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 Iraq alone – where U.S. forces were supposed to have been withdrawn – was recipient of 41,000 bombs and missiles along with untold amounts of smaller ordnance.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 email@example.com.
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.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
So, here's how it is:
1) There is still no evidence - that has been presented to the public - that Assad ordered a chemical weapons (CW) attack.
2) Yes, that evidence should be made public, discussed and debated by Congress, and a vote taken before we use force. I acknowledge that the War Powers Resolution gives the President the authority to use force for 60 days - but the interests of peace and stability are better served through a debate and a democratic process as opposed to a unilateral decision made in secret, especially when the military action is punitive and ...
In July 1974 the US-controlled Athens military junta organized a coup d’état in Cyprus and an assassination attempt against the President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios. Everything was executed in exactly the same way as it had been a year before in Santiago Chile. (Cyprus is an island of great strategic importance, now a member of EU and Eurozone. 82% of his population are Greek by nationality and 18% Turkish Cypriots. The country obtained its independence from Britain in 1960, after one of the most successful national-liberation struggles after the 2nd World War).
Unlike Salvador Allende, Makarios escaped death and with him ...
There are 3 Apartheid Israel-related centenaries this week, namely (1) the victorious 31 October 1917 charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba that led to conquest of Palestine by Britain and massive famine, (2) the nefarious and racist UK Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917 that gave Palestine to Zionists as a Jewish Homeland as an inducement to help keep Russia in WW1, and (3) commencement of the Palestine Genocide (2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, or imposed deprivation, 1.9 million, since WW1).
History ignored yields history repeated and genocide ignored yields genocide repeated . Anniversaries are useful ...
Kosovo obtained part independence when America and many European nations gave the go ahead for the creation of this new nation. However, it is clear that things are not plain sailing because many other nations did not support this elitist adventure, therefore, the wider international community was ignored. Therefore, today we have a situation where some nations support this new state, however, the majority of nations in Africa, Asia, and South America, have not given their consent.
Also, the Russian Federation, Spain, and some other European nations, refuse to accept this American led adventure. Therefore, what does the future hold for Kosovo ...
Revelations of fascistic crimes carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) prior to, during and after NATO’s war against the former Yugoslavia should provide a salutary lesson whenever Washington again cites humanitarian concerns to justify its predatory war aims. A new report prepared by Swiss Council of Europe deputy Dick Marty slams Kosovo leader Hachim Thaci for organ trafficking and other abominable crimes, deftly shaded by the U.S. in pursuit of their own self-interests.
A report by the Council of Europe describes Kosovo today as a country subject to “mafia-like structures of organised crime”. It accuses KLA commander and current ...
As it appears Lithuania expects major changes in the near future. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was on an official visit to the United States of America from the 20 to the 24 of February 2017. During a visit he said that Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of United States troops in its territory."We have requested stationing of military forces in our country on a more permanent basis - not only rotational but also more permanent," the minister told BNS in the telephone interview from Washington D.C.Linas Linkevicius' call for the permanent presence of United States troops in Lithuania territory ...
The Consequences of WWI and the YugoslavsThe end of WWI in November 1918 as a consequence of the military collapse of the Central Powers and the following series of peace treaties of Versailles on June 28th, 1919 between the Allies and Germany, of St Germain on September 10th, 1919 with Austria, of Neuilly on November 27th, 1919 with Bulgaria, and finally of Trianon on June 4th, 1920 with Hungary, produced major border changes in Central, South-East, and East Europe as the continent saw the emergence of several of new states and the enlargement of others fortunate enough to be on ...
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. ...
Sunday January 24th 2016 marks the anniversary of the death of one of the most lionized leaders in the Western world: Sir Winston Churchill.The current British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has called Churchill “the greatest ever Prime Minister”, and Britons have recently voted him as the greatest Briton to have ever lived.The story that British schoolbooks tell children about Churchill is of a British Bulldog, with unprecedented moral bravery and patriotism. He, who defeated the Nazis during World War II and spread civilisation to indigenous people from all corners of the globe. Historically, nothing could be further from the truth.To ...
Facts And Truth @ YouTube: “Remember why NATO spent 78-days bombing Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999? There was the ethnic cleansing. The atrocities. The refugees chased out of Kosovo by the Serb army. The mass graves. The heaps of bodies tossed into vats of sulphuric acid at the Trepca mines. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said there were 100,000 Kosovo Albanian Muslims unaccounted for.
Problem is, none of it happened.”
Forensic report throws doubt on US/NATO claims of Racak “massacre”
By Richard Tyler
wsws.org, 12 February 2001
A forthcoming article by three Finnish pathologists throws further doubts upon official descriptions of a “massacre” in ...
Bijeljina, Bosnia in 1992: Serb Volunteer Guard (Arkan's Tigers) led by Željko Ražnjatović Arkan after the action of "cleaning the town from the Muslim jihadists" (official Arkan's explanation). The victims are local Muslim family members. The guard was composed by volunteers of all moral kinds being independent on the front line and in fact waging its own private war. Bosnia is a neighbouring republic to Serbia with 1/3 of Serbian population. Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and (Roman Catholic) Croats committed terrible crimes of genocide against the local (Orthodox) Serb population during the WWII (the so called Magnum Crimen) while during the ...
It is true that every story about the Balkan Peninsula begins with the ancient Illyrians. Historians believe that these Indo-European people were one of the largest European populations to inhabit the western portion of the Balkans from the coasts of the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea to the Alps about 1000 B.C. Their eastern neighbours were also Indo-European peoples – the Thracians. The demarcation line between their settlements and their cultural and political influence was the Morava river in present-day Serbia (in Latin Margus, located in the Roman province of Moesia Superior) and the Vardar river in present-day FYR ...
May 19, 1919 has different and even opposing meanings in Turkey and Greece, just as May 15, 1948, marks both the establishment of Israel and, for Palestinians, the start of the Nakba (“catastrophe”).In Turkey, this date marks the first step that led to the establishment of the Turkish Republic, while for descendants of Ottoman Greeks and Greece it marks the end of the centuries-long Pontic Greek presence on the shores of the Black Sea. Whereas Turks celebrate May 19, Greeks mourn it. Researcher Tamer Çilingir summarised the issue in a 2016 interview with the Turkish-Armenian daily Agos:“The Pontic Genocide is the ...
Whenever bombings and shootings escalate in the Middle East, Israeli propagandists say that Israel is exercising its right of military self-defense against indiscriminate attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. But as this article documents, the right to use force in self-defense is contingent on Israel ending its military occupation and blockade of Gaza.
DON’T MISQUOTE ME ON THAT!
Doubtless some unscrupulous person or persons will quote or interpret this article out of context and claim that I’m saying that Israel has no right to self-defense at all. So, let me be clear: Israel is a nation-state like any other, like it or ...
Bombardment (or other military invasion) of a country that has not invaded nor threatened to invade the attacking country(s) is “aggression” under international law, and is the chief crime that the Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg after World War II.
The U.S. and its allies have routinely committed aggression, in places such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. A particular instance of it, to be discussed here, could be especially prosecutable, because the alleged ‘cause’ for the invasion could turn out to have been a provable lie, an intentional fabrication which had been concocted by the perpetrators so as to ...
Russian President Vladimir Putin put it succinctly when he recently warned that prospects for peace in Ukraine were negligible as long as the current authorities in Kiev remain in power. Worse, given a new rash of provocations by the Kiev regime, the entire region is being threatened with conflict, and even all-out war.It seems clear – and criminally reprehensible – that the Kiev regime and its President Petro Poroshenko are intent on dragging the United States and the NATO military alliance into a war with Russia. The incendiary conduct of Ukrainian politicians and their military is that of a regime ...
The Nation published an outstanding article on March 9th, by James Carden, which described the remarkable extent to which the Obama government (and virtually all of the Washington Establishment) are supporting (financially and otherwise) fascists who want to destroy Russia.
One such example was a recent event in Washington. According to Carden:
It featured the deputy speaker of Ukraine’s Parliament, Andriy Parubiy. According to the program bio, Parubiy served as the “commandant” of the Euromaidan (why did an ostensibly peaceful protest require a “commandant” anyway?) and, later, as secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. The bio provided to attendees might fairly be described as selective. ...
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 ...
The EU and NATO are evil institutions. These two institutions are mechanisms created by Washington in order to destroy the sovereignty of European peoples. These two institutions give Washington control over the Western world and serve both as cover and enabler of Washington’s aggression. Without the EU and NATO, Washington could not force Europe and the UK into conflict with Russia, and Washington could not have destroyed seven Muslim countries in 15 years without being isolated as a hated war criminal government, no member of whom could have travelled abroad without being arrested and put on trial.Clearly, the presstitute media ...
Having already violated every tenet of international law in its proxy jihadist war against Syria, including the seizure of one-third of the country, the United States invoked a Non-Law, a Law That Never Was, to justify its missile strikes against fictitious “chemical warfare” facilities. Syrian President Assad “kills his own people,” said Trump, leader of the nation whose police kill more of its “own people” than any country except (fellow white settler state) Brazil, and whose prisons entomb one-quarter of all the world’s inmates. (One out of every eight prisoners on the planet is an African American.)On the Saturday morning ...
Only Fools and Liars will Blame Assad
Killing a Republic – Kissinger and Cyprus
100th Anniversary of Australian Beersheba Charge, UK Balfour Declaration & Palestinian Genocide Commencement
Kosovo and the Crisis of Ignoring International Law and Global Opinions
Washington’s “Humanitarian” War and the KLA’s Crimes
Breaking the Constitution: Lithuania Seeks the Permanent Presence of the U.S. Troops on its Territory
How Yugoslavia was Created: The 1917 Corfu Declaration
United States Imperialism Continues War in Afghanistan and the Destabilization of Africa
Winston Churchill: Britain’s “Greatest Briton” Left а Legacy оf Global Conflict аnd Crimes Against Humanity
NATO’s Illegal War Against Serbia
Two War Photographs: Bosnia vs. Vietnam
The Illyrians: Autochthonous Balkan People having Nothing Common with Modern Albanians
100th Anniversary of the Pontic Genocide
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Did U.S. and Allies Commit War Crime by Bombing Syria on April 14th?
Kiev Regime – A Western Frankenstein Creation
The U.S. Government Backs Ukraine Nazi-Fascists
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
The Brexit Vote: What does it Mean?
White Lies and Black Disbelief in a Fading Empire
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS