by William Skink
With the help of Obama’s oratory skills, America has officially gone full Orwell.
There is no better, more succinct way to describe what Obama’s speech at the UN signifies: 1984 has arrived.
Before getting to Michael Hudson’s assessment, it might be helpful to take a look at a Win/Gallup poll from January of last year that shows what the world really thinks about war and peace and America’s alleged role in promoting the latter (with Orwellian vigor):
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: The rest of world believes that the United States is the country that poses the greatest threat to world peace, beating out all challengers by a wide margin.
This is the conclusion of a massive world opinion poll conducted by Win/Gallup International and released at the close of 2013. The poll, which was first conducted in 1977, asked over 66,000 thousand people across 65 countries this year a variety of questions about the world, including which country they would most like to call home, whether or not the world is becoming a generally better place and which country poses the greatest threat to world peace.
The U.S. was voted the biggest threat by far, garnering 24 percent of the vote. Pakistan was a very distant second with 8 percent, followed by China (6 percent) and Afghanistan (5 percent).
Obviously Americans polled don’t see their homeland as posing the greatest threat to world peace, that would be Iran. That would also be wrong because the rest of the world is right, it’s us.
Good ol’ Noam was talking about all this recently on Democracy Now, and it’s worth checking out.
There is such a tremendous disparity between what America does and what our “elected” leaders say (and what many Americans believe) that I sometimes wonder how the cognitive dissonance doesn’t create a rip in the space/time continuum. Obama’s speech at the UN is just the most recent (and, I think, most disturbing) example.
The word Democracy, Hudson argues, no longer means a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Instead, as applied globally by the Obama administration (and Bush before him), Democracy means a country that supports US policy. With that meaning in mind, Hudson opens his piece by accurately describing Obama’s use of the word Democracy as an overt threat:
In his Orwellian September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence or revolution.
This was his threat to promote revolution, coups and violence against any country not deemed a “democracy.” In making this hardly-veiled threat, he redefined the word in the vocabulary of international politics. Democracy is the CIA’s overthrow of Mossedegh in Iran to install the Shah. Democracy is the overthrow of Afghanistan’s secular government by the Taliban against Russia. Democracy is the Ukrainian coup behind Yats and Poroshenko. Democracy is Pinochet. It is “our bastards,” as Lyndon Johnson said, with regard to the Latin American dictators installed by U.S. foreign policy.
And how does Putin respond? This from his 60 Minutes interview:
“It is impossible to tolerate the present situation any longer,” President Putin responded. Likewise in Ukraine: “What I believe is absolutely unacceptable,” he said in his CBS interview on 60 Minutes, “is the resolution of internal political issues in the former USSR Republics, through “color revolutions,” through coup d’états, through unconstitutional removal of power. That is totally unacceptable. Our partners in the United States have supported those who ousted Yanukovych. … We know who and where, when, who exactly met with someone and worked with those who ousted Yanukovych, how they were supported, how much they were paid, how they were trained, where, in which countries, and who those instructors were. We know everything.”
The rest of the world also knows much more about what’s happening and who is to blame than Americans trapped in the Orwellian echo chamber know.
Syria right now is the most horrific example of America’s Orwellian insanity. The R2P Libya model failed, the false-flag chemical attack didn’t get traction, and the refugee crisis meme (real crisis, just cynically exploited) was stopped in its tracks by Russia.
Obama can change the meaning of words, but he can’t change the reality on the ground, and the reality is America’s allies are monsters that completely negate US credibility when it comes to the Orwellian rhetoric of Democracy and human rights.
I went looking for an article about the awkward fact Saudi Arabia is overseeing a UN panel on human rights, and after skimming a few articles, I think this Washington Post article is the most entertaining. It starts with this:
Saudi Arabia is having a bad year on the human rights front. In the past few months, the U.S. ally has drawn widespread condemnation for sentencing a blogger to 1,000 lashes with a cane for writing about free speech (only 50 lashes have been delivered so far), and for its plans to execute a young political dissident by beheading him and publicly crucifying his body afterward.
But there is one bright spot for the Middle Eastern kingdom — the same week that the international community was in an uproar over the plight of the young dissident, a watchdog group drew attention to the fact that Saudi Arabia had been selected to oversee an influential U.N. panel on human rights. That panel “selects top officials who shape international human rights standards and report on violations worldwide,” said UN Watch, the watchdog group based in Geneva.
Some words come to mind, like perverse, obscene and disgusting. The words that don’t pop up when I think about Saudi Arabia: Democracy and human rights. But what the hell, they’re helping US arms dealers move product and facilitating the destruction of Syria so ISIS can extend its caliphate further, creating more death and destruction and…more opportunities for arms sales and western intervention.
And to think, Bernie Sanders wants Saudi Arabia to get their hands even dirtier.
The Washington Post article ends with this:
Asked about the appropriateness of Saudi Arabia heading a key human rights panel last week, a U.S. State Department official said “we would welcome it.”
Of course you do, nameless State Department official. And that’s the problem.