Wednesday, 24 August 2011
LIBYA AND OBAMA: PART II
In the presidential campaign, Obama will be foolish not to take credit for 'capturing Bin Laden, and helping bring 'democracy' (free market Western-style capitalism) to Islamic countries. This is what I would advise him to do if I were on his staff, and I think he needs no advice because he is a political animal with instincts that lead him in that direction.
However, the reality of what the US did in the Islamic countries under Obama, and presidential campaign politics are two different things. The chaotic situation in Libya, which I am not so sure that it will not wind up like Yemen where factions are fighting it out and will continue to do for some time, is a US-NATO creation, and largely a distraction from the multiple problems surrounding the economy. I was recently reported that voters are so angry with their representatives that most House members will not be holding 'town hall' sessions during summer recess, and many of those that do hold them, will be charging at a fee at the door. That is one way to make sure the faithful enter and cheer their representatives, while the disgruntled stay out.
In politics, perception by the voters is the only thing that matters, and in that respect Reagan taught his successors well. Obama, who is a smooth and slick politician, mostly image with minimal substance, and he is well aware that image is all that matters if you want people to vote for you, will have to claim foreign policy as a domain of success, especially since the Clintons have been instrumental in this area; and the Clintons continue to enjoy wide support among Democrat insiders and a segment of Democrat voters. Therefore, let us distinguish between the reality of chaos in Islamic countries that the West has helped to create, on the one hand, and the political perception within the US and to a lesser extent UK and France that the seeds of 'democracy' have been sown.
As far as the degree to which the possibility of a Libyan civil war impacting Western interests, I must assume that the US and its allies have taken that into account and they probably figure as long as the new pro-West regime controls the major cities and oil, that will work just fine, because the new regime will be borrowing from its patrons to buy weapons and mortgaging future oil sales. So you see, the CIA has very capable people after all. That they work for neo-imperialist policies is the business of elected officials. This teaches us that 'democracy' in the advanced countries like US, UK, and France, imperialism is an integral part supported if not tolerated by a wide spectrum of voters who perceive their interests linked to it. Such a phenomenon existed during the Age of Imperialism (1870-1914), as well as the age of new imperialism 1945-present, operating under the ideological/political cover first of the Cold War (US-Soviet confrontation) and then under the 'war on terror'.