Friday, 9 October 2009

Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize

Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize takes the biscuit. What on earth for? For saying the right things but not actually doing them(!) Allow me to outline his achievements in office; ditching state-funded abstinence only sex-ed in favour of evidence-based programmes, & securing federal funding for stem cell research. Other than that, there has been sweet talk and inaction. As I wrote earlier:
His actions belie his rhetoric. For all the plentiful ‘tough talk’ there have been few strong actions. He fudges issues and fails to deliver his promises. For those that think that his policy half-measures are better than nothing, please bear in mind that an insufficient stimulus package and half-baked heathcare reform could well prove counter productive. Critics of the plans will be able to say, “we tried them once and they didn’t work. Now you want more money? Why throw good money after bad?” [...]

His presidency has been characterised by morally deplorable foreign policy, compromises that please nobody and competent public relations management in the face of a largely servile media. (When Obama is criticised by the media, it tends to be on insignificant or spurious grounds).

In regards to the change in rhetoric, little else has changed. During his presidential inauguration speech Barack Obama said, “America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.” This is nonsense. America is a friend to its client states and an enemy to those that get in the way.

Obama has proclaimed his commitment “to governments that reflect the will of the people” and of ‘democracy promotion’. Indeed, Obama called for increased investment in ‘democracy promotion’ in Latin America. As it turns out, those investments were to do the opposite of what he claimed they were to do. Democracy promotion funding has been used to support a military coup d'état in Honduras, which overthrew a democratically elected president with a progressive agenda.

Its [Democratic Civil Union of Honduras] only objective was to oust President Zelaya from power in order to impede the future possibility of a constitutional convention to reform the constitution, which would allow the people a voice and a role in their political process.
Despite apparent ‘condemnation’ through careful description of the coup as “not legal”, Obama has tacitly supported the coup d'état and the coup government financially and militarily. When Obama talks about ‘difficult’ issues his speech is laden with considerable obfuscation. All too often it is what he deliberately omits that is objectionable. Obama has not acknowledged the coup d'état as a coup d'état for fear of forcing his own hand.

Obama has portrayed himself as being tough on Israel. He told Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, “settlements have to be stopped”. Yet Obama has done nothing about the continued expansion of settlements. America continues to fund the Israeli government. The U.S. has plenty of leverage over the Israel and there is historical precedence in using it. For example, during his presidency, George H. W. Bush (by no means the most progressive president) suspended loan guarantees to Israel because of settlement expansion. Obama chooses to do nothing.

When discussing America's 'new' approach to counterterrorism Obama said, “America's moral example must be the bedrock and the beacon of our global leadership”. Yet extraordinary rendition continues unabated. The “historic consensus” on significantly cutting carbon is a cynical exercise in greenwashing. It is full of loopholes and too long term to really effect Obama’s presidency. The planned departure of US troops from Iraq is a weak line of action that comes up short. It is an unquestionable fudge.

Obama has eased restrictions on Cuba and said that he seeks “an equal partnership”. These changes are, as Fidel Castro rightly considered them, "positive although minimal". The U.S. trade embargo against Cuba is still in place. The U.S. continues to punish Cuba by keeping in place this hangover from the Cold War whilst continuing to support dictators and aggressive regimes that it views favourably. A global superpower continuing to undermine small island is not grounds for an equal partnership.
Let's not forget the reckless killing of civilians in Afghanistan, the failure to reform the financial sector and the constant watering down of his stance on healthcare reform.
The actions of the Obama administration expose Obama for the largely unprincipled and wilfully deceptive man he is.
I’m fed up with talk of "his efforts to bring peace to the world," "attempts by Obama to go further than we expected" about how he's "stuck his neck out" over nuclear disarmament and more. Shame on you Sunny for peddling such deception.

1 comment:

  1. The defence of Obama in spite of the evidence feels a bit Britney Spears, "Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens."