Obama Vs. Trump – OpEd

Barack Obama presided over the sale of more than $100 billion in weaponry to Saudi Arabia during his presidency. These deals were transacted before, during and after the Saudis’ devastating attacks on Yemen. It is important to state these simple facts because there is now a concerted effort among the rulers to make us believe that these recent events never took place.

Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and announcement of yet another arms sale is the immediate cause of consternation. The continuity in foreign policy decision making from one president to another is a longstanding American tradition. But acknowledgement is problematic now that Trump is the one acting as his predecessors did.

The Saudi bombing and blockade of Yemen has resulted in starvation and a cholera epidemic. The corporate media and their talking heads ignored the crime as long as Barack Obama was in the White House. Now the same forces who hid the carnage beginning in 2015 behave as if the new president bears responsibility when Obama gave the green light.

A New York Times editorial is an example of the official propaganda scheme. Entitled “Will President Trump Help Save Yemen,” the editorial excoriated Trump for doing nothing more than what Obama had done. There was no mention of the former president’s support, in fact the Times gave the impression that he somehow opposed a policy he had carried out.

The New York Times is not alone in trying to make observant people disbelieve their lying eyes. Obama UN ambassador Samantha Power is also part of the amnesiac brigade. In a twitter post she responded to Trump administration boasting about the arms sale. “For a country whose attacks on civilians in Yemen — and inability to learn from mistakes — have been devastating to human life.” Fortunately, social media is a two way street and her obvious attempt at changing history was called into question by angry readers.

So concerned are the elites and their friends around the world that they won’t let Obama go. Defending the prerogatives of the ruling classes is a permanent position after all. That is why Obama was invited months ago to give a speech in Berlin with Angela Merkel by his side. The obvious goal of the photo opportunity was to help Merkel’s election campaign. Now an Obama visit may also undermine any foreign policy changes Trump may contemplate. Trump’s message of America first throws the imperial project into jeopardy and causes panic among current and former leaders.

The corporate media and foreign governments don’t care about the damage Trump is doing domestically. The ICE raids, emboldened racism, voter suppression and cuts to government programs don’t concern them. But Trump’s victory already killed the TPP trade deal. His white America first philosophy leaves less room for NATO machinations and imperial imperatives.

Trump literally shoved the president of Montenegro aside at the NATO summit. The juvenile alpha male move was ironic for several reasons. Tiny Montenegro has been pushed into NATO against the wishes of many of its people. But NATO is determined to expand because Russia is the last country capable of saying no to America’s whims and its determination to run the whole world.

Trump’s understanding of European foreign policy consists of worrying about how much America contributes towards NATO funding vis a vis other nations. He is a businessman after all and sees no reason to pay more than the next guy. This nationalistic impulse creates huge problems for the elites, who had no intention of giving up on their grand schemes of control backed by American muscle.

Trump’s non-commitment to NATO’s Article 5 may have done the world a huge favor. Article 5 makes every member nation responsible for the defense of the others. NATO assists in every act of aggression that the United States cooks up and that is one of the reasons the elites want Trump gone. The American/NATO effort to tear Yugoslavia apart included the bombing of Montenegro. Trump’s wrong headed impulse reveals some important truths about the state of the world.

And that is why Obama will keep showing up for his friends. He is still working for the western oligarchs who want the system to keep running as it has done. No one should worry about Merkel’s lament that Europe can’t count on the United States. Trump’s boorish behavior is a lot less dangerous than the trans Atlantic alliance of war making.

Of course Obama acolytes are lying about his relationship with Saudi Arabia. American presidents always genuflect to their partner in crime. The Saudis have aided in the destruction of much of that region but those facts are inconvenient. Obama’s second act won’t work unless some very big lies are served up.


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Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR (http://www.blackagendareport.com), and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.

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