Obama Regresses to Cold War Mythology … and Switches Sides
The world needs post-Cold War thinking. But Obama is stuck in a world of parochial clichés. (This is Part 1 of a series.)
July 30, 2009 - 12:00 am
Reporting on President Obama’s response to the Honduran government’s deportation of the would-be dictator Manuel Zelaya, the Guardian writes:
The Obama administration, conscious of the U.S.’s long history of supporting coups against Latin American leftists condemned the overthrow. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said Washington’s top priority was to restore full democratic and constitutional order in Honduras. Zelaya’s removal had “evolved into a coup,” she said.
Leave it to the left-leaning Guardian writers to recognize their own ideology when they see it. At least they are honest enough to attribute Obama’s position on Honduras to his outright acceptance of Cold War-era axioms and the presumption of America’s guilt. Apparently for this very reason, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who in her primary debates had promised never to give dictators a propagandistic platform by meeting with them — invited Zelaya to Washington and issued him a propagandistic platform.
But abandoning pro-American forces and propping up anti-American dictators can’t really be what the word “change” meant to most voters during the elections. What is happening now looks more like restoring Cold War front lines and defecting to the other side, presumably in the name of correcting historical injustice. It’s similar to the psychiatric method of regressing to an earlier stage of the patient’s life in order to relive old traumatic experience with a more positive outcome.
The problem with that is, the ideas of Cold War-related injustice and guilt are the products of false conscience planted by elaborate propaganda. The picture that Obama is trying to reverse is an airbrushed, made-in-the-USSR fabrication. Flipping the wrong picture upside down doesn’t make it right — it still is the wrong picture, only upside down.
Generated in the depths of KGB think tanks, the Cold War-era propaganda template is comprised of the following linked axioms:
1. Socialism is “progress.”
2. Aversion to “progress” is a sign of outmoded backward thinking.
3. All forward-thinking people are leftists.
4. Leftists always speak for all people.
5. People always unanimously support leftist leaders.
6. Leftists are always under assault from the well-organized capitalist enemy.
7. All workers and peasants hate capitalist exploiters.
8. Armed resistance to a leftist government can only conceivably be staged by CIA agents in the service of American imperialism.
9. Capitalists engage in relentless anti-socialist propaganda, subversion, and sabotage; they will commit any crime in order to kill hope and prevent the masses from liberation.
10. The dying non-socialist sector of the world is run by a criminal conspiracy of capitalist oligarchs operating from the United States (and sometimes from Israel when appropriate).
Evidently, if President Obama didn’t share these received views, he wouldn’t have felt the need to apologize before the world for America’s alleged wrongdoings — a gesture that could only reinforce such stereotypes. If his policies weren’t driven by these tenets, he wouldn’t be using the powers of the U.S. president to prop up the forces that oppose America’s founding principles of liberty while denying support to those who want to live by such principles.
The reason many Americans haven’t realized it yet is that most media coverage is also born of the same old yellowed clichés.
And yet no media bias can obfuscate the fact, clearly demonstrated by events in Iran and Honduras, that even in the absence of U.S.-led conspiracies, anti-American tyrants are still not welcome, popular resistance still happens, and even when the U.S. president switches sides and pulls for the other team, people of the world still desire economic freedoms and individual rights — the only constant force that drives real progress.
The same people who chanted the mantra of “change” are having a hard time noticing the real change happening in the world today. Apparently, in their view, any change that contradicts the above template is either not happening, in which case it’s a fabrication of imperialist propaganda, or being forced on the world against its wishes, in which case the perpetrator can only be the criminal, capitalist cabal at the heart of American imperialism with its long and ruthless arm of the CIA. Any mention of oil or gas in this context becomes undeniable proof of this theory.
In this sense, Obama’s notion of “change” is not change at all, but rather a regression to a mythological past, which impedes the real change the world so desperately needs.