By Serge Halimi
Barack Obama is a lucky man: young, of mixed race, thought likely to make it to the White House, to succeed one of the most unpopular presidents in US history. He appears better equipped than anyone else to “renew American leadership in the world” (1) – restore the US image and win acceptance and support for US action abroad, rendering it more effective.
That includes military action, notably in Afghanistan: “I will build a 21st-century military and 21st-century partnerships as strong as the anticommunist alliance that won the cold war to stay on the offensive everywhere from Djibouti to Kandahar” (2). To anyone who still supposes a multicultural president with a Kenyan father would signal the start of a new era with everyone holding hands, the Democratic candidate has already said that, with all respect to Pink Floyd and George McGovern, his foreign policy is actually a return to the “traditional bipartisan realistic policy of George Bush’s father, of John F Kennedy, of, in some ways, Ronald Reagan” (3).
Multilateralism is not on the agenda, but imperialism will be softer, subtler, more inclusive and perhaps not quite so murderous. But the eight-year embargo imposed by President Bill Clinton killed a lot of Iraqis.