Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Agony and the Escalation

Reading the news it strikes me how so much that is reported regarding the Afghan War is seen through the lens of Obama’s presidency and how it might be affected by events now taking place. The trouble with that is that this should be about what you and I want not Obama. Obama’s just fine. He’s got a snazzy house to live in and after his term or terms are up he can really rake in the money on the lecture circuit. Just ask Bill Clinton. It’s the rest of the country that isn’t doing so hot. Over Afghanistan way the slaughter continues and people are being killed as I write this but never mind as this is all about Obama, his presidency, and how it might be affected.

Just like the news media who reports through the lens of Obama’s presidency that is also what motivates Obama’s foreign policy. If he makes a wrong move in Afghanistan the republicans could use it to rake him over the coals in the next election. Democrats live in fear of being accused of weakness regarding foreign policies and especially regarding war and much of what Obama does is driven by his own political needs like all politicians. So foreign policy when regarded in this manner is really domestic policy in a way. Remember also that we have about 800 military bases around the world and that we are an empire by any standard. What I’m getting at is that Afghanistan is part of a larger agenda, that of world domination. Afghanistan isn’t all that important to this big picture, this empire of military bases. What perhaps is important is the oil and natural gas – an estimated 12 trillion dollars worth – in the nearby Caspian Basin which has been up for grabs since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

There is some noise coming from congressional democrats in opposition to our Nobel president’s escalation. Of course that’s the beauty of our democracy in action. You know. Debate about this and debate about that. They will look at all the important and relevant facts and make a logical choice because that is how a democracy as wonderful as ours works. If only it were true. Words are cheap, if congress wanted to stop the escalation they could by cutting the funding something they could have done a long time ago in the case of Iraq and need I point out they have had eight years to cut the funding to Afghanistan but have not, obviously. If the congressional democrats did stop the funding I would sit up and take notice but as it stands empty words aren’t going to stop Obama from expanding the Afghan War. No I’m afraid this protest from congress is just more PR to convince and reassure the public that wiser heads are now in charge whose far seeing intellect sobered by the realities of responsible leadership are upholding the very best kind of democratic practices in order to arrive at the best of all possible solutions which inevitably will be to Let Obama do as he wants.

The news media loves to thrill us with the saga of Obama’s big decision over the escalation. Their favorite word these days is “agonized.” Obama has “agonized” over the escalation for three months. Poor Obama, he must truly be in agony to be agonized for three whole months. And in a row too. What was Obama saying throughout his entire campaign? In case you have forgotten in all this saga and drama he said time and time again that he was going to make Afghanistan the center of the war on terror. Escalation has always been Obama’s plan which I happen to know because that is what Obama told us. Repeatedly. So where does the news media get all this agony? Did Obama call them up and tell them he was in agony? Did he in fact say “I am agonizing over escalation”? True the war is deteriorating and there was the Karzai election but Karzai has been granted legitimacy anyway and frankly I don’t think how the war is going enters into the picture in a big way. In fact it might be preferable that the war doesn’t go all that well, all the more reason for staying and escalating.

In the end Obama’s escalation is not all that important because it was inevitable. During Obama’s campaign it was clear that his verbal resume was aimed at corporate America. One of Obama’s statements that sticks out in my mind is when he said he wasn’t against all wars just stupid wars. That was the signal to his corporate bosses that he was safe and would be pursuing the wars that are making his backers so wealthy. There were many other buzz words and phrases that any good presidential candidate needs on his resume but what is noteworthy is that the main thrust of his campaign was designed to please corporate America not public America. For public America Obama’s appeal was a three word phrase “Yes we can.” Apparently even phrases as vacuous and empty as “yes we can” are all that were needed for the masses after eight years of a blubbering idiot. I think another reason corporate America backed Obama is that it was perceived that Obama, despite his calling for transparency in government, would do a much better job of keeping the dirty linen hidden under a bed than Bush had. For example there was the transfer of 23 trillion dollars to the thieves on Wall Street that has occurred under Obama’s direction.


For the first time since the Crash of 2008, there is cause for hope that Wall Street’s devouring of the U.S. state can be halted. Republican libertarian Rep. Ron Paul (TX), leading a bipartisan coalition comprising a solid majority of the U.S. House, last week won committee approval of a bill that would open the books of the Federal Reserve, the heretofore unaccountable engine of bankster thievery on a cosmic scale.

The Obama presidency has seen by far the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world – some $23.7 trillion as of July, in the form of grants, loans and guarantees to the financial sector. Only a small fraction of this mind-bending mass of money – a sum approaching in volume two years of total U.S. economic activity (GDP) – was legislatively authorized by the U.S. Congress. Aside from the congressionally mandated $700 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) monies, nearly all of the mega-trillions were put at Wall Street’s disposal by Barack Obama’s executive branch and the quasi-public monstrosity, the Federal Reserve.

But the true amount of wealth that was stolen isn’t the only thing we aren’t being told. Though the economy badly needs more stimulus from the government none will be forthcoming in the near future. Mike Whitney explains Obama’s chief economic advisor Larry Summer’s job as facilitator of keeping the economy flat.


Summers’ assignment is to bring the broader economy to its knees; to crush big labor by keeping unemployment high, to force state and local and governments to privatize more public assets and services, and to generate as much human misery as possible. In short, Summers is laying the groundwork for structural adjustment within the US, a policy which reflects his ongoing commitment to multinational corporations and neoliberalism. It's the shock doctrine redux. These people are monsters.

I’m quite sure Obama will not tell you the above nor will you find it in the news media. Perhaps we are now entering the final phase of the military-industrial complex phenomenon where we see the government-corporate complex tighten their control over domestic affairs rendering the population even more helpless in the face of a corporate owned government. Apparently no threat to the empire can be tolerated. Not abroad and not at home.


At November 29, 2009 8:11 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Mike Whitney has it exactly right.

Someone once said only Nixon could go to China-- maybe only Obama(at least, how he's popularly perceived) could rip the New Deal Apart.

I would have liked to stop thinking about these things for a few days, but my brief vacation is over.

At November 29, 2009 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At November 29, 2009 11:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jonathan,

I know how you feel. I'm getting tired of thinking about it as well.

At November 30, 2009 5:01 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

But what can we do?

At November 30, 2009 10:12 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Mimi,

I wish I could answer your question.


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