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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 39, September 14, 2013

Obama Copying Bush

Sunday 15 September 2013, by Anil Rajimwale

At the beginning of Obama’s presidency, the present writer had written in this journal: “Obama under siege”. That was in the context of the circumstances of his becoming the President, with the sober and sensible, peace-loving people in the US and outside expecting a lot from him. His humble background had much to do with it, as also some of his utterances and initial responses. An apprehension was also expressed that Obama may come under increasing pressure from the US Administration which is not exactly run by people respecting humanity.

Alas, our apprehensions are coming out to be true. Obama, the ‘people’s President’, is increasingly behaving like a warmonger, following the President just preceding him, that is, George W. Bush. It is really painful to see that the President of the most powerful nation of the world is so helpless! Or is it really so? The US is more engaged outside itself than inside. It is more bothered about ‘democracy’, ‘civil rights’ and wars, ‘human’ rights and what not in other countries, near and far-flung, particularly in the Middle East. Of course, it is not bothered about the problems of hunger and starvation stalking the Central African and other regions of the world. ‘None of our business’ is the high shoulder-shaking attitude. But create problems and tensions wherever possible: yes, that certainly is the US attitude all the time. The world would be a better place if the US stopped interfering elsewhere.

World Policeman!

What does it think of itself?—one may ask. What business has the US to meddle in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, India, Pakistan, Lebanon and so on? Who has given them the right? President Bush had clearly admitted that it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq. Does the US have a ‘certificate’ to send troops anywhere it likes? The parallels between Iraq and Syria are many. The US accuses the particular country saying ‘you have done this and that’, it builds up hysteria despite the growing opposition from other countries, it refuses to wait for the United Nations’ decisions, it simply pushes aside its own friends, it masses up all its military might around the ‘accused’ country, the population is terrorised into submission, the threat of terror is used at its convenience, and then it lands its troops with the latest armaments in the name of democracy and humanity, ‘in the US interests’! The US seems to be threatened by every country.

It is repeating the same tactics in Syria. Even its close allies are not prepared to cooperate. Nevertheless, the US wants and threatens to go ahead because ‘limits of humanity’ are being crossed! Limits are not crossed if the US sends its troops around the world. Its troops are in 65 countries at present! If the Syrians or others are fighting civil wars, let them; what has the US got to do with those? Do they see a huge arms market in all these conflicts and a means to control the oil resources? That appears to be the prime motive behind the American edition of ‘humanity’! It is keeping silent over the fact that the terrorist outfits are gaining ground in the ‘opposition’ in Syria. Papers report growing
Al-Qaeda influence; why is the US keeping quiet on it?

This certainly is a great fall of President Obama. No, this was not expected of him, copying Bush, who admitted his ‘mistake’ after killing nobody knows how many. Obama has lost all the good wishes and high expectations of the forward-looking people of the world. He may send any number of troops anywhere in the world but can never win back the goodwill that he had garnered at the beginning of his presidency.

The US claims to fight terrorism. In fact, it only helped spread terrorism after Iraq. It has selectively kept quiet on certain terrorist outfits, while making loud noises about others. It can fight the Taliban when it wishes to and support when it wants. It differentiates between ‘hard and soft’ Taliban. The US troops have killed, maimed and destroyed hundreds of thousands of totally innocent people in the name of fighting terrorism. Its actions have only helped terrorism to grow all over the world as never before.

Russia, in particular, and India and China too have done well to oppose and expose the US policies of militarism and ‘world policing’. Russia has clearly exposed the false claims of the US on Syria and on fighting terrorism. It has shown how the US is using terrorism as a pretext to interfere into others’ internal affairs.

American People Must Protest

One is forced to say a few things about the common Americans. They are good people, laborious, hard-working and democratic no doubt. But what has happened to their assertion of democratic and humanistic values, the values of peace and friendship? Will they continue to keep quiet in the face of these atrocious policies being followed by their government? Have they no responsibility towards other peoples? They had shown their mettle during the Vietnam war. But why are they inactive now? Would they be living within their self-satisfying world, a cocoon of their own, thus letting others die? Do they realise the hardships of other peoples?

It is strange to find that the peace movement in the US is not raising its voice to protest the gross violations of humanism and, sovereignty and other human values. This is really sad. The American people must oppose, not after a certain critical number of American soldiers have been killed in ‘actions’ all over the world, but much before that, much before democratic and humanistic values are destroyed along with millions of innocent people in various countries.

The US Administration must realise that the countries of the world are not its provinces or states but sovereign nations. If they have done wrong, if they are not ‘democratic’ enough, if many wrongs are being done in these countries (so also in the US!), then certainly there are ways to tackle, discuss and to try to improve those. And within the US also there are many wrongs being done. There cannot be two standards.

The Indians settling in the US and becoming NRIs and/or US citizens must not just remain indifferent to these events and lead a vegetative prosperous life (not all of them are prosperous though). They must protest these violations of humanity and democracy by the US Administration, for our aim is to be really humane. And that means oppose and stop all the injustices, killings, interferences in the affairs of other countries and to treat all states as equals.

The US must not think that it can act as the world’s policeman. Those days are gone for ever. It is a democratic world, dominated by scientific and techno-information revolution, and as such every individual, whichever country he or she belongs to, is far more conscious, democratic and active. The US may have succeeded in Iraq; it will not in other countries.

Let the US join the world democratic process and contribute positively. It has much to offer for the sake of humanity. It is a tribute to other countries that they have not fallen victim to the US provocation.

Replacement of arms by food, goods and production can speed up social development. The US must contribute to a better world and not to a splintered one.

Obama must learn from the Bush debacle and retract his steps to war.

The author is a member of the CPI National Council.

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