Monday, December 23, 2013

The neocons are calling Obama a sissy

A piece in The Hill decries the waning influence of the United States. To a large degree, articles of this sort should be seen as propaganda exercises by and for the neocons, who are pissed off that they didn't get the wars they wanted in Syria and Iran. These excerpts should prove the point:
In the Middle East, longtime U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia have been rattled by the administration’s nuclear talks with Iran, which led to an interim agreement in November. Under its terms, some sanctions were lifted on the longtime U.S. enemy.
Prince Saudi al-Faisal, a former head of intelligence in Saudi Arabia, told a conference in Monaco on Sunday that several “red lines” put forward by Obama on Syria “became pinkish as time went on, and eventually ended up completely white.”
Get the picture? The neocons are going to call Obama a weak little sissy-boy until he starts tossing bombs around again.

But the Hill piece also talks about China, and China is different: There really is a new arrogance, a new sneer of certainty and contempt. The Hill quote Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the CFR:
“Basically, I think the Chinese strategy for some time has been to stake out claims, and hold onto those claims until everyone, including the United States, throws up their hands and accepts its position. At some point we have to demonstrate to the Chinese that this approach doesn’t work.”
How?

We don't make anything. Compared to China's gleaming, science fiction-y new skylines, our cities seem so...20th century. Nowadays, all we have to offer are Wall Street financial "products" that have proven toxic. Our vampire class has displaced our entrepreneurial class.

Here's the key paragraph in which the Hill tries to tie it all together:
China’s rise now looks inexorable while the United States grapples with how to maintain its influence after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and while it still faces economic weakness at home.
The Hill's argument comes to this: Why has America lost prestige and power? Because the neocons drove us into a ditch during the Bush years. How to regain prestige and power? Let the neocons have the keys to the car again!

Does that argument make sense to you? Me neither.

The Chinese achieved their current prominence because they don't waste their time and resources on needless wars. They make things. Obama did not take the steps necessary to lead us back to productivity, and for that reason, I consider his presidency a failure. But thank God he did not fall into the neocon traps in Syria and Iran.
Comments:
There is No Way President Obama could have undone the Ultra-Reactionary policy gains from the late 1970s till today.

Conservatives have been on a Long March to undo the 20th century. Concurrent with them have been the Capitalist goals of Zero Tariffs, loose monetary policies and hyper-quick capital exchanges.

Even if Barack was FDR, he'd be beating his head against the Republican Coup and accomplishing pretty much the same as he has already.

Obama's two moves re: Syria and Iran and the short *impeachable* offense of Libya have been brilliant. This is what pisses Neocons off. He got Qaddafi out while only losing the CIA operation @ Benghazi and he involved the international community in Iran and Syria.

The Neocons wanted the America Century of little wars and resource extraction to continue.
 
Don't drone bombs count? Obama drone-bombed a wedding party in Yemen recently.

btw, did you catch the Ted Rall - kos brouhaha over his "racist" drawings of Obama? I was curious about your take on it...
 
GeG, Obama had a mandate to undo the Long March. Instead he's continued the Long March, effectively giving us Bush's 3rd and 4th terms.

For most of that time the Democrats pretended that they had no choice but to preemptively cave in to Republican filibuster threats. It's been a great time for both parties. Neither side was expected to actually do anything (the Democrats claimed Republican obstructionism, and the Republicans could claim they'd waged a good fight keeping the Dems from hoisting the hammer and sickle). But despite the lack of expectations and accountability, both sides whipped their campaign contributors into a state of panic about how terrible things would be if the gridlock was broken.


 
Never expected "Green Lanternism" from Cannonfire.
 
Not to change the subject or anything. My reading of the Washington Post interview with Snowden seems to validate what I said to you a few days ago - that he doesn't have the cache of secret documents with him. He probably handed them off before he left the transit lounge, if not before he even landed in Russia. He doesn't need them any more. They are in the hands of trusted journalists, where they need to be. Talk of the Russians getting their hands on them merely plays into the spin & lies the NSA camp uses to demonize Snowden and spread fear.
 
What you call Green Lanternism can quickly become an all-purpose excuse for not trying -- perhaps even for collaboration with the enemy.

I understand that radical change can occur only if the culture itself has shifted. But there really are times when one man must exercise leadership.

While out and about today -- last minute Christmas stuff -- I spent a lot of time thinking about JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Absolutely everyone in his administration advised him to invade or attack the island. Had he done so, World War Three would have resulted -- we now know that there were tactical nukes on the island and that the Soviet commanders on the scene were authorized to launch without checking in with Moscow.

JFK really was a Green Lantern on that occasion, literally saving the world through the exercise of willpower.
 
There's a lot of 'Obama should have done this! Obama should have done that!' going on here (and across the progressive community throughout the years) But, I never hear specifics on how certain roadblocks and legislative hurdles would have been cleared.

I'd like to know what the actual doing something to actual details on the course of events that President Obama should have embarked upon.

 
One way to clear roadblocks would have been to call the filibusterers' bluffs instead of rolling over on the mere threat of a filibuster--but that would have messed up a situation the Democrats found very comfortable: the chance to do nothing while pretending that was all the Red Meanies' fault.

Obama couldn't even close Guantanamo. What, the Commander in Chief can't issue an executive order?

Obama's treaty obligations under the UN Convention on Torture were to investigate the acts of torture done under the Bush Administration. One member of his transition team, Chris Edley, said that they considered an investigation, but feared that the CIA would revolt if they did. So they didn't.

Other things he should have done, according to Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, were to immediately withdraw from illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. By continuing those illegal wars, he became a war criminal himself, Turley says.

Other things he should have done include adhering to international law and avoid waging war on countries that are no military threat to us.

Another thing he should have done is cut the DoD budget by 80% and redeploy the military from the purpose of defending American interests around to world to defending the USA's borders.

Another thing he should have done is prosecute the banksters and show that he's not on the side of the 1%.










 
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