Obama’s Devolution, Or How Another Revolutionary Became Another Dictator
In a must read piece for Al Jazeera, journalist Paul Rosenberg examines the transition of Obama from a figure of revolutionary hope and change to just another run-of-the-mill politician:
Things did turn out that way in exactly one case: the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. But in virtually every other instance, Obama’s influence has been much more reminiscent of the “practical”, if not paranoid side of Kennedy, who spent a good deal of time and energy trying to restrain the Civil Rights Movement, ever mindful of the negative impact that headlines of racial conflict would have around the world. Still, Kennedy clearly wanted progress on civil rights, both because he believed it was right, and because it was vital for gaining Cold War support in the Global South in the long run. He just wished the struggle was not so messy, even as his flamboyant spirit helped fuel that struggle, almost in spite of himself.
In 2008, at least, it could plausibly be hoped that Obama’s election would unleash a similar dynamic across a wide range of issues, encouraging idealistic pressure from below, even while struggling to contain it. But things have not turned out that way, as Obama has repeatedly undercut, sidelined or opposed the more idealistic enthusiasms of his base with a determined seriousness he rarely, if ever, displays against Republicans.
Perhaps Rosenberg’s most prescient statement was one focused on Israel:
Yet, as Bradley Burston, Senior Editor of Haaretz.com, so simply explained: “There is nearly nothing which more effectively delegitimises Israel – and makes Israel look more like an uncaring blockhead state -than does the siege of Gaza. The siege benefits Hamas in a thousand ways and Israel in none. But there is one thing that does the work of delegitimisation even better: attacking civilians in order to protect the siege.”
These should have been the words of Obama as well, if he actually were the “true friend of Israel” he now robotically proclaims himself to be. After all, we have a saying here in America, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”. Israel has no such friends in America today. Certainly not Obama.
Not only is that last little blurb applicable to Obama, but nearly all of Congress today. Whenever foreign policy is discussed and debated, whether it be in the halls of a think tank or in the Reagan national library, the focus is almost always centered around America’s relationship with Israel. And just as often as Israel enters the conversation is there a neocon or self-proclaimed liberal who announces their unwavering support for the small, Jewish country. It is, in fact, robotic to announce support for Israel, because to do so otherwise is political suicide.
The real friends of Israel are those chastising its leaders for engaging in a modern day Holocaust against the Palestinian people. It is the real friends of Israel that are trying to steer Israel away from attacking Iran, which could result in even more regional instability and insecurity. Neither Obama, nor Bush, nor Romney, nor Pawlenty, nor any mainstream political figure is a friend of Israel. They are the exact opposite: enemies pushing for its demise.