Daya Varma


Is  President Obama being attacked from all sides only because of racism, as Ex-President Carter says, or, also because of his attempt to reverse Bush’s policies?


In a display of unusual frankness, the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, blurted out that the animosity towards Barack Obama is due to racism.  Obama himself might not have wanted the race issue to be raised, even though being Black, he probably knows it more than Carter.  But Obama is the President and there are definite constraints on what any head of the government can say publicly.


There is little doubt that the ex-President Carter is right.  But Obama is more than just a black man. He is trying to reverse to some extent the policies of his predecessor Bush whose administration firmly believed in unilateral application of the U.S. imperial project across the globe.  He publicly swore to stop torture and close Guantanamo; he attempted to reach out to the Muslim world in his speech in Cairo; he canceled Bush’s plan to install missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic; and, in his latest speech at the U.N. he admitted U.S. responsibility on the issue of climate change.  Most importantly, Obama’s Attorney General opened a formal investigation into alleged crimes committed by CIA operatives in the Bush era. There is probably little or nothing that the CIA did during the Bush era that it has not been doing since the end of World War II.  But the world situation or at the very least the US climate must have changed a lot if the CIA is being accused of breaking the law, when the CIA likely did nothing more than what it had been doing since the murder of Patrice Lumumba and nearly a million Indonesian communists.  Obama has also tried to bring about some progressive change in the U.S. health system, although he has had to zigzag on this issue lately due to opposition within his own party in the U.S. Senate.


Consequently Obama is under vicious attack because his position on US foreign policy represents to some degree a deviation from the very essence on which the empire has been built.  If Jimmy Carter was the President and had said the same thing, he too would be attacked but then there would be some civility. The language being used by Republicans does not even have any civility precisely because Obama is black.  The US internal and external policies have evolved over years.  Unbridled capitalism and hegemonic foreign policy is the essence of US policy.  Obama is tampering with what is sacrosanct in the US.   He obviously deserves to be opposed by the guardians of US supremacy.


But why is he also a thorn for much of the left in North America? Obviously Obama is not a Marxist just as Martin Luther King Jr. was not.  No one who aspires to be elected US President, the Commander-in-Chief of the US military forces, can be one.   The classical (and traditional) view is that a bourgeois state is a bourgeois state; the government is simply the executive committee of the bourgeoisie and regime change is just replacing Tweedledum by Tweedledee.   In this view, Obama must be continuing with Bush’s policies in different clothing and, in a way, Obama is actually worse than Bush because by his pretence and his higher approval rating he is helping to preserve what Bush stood for better than Bush could. On the other hand, a more famous leftist from Latin America Fidel Castro seems to have a different view of Obama, which we reprint below.

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