Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category
Trump: Likes SNP, but Marches Against Obama.
Donald Trump is a long-standing friend of the Scottish Nationalist Party, according to this very recent article by JOYCE MCMILLAN about a documentary on Trump’s Scottish Golf Course.
…over a period of years Donald Trump’s organisation was allowed to brush aside objections not only from environmental groups and local residents, but from Aberdeenshire Council itself, whose initial refusal of planning permission was called in and reversed, in 2008, by the Scottish Government. Worse than that, local residents opposing the development were allegedly subjected to serious harrassment; and Grampian Police, according to the protestors, seemed mainly concerned to facilitate the smooth progress of Donald Trump’s plans, at one point actually handcuffing and detaining the film-makers for trying to record interviews.
It’s a shocking film; and the broadcast came in the middle of a bruisingly bad week for Alex Salmond and his SNP Government, following a series of negative poll results, a passionately divisive conference debate over NATO, and the growing storm over Alex Salmond’s apparent suggestion that the Scottish Government had clear and positive legal advice on an independent Scotland’s EU membership, when no such advice had been formally sought.
In the aftermath of the showing of the film, many former SNP supporters took to the social media to declare that they would never vote for the party again. And many others, of all persuasions, expressed a sense of shame that such a desperate capitulation to wealth and power could take place in Scotland; as if they had somehow managed to convince themselves that, in a world increasingly driven by the attitudes of capitalists like Trump, Scotland and its government were somehow categorically different and better, and more resistant to the blandishments of overweening power.
Now the SNP’s best friend is saying this,
DONALD Trump went into a Twitter meltdown after US President Barack Obama’s victory, blasting the election as a “disgusting sham” and calling for “revolution”.
Trump started out in a philosophical mood as the tide turned against Republican candidate Mitt Romney, musing “Well, back to the drawing board.”
But it appears it was all too much for the property tycoon as reality of Mr Obama’s clear win began to sink in.
“We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”, Trump fired off on Twitter.
The Apprentice star, who toyed with a Republican presidential run, became increasingly irate, even calling for Americans to reject Mr Obama’s resounding victory.
“Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us. This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy.”
The US “now in serious and unprecedented trouble…like never before”, Trump tweeted, adding: “the electoral college is a disaster for democracy.”
An ‘independent’ Scotland will be certainly be the democracy to live in with Trump and his mates in charge.
Most of what I wish to say has been said by Champagne Charlie.
“the more I just know that were I a US citizen right now, I’d be chucking overboard the traditional Trotskyist position and voting for Obama.”
Not that I am a Trotskyist,, and even less one who follows even the earlier Max Shachtman.
I am just a democratic Marxist.
And I am not an American.
Here is how some European groups are reacting.
Alex Callinicos of the Socialist Workers Party says,
Presidential election offers us a choice of Wall Street champions
Callinicos continues in this vein.
The Traditional Trotskyist position is also given by the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste.
“Aujourd’hui, les classes dirigeantes américaines et le Pentagone n’ont aucune raison de durcir le ton, la politique engagée par Obama leur convient, il a fait le job. L’accentuation de la crise mondiale pourrait, par contre, aboutir à des tensions internationales bien plus fortes y compris si Obama est réélu.
At present the American ruling classes and the Pentagon have no reason to advocate a harder line, Obama’s strategy suits them – he is carrying out their work. The deepening of the world crisis could, however, lead to even stronger international tensions, even if Obama is re-elected.
Counterfire makes the last claim more explicit,
Civil war and foreign intervention
What began as a popular uprising against the brutally authoritarian Assad regime has morphed into civil war. The dynamics of the Syrian opposition movement, embroiled in fighting Assad’s forces, have increasingly become influenced by relations with foreign interests: the US and its allies in the region.
These are by no means unimportant charges.
Naturally with its special angle on Syria Counterfire considers the dynamics of the conflict in these international terms.
They neglect to mention the internal origins of the Islamist component in the fight.
Or make any self-criticism of their own position regarding the ‘revolutionary potential’ of Islamism.
But it’s hard to dispute that the US and its allies are not friendly to peace.
Or that business and geopolitical interests, not human rights, are foremost in their strategies
But from our point of view it is certain that Romney is the greater evil, for reasons too obvious to mention.
And when I saw Bruce Springsteen signing for Obama on the news last night I know who’d I’d prefer to win.
The Obama Syndrome. Surrender at Home, War Abroad. Tariq Ali. Verso 2010.
In January 2010 Tariq Ali wrote, “A year since the White House changed hands, how has the American empire altered?” (New Left Review ll. 61) In The Obama Syndrome, the author begins his second chapter with the words, “Two years since the White House changed hands, how has American empire altered?” (Page 35) * The nature of American power, and its world-wide impact is a defining political issue of our age. This alone is a good reason to look seriously at Ali’s reply to the question. That he writes fluently and – to this non-American at least – knowledgeably about the subject is a bonus. A lot less appealing are his ‘anti-imperialist’ alternatives, beginning with Islamist-inspired ‘resistances’.
Does Ali’s “preliminary report” on the first 1,000 days of Obama’s presidency help us understand the nature of this global player? The unfolding Egyptian drama, and Washington’s response to the revolt, indicate the character, and the limits, of US domination. Obama’s predecessors brought Cairo under its wing and shored up Mubarak’s authoritarian regime. Will the President facilitate or obstruct a transition from the rule of the Raïs to a viable democracy? Whose interests, and what parties, will he promote? Will they permit an independent democratic left-leaning and secular force to develop? ? Can we expect to see that something has really changed in the White House? Why would we even consider the question? The Obama Syndrome opens, and concludes, on these issues of power.
Happy-Days Are Here Again.
Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States was greeted, with a “wave of ideological euphoria not seen since the days of Kennedy.” (Ibid) A broad cross-section of the domestic and international “mainstream centre and left believed that the White House had been liberated, by a “mixed-race Democrat”, from a “coterie of right-wing fanatics.” The President’s wife was of slave ancestry. His victory was widely seen as a posthumous victory for the Civil Rights movement, one of the country’s greatest campaigns of social justice. Post these heady times, and after The Obama Syndrome went to press, mid-term elections indicate the survival and revival of the hard-line right. But still the memory of Obama’s triumph glows in many progressive Americans’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »
Tariq Ali is an anti-imperialist. In the latest New Left Review (Jan/February) (here) - just out – he writes about President Barak Obama (‘President of Cant’). One year after the election. “How has the American empire altered?” Results and Prospects. His focus? American foreign policy.
US global strategy under Obama Ali notes, has a “continuity” with previous Presidents, from Reagan, Clinton to both Bushes. Despite humanitarian ”mood music” it remains about entrenching the power of the “American Empire”. Change, but remaining the same.
The structure of this Imperial realm is broadly painted. We have an, often incisive, analysis of how US interests are upheld across the world. Notably in the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Obama stands accused of “sonorous banality and armour plated hypocrisy”. That is, his warm words about human rights and social justice cover - thinly - naked exercises in realpolitik and a drive for world hegemony.
One would have liked discussion of what exactly the ‘interests’ in each case are. No doubt based on state power, resources, prestige, and markets. But it’s always niggled me that this can be used to explain any US policy going. Including say, the exact opposite of what Obama is doing. One wonders if there are some serious misjudgments being made in Afghanistan and Iraq. That betray not just human rights, but American ‘interests’ as well.
In this instance Ali should have explained why Obama is pursuing the same basic strategy as his forerunners. What mix of lobbies, policy analysts, inner Presidential factions, Congress and Senate committees, is at work here. Where it is leading. Instead we have a ‘discourse anlaysis”. That “each address larded with every egregious euphemism that White House speech-writers can muster to describe America’s glowing mission in the world, and modest avowal of awe and sense of responsibility in carrying it forward.”
But he does not go far into the material analysis of interests.
Neverthless Ali describes the Allied occupation in Iraq with well-measured (and deserved) scorn. He attacks the Afghanistan client regime. American intervention in the labyrinth of Pakistani politics, and questions their heavy-handed attempt to force the country to crush domestic radical Islamists. He doubts the US’s good faith in the Palestine-Israel conflict. He puts the sheer misery inflicted on the people in these lands in the foreground. On Iran Ali cites the history of tacit co-operation between Tehran and Washington. He sketches the recent conflicts between the Islāmic republic and the US – from the nuclear issue to regional alliance. In short a complex jig-saw puzzle of different rivalries, regimes, and bloody disputes, is put together.
So far so good. Ali is at his strongest in describing inter-sub continental conflicts. One has the feel of someone really grappling with the politics of Pakistan and its neighbours. Who is intimate with the details of its President ” infamous widower of Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari, a discredited crook.” Afghanistan under Kazari is a state for which words like corruption and profiteering are too mild. The US presence is profoundly malign. Recent drives in the border zones (drone bombing for example) and across over to Pakistan itself, are wreaking havoc. They are truly ”destabilising another society in the interests of the American Empire.”
But what are Ali’s philosophy and politics? What is his alternative?
He bemoans the lack of “anti-imperialist solidarity” with Afghanistan, which would “weaken the system in it homelands.” That there a “Second Saigon is not in prospect”. That is, “No world-historical spectacle could be more welcome than the American proconsul feeling once again by helicopter from the roof of the embassy”. For all the resemblance with Vietnam (says he) this isn’t on the cards today.
On Iran he opines that the present revolt stems from an attempt of the most “openly pro-Western to take power on a wave of (mostly) middle-class protest”. This “was supressed by an incumbant counterstrike that combined electoral fraud and militia violence”. He criticises the opposition leadership as compromised with past repression. But nobody can ignore than for Ali “pro-Western” is not a compliment. Ali rages at Obama’s “ideological posturing” for expressing support for the Iranian protestors. Against his grief at Neda’ murder. ‘What about’ – the cheapest trick on the left – killings in the imperial domain? asks Ali.
I will resist the temptation to do my own “What abouts”. Except one: what about backing the democratic opposition loudly and clearly Tariq?
No doubt Ali is wrapped up in his conclusion, that Obama is looking to fail. That, “If the recent setbacks for Democrats in West Virginia and New Jersey—where Democratic voters stayed at home—become a pattern, Obama could be a third one-term President, abandoned by his supporters and mocked by those he tries so hard to conciliate.”
Hold on. What about the foreign policy itself?
This signals the underlying dilemma of the essay. In the lands where the US and its Allies are present we have the “Western occupation and its collaborators”. That there are those, throughly not ‘pro-Western’, who are ‘anti’ the Empire. They are the “resistance” – Iraqi above all. Ali can’t quite bring himself to give this tag to Afghanistan – he talks instead of “Afghan guerillas”, “reorganised neo-Taliban”. So, being opposed to the Empire is good. They are ‘anti-imperialists’. Brave chaps. Perhaps a little misguided on some issues . However, Ali, probably sensibly if he wants to avoid upsetting his fragile ideology, does not go far into the nature of these ‘resistances’.
For they are dyed-in-wool reactionaries.
By minimising this Tariq Ali is as guilty of cant as any American President.