ISRAEL’S FRIEND July 24, 2008Posted by wmmbb in Iraq Policy, Israel-Palestine, South West Asia.
Barack Obama has succeeded in disappointing some of this supporters. It has to be wondered who is making the political calculations because the range of choice is not wide in the American voting system. The choice is stark: vote for Obama, or McCain, or stay home. I am sticking to my expectation that Obama will be successful, but it is increasing looking to a change that I cannot believe in, and neither can some other commentators.
Robert Scheer at Truthdig writes:
Barack Obama is betraying his promise of change and is in danger of becoming just another political hack.
Yes, just like former maverick John McCain, who has refashioned himself as a mindless rubber stamp for the most inane policies of the miserably failed Bush administration. Both candidates are embracing, rather than challenging, the fundamental irrationality of Bush’s “war on terror,” which substitutes hysteria for rational analysis in appraising the dangers the country faces.
Terrorism is a social pathology that needs to be excised with the surgical precision of detective work, inspired by a high level of international cooperation, the very opposite of the unilateral war metaphor that recruits new generations of terrorists in the wake of the massive armies we dispatch. At a time when we desperately need a president to remind us we have nothing to fear but fear itself, we are increasingly being treated to a presidential campaign driven by fear.
. . . Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, when asked in a January 1998 interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur whether he regretted “having given arms and advice to future terrorists,” replied: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”
. . . It is hardly reassuring that Brzezinski has resurfaced in presidential politics, this time as an occasional adviser to Barack Obama, or that there is talk that Obama, in a burst of bipartisan enthusiasm, might ask Gates to stay on as defense secretary.
At this point, I throw up my hands and plead with the candidate who I hoped would be that much-needed agent of change: Please prove me wrong.
And then there is the policy to change the military focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, as outline by Juan Cole at Salom.Com:
Barack Obama’s Afghanistan and Iraq policies are mirror images of each other. Obama wants to send 10,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but wants to withdraw all American soldiers and Marines from Iraq on a short timetable. In contrast to the kid gloves with which he treated the Iraqi government, Obama repeated his threat to hit at al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan unilaterally, drawing howls of outrage from Islamabad.
But Obama’s pledge to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan will not be easy to fulfill. While coalition troop deaths have declined significantly in Iraq, NATO casualties in Afghanistan are way up. By shifting emphasis from Iraq to Afghanistan, would a President Obama be jumping from the frying pan into the fire?
The track record on foreign forces in Afghanistan has not be successful, and the history of failure is unlikely to change. It seems to me that the extent of the heroin production and trading is evidence for the ineffectualness of the Kabul Government. The Pakistanis are pursuing a policy of talking with people of the border areas where possible, which may not deliver in a spectacle fashion in the short term, but it has been six years at least since the American Occupation began, and before that Afghanistan had been devastated by more than twenty years of war.
And Obama’s acceptance of Israel. Bruce Dixon observes, via Common Dreams:
The presidential campaigns of Democrats and Republicans are no more about placing issues before the US public than competing commercials for new cars or bottled water are about the facts. Brought to us by the same corporate marketers that sell us lifestyles and beer, mainstream presidential campaigns aim to establish and exploit visceral, fact-proof loyalties to the brand of a party or candidate.
. . . A June 29 editorial by no less a member of the Israeli elite than Amos Schocken, the publisher of Ha’aretz, Israel’s daily newspaper of record is titled “Citizenship Law Makes Israel An Apartheid State.” The gist of it is that the Israeli government prohibits recognition of marriages or family reunions between Arabs with Israeli citizenship and Arabs who live within the borders of Israel-Palestine in the bantustans of Gaza and the West Bank — inside the borders of Israel-Palestine but without Israeli citizenship.
. . . The heavily militarized and nuclear armed state of Israel is entirely dependent upon US military aid, economic support, and political patronage. Israel is the direct recipient of more than six billion US tax dollars annually. Israel could not continue its brutal annexation policies, its militarized wall, its “settlement” of Palestinian lands or any of its other objectionable policies without the complete and bipartisan support of US ruling circles. For the US, Israel is a kind of offshore military base, a nuclear-armed white enclave in the middle of millions of brown people who sit atop a large share of the world’s most accessible oil.
Apartheid in South African was odious, to be sure. But apartheid South Africa was not of primary strategic or economic importance to the US. Apartheid Israel is.
US public opinion, like that in the rest of the world, persistently calls for a more just and even-handed US policy toward Israel-Palestine. But corporate media and the US political elite, including Barack Obama continue to ignore them. On this issue, as Salon’s Glen Greenwald writes, public opinion is pretty well irrelevant.
If, as some Obama supporters claim, there is a “movement” which he listens to, and which potentially influences his positions, this would be a good time and place for it to speak up. If they can’t or won’t, it’s one more piece of evidence that the Obama candidacy is as people-proof as any other corporate one, that there is and never was any “Obama movement” with an objective beyond November, and that Obama is just another brand name, like Monsanto, or Ford, or Exxon.
Obama, we are told by Sami Ramadani in The Guardian, has 300 foreign policy advisers, most recycled from previous Administrations (which I have admit is a change that I welcome, since presumably they cannot all agree). Still there are some who are not surprised by any of this, such as Chris Lloyd. So as Lenin once said: What is to be done?