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PROPAGANDA AND POLICY February 20, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Duckspeak, Peace, US Politics.
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Under Gillard, and presumably the same practice will be followed by an Abbott-led Government, Australian Foreign policy has been outsourced to the US Administration.

They are for torture, so are we, or at least we are willing to go along. And it is interesting to note, that across the Empire on which the sun never sets, Latin America was the honorable exception to the reign of torture. Obama orchestrates the spurious murderous surge in Afghanistan, unlike the Netherlands the Australian Government cannot see it is a lost cause, and lets Australian soldiers continue die for no good reason. They want airfields for the terror of drone murders, Australia might be countered to readily comply. No wonder the Israelis, who have little compunction about anything, are prepared to arrange over ten months in an isolation cell, reportedly suicide-proof, the murder of an Australian joint-citizen.

So how then has the Obama Presidency – not just one person by the albeit changing group of people around him, including the despicable John Brennan – make policy? Roger Cohen in The New York Times writes:

IT is not going too far to say that American foreign policy has become completely subservient to tactical domestic political considerations.”

This stern verdict comes from Vali Nasr, who spent two years working for the Obama administration before becoming dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In a book called “The Dispensable Nation,” to be published in April, Nasr delivers a devastating portrait of a first-term foreign policy that shunned the tough choices of real diplomacy, often descended into pettiness, and was controlled “by a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers.”

Nasr, one of the most respected American authorities on the Middle East, served as senior adviser to Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan until his death in December 2010. From that vantage point, and later as a close observer, Nasr was led to the reluctant conclusion that the principal aim of Obama’s policies “is not to make strategic decisions but to satisfy public opinion.”

In his most recent book, Vali Nasr describes the US as “The Dispensable Nation”, which according to Roger Cohen:

. . . nails the drift away from the art of diplomacy — with its painful give-and-take — toward a U.S. foreign policy driven by the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and short-term political calculus. It holds the president to account for his zigzags from Kabul to Jerusalem.

It demonstrates the emasculation of the State Department: Vasr quotes Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, telling him of Hillary Clinton that, “It is incredible how little support she got from the White House. They want to control everything.” And it paints a persuasive picture of an American decline driven not so much by the inevitable rise of other powers as by “inconsistency” that has “cast doubt on our leadership.”

Nowhere was this inconsistency more evident than in Afghanistan. Obama doubled-down by committing tens of thousands more troops to show he was no wimp, only to set a date for a drawdown to show he was no warmonger. Marines died; few cared.

Vali Nasr makes similar points in the following video, where the terms of US foreign policy are made more explicit:

“I think the most significant issue is whether the U.S. will continue to look at military options as the primary vehicle for protecting and promoting its interest in the Middle East and the Muslim world or not.”

Is Australia, or any other people, really served by subservience to threats, violence and the profitability of the Military-Industrial Complex, even when the planes can’t fly and their costs become stratospheric? In the long term, it is politic to be diplomatic to arrange just outcomes that construct the conditions for enduring peace? Those with an interest in the game are given disproportionate opportunities to frame the policy debate, by the apparatus of propaganda, not limited to the oligopolistic mass media, particularly in the corrupted and dying democracy that is the United States of America.

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