Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Putin Lectures Obama

by FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY

That our Noble Peace Prize winning President and the Congress needed a rational lecture on the need for a little common sense in foreign policy, from a graduate of the KGB, says a lot about about the degraded nature of domestic politics in the United States.

Domestic politics do not end at the water’s edge, as the foreign policy elite would like us to believe. On the contrary, any nation’s foreign policy is always a reflection of its domestic politics. (see for example, Robert Dallek’s insightful history, The American Style of Foreign Policy: Cultural Politics and Foreign Affairs.) The political soap opera surrounding Obama’s quest to bomb Syria is a case in point. Two thirds of the American people opposed the war, yet elites have been debating how to ignore the will of the people. These domestic politics are the real subject of Putin’s lecture. Implicitly, his lecture is also about the democratic duty of American citizens to reign in the elites claiming falsely to be acting in their name.

Should a former KGB agent be giving advice to the people of a constitutional democracy?

Think about the pathway that ‘democracy’ has travelled on over the last twelve years: On September 11, 2001, the entire world was on the side of the United States. In fact one of the largest, if not the largest, of the world wide demonstrations in support of the United States was a mass vigil in Tehran, Iran — a country we promptly denounced as being part of an axis of evil. Twelve years later, America is increasingly isolated, its leadership elites having used 9-11 as a pretext to fabricate rationales for invading Afghanistan and Iraq and for bombing Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Now Syria is in the crosshairs for reasons that are questionable, to put it charitably, and once again, the elites are fabricating stories to get their way.

America is in a state of perpetual war with large parts of the Muslim world. America is viewed by more and more people around the world, including some of its non-Muslim allies, as a self-righteous, narcissistic super power that believes its exceptional status gives it the right to bomb and bully anyone it deems to be a ‘threat’ to its interests or moral values.

Putin’s subliminal message may well be: Look, we ended the Cold War; now, at long last, is it not time for America to undergo a national introspection of its own and end its state of perpetual war, before it further destabilizes even larger swathes of the world?

Perhaps we, as the owners of our government, should be asking ourselves questions like —

How did our country land itself in a state of perpetual war?

Is our President, a man who exited the world, including Syria,* with promises to change in America’s behaviour, the cause of the problem evoking Putin’s lecture? Or is Mr. Obama merely a front man presiding over a deeper, more profound set of domestic political distortions? Is he a protector of an increasingly dysfunctional, distinctly un-American status quo domestic political apparat that benefits the richest one percent at the expense of the masses?

How and why did the American people allow their elites and political representatives — Republicans and Democrats alike — to exploit 9-11 in an arbitrary way to place our nation on a grotesque moral pathway into a shameful state of mismatches between the (1) values we profess to uphold and others expect us to uphold, (2) those values we actually hold dear as demonstrated by our actions, and (3) the conditions in the world we have to contend with?

But most importantly, with respect to domestic politics of America’s state of perpetual war, Cui Bono?

*I was in Levantine, Syria in the summer of 2008, and the excitement on the street over Obama’s possible election and the promise it held for the Middle East was palpable and infectious.

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He be reached at chuck_spinney@mac.com

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He be reached at chuck_spinney@mac.com

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 27, 2016
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail