Like the majority of his colleagues in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama has done very little to change the face of American politics. He has voted for war spending and appropriations, and appeased the pro-Israel lobby. He helped build the erroneous case against Iran, saying nothing about Israel’s plentiful arsenal of nuclear warheads and instead proclaimed that “the US will always side with Israel if Israel is threatened with destruction.” In short, Obama stands in solidarity with Israel against the “terrorists” in the territories illegally occupied by Israel.
“I want you to know that today I’ll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel,” Obama announced to a crowd of pro-Israel lobbyists after he sealed up his party’s nomination. “[W]hen I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends, Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow, and forever.” One of Obama’s major platform points, curiously, is that he will reduce the influence of lobbyists in the White House.
Sadly, one of the least-reported (though most crucial) backdrops to the Global War on Terror is that the US support for the Israeli military machine is a driving force behind it. A close look at any of Al Qaeda’s propaganda videos, such as the pre-9/11 State of the Ummah recruitment video, reveals that one of the primary concerns of pan-Arab socialists and fundamentalists is the US support for Israel in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, in which Israel is known as a profoundly inhuman, cynical, and deliberately cruel regime to the Palestinian people.
The historically unique US-Israeli alliance has been based on the perception that Israel is a “strategic asset” to the US, according the President Eisenhower, which fulfills US goals in the region through tacit alliance with the Arab facade in the Gulf and other regional protectors like the family dictatorships, while performing services to other allies elsewhere.
Though effectively an extension of the US military and economic interests, Israel is not entirely under the control of the US. That is why with each headline in the reading “Another Migrant Shot in the Head”, the United States feigns non-complicity. Israel’s long train of human rights abuses, made available by Amnesty International here and here, and combined with heavy US military and economic support, is a no doubt a destructive partnership in which the United States is overwhelmingly complicit.
The ambiguity of the War on Terror and the US’s far-reaching support for Israel’s actions, combined with the ambiguity of the Obama campaign altogether, is also destructive. While Obama’s mainstream supporters are fascinated with the “change” message, concerns raised abut why his policies are really any different from the other parties or other candidates is glossed over with that very same message of change and hope. In response, supporters in his campaign point to his “likeable enough” persona, which is aided by language co-opted from popular movements and struggles, to reassure us of its success and legitimacy.
At least one message is clear. Obama is simply not critical of the underlying paradigm which led the US into an ambiguous Global War on Terror. In his naiveté, he has accepted the basic and flawed assumptions passed down to him from administration hawks. If you do not support the War on Iraq, the Occupation on Palestine, wars of ambiguity & attrition, or the big hand of American global interventionism and coercion, then you do not support Barack Obama’s foreign policy platform.
Also, Obama supports the death penalty, supports nuclear energy, supports coal energy, supports the Cuban embargo, and will not end the vast array of federal subsidies to corporations, including those to the oil and gas cartel. His talk of “change we can believe in” has struck a chord with many American people, this is true. This is actually a powerful testament to the increasing illegitimacy of the US political system, not the legitimacy of the Obama campaign. The campaign is an attempt to round off popular fervor and bring it back into the mythical “participation” of electoral politics.