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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

As Barack Obama ends his historic trip abroad, serious questions arise over his antiwar credentials

CSMS Magazine Staff WritersNew AnalysisUS Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, wrapped up his historic trip with a stop in London, where he met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Illinois senator left the country last week for an overseas trip that took him to Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Germany, France and Great Britain. Wherever he went, he received a rock star welcome, but it was in Germany that he drew the most powerful and enthusiastic crowd. Independent news reports have put the number of people who came to see him in Berlin up to 200, 000—historic by nature, for not even John Kennedy drew such a huge gathering when he arrived in Berlin in 1960.    Obama’s triumphant arrival in Europe underscores the steep decline of the Bush Administration in both prestige and popularity and a great thirst that currently exists in Europe and elsewhere in the world for a new leadership in Washington. George Kennel, a political science professor at the University of North Florida, explains how an Obama presidency can shift world public opinion—from extremely negative to somewhat positive—about the United States and the US government in particular. “It is without a doubt that Obama has the clout to polish the United States tarnished image abroad, and just seeing a black family occupying the White House would be a precedent of historical proportion,” explains the professor who goes on the caution the substance behind an Obama presidency. Kennel cautions the euphoria behind the candidate of “Change” and says that it might be more illusory than real.Shifting the war from Iraq to AfghanistanObama’s insistence in shifting the war from Iraq to Afghanistan is the main reason that forces George Kennel to question the Illinois senator antiwar credentials. Kennel is not alone in this view. Many political observers are also beginning to wonder why in the issue of American wars overseas Obama continues to be perceived as the antiwar candidate. The reason is that Iraq is more visible in the eyes of American voters, but the true is that, according to the latest Pentagon figures, an American soldier is 4 times likely to die in Afghanistan than in Iraq. If this argument were to hold, it would give McCain, not Obama, reason in the argument that the “surge” is working in Iraq.    However, Obama’s alarmist declaration of war in Central Asia has sent shockwaves to the heart of many in the liberal media, who have been very supportive of the Illinois senator precisely because of his anti-militarist stand at the beginning of his campaign.    In her editorial, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the editor of the Nation cannot hide her worries. “It is troubling that as he shows sound thinking on Iraq, Obama also continues to talk about escalating the US military presence in Afghanistan.” She goes on to beg Obama to take a second look at “extricating the US from one disastrous war and heading into another,” something that has all of a sudden plunged many who support Barack Obama into a virtual state of bewilderment.Analyzing Katrina Vanden Heuvel statement, Jerry White from the World Socialist website explains in theses terms. “This statement combines self-delusion with deceit and outright reaction. As Obama himself has insisted, he has been calling for military escalation in Afghanistan for more than a year. Moreover, commending Obama’s policy in Iraq as ‘sound’ constitutes support for an ongoing US military presence and the permanent reduction of the country to the status of a US protectorate.”     It is fair to say that since the late 1940s, war has always been the instrument by which the United States imposes its will as a super power; and public sentiment—whether it is domestic or international—has never been the mechanism that drives war planners in Washington. US foreign policy is stemmed from the premise of safeguarding the United States strategic interest by whatever means necessary, including going to war if necessary, wherever it seems in trouble. So, such alarmist plea from Heuvel can only serve to encourage illusions that Obama can yield to pressure from below, and ultimately be forced to adopt a less militaristic course in Afghanistan in the hope to continue to craft the Democratic Party or a section of it as a vehicle for peace.    What is at play here is a blatant exploitation of raw vulnerabilities of American voters in their gross detest for the war in Iraq. In this game, Obama sets to win big as long as Afghanistan continues to be absent in the mainstream media, and the Taliban does not stage any spectacular coup that no one could afford to overlook. American voters who have long been subjected to decades of right-wing propaganda and media disinformation deserve way than just lip service from the middle-class, left-leaning, liberal petit bourgeois “who single-mindedly worked to channel the antiwar movement behind the Democratic Party, insisting that no struggle against the war was permissible or legitimate outside the orbit of the two-party system,” as Jerry White puts it.    But a president Barack Obama will learn the hard way that Afghanistan is not an easy terrain, and humiliating defeats of former crusaders like the British in the late 19th century and the Russians in the 1980s must serve as tangible reminders that below the Shomali plains and above the Tora Bora mountains, the ethnically diverse Afghan people will always be masters of their own destiny.  Also see Barack Obama rocks the Middle East and Europe Obama’s candidacy and the bittersweet feeling within the African American leadership When will race seize to be the cornerstone of American politic? Hillary Clinton’s Paranoia and the Democrats Dilemma Hillary Clinton wants to clinch the nomination at all costIs Barack Obama unstoppable after his stunning victory in Iowa last week?   The Obama campaign plunges deeper into the defensive after the Nevada lost last Saturday

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