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Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism

With only eight more months in office, Barack Obama shows no signs of giving up his role as the most aggressively imperialist American president in modern history. Liberal Democrats rightly point fingers at Hillary Clinton’s bellicosity, yet they say nothing about Obama as he continues on a path of destruction around the world.

Nations on every continent are victims either of outright American military violence or of war waged by other means. Venezuela sinks further into despair as a result of American manipulations of oil prices and sanctions that cripple its economy. Millions of people have had their homes destroyed by United States interventions in Somalia and Libya and Syria and are forced to make dangerous treks in hopes of finding safety.

While the American instigated war goes on in Syria that country’s government and its Russian ally make gains against terrorists. Because they are winning the United States continues to make bizarre demands that “Assad must go.” Obama has to turn over the keys in January 2017 but Assad may sit in his presidential office watching as his enemy rides off into the sunset.

The least reported and yet biggest danger is taking place in Europe. The United States and NATO continue to provoke Russia in what could be a deadly game that spins out of their control.

In recent weeks the Russians have made clear that they won’t take the provocation lying down. While the corporate media follow the president blindly, they won’t tell viewers and listeners that Russia has territory on the Baltic sea coast. Kaliningrad is Russia, just as Hawaii and Alaska are America. Of course there are Russian planes and submarines in the Baltic. They belong there while American vessels do not. Russia has every right to “buzz” United States ships and escort spy planes out of its airspace.

These very simple facts are rarely presented to Americans who have no idea that 200 of their troops will perform exercises in Moldova, a small country located between Ukraine and Romania. It is an example of how American presidents from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama made a mockery of a promise not to encircle Russia.

Instead they do just that and keep adding to the NATO arsenal. Nations like Sweden, traditionally neutral, are being lured into that organization’s grasp. In the absence of the old Soviet block there is no use for NATO except to act as the foot soldiers for American dirty work.

It seems that the end of his presidency has made Obama more anxious and therefore more dangerous. There are now “boots on the ground” in Syria, so far just 300 Special Forces, but even that small number is too high and represents the extent to which the United States is committed to maintaining the imperialist project.

Only the now inevitable Republican nominee, Donald Trump, questions this premise of American foreign policy. Hillary Clinton assisted Obama in his designs and the supposedly left wing Bernie Sanders warns of non-existent Russian aggression, supports presidential “kill lists” and thinks that having U.S. troops in Syria is a fine idea.

While the United States threatens to start World War III, the corporate media go into overdrive in their determination to distract us from the dangers our government poses to the world. They turn trivialities into major controversy but rarely report anything we ought to know. For example, Larry Wilmore saluted the president as “my nigga” during the last Obama era White House Correspondents Dinner. There was much arguing back and forth about the propriety of the words but no one spoke of the impropriety of the event inself.

The media ought to have an adversarial relationship with presidents. At the very least they should be somewhat distant and skeptical. Instead they are very cozy and quite publicly too. They even celebrate their collusion at this love fest as a president makes jokes with television comedians who compete for the chance to be sidekick for an evening.

There is no longer any pretense of impartiality. The media want access so they play along and tell lies of commission and omission with every presidential administration. They tell jokes at Russia’s expense but won’t tell readers and viewers that it is the United States who is provoking Russia in its sphere of influence.

Obama apparently wants to commit more destruction than he has already. Turning Libya into an utterly failed state was not enough. That act unleashed ISIS and Boko Haram and a wave of refugees. The coup in Ukraine ignited a civil war. The Syrian government hangs on but at a terrible price. Russia answered the call to help but America doesn’t want that war to end and will continue to use its allies to prevent a cease fire or an end to the conflict altogether.

A lot of damage can be done between now and January 20, 2009. There is no reason to mourn or rejoice Obama’s departure because he will be followed by someone who likes his foreign policy as it is. That person will also like Americans as they are: mostly intelligent but uninformed even if they wish to know what is happening around the world. The expression to do something “like there’s no tomorrow” is poignant. If Obama and company continue down this path, we shall all find out what those words mean.

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Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

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