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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.)

by
Oleg Atbashian

Bio

July 30, 2009 - 12:00 am

Why is this president always doing the opposite of what needs to be done?

Instead of supporting Iranian protesters, he snubs them. Instead of snubbing the ousted Honduran would-be dictator, he invites him to Washington. Instead of leading the world, he apologizes to it. Instead of offering a new vision, he resurrects hoary clichés. Instead of promoting liberty, he bows to kings and hugs tyrants.

Some think he acts like an enchanted prince; others think he’s a spoiled brat. But there’s a method to this madness; its logic should be obvious to anyone familiar with antiquated leftist clichés, which Barack Obama seems to have smuggled into the White House without as much as pausing to brush aside the decades-old creepy cobwebs.

A Russian saying suggests that “everything new is well-forgotten old” — which may also explain the voting pattern of recent public school graduates who think that nothing existed before they were born. However, as far back as 500 BC, Heraclitus cautioned that you cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you. To paraphrase, Obama shouldn’t apply old ideas to new circumstances, for the unintended consequences shall expose the absurdity of his leftist doctrine. Yet that is exactly where he is heading — and it could actually be the good news.

Back in 1991, when the USSR fell under the weight of its own lies like a house of marked cards, the U.S. remained the only superpower standing in a world twisted by decades of Cold-War-era deceptions, threats, bribes, subversion, and propaganda. It was a world filled with virulent anti-Americanism brought forth by distorted perceptions and fallacies planted by the erstwhile KGB spymasters around the globe.

But instead of finishing the job and decontaminating the planet of hostile myths, America relaxed and began to enjoy the relative peace of the Clinton years. The president turned a blind eye to the gathering clouds, treating the growing violence as freak accidents. In the meantime, the lab-grown virus of anti-Americanism multiplied and mutated, especially in the Middle East.

When trouble finally came to the American soil, the Bush administration identified its source as twisted ideologies that were spreading in the absence of political freedom and economic opportunities. This problem could not be solved with the archaic Cold War-era stability doctrine, whereby America bribed and supported any government that promised alliance. That approach may have saved the world in the past, but in the post-Cold War era it had become both immoral and impractical, fostering government corruption and causing unnecessary resentment.

The old mentality had to go. It was now America’s responsibility as a lone superpower, and victim of the attacks, to repair the world misshapen by the ideological warfare. This change in thinking became known as the Bush Doctrine. Predictably, America’s attempts to untwist the twisted world caused a painful and hostile reaction, especially from those who benefited from the existing deformity.

Obama has rejected that change; for that he was cheered on by a generation who grew up believing that deformity is beauty and ideological lunacy is the norm. But instead of moving forward, Mr. Obama puts America’s gears in reverse and regresses to a romanticized leftist image of the past in which the U.S.A. is typecast as the archetypal reactionary villain battling the forces of progress. Only in this remake of the cult Cold War classic, America finally sees the light, feels remorseful, and surrenders — to critical acclaim from anal-retentive leftists trained to feel guilty for every joyful moment of living in a capitalist society.

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.

Oleg Atbashian, a writer and graphic artist from the former USSR, is the author of Shakedown Socialism, of which David Horowitz said, "I hope everyone reads this book."  In 1994 he moved to the U.S. with the hope of living in a country ruled by reason and common sense, appreciative of its freedoms and prosperity. To his dismay, he discovered a nation deeply infected by the leftist disease of "progressivism" that was arresting true societal progress. Oleg is the creator of a satirical website ThePeoplesCube.com, which Rush Limbaugh described on his show as "a Stalinist version of The Onion."
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