Monday, March 21, 2016

War and Peace

Jeffrey Goldberg's The Obama Doctrine has been pretty much dissected and commented on by nearly every political and journalistic hack with a no. 2 pencil on the planet at this point. Lord knows you don't need me to parse it for you. But it dovetails with an email chain that I am receiving so pardon me if I do bring it up and offer up a few words in passing.

When I first brought up the article with my coffee group, one of my cohorts said that this is exactly the kind of President that he had always hoped for. We agree to disagree. I consider his reign at best an opportunity wasted and an abject failure on many levels, not helped by an obstructionism on the part of the opposition that is unparalleled. I recognize that the tide has shifted and that I might be in the minority in my views. That is okay. That has never bothered me.

The so called Obama Doctrine is a radical departure for the United States, both in its honesty and its dishonesty. Despite seven years of smooth talk from this administration to its ruffled allies about its good intentions it turns out he was pissing on their leg and telling them it was raining the whole time. This has caused a serious "trust" issue with many of our ostensible "allies."

Saudi Arabia and Israel, you are on your own, he's just not into the middle east anymore. Iran may be a bunch of bad acting terrorist pricks but they are a fact of life, learn to live with them. It's your problem now. Ukraine, too close to Russia, you guys are on your own too. England, France, done carrying you. Cuba, we can worry about that human rights stuff later. Rwanda massacre, sorry, we didn't have the time. Didn't you get the memo, America is war weary?

There's even some Lewis Carroll logic, that red line in Syria, not enforcing it was the greatest move he never did. Because "they" were expecting him to, or something like that, whomever they are. I watched Obama BFF Goldberg during his Facebook video wherein he tried to explain the "cold eyed" Obama's motivations and I couldn't figure out which of the two of them was more blithely arrogant and oblivious. "I don't bluff, I was bluffing," man this guy is hard to figure out...

I am trying really hard to think of a President that could match this one in the narcissism department but failing. A President with such a cool relationship with members of even his own party. He's most like Jimmy Carter I guess if you had to pick one. Both highly intelligent but with obviously substandard people skills.

Although my past description of whatever doctrine the President may or may not have was fuck your friends and reward your enemies, and that may not be altogether off the mark, I also believe that he signals a moral neutralism and resignation that once seemed more the bastion of the Paul family. In any case, the true Barack Obama has been unmasked and those that doubted his intentions and commitments can unfortunately now take comfort knowing that their fears were well placed.

Call it Spockian, call it a lack of empathy, our president seems to brush off dead civilian Syrians like inconvenient ants at the family picnic. I have to wonder what would have happened in 1941 if we had a Barack Obama at the helm? Would we sit out the global conflict?

America was once a land that prided itself on trying to do the right thing, more than willing to take a moral stand. Nowadays such talk brings up the same equation, over and over again.

Don't mention (your choice) because we were worse Insert here
  1. with the native americans.
  2. with the slaves.
  3. when we brought down Mossadegh.
  4. "         "        "            "   Allende.
  5. in Vietnam.
  6. invading, bombing Iraq.
  7. etc.
Any sin of any regime, affecting any amount of people, to any degree of harm, can be equalized by the moral bankruptcy and history of the United States.

I hesitate to do this because exposing your social media communications can be a little ugly, like letting friend's rummage through your dirty hamper but here goes. Illustrative.

I got this email from a liberal friend I will call Q the other day. Addressed to a bunch of folks:

Q. - Bernie Sanders is a hawk? Happy Sunday, all!  Now that I'm digging a little bit into his candidacy...I see how misled I was regarding his Leftist anti-war bona fides.  This article is dated, but I like how it exposes Bernie's AIPAC status.  If I were ever to form a party....it would first-and-foremost be a Peacenik Party!

"Sanders is the darling of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee and the right-wing Likud government of Israel.  He has done everything within his power to keep the myth of Islamic terrorism alive.  He never questions the U.S. government’s unconditional support of Israeli acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.  It is as though these are nonevents." 

Hmmm. Can't forget that Sanders is a jew and can they really be trusted? Not to mention in bed with  Sandia Labs and the nuke builders. And let's not forget the myth of islamic terrorism? Zionists and neocons engaged in a vast conspiracy to keep the good peoples of the world locked in a state of constant bloodshed. 
I sent this back:

Me - Very few people are anti peace. But this viewpoint lacks nuance in general. A bury your head in the sand approach would neither save the 1400 Syrians killed by sarin gas, the victims of the Rwandan massacres or various other genocides that occur in our miserable world on a regular basis.

I wonder if Barack Obama had been at the helm during the forties, if the United States would have even entered the second world war, let alone picked a side, leaving the question of opposing mass extermination and the concentration camps.

Look at the President and his words re: Ukraine.

“Putin acted in Ukraine in response to a client state that was about to slip out of his grasp. And he improvised in a way to hang on to his control there,” he said. “He’s done the exact same thing in Syria, at enormous cost to the well-being of his own country. And the notion that somehow Russia is in a stronger position now, in Syria or in Ukraine, than they were before they invaded Ukraine or before he had to deploy military forces to Syria is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of power in foreign affairs or in the world generally. Real power means you can get what you want without having to exert violence. Russia was much more powerful when Ukraine looked like an independent country but was a kleptocracy that he could pull the strings on.”
Obama’s theory here is simple: Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.
“The fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-nato country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do,” he said."

Ceding the world to the wolves doesn't advance the cause of peace in the long run either.

Q. - Ah, yes...so it's "perpetual war...for perpetual peace," is it?  I'm sorry, but that's hate-mongering of the worst kind.  It's in essence the way good people have allied themselves with horrifically bogus bellicose causes throughout history.  I don't think that the world is a "miserable" place...and I don't believe that there is such a thing as pure "evil."  In fact, I believe that solutions to the world's hostilities require that humanity begin to see more clearly that people are inherently Good...and that it takes quite a large and steady dose of Fear and Paranoia to get them to harm others.  Is that what you're about, Robert?  Is that the limit of your vision?  ...using WWII and Hitler to justify all future conflicts?  Really?

Warren decides to jump in in his normal cryptic fashion:

"Hail! Hail"! For the Ukrainians or is it "Heil! Heil" as they along with the SS were the perps of the "camps". I assure you if Russia was even tangentially active in Mexico there would be some what of a different perspective.

"Escalatory Violence "as the U.S. is currently just picked up War no.17 as we "hit the beaches" in Yeman. Video game murdering from Langley then the players go home and coach a Little League Team.

As far as the Saran Gas $6 will get you $5 it was purchased from let's say ?? MMM who wanted to Scotch Tape Vietnam with Agent Orange and Napalm . We talk peace and $ell 20 billion in weapons to the world.

Ps I can simply never understand how "American Global Interests" never have anything at all to do with Americans?

Me - Re: Q's email - take that holocaust out of the equation, substitute the killing fields, I don't care. Does the U.S. have a moral imperative to stop genocide? 1400+ Syrians killed by sarin gas as Assad crosses the red line and Obama whistles...

Ukrainian complicity in the war that shall not be named gives Russia carte blanche to bugger them for perpetuity Warren? Might as well sentence the Japanese to eternal damnation too.

We are all beasts but an america that turns its head and does nothing is a relinquishment and abdication of duty.

Perhaps Q is right, I am failing to see the inherent good in people. If they fall astray it is obviously something we did. 

Are America's hands sparkly clean? Hell no. Does that mean that we should turn a blind eye when we see countries engaging in predacious activity and genocide? Apparently to some, yes it does. You are either for war or for peace. Because like Pogo, we have met the enemy and he will always be us.


Anonymous said...

" Clean Hands Doctrine":..."The concept in equity that claimants who seek equitable relief must not themselves have indulged in any impropriety in relation to the transaction upon which relief itself is sought.
A party with " unclean hands " cannot ask a court of conscience( the equity court) to come to his aid.


Blue Heron said...

so 1400 dead Syrian civilians are shit out of luck?