"If that's the kind of new liberal interventionism, the world doesn't need it" / "Wenn das eine Art neuer liberaler Interventionsimus ist, braucht ihn die Welt nicht"
by Carl Bloice
Im Folgenden dokumentieren wir eine kritische Analyse der Nobelpreisrede von Barack Obama. Der Autor setzt sich zunächst mit einigen Lobpreisungen in meinungsmachenden Presseorganen (z.B. Financial Times, Asia Times) auseinander, um dann auf einige Mythen einzugehen, die Obama in seiner Rede verbreitete. Der erste Mythos besteht in der Behauptung, die USA hätten in ihrer Geschichte immer für Freiheit und Sicherheit in der Welt gekämpft. Der zweite Mythos besteht darin, dass Obama hinsichtlich der Aufstockung der Kampftruppen für Afghanistan nur vom Kampf gegen Al Kaida sprach und die Taliban gar nicht erwähnte. Die Terrororganisation Al Kaida wurde unzulässigerweise mit dem deutschen Faschismus gleichgesetzt - um auf diese Weise den Krieg in Afghanistan und Pakistan zu rechtfertigen. Am Ende bleibt die nüchterne Einschätzung, dass Obama den Nobelpreis doch wohl nur dafür bekommen hat, dass er sich so wohltuend von seinem Amtsvorgänger George W. Bush unterscheidet.
Hier geht es zu weiteren Beiträgen über Obamas Friedensnobelpreis:
Obama: "Krieg ist manchmal notwendig";
Friedensbewegung kritisiert Nobelpreiskomitee und protestiert gegen Obama.
Obama's Nobel Speech Comes Up Short
By Carl Bloice *
Pardon me if I can't join in the fawning praise for
President Obama's Nobel address. "It was, as ever, a
bravura performance," one newspaper said editorially.
That it was, but I can't agree with those, including
some people with whom I'm usually in agreement, that it
was a "good" speech. It wasn't good at all. It was
mostly one long sound bite, carefully crafted to
justify the Obama Administration's decisions regarding
the war in Afghanistan. Intellectually it came up
The editors at the Financial Times called the Oslo
speech "a robust defense of liberal interventionism."
In the pages of Asia Times, Jim Lobe described the
speech as having "enunciated a worldview that places
him squarely within the realist and liberal
internationalist thinking that dominated post-World War
II US foreign policy - at least until his predecessor's
`global war on terror'."
"In asserting before the Nobel Academy that `evil does
exist in the world' and that `there will be times when
nations will find the use of force not only necessary
but morally justified', Obama echoed the realism long
favored by Republican policymakers in particular,"
wrote Lobe. "At the same time, his emphasis on the
importance of building international institutions
designed to prevent war - `an idea for which Woodrow
Wilson received this prize', he noted - as well as to
`protect human rights, prevent genocide, restrict the
most dangerous weapons', echoed the liberal
internationalist creed embraced, at least rhetorically,
by Democratic presidents since Wilson himself." The
Financial Times noted that the President's robust
realism was tempered by the admonition that it should
be "conducted by the US in concert with its allies,
within a framework of engagement - `not as makers of
war but as wagers of peace'."
"Was this yet another example of this supremely
articulate man wanting to communicate with many
audiences at once, having it all ways?" the paper
The logic of Obama's speech relied upon a number of
First, there is the assertion that the U.S. has always
been a force of liberty and security in the world.
"Yet the world must remember that it was not simply
international institutions - not just treaties and
declarations - that brought stability to a post-World
War II world," the Nobel Prize winner said. "Whatever
mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the
United States of America has helped underwrite global
security for more than six decades with the blood of
our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service
and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has
promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea,
and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the
Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek
to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened
self-interest - because we seek a better future for our
children and grandchildren, and we believe that their
lives will be better if other peoples' children and
grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity."
Fine words, but the world, like the elephant, has
memory. It will not forget the political, diplomatic
and military support given corrupt, reactionary regimes
from one corner of the globe to another. An eloquent
speech will not erase the memory of Washington's role
in the overthrow of governments in Iran, Guatemala,
Indonesia, Nicaragua and Chile and its propping up for
decades reactionary regimes in Asia, the Middle East,
Africa and Latin America. The bone of contention in
nearly all these cases was access to the natural
resources of the country involved. The world could
hardly have forgotten that the U.S. took up the French
project of preventing the Vietnamese people from
deciding themselves how they want to run their county
at a cost of over 600 billion dollars, two million
lives lost and three and a half million wounded.
Another Nobelist, Nelson Mandela, was and is a member
of an organization the U.S. State Department called
"terrorist" while it was leading the fight against
Obama noted that "in many countries there is a deep
ambivalence about military action today, no matter the
cause. At times, this is joined by a reflexive
suspicion of America, the world's sole military
superpower." The people of Latin America have reason to
be wary and the people of Africa have just cause to be
alarmed that the U.S. is moving to set up Africom - a
new structure of military operations on that continent.
I'd be greatly surprised if alarm bells didn't go off
all over Latin America last week when increasingly neo-
con sounding Secretary of State Hilary Clinton warned
governments there of possible "consequences" resulting
from their relations with Iran and lecturing them on
how to deal with China. She also claimed that the
Administration's weak-kneed response to the military
coup in Honduras has been "pragmatic, principled" and
"multilateral." If that's the kind of new liberal
interventionism elucidated in Obama's Oslo speech, the
world doesn't need it.
Second, the Obama speech willfully distorted the nature
of the conflict in Afghanistan and the Administration's
policy there. The word "Taliban" was not uttered in the
speech. Listening, one might have thought that 30,000
additional troops were being dispatched to fight Al
Qaeda, which by most accounts has fighters numbering in
the hundreds. Actually, they are being sent to defeat
the Taliban which, in fact, means going up against a
resurgence of Pashtun nationalism in Afghanistan and
Comparing Al Qaeda to German fascism might seem clever,
but it is just a rhetorical trick. The industrialized
Nazi state had the most advanced military machine in
European history; Al Qaeda doesn't have a single tank.
Al Qaeda is a threat and must be defeated, but the
president has failed to explain with any conviction why
that should entail a military onslaught in Afghanistan
and the remaking of that country. The President keeps
saying we are not involved in "nation building" but
it's looking more and more like nation wrecking.
The problem is Obama knows all this. He reads books. He
knows history. He has the ability to surround himself
with knowledgeable and creative people capable of
coming up with proposals to solve the real problems of
the twenty first century. Yet, he all too often comes
across as wanting to have it all ways.
It's no doubt true that the prime motivation for
awarding Obama the Nobel Prize was the fact that he is
not George W. Bush and that's good enough reason for
me. Most of the world breathed a fulsome sigh of relief
when the latter was sent back to the ranch. Obama "has
changed the conversation internationally by moving the
US back towards a preference for multilateralism," said
the Financial Times. "He is right, moreover, to argue
that the search for peace is not the same as the
practice of pacifism. `The belief that peace is
desirable is rarely enough to achieve it,' he said.
Afghanistan, to which he has just dispatched 30,000
more troops, may turn out to be a forlorn enterprise.
But it is not illegitimate warmongering.
"Yet, for his ringing Oslo speech to translate into
peacemongering - rather than a retreat into a shallow
realism he rejected - things really do need to start
"Promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing the
spread of atomic weapons - `a centerpiece of my foreign
policy'- may advance through Mr. Obama's bold
engagement with Russia. He also needs to complete an
orderly withdrawal from Iraq, and somehow engage an
unyielding, yet vulnerable regime in Tehran in a way
that satisfies the security concerns of all in the
region and prevents a new war. To that end, it would
help if the US and its allies push hard for a viable
Palestinian state, the real guarantee of Israel's
The paper goes on to say that Obama has got to come to
"intellectual grips with the challenges the world and
the U.S. faces. It is time for some follow through."
* BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member Carl Bloice
is a writer in San Francisco, a member of the National
Coordinating Committee of the Committees of
Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and formerly
worked for a healthcare union.
Source: Black Commentator, December 17, 2009; www.blackcommentator.com
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