Barack Obama and the Audacity of Imperialism

Perhaps you’ve heard by now about Barockstar Obama’s most recent attempt to prove his Harvard-certified safety to the doctrinal gatekeepers of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. I am referring to Obama’s July/August Foreign Affairs essay, titled “Renewing America’s Leadership” (Obama 2007).

I’ve just completed a major piece covering the remarkable extent to which Obama’s article goes to (1) whitewash past United States violence and criminality and (2) evade and justify contemporary U.S. imperial violence. The piece is titled "Running Dog Obama."

Here below (starting with the next paragraph) is a selection from the last part of this essay where I detail his promise to inflict new imperial violence in the future, consistent with the old pattern he denies (but then those who forget, delete, deny or condone past imperial and other crimes and deceptions are likely to commit and justify new such deadly transgressions in the future if they attain the power to do so).


Obama’s Foreign Affairs article gives both the United States’ semi-invisible majority of anti-imperial internationalists and subject peoples and states beyond our borders salient reasons to fear the prospect of an Obama Nation.

"The American moment is not over, but it must be seized anew,” Obama proclaims, adding that “we must lead the world by deed and by example” and “must not rule out using military force” in pursuit of “our vital interests.” The last three words hark back to another Democratic imperialist’s “Carter Doctrine” (which updated the Monroe Doctrine for the global petro-capitalist era to include the Persian Gulf region in the United States’ inviolable sphere of special interest and unilateral action) and are a code phrase for other nation’s oil, located primarily in the Middle East.

“A strong military,” Obama says, “is,more than anything, necessary to sustain peace,” echoing George Orwell’s fictional totalitarian state of Oceana, which proclaimed that “War is Peace” and “Love is Hate.” We must “revitalize our military” (to foster peace), Obama declares, partly by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 to the Marines, Obama declares.

Do not rule out future overseas occupations carried out in the name of the “war on terror” by the leaders of an Obama Nation: “We must retain the capacity to swiftly defeat any conventional threat to our country and our vital interests,” Obama pronounces. “But we must also become better prepared to put boots on the ground in order to take on foes that fight asymmetrical and highly adaptive campaigns on a global scale.” Sound familiar?

Reassuring the bipartisan imperialist establishment that he will not be hamstrung by international law and civilized norms when “our vital interests” (other peoples’ petroleum, primarily) are at stake, Obama says that “I will not hesitate to use force unilaterally, if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests wherever we are attacked or imminently threatened.” Prepare to take cover, if you can. subject peoples of the oil-rich periphery!

And do not rule out pre-emptive and even so-called preventive wars with Obama at the helm. “We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense,” the junior Senator who would be Emperor declares, “in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability — to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities.” Sound familiar?

Personally, I’ve never understood progressives’ confusion about Obama. I was writing about the Orwellian absurdities from the beginning ("The Speech"). See also the subsequent pieces "Audacious Defence to Power" and "The Pale Reflection" and "Imperial Temptations." Obama’s noxious imperialism has been an open secret from the get-go as far as I can tell.

For what it’s worth, the last article linked there makes it clear that I do not restrict my criticism of top-tier Democratic presidential candidates’ foreign policy positions to Obama (a false accusation I sometimes receive). So do many other pieces, including "Hillary’s War and the Next 9/11."


Paul Street

Iowa City

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