Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Economic and Environmental Crises Muffle
By Ben Tanosborn
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, June 7, 2010
Perhaps someone should point out to the Israeli government that
being a democracy and a bully-nation are not mutually exclusive conditions.
Once again, as in countless times in the past, Israel finds merit in its
political choice for the Jewish people – only living democracy in the region
– using it as if that had superior redeeming value against its treatment of
the Palestinians or its continuously deceiving conduct in seeking peace –
this time in its rejection of the 2012 NPT conference focusing in making the
Middle East a WMD-free zone. Israel, for obvious self-serving reasons,
has failed to join 189 nations of the world in becoming a member of the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
It took 15 years for the Arab
nations sponsoring the banning of nuclear weapons in the Middle East to get
the support and consent from the US and the other nuclear powers, but it
seems that the Obama administration jumped the gun by not clearing this
consent with Israel first. So as it continually happens when acting
without first obtaining a proper imprimatur, embarrassed America had to
backtrack – we never learn, it appears – by way of its senior officials
headed by US National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones.
Tuesday, June 1st, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in this his second
visit to the White House in just nine weeks, will no doubt be reminding his
host, Barack Obama – and maybe the president’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel
– that in matters concerning Israel, the script must be written not in
Washington but in the Holy Land.
Meantime here is our hapless
president trying to multitask his decision-making in crisis after crisis,
from an economy headed for greater disastrous depths – regardless of the
booster shots of confidence by the government to an ignorant citizenry – to
the current irreversible environmental disaster that will finally show
people that capitalism’s gamble has always been funded by the people.
Let’s face the truth in front of us: the culprit of what is happening in the
Gulf of Mexico has less to do with corporate malevolence by BP, and more
with a predatory capitalism defended and emboldened by governments that are
neither of, by, or for the people: a joint corporatism which is in essence
Americans, fundamentally citizen-consumers as most of their
brethren in the western world, are so concerned with the implications of a
lower standard of material well-being that there is no room in their minds,
or in their consciences, for how other people on this earth may be suffering
because of unnecessary wars; usually wars of our own creation. And it
is this almost universal economic concern in the population that helps
muffle the few anti-war voices which have always existed. Iraq,
Afghanistan, Somalia and other places… they all appear so distant from us
thanks to a prejudicial press coverage!
Whether it was an effort by
Obama to ingratiate himself with the hawks at the Pentagon, and the
conservative politicians that dream of empire, the president made it
abundantly clear from the outset that he would not deviate from this
nation’s past war culture, even if wrapped with the vestments of peace.
And that he, elected leader who was expected to bring change to a country
presumably clamoring for it, was more inclined to proceed cautiously with
ideological compromise; his willingness even extending to making the
Afghanistan conflict his very own war.
So here we are, sixteen
months after Obama took the reins of the nation, with more US troops in
Afghanistan (94,000+) than in Iraq, tripling the number of two years before.
It should come as no surprise that of the 1,000 Americans dead in that war
to date, 43 percent of them have occurred since Obama took office, a period
of time amounting to only 15 percent of the total since Afghanistan was
invaded as punishment against a Taliban government which had permitted Osama
Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda to set up training camps there.
So what does
Obama and his military “viceroy”, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, have to show for
this expensive military effort and 430 US military dead? Nothing,
really… for by even the most optimistic accounts, this last campaign has
been a failure: a government in Kabul tabbed as totally corrupt; mirage
gains in expelling Taliban from cities, such as Marjah, that see them come
right back – Kandahar being the next major offensive; a poor region more
interested in receiving economic aid than in meeting the needs of their
occupiers… for, after all, the Taliban are their own people, while Americans
and their NATO allies are not; and a population clearly upset at the price
they are paying as civilians are being killed – something cold-bloodedly
accepted by military standards as collateral damage – at the rate of 10
Afghans for every American GI (well over 6,000 during the past three years).
Whether Obama’s war in Afghanistan, the fluid situation still existing
in Iraq, or the unbearable at-war predicaments faced by Palestinians in
Gaza, you won’t hear much from Americans these days. The economy rules
the day… now compounded by the reality that we could end up with a
trillion-plus dollar disaster at the Gulf if the gushing spill isn’t capped
soon… a cost that will be shared, willingly or not, by all Americans.
Should we be surprised at the corollary reached by people like Anwar Al-Awlaki,
the Yemeni cleric born in the United States, who blames the American
civilian population because “the American people, in general, are taking
part in this and they elected this administration and they are financing the
war”? This is certainly food for thought.