Is Obama a Warmonger?: “America’s War” - Barack Obama, Neocon Champion
By Bernie Quigley
- for The Hill on 3/30/09
There will be no seeking peace with this new President. In fact, it may be time to recall the old phrase from the Sixties, “warmonger.”
Kagan loves Obama.
“Hats off to President Obama for making a gutsy and correct decision on Afghanistan,” he writes in the Washington Post this past week. “With many of his supporters, and some of his own advisers, calling either for a rapid exit or a ‘minimal’ counterterrorist strategy in Afghanistan, the president announced today that he will instead expand and deepen the American commitment.”
There is also some logic to the administration’s approach to Iran, says Kagan.
If anyone is wondering about the sudden puppy love expressed for Obama by neocon founding father Robert Kagan these past days in the Washington Post, Jim Lobe, U.S. foreign policy expert, offers a clue in the Asia Times.
A newly-formed and still obscure neo-conservative foreign policy organization is giving some observers flashbacks to the 1990s, when its predecessor staked out the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy that came to fruition under the George W. Bush administration.
The blandly-named Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) - the brainchild of Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, neo-conservative foreign policy guru Robert Kagan, and former Bush administration official Dan Senor - has thus far kept a low profile; its only activity to this point has been to sponsor a conference pushing for a US "surge" in Afghanistan.
But some see FPI as a likely successor to Kristol and Kagan's previous organization, the now-defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which they launched in 1997 and became best known for leading the public campaign to oust former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein both before and after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
PNAC's charter members included many figures who later held top positions under Bush, vice president Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and his top deputy Paul Wolfowitz.
Obama, who cannot talk without propagandizing his thought with flaring oratory or charmed rhetoric, shamefully calls it now “America’s war.” Less than 100 days into the new Obama administration it comes as no surprise.
Those who never served love the idea of war. Are we not men?
And did Obama really just compare Tim Geithner to Alexander Hamilton, asks former Clinton administrator David Rothkopf, in a Washington Post essay on Sunday?
“Gradually it becomes clear. This is not just a global economic crisis. It's a global leadership crisis . . . Isn't there someone somewhere with decent values, a firm hand on the tiller and at least one big new idea? Where have all the leaders gone?”
Everywhere you look, he says, it seems that the men and women in positions of power are receding. The closer you look, the smaller they get.
There are a few great ones around, actually. Lee Kwan Yew, for example, who in the past 30 years brought prosperity to his people more quickly than any in the history of the world. Others too. But their names never come up because they live across the Pacific and their names are hard to say and remember. And a great part of the economic problem which cripples us today is that we are unable to see across the Pacific.
How did we get here, asks Rothkopf? But in answering, he only goes back as far as Vietnam.
We have long before that traded up true art for sociology, creativity for novelty, deeper truth for scientific investigation. Possibly as far back as 1917. Possibly before. It invades every aspect of our thinking and being. It has driven us headlong to a culture of incompetence, fueled by a post-war economic cycle which has just hit the wall. At the end of this cycle we farm out strategic thinking to just anyone with a good baritone voice, a good suit, a forceful writing style and enough special interest cash to form their own lobby group.
We live today much like the South of the 1930s which sought leadership in the past: A past, as Faulkner said, that was not even past. As Virginia still asked back in the 1930s, “Where are the Lees of today? Where are the Stonewalls?” We are likewise entrapped and obsessed by the cult of the war hero and the Ghosts of Christmas’s past and daily we hear as we do again in the Rothkopf essay, “Where are the Churchills? Where are the Roosevelts?” By 1941 when North Carolina’s W.J. Cash published The Mind of the South, highly critical of the Confederate mentality, he found that the South had moved on and was ready and able to engage contemporary economy and culture: Ready to engage the times without the burdensome tradition and the age-old repetitive advice of the honored dead. It was the moment of liberation which when unseen but it was from that moment that the South awakened.
We will awaken too. But not today.
Today Obama will do what Kagan and Kristol – playing good cop and bad cop on TV and in the press – tell him to do, as Bush and Clinton did. And whatever “Bob Rubin's farm team” – so uniformly drawn from one time and place, says Rothkoph, “that they look like a poster child for the early warning symptoms of groupthink” – tell him to do again. All of them play this President, so deeply impressed by anyone who went to an Ivy League school, like a fiddle.
There were indeed substantive leaders and independent thinkers who intricately understood the financial and economic disasters which opened with the red buds last spring and who were fully capable of dealing with them as best they could be dealt with. Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and co-founder of Bain Capital, comes first to mind, but the country showed little interest, put off by absurd considerations of personal grooming style and evil-natured religious prejudice. Instead, we chose dress up, cool, and the easy mockery of a dark wing, late-night comedienne and in the critical hour turned to a line up that New York Times’ columnist David Brooks early on compared to American Idol.
Obama and his Transformers have a vision of future history; a vision of themselves as the Shining Ones that they wish to project onto the future. But history doesn’t do that. It never has. It is dress up and play acting history. That is why he calls himself and most unfortunately actually sees himself as the new Kennedy, the new Roosevelt, the new Lincoln and even the new Jesus. It is a purely narcissistic deception even worse than Bill Clinton’s affliction. He sees himself starring in a future Cecil B. DeMille production of Moses and the Horde; hovering over his own glorious memory in the future as Clinton imagined he would, and thinks he must today just fill in the blanks with historical big stuff that will have him remembered as a great later; soaring oratory institutionalized by dutiful propagandists and hagiographers, iconic posters, world peace or maybe world war; but anyway, a Noble Prize at the end for one or the other. He’s already got an Emmy.
But there is only one President today that he resembles going into Afghanistan: George W. Bush, who begins to look better and better every day as history turns and whose bold action in going alone into Iraq is now being vindicated by Obama’s copy cat moves into Afghanistan.
Obama isn’t the new Lincoln. He’s the new George W. Bush.