduna state and a number of cities.
I don't think the last paragraph is all that strong, Besoeker. In fact, I believe it rather spoils things---as GOP has it's own history of sucking up to "Religion of Peace". Hopefully, Romney will remain for domestic drilling---the real war on Jihad---even after being elected (always an "if").
Sounds like a solution there, They're so happy killing, a bit of tit for tat's in order, KILL THEM, all of them, and be done with them.
I've been saying this for a LONG time. It got me branded a g***cidal maniac, here even. I certainly hope we don't leave this mess for our great grandchildren, they're not likely to have the spine for it given how soft each succeeding generations is. What with the Leftist/Multiculti indoctrination and all.
Posted by: Secret Asian Man ||
I'm sure the guy will be on charges of hate crimes before the week is over. He did publish that in Canada after all and in Canada, quoting a Muslim who says bad things about Muslims is enough for a two year show trial.
My dearest hope is that if Romney can pull of his promise of energy independence (and I think the stars are aligned on that with fracking and such) we can all just let the muslim world slip into a sandy version of Africa on the geo-political map.
Just as I still feel giving the Muslims a chance at freedom and civilization was worth the price, I feel letting them sink into their own morass is now very justified. They had their chance and a large number refused to take sides against barbarism so let them have it.
Two things I'm really over; muslims and the current administration. I suppose I might get sent to the gulag, sensitivity training, political correctness school or a re-education center for harboring such attitudes.
Starting at the end of this month the Democratic National Convention will open with a focus on Islam. 20,000 Moslems are expected to attend according to the Bureau of Indigenous Moslem Affairs (BIMA), the national Moslem American non-profit coordinating the two days of events they claim are non-political. "Jumah at the DNC" begins August 29 and will start with a Friday afternoon jummah prayer followed by other unnamed programs and events, leading up to the Islamic Regal Banquet. The following day will be an all day Islamic Cultural and Fun Fest which will include discussions on the topics of Islamaphobia, Anti-Shariah, Middle Eastern Crisis, Patriot Act, National Defense Authorization Act and more. The purpose, according to BIMA, is to attract national and international attention to the plight of American Moslems and to hold political parties accountable for issues that affect them. However, a poor excuse is better than no excuse at all... not all Moslems feel that BIMA represents them and M. Zuhdi Jasser M.D., Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, has expressed serious concerns.
Perhaps he can call on one of the six hundred-plus Rabbis For Obama, all signing on in their private capacity, of course, including the eight belonging to an anti-Israel movement. One of them, I'm ashamed to say, is the rabbi emeritus of my congregation, proving that having done his service as an Army chaplain and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. is no protection against later stupidity.