In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Obama puts peace process back on track…

Posted by seumasach on September 14, 2013

..and makes more enemies.

Cailean Bochanan

14th September, 2013

After an apparent drift towards military action Obama has shown that he is after all intent on a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis working closely in tandem with Moscow. This is extremely good news: Obama had an open door to start another war but chose not to enter. Good news except , of course, for the War Party.

As M.K.Bhadrakumar pointed out in an exceptionally interesting piece in Asia Times

“the war camp can be expected to tear Obama apart in the coming days and weeks for his zigzag on Syria”

What about the “anti-war camp”? Well, they also wish to tear Obama apart judging by an article by that high-prieast of radical leftism, John Pilger. According to Pilger:

“John Kerry’s farce and Barack Obama’s pirouettes are temporary. With al-Qaeda now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran.”

Pilger forgot to add that after Syria and Iran come Russia and China the ultimate target of the war party. How then to explain the pirouettes which hand the initiative and a massive propaganda coup to Putin and allow him to address the American people in an op-ed in White House mouthpiece, the New York Times? Does Pilger think that Al Qaeda have only just become US allies? Isn’t it rather that they are ceasing to be US allies as reflected in the exposure of their nefarious role in the conflict, previously hidden by the media, and the left for that matter, in , amongst other things, targeting Christians. Pilger is still harping on about the demise of that other brotherhood, the MB. Exactly!- that one-time instrument of imperial policy in crushing “the last independent states in the Middle East” and mainstay of the Syrian “rebels” has been ditched by Obama. How does that tie in with the continuation of a policy of agression against Syria?

Pilger is imprisoned inside the Manichaen world view wherein the Americans are simply “the bad guys” as opposed to the left who are “the good guys”. US imperialism just goes on having wars while the left continues with its desultory protests occasionally gathering to mill around in the town square denouncing the empire’s enemies. But what if the policy of global hegemony were to reach its limits? What if realism dictated that other policy options should be sought? That is obviously unthinkable.

So Obama is the new Bush and it just gets worse and worse:

“Under the “weak” Obama, militarism has risen perhaps as never before. With not a single tank on the White House lawn, a military coup has taken place in Washington.”

Ironically Obama’s power base does contain a substantial military element. They more than anyone have become the voice of reason opposing reckless military adventures especially after Obama’s purge of hawks like Petraeus. Hasn’t Pilger noted the star role of the top brass in opposing an attack on Syria over these last couple of weeks?

In defence of Pilger’s thesis it can certainly be conceded that Obama’s discourse has been completely schizoid. He’s been talking war out of one side of his mouth and peace out of the other. The warmongers claim he has sold them out while the anti-war crew claim it is they who have been sold out. In reality, Obama has followed the only course possible if he is to wind down the US imperialist agenda and in doing so he has shown himself a master of the logic of end of empire. His strategy correlates with the logically device of reductio ad absurdum. Unable to simply confront the war party directly he has allowed their war strategy to run, and then run it into a dead-end. He has revealed in practical terms its exhaustion and absurdity. How it lacks support in the international community, in Congress and amongst the people as well as, above all, in the military. He has left the British, French, Turkish and Saudi leadership hanging out to dry and he has simply brushed aside their attempts to rekindle the war agenda.

As a result Obama has cleared the way for the renewal of peace strategy in partnership with Moscow. I say “renewal” since this strategy didn’t just emerge, as claimed, as the result of a slip by John Kerry or even discussions at last week’s G20. As I wrote back in January when the first contours of such a strategy were becoming visible:

“The realist shift in US foreign policy is only a beginning and its perspectives remain uncertain. It is one thing to see that a certain option is blocked: it is another to see that a completely new direction must be taken. None the less, the results of Obama’s move are already visible: the minions of empire, the subordinate powers, have been plunged into dramatic disarray. The British game in Europe has been exposed and the British ruling class is floundering. Alongside France, it has also seen its Middle East policy turn into a mirage in the desert sands.”

Thierry Meyssan had already spoken some time before that of a joint US-Russian strategy for the Middle East. In the above article by Bhadrakumar, which I strongly recommend you read, there is some very interesting information about the genesis of this latest diplomatic initiative:

“It was publicly mentioned by the venerable statesman and former US senator Richard Lugar during one of his periodic visits to Moscow in August last year, when he proposed that the US and Russia could join hands to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile.”

Obama, he points out, happens to be something of a protege of Lugar. I had dated the shift in Obama’s policy to the Benghazi attack which saw the death of Ambassador Stevens but it seems it may have been in the works some time before that.

Obama has played a subtle and brilliant game and in the process made himself a target of the dead-enders of the right and the left.

7 Responses to “Obama puts peace process back on track…”

  1. jon said

    You are right Obama has outplayed everybody. But I believe that Russia came to the negotiations because a war against Syria would have led to the US and allies destroying Russia air defence system, and other Russian military equipment. With the US showing the superiority of US military equipment over Russian equipment, this would have damaged Russia’s multi-billion dollar arms industry, and lost them many potential clients. So Kerry threw them a bone and the Russians bite. You would notice that in the news conference today, the US and Russia foreign secretaries agreed that a resolution would include Chapter 7, the need for force. Is Russia about to ditch Assad

  2. jon said

    Obama has outplayed everybody. I think Russia were worried that if America struck against syria then their air defence system, and wepon systems would have been destroyed, which would have played badly with their multi-billion dollar arms industry.

  3. seumasach said

    Yes, but I don’t think there will be a resolution- Russia and US on same page over this. If the Americans fancies this they would have attacked, but they didn’t.

  4. Rob said

    Oh, Jon, I can’t possibly know where you got that idea. Outplayed? Did you possibly consider that the Russians knew all along that if it came to a shooting match that it wasn’t in their interest take part? And let me ask you, who looks like the fools here with disingenuous diplomacy and overt support of forces that, outside of the FSA, no one excluding delusional politicos who use them to achieve their ends really supports or approves of their actions? Just who looks bad here? I hardly think it’s astute politics with a happy ending. Ask a common Syrian citizen what they think of the game.

  5. seumasach said

    Common Syrian citizens will be pleased that Obama has refrained from bombing their countries and has ditched the “regime change” agenda. He has also “outplayed” the War Party, a fact of historic significance which will have enormous positive effect on future developments. We can now look forward to a wider Middle East peace process including both Palestinian and Iranian issues. Through the SCO we see a possible resolution to the Kashmir and the North Korea issues. Great days ahead! I hope the wounded pride of the Western leftist intelligencia doeasn’t completely prevent them from playing at least some kind of positive role in all this

  6. Rob said

    Obama has a real chance to actually earn that peace prize. He’s a lame duck, so what does he have to lose? But it personally bothered me that Obama in his speech declaring that he’s willing to give diplomacy a chance (I honestly think that chance was disingenuously sidestepped in Syria like it has been done with Iran) didn’t notice his words and sandwiched the word resolve between humility and essential truth. Seems humility and essential truth would be a much more satisfying between two pieces of wholesome resolve. For me, it’s disgustingly pretentious to play political games with foreign lives, and I think that honesty about and in policy would be a welcome relief while exposing the unreasonable demands of those who support such actions in the US for all to see. I personally hope that he can make some inroads into making the US the example it has claimed to be to the world. We in the US could start not only in the Middle East, but in South and Central America as well.

  7. smeddum said

    I think tarpleys tweet is relevant, WebsterGTarpley ‏@WebsterGTarpley 14 Sep
    If #Obama avoids #Syria war, seeks détente with #Russia, he may face threat from same warmonger networks that struck #JFK half a century ago

    However, Obama seems to be ultra cautious in his manoeuvring.

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