Obama’s Imperial Presidency

Could Donald Trump already be the worst of all American presidents?  In less than two years his record on the world scene has been frightening enough: U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accords, scuttling of the Iran nuclear treaty, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, unjustifiably punitive sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, terror bombing of Mosul and other Iraq cities, bombastic threats against friends and enemies alike – not to mention a $54 billion gift to the Pentagon and stepped-up nuclear “modernization”.  Hard to imagine much worse.

One article of faith among liberals and the corporate media is that Trump’s presidency stands alone as a house or horrors, unprecedented in its fascistic authoritarianism, crazy pronouncements, and ideological blend of xenophobia, racism, sexism, and sheer extremism.   Those in the “resistance” know that pretty much any alternative (Bill Maher, LeBron James) would be far better, though specifics — beyond Trump’s mortal sin of partnering with Putin — are rarely mentioned.   But precisely what alternatives?   Bernie Sanders?   Well, the Democratic National Committee never gave him much chance.   Obvious comparisons are Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, and his competitor, Hillary Clinton.  Obama was in charge of U.S. foreign policy for the preceding eight years, so his legacy (with plenty of help from Clinton) might be worth considering.

Obama, it turns out, was among the most militaristic White House occupants in American history, taking the imperial presidency to new heights.  It has been said that Obama was the only president whose administration was enmeshed in multiple wars from beginning to end.   His imperial ventures spanned many countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia along with proxy interventions in Yemen and Pakistan.  He ordered nearly 100,000 bombs and missiles delivered against defenseless targets, a total greater than that of the more widely-recognized warmonger George W. Bush’s total of 70,000 against five countries.  Iraq alone – where U.S. forces were supposed to have been withdrawn – was recipient of 41,000 bombs and missiles along with untold amounts of smaller ordnance. Meanwhile, throughout his presidency Obama conducted hundreds of drone attacks in the Middle East, more than doubling Bush’s total, all run jointly (and covertly) by the CIA and Air Force.

Obama engineered two of the most brazen regime-change operations of the postwar era, in Libya (2011) and Ukraine (2014), leaving both nations reduced to a state of ongoing civil war and economic ruin.   For the past seven years Libya has been overrun by an assortment of militias, jihadic groups, and local strongmen – predictable result of the U.S./NATO bombing offensive to destroy the secular nationalist (and modernizing) Kadafi regime.   This was purportedly Secretary of State Clinton’s biggest moment of glory, her imperialist gloating on full display following Kadafi’s assassination.   As this is written conditions in Libya worsen by the day, reports surfacing of hundreds of people killed during violent clashes in the suburbs of Tripoli as rival militias fight for control of the capital.  Militias now exercise control over ports, airfields, and much of the oil infrastructure.  More tens of thousands of Libyans are being forced from their homes, a development greeted with silence at CNN and kindred media outlets.

United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric recently decried this violence, noting the indiscriminate shelling by armed groups killing civilians, including children.   Not to be outdone, the U.S. (joined by a few European states) issued a statement condemning the violence in Libya, reading in part: “We urge armed groups to immediately cease all military actions and warn those who tamper with security in Tripoli or elsewhere in Libya that they will be held accountable for any such actions.”   How thoughtful of those very military actors who, with U.N. blessing, brought nothing but endless death and destruction to the Libyan people.

In Ukraine, as Vladimir Putin was being demonized as the “new Hitler”, real fascists (or at least neo-fascists) were installed in power through the well-planned and generously-funded conspiracy of Obama’s neocon functionaries, led by Victoria Nuland and cheered on by such visiting notables as John McCain, Joe Biden, and John Brennan — all scheming to bring the Kiev regime into the NATO/European Union orbit.   The puppet Poroshenko regime has since 2014 been given enough American economic and military largesse to finance its warfare against separatists in the Russian-speaking Donbass region, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths, with no end in sight.  Following the gruesome pattern of Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Ukrainian society descends into deepening chaos and violence with no end in sight.

It is easy to forget that it was the Obama administration that planned and carried out the first phases of the Mosul operation (begun in October 2016) which produced hundreds of thousands of casualties (with at least 40,000 dead), left a city of two million in Dresden-like state of rubble, and drove nearly a million civilians into exile.  The same fate, on smaller scale, was brought to other Sunni-majority cities in Iraq, including Ramadi, Tikrit, and Fallujah (already destroyed by U.S. forces in 2004).    Whatever the official goal, and however many secondary collaborators were involved, these were monstrous war crimes by any reckoning.

After calling for a nuclear-free world (and receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for that promise), Obama reversed course and embarked on the most ambitious U.S. nuclear upgrading since the early 1950s – the same project inherited by Trump.   Speaking in Prague in 2009, the president called for total abolition of nukes, saying “the Cold War has disappeared but thousands of those [nuclear] weapons have not . . .  Our efforts to contain these dangers [must be] centered on a global non-proliferation regime.”   A laudable objective to be sure.  But for a price tag of one trillion dollars (over two decades), Obama decided to create new missile delivery systems, expand the arsenal of tactical warheads, and fund a new cycle of bombers and submarines – all with little political or media notice.  These initiatives violated the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty prohibiting such moves, while essentially blocking any genuine efforts toward nuclear reduction and nonproliferation.

In the months before Obama departed the White House he laid the groundwork for a new, more dangerous, Cold War with Russia.  This agenda, negating earlier plans for a “reset” with the Putin government, would be multi-faceted – expanded NATO forces along Russian borders, renewed support for the oligarch Poroshenko in Ukraine, new and harsher economic sanctions, expulsion of diplomats, accelerated cyberwarfare, charges of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.  Not only has this strategy, eagerly advanced by the Clintonites and their media allies, brought new levels of insanity to American politics, it has left the two nuclear powers menacingly closer to armed confrontation than even at the peak of the Cold War.

Obama’s contributions to a more robust imperial presidency went further.  Collaborating with Israel and Saudi Arabia, he stoked the Syrian civil war by lending “rebel” fighters crucial material, logistical, and military aid for what Clinton – anticipating electoral victory – believed would bring yet another cheerful episode of regime change, this one leaving the U.S. face-to-face with the Russians.  During his tenure in office, moreover, Obama would deploy more special-ops troops around the globe (to more than 70 countries) than any predecessor.

Many liberals and more than a few progressives – not to mention large sectors of the media intelligentsia — will find it difficult to reconcile the picture of an aggressively imperialist Obama with the more familiar image of a thoughtful, articulate politician who laced his talks with references to peace, arms control, and human rights.  But this very dualism best corresponds to the historical reality.   In his book The Obama Syndrome, Tariq Ali writes: “From Palestine through Iraq, Obama has acted as just another steward of the American empire, pursuing the same aims as his predecessors, with the same means but with more emollient rhetoric.”   He adds: “Historically, the model for the current variant of imperial presidency is Woodrow Wilson, no less pious a Christian, whose every second word was peace, democracy, or self-determination, while his armies invaded Mexico, occupied Haiti, and attacked Russia [yes, Russia!], and his treaties handed one colony after another to his partners in war.  Obama is a hand-me-down version of the same, without even Fourteen Points to betray.”

As the 2018 midterm elections approach, Obama has chosen to depart from historical norm and go on the attack against a Trump presidency viewed as signifying all that is evil.   A Democratic victory would reject Trump’s “dark vision of the the nation and restore honesty, decency, and lawfulness to the American government”.  In his first speech Obama said that orchestrated public fear has created conditions “ripe for exploitation by politicians who have no compunction and no shame about tapping into America’s dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division.”  Does Obama need to be reminded that such “dark history” also includes militarism and imperialism?

Whatever one’s view of the Trump phenomenon in its totality, the amount of death and destruction he has brought to the world does not (yet) come close to Obama’s record of warfare, drone strikes, regime changes, military provocations, and global deployments.   If neocon interests have come to shape U.S. foreign policy, those interests have so far been more fully embraced by Obama and the Clintonites than by Trump, despite the scary presence of Trump’s hawkish circle of lieutenants.  Unfortunately, Obama’s eight years of imperial aggression elicited strikingly few liberal or progressive voices of dissent across the political and media terrain. He enjoyed nearly complete immunity from protest at a time when even the smallest vestiges of a once-vigorous American antiwar movement had disappeared from the scene.


Originally published on 2018-09-14

About the author: Carl Boggs is the author of several recent books, including Fascism Old and New (2018), Origins of the Warfare State (2016), and Drugs, Power, and Politics (2015).  He can be reached at ceboggs@nu.edu.

Source: Counter Punch

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
USA: False Flags and Fake Reality
Years ago, the terms “false flag” and “conspiracy theory” went hand in hand. Suggesting that a government would stage an attack on its own people or attack an ally and blame it on a “third party” was unthinkable. This is despite the glaring fact that “false flags” have been going on since before biblical times and have been a part of every nation’s policy. Intelligence agencies exist to do little else, they plan and execute false flag attacks to influence policy and set the course of events, based on analysis. This is, in fact, their greatest single tool, and one used ...
READ MORE
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999. Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a ...
READ MORE
Killary Clinton
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Planned to Attack Venice’s Rialto Bridge
Italian police broke up an alleged jihadist cell in Venice who had celebrated last week’s terrorist attack in London and planned to blow up the city’s famous Rialto Bridge in the hope of killing hundreds of tourists. In a series of overnight raids, anti-terrorism police arrested three suspects, all of them Kosovars who were living in Italy. Fisnik Bekaj, 24, Dake Haziraj, 25, and Arian Babaj, 27, were allegedly admirers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and were secretly recorded discussing how they were ready to die for the sake of jihad. A fourth person, an unnamed minor ...
READ MORE
United States Imperialism Continues War in Afghanistan and the Destabilization of Africa
In just one week the United States government will commemorate its 16th anniversary in the bombing and occupation of Afghanistan. This war did not really begin in 2001 resulting from the attacks on September 11 where planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon headquartered right outside of Washington, D.C. U.S. involvement in the destabilization of Afghanistan goes back to the late 1970s when the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDP) led a socialist-oriented administration which advanced the cause of working people and farmers as well as providing fundamental civil rights to women. ...
READ MORE
The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump
The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is imbecilic and inept—it is that he has surrendered total power to the oligarchic and military elites. They get what they want. They do what they want. Although the president is a one-man wrecking crew aimed at democratic norms and institutions, although he has turned the United States into a laughingstock around the globe, our national crisis is embodied not in Trump but the corporate state’s now unfettered pillage. Trump, who has no inclination or ability to govern, has handed the machinery of government over to the bankers, corporate executives, right-wing think ...
READ MORE
Kiev Junta War Crimes
A new Foundation for the Study of Democracy (FSD) report is titled “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture of the Donbass region residents.” It provides graphic evidence of horrendous Kiev war crimes Western media ignore. Earlier articles discussed Kiev’s dirty war. It deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. It used of cluster munitions, white phosphorous and other chemical weapons, as well as cold-blooded murder of hundreds of captives. Most were abducted civilians. They were brutally tortured, murdered and secretly buried. Eyewitnesses exposed the crimes. FSD’s report provides more damning evidence of junta torture, inhumane and degrading treatment. Over 100 former ...
READ MORE
Understanding Albanian Nationality and Regional Political-Security Consequences
The Albanian nationhood as understood in the 19th century was part of a romanticist notion of nationality, i.e., the Albanians were the Balkan people whose mother tongue was Albanian regardless of any confessional division of Albanian people into three denominations (Moslem, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox). Within the north Albanian tribes, especially among the Miriditi, the Roman Catholic Church was very influential. The Roman Catholic Church became the main protector of the Albanian language and cultural heritage and the main protagonist of the national identity of the Albanians in the Northern Albania.[1] The expression of common notions of the Albanian ...
READ MORE
Contribution of US Capitalism to Nazi Germany’s War Economy
This past weekend saw Russians parading in celebration of the anniversary of their costly victory over Nazi Germany. Millions marched throughout Russia, holding photographs of their fallen family members in bittersweet remembrance. To this archival research peoples historian’s knowledge there was no public reminder that Hitler’s armed forces were built up by the West in open violation of the Versailles Treaty’s prohibitions in expectation of Hitler fulfilling his threats to invade the Soviet Union. There is simply no way impoverished Nazi Germany could have on its own built its Armed Forces up to number one military in the world during the ...
READ MORE
The State-Name of “Macedonia”?
Preface The “Macedonian Question” is today actual for several reasons of whom two are of the fundamental importance: 1. The Albanian secession in the FYROM; and 2. The Greek dispute with the FYROM authorities over several issues.[1] For the matter of illustration, for instance, Greece is so far blocking Macedonia’s joining the NATO and the EU because of an on-going dispute between the FYROM and Greece. The main disputable issue is a title of “Macedonia” used in the country’s Constitution in the form of the official state-name as the Republic of Macedonia.[2] When the ex-Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia voted for ...
READ MORE
The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (I)
Introduction The article will examine the model for the creation of a Greater Croatia designed by a Croatian nobleman, publicist and historian Pavao Ritter Vitezović (1652–1713). The article will offer a new interpretation of the substance and significance of Vitezović’s political ideology. Many historians have viewed Vitezović’s political thought and his developed ideological framework of a united South Slavic state as part of a wider pan-Slavic world. According to the prevailing notion, Vitezović was a precursor of the idea of Yugoslavism (a united South Slavic nation-state) and even Pan-Slavism - a pan-Slavic cultural and political reciprocity. Yet a closer look at ...
READ MORE
The US Aggression on Syria and the Principles of a “Just War”
The US military forces committed a classical example of the aggression on one sovereign and independent state on April 6th, 2017 by bombing a territory of Syrian Arab Republic by 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles killing civilians who are proclaimed as usually as “collateral damage”. A formal excuse for the aggression was based as many times before (from Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya… cases) on traditional political false flags and mainstream media fake news used by the US propaganda machinery to sanction the Pentagon’s hegemonic policy of the Pax Americana. The Fundamental Dilemma The fundamental dilemma is why the US administrations of Obama ...
READ MORE
Why Canada Defends EuroUkrainian Fascism?
Canada has a reputation for being a relatively progressive state with universal, single-payer health care, various other social benefits, and strict gun laws, similar to many European countries but quite unlike the United States. It has managed to stay out of some American wars, for example, Vietnam and Iraq, portrayed itself as a neutral “peace keeper”, pursuing a so-called policy of “multilateralism” and attempting from time to time to keep a little independent distance from the United States. Behind this veneer of respectability lies a not so attractive reality of elite inattention to the defence of Canadian independence from the United ...
READ MORE
“Democracy is Pure Fantasy”: Trump vs. Clinton
It’s all over but the postmortems. Trump and Clinton are their parties’ presumptive nominees. Choice for voters in November amounts to death by hanging or firing squad. Democracy is pure fantasy. None whatever exists. Trump was the last GOP aspirant left standing after all others dropped out, an unlikely choice, a surprise winner, prevailing despite party bosses opposing him. Democrat power brokers chose Clinton before primary/caucus season began. The race was over before it started. Voters in November get to choose between a dirty business as usual billionaire racist, demagogue and a recklessly dangerous neocon racketeer, war criminal, Wall Street tool she ...
READ MORE
UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using Violence and Islamic Forces Just Like Kosovo
Albanian terror in Kosovo against the Serbs from June 1999 up to the end of 2000 The current problems in Libya and Ivory Coast are complex and clearly the opposition has different aspirations.  After all, both sides are involved in a bloody conflict and the use of violence is being used by each faction in these divided nations.  Therefore, it appears that the “new democratic warriors” of peace and freedom carry guns and kill their enemies, just like their enemies would kill them. This article is not about defending the leaders of either nations and clearly the leader of Libya is known ...
READ MORE
American Pravda: How the CIA Invented “Conspiracy Theories”
A year or two ago, I saw the much-touted science fiction film Interstellar, and although the plot wasn’t any good, one early scene was quite amusing. For various reasons, the American government of the future claimed that our Moon Landings of the late 1960s had been faked, a trick aimed at winning the Cold War by bankrupting Russia into fruitless space efforts of its own. This inversion of historical reality was accepted as true by nearly everyone, and those few people who claimed that Neil Armstrong had indeed set foot on the Moon were universally ridiculed as “crazy conspiracy theorists.” ...
READ MORE
A Brief History of American Torture
American torture is back in the news again as Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, prepares for what could be a rocky Senate confirmation hearing with some tough questions about her role overseeing a secret torture prison in Thailand and destroying tapes of brutal detainee interrogation sessions. Haspel’s nomination, and to a lesser degree her earlier appointment as deputy CIA director, reopened what more well-meaning observers, including torture survivor Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), have called “one of the darkest chapters” in US history, the so-called “enhanced interrogation” abuse of men, women and children caught up ...
READ MORE
The “Serb Question” and its “Final Solution” in Euro-Croatia
On September 10th, 2015 a City Council of Croatia’s capital Zagreb decided to promote a war criminal General Ante Gotovina to “honorable citizen of the City of Zagreb” for his “contribution to the defending of Croatia’s independence and territorial integrity”. The General, however, as a Commander-in-Chief of Croatia’s army, is directly responsible for a brutal ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed by Croatia’s army, police forces and state authorities over the Serbs during the SS-punishment-style military-police operation “Storm” (Oluja) in August 1995 when around 3000 ethnic Serbs in the Krajina region were killed and 250.000 expelled from their homes. That ...
READ MORE
The Pentagon and Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons
Prisoners earning 23 cents an hour in U.S. federal prisons are manufacturing high-tech electronic components for Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles, launchers for TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles, and other guided missile systems. A March article by journalist and financial researcher Justin Rohrlich of World in Review is worth a closer look at the full implications of this ominous development. (minyanville.com) The expanding use of prison industries, which pay slave wages, as a way to increase profits for giant military corporations, is a frontal attack on the rights of all workers. Prison labor — with no union protection, overtime pay, ...
READ MORE
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. president George H. W. Bush through his secretary of state James Baker promised Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that in exchange for Soviet cooperation on German reunification, the Cold War era NATO alliance would not expand “one inch” eastwards towards Russia. Baker told Gorbachev: “Look, if you remove your [300,000] troops [from east Germany] and allow unification of Germany in NATO, NATO will not expand one inch to the east.” In the following year, the USSR officially dissolved itself. Its own defensive military alliance (commonly known as the Warsaw Pact) had already ...
READ MORE
USA: False Flags and Fake Reality
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
Killary Clinton
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Planned to Attack Venice’s Rialto Bridge
United States Imperialism Continues War in Afghanistan and the Destabilization of Africa
The Useful Idiocy of Donald Trump
Kiev Junta War Crimes
Understanding Albanian Nationality and Regional Political-Security Consequences
Contribution of US Capitalism to Nazi Germany’s War Economy
The State-Name of “Macedonia”?
The Idea of a Greater Croatia by Pavao Ritter Vitezović (I)
The US Aggression on Syria and the Principles of a “Just War”
Why Canada Defends EuroUkrainian Fascism?
“Democracy is Pure Fantasy”: Trump vs. Clinton
UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using Violence and Islamic Forces Just Like Kosovo
American Pravda: How the CIA Invented “Conspiracy Theories”
A Brief History of American Torture
The “Serb Question” and its “Final Solution” in Euro-Croatia
The Pentagon and Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu