Sunday, August 21, 2011
Obama's CIA Efforts Wildly Successful in Middle East and Africa, but He Still Can't Be Re-Elected
With rebels entering and apparently capturing Tripoli, the capital of Libya, (on the south side of the Mediterranean Sea, and on the north coast of Africa, President Obama will have one more notch on his belt when he debates Republicans over foreign policy. President Obama can (probably quite truthfully) assert that his Central Intelligence Agency's efforts were essential to regime change in Libya, but it was not possible to publicize these efforts at the time, lest Quaddafi use US interference to undermine Libyan public support for the "freedom fighters" (oops, "rebels").
President Obama can tick off a list of countries in which regime change has occurred or is the process of occurring. I, frankly, cannot remember them all, so long is the list. If President Obama is smart, and I believe that he is, he will neutralize and even win over some Independent and Republican foreign policy hawks by pointing to the success at Middle East and Africa regime change that Obama has presided over during his presidency. Arguably, these changes are second only in importance to fall of the Soviet Union during Ronald Reagan's watch, and Obama will surely point that out.
President W. Bush (and candidate John McCain and his advisers) made no secret of their desire for regime change in various in the Middle East and Africa. Neo-conservative foreign policy visionaries (once believed to be hallucinatory) can only be ecstatic with the "Freedom Spring" in the Middle East and North Africa, or whatever the US-supported and trained "freedom fighters" (excuse me, "rebels") are calling it.
So, even as Republican Presidential and Congressional candidates criticize Obama on domestic economic policy, they will be compelled to acknowledge the dramatic and (to them) highly desirable change in regimes in various countries in the Middle East and Africa.
For example, if the President of Syria leaves office, Obama can claim a major behind-the-scenes role. If he doesn't leave office President Obama can insist that it's only a matter of time, and recently history makes this claim credible.
In spite of the likelihood of a number of failed states as a result, considerable violence and some civil wars in which "regime derailment" has occurred but "regime-change" (to another solid regime) has faltered, (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, and what was the other recent one?), Obama can claim that democracy (otherwise known as the US's unfettered access to oil, supply routes and markets) has been achieved in an astounding array of countries under Obama's watchful manipulation of CIA assets in the various countries.
(In fact, a lot of people are checking with the Truth About Kos blog to see if Warren Weinstein, who worked with US-AID, and was a US contractor in Pakistan when kidnapped recently, might also be a CIA agent or asset.)
It is well-known that the US Government and USA "democracy-oriented" non-government organizations have been training citizens in countries across the Middle East and Africa to take part in just the sort of non-violent civil resistance (followed by violent challenges to governments) that has been occurring. As US Election Day 2012 draws near, Obama's CIA spokespersons will speak out proudly about some of the CIA/USAID dots that only conspiracy observers such as myself have seen as highly probable or obvious all along.
And hasn't Obama attacked Libya with drones and then direct air strikes, under the cover of NATO? Obama may have presided over a lousy and worsening economy that will be at its lowest point on Election Day 2012, with the largest transfer of wealth from the population and the people's Government to the banks and brokerage houses of the rich in the history of America, but no one can doubt his willingness to use force in ways that minimize US soldiers' exposure and also minimize the overt appearance of meddling in foreign countries' internal politics, in order to achieve neoconservative foreign policy goals, but without being seen within these countries as the rebels' puppet master, even when the US is the rebellion puppet master.
Give Obama a "ten" on regime change and expert use of US forces in the Middle East and Africa. I am unalterably opposed to all that he has done, and I do not agree that he and other unseen US forces and organizations have the right to do as they have. But, they have succeeded at the neoconservatives' expressed foreign policy goals, and that is what counts in American foreign policy debates.
However, let's recall that George H. W. Bush (the first Bush) won the first Gulf War and then lost the 1992 Election (in far less seriously economically disastrous times), because people just didn't believe G.H.W.B. had the awareness and determination to deal with America's economic malaise that Bill Clinton did.
Don't compare Obama with Jimmy Carter, because Obama has been far more successful in foreign policy. Instead, compare Obama to George H.W. Bush, who lost his 2002 re-election campaign because Americans just didn't feel confident about G.H.W.B's awareness of the need to improve the economy and his ability to do it, as compared to the proposals and energy of Bill Clinton.
If President Obama is fortunate and tends to his international interventions carefully, he will still be a "war president" on Election Day 2012. With an abominably lousy opponent who embarrasses the Republican Party (as McCain and Palin did in 2008), Obama could win.
Personally, I would prefer that he bow out and bring Vice President Hillary Clinton to the fore as the Democratic Party's candidate. Victories in the Middle East do not pay our mortgages, save our homes or put hot dogs and beans on the table. We need victories in the unemployment rate and in mortgage re-negotiations with the banks that only exist today because of the largess they received in multiple Bush/Obama bail-outs. We need to stabilize and "grow the economy" in ways that the Republican Congress will absolutely not permit while Obama would receive the credit. We need a new and different president, without turning the White House over to the Republicans.
I personally no longer believe in Obama's commitment to basic Democratic Party policies, such as the maintenance of Social Security and safety-net programs. I suspect that he has allowed or even suggested debacles like the debate over the debt ceiling so that he could accede to Republican demands that no Democratic voter can accept otherwise.
I simply do not trust President Obama anymore. I have no confidence in his ability and determination to defend programs that the middle class and working poor depend upon and hold dear. With each day, my concern increases over the aspects of the New Deal contract with America that President Obama may reluctantly throw overboard while blaming the Republicans for having made him do it. I am afraid that Obama may be a Republican in Democratic bunting.
So, I would welcome a situation in which the vice president steps down, Obama nominates Hillary Clinton, and then Obama exits the national stage, leaving Hillary Clinton as the incumbent on Election Day, with her promise not to do what Obama has done in domestic economic policy. It would not be constructive for a Democrat to challenge Obama, as Ted Kennedy challenged President Jimmy Carter in 1980. But arguably it didn't make any difference then and it won't make any difference now.
I prefer that Obama acknowledge defeat in terms of domestic economic policy, and then clear his desk for Vice President Hillary Clinton to hold onto through and beyond Election Day 2012. In a close race, we chose Obama over Clinton in 2008. He has turned out to be a bitter disappointment, even to many Black bloggers such as me, the African American Pundit and Black Agenda Report.
As Rebecca Traister points out in today's New York Times, we cannot know that a Clinton presidency would have been different or better. What we DO know is that voters will be looking for change in the 2012 presidential race. We should give them a way to opt for change without opting for the Republican presidential candidate.