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Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama
Posted on Aug 10, 2009
By Chris Hedges
“Obama is squandering his positive response around the world,” Nader said. “In terms of foreign and military policy, it is a distinct continuity with Bush. Iraq, Afghanistan, the militarization of foreign policy, the continued expansion of the Pentagon budget and pursuing more globalized trade agreements are the same.”
This is an assessment that neoconservatives now gleefully share. Eliot A. Cohen, writing in The Wall Street Journal, made the same pronouncement.
“Mostly, though, the underlying structure of the policy remains the same,” Cohen wrote in an Aug. 2 opinion piece titled “What’s Different About the Obama Foreign Policy.” “Nor should this surprise us: The United States has interests dictated by its physical location, its economy, its alliances, and above all, its values. Naive realists, a large tribe, fail to understand that ideals will inevitably guide American foreign policy, even if they do not always determine it. Moreover, because the Obama foreign and defense policy senior team consists of centrist experts from the Democratic Party, it is unlikely to make radically different judgments about the world, and about American interests in it, than its predecessors.”
Nader said that Obama should gradually steer the country away from imperial and corporate tyranny.
Square, Site wide
“You don’t just put out policy statements of congeniality, but statements of gradual redirection,” Nader said. “You incorporate in that statement not just demilitarization, not just ascension of smart diplomacy, but the enlargement of the U.S. as a humanitarian superpower, and cut out these Soviet-era weapons systems and start rapid response for disaster like earthquakes and tsunamis. You expand infectious disease programs, which the U.N. Developmental Commission says can be done for $50 billion a year in Third World countries on nutrition, minimal health care and minimal shelter.”
Obama has expanded the assistance to our class of Wall Street extortionists through subsidies, loan guarantees and backup declarations to banks such as Citigroup. His stimulus package does not address the crisis in our public works infrastructure; instead it doles out funds to Medicaid and unemployment compensation. There will be no huge public works program to remodel the country. The president refuses to acknowledge the obvious—we can no longer afford our empire.
“Obama could raise a call to come home, America, from the military budget abroad,” Nader suggested. “He could create a new constituency that does not exist because everything is so fragmented, scattered, haphazard and slapdash with the stimulus. He could get the local labor unions, the local Chambers of Commerce and the mayors to say the more we cut the military budget, the more you get in terms of public works.”
“They [administration leaders] don’t see the distinction between public power and corporate power,” Nader said. “This is their time in history to reassert public values represented by workers, consumers, taxpayers and communities. They are creating a jobless recovery, the worst of the worst, with the clear specter of inflation on the horizon. We are heading for deep water.”
The massive borrowing acts as an anesthetic. It prevents us from facing the new limitations we must learn to cope with domestically and abroad. It allows us to live in the illusion that we are not in a state of irrevocable crisis, that our decline is not real and that catastrophe has been averted. But running up the national debt can work only so long.
“No one can predict the future,” Nader added hopefully. “No one knows the variables. No one predicted the move on tobacco. No one predicted gay rights. No one predicted the Berkeley student rebellion. The students were supine. You never know what will light the fire. You have to keep the pressure on. I know only one thing for sure: The whole liberal-progressive constituency is going nowhere.”
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