17 August 2009
The two-pronged assault to bring down Obama – and the West
Obama's presidency is particularly vulnerable over his attempt a) to give America what we Europeans have had for decades - inclusive healthcare, and b) to steer America away from G W Bush's international confrontation towards the era of cooperation made possible by the end of the Cold War and now desperately needed to meet the existential challenges to mankind and avoid “endless war”. .
The Republicans and much of mega-business - reckless of America's true interests - see health care and foreign policy as Obama's Achilles Heel: two opportunities to wreck the Obama presidency and stifle the "aggiornamento" the United States so urgently needs.
Hence the well-directed, well-funded, skillfully orchestrated artificial frenzy to wreck the plans for universal health care that the great majority of Americans so shamefully lack. This campaign seeks to distort or suppress the fact that we in Europe still have the option of private health care with insurance to cover it. But that we also have state participation for everyone - either wholly funded by contributions (as in the UK), or funded by contributions plus commercial insurance (as in France). Our overall costs are far below the costs of American health care and result in better medical and actuarial statistics. The major parties, left and right, support our European health care for all, though criticising aspects of it.
It is vital that Americans learn how far they lag behind other advanced countries, and learn too, that the campaign opposing universal health care is in fact a hyper-funded campaign of misinformation, even outright lies, to undermine Obama's presidency for political and commercial advantage.
The road to cooperation:-
It was obviously going to be extremely difficult to return America to international cooperation after the disasters caused by G W Bush's attempt to realise the neo-conservatives’ Project for a New American Century. The occupation of Iraq, intended as the master move to ensure American world hegemony by creating an American dominated “new Middle East", instead, ironically, buried that neo-conservative dream. So Obama inherited two "Vietnams" - in Iraq (thanks to Bush’s elective war) and in Afghanistan (where a brief “reconstruction” occupation with worldwide backing could have succeeded had Afghanistan not been put on the back burner in favour of Iraq).
Because Kim Jong Il, Ahmedinajad, and even more reasonable leaders like Putin and some others are spurning the new administration’s’ outstretched hand, the powerful forces of mighty conglomerates and politics opposed to Obama claim that confrontation – albeit with the spectre of “endless war” – remains is the only way to ensure US security.
It does not matter that it was a Republican president and his control of the military-industrial complex that led to these two Vietnams and the massive spike in anti-Americanism – Obama’s enemies are now using the international mess of the G W Bush years as a means to defeat the new administration’s attempt to undo some at least of the dire consequences of Bush’s two terms. Look, they say, in the world as it is (i.e. the world as Bush left it) there’s no way to avoid confrontation, cooperation is a chimera. Yet Obama’s efforts to win international support are indispensable if mankind is to meet the existential threats it now faces. More immediately there must be far greater international cooperation if such deeply divisive issues such as Israel/Palestine and the proliferation of WMD are to be resolved.
Neither America nor the world can afford to see the Obama presidency wrecked by self-seeking politicians and bottom-line worshippers of the golden calf whose dream is to get back power in 2012.