Sunday, March 13, 2016

Obama on international options

M. Ali Choudhury recommended this longish article by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic. It is well worth the time it takes.

Ever since it began in 2008, RtO has been quoting the Syro-German political scientist Bassam Tibi to the effect that Arabs do not care about democracy. Now, who can doubt it?

Obama appears to have reached a similar conclusion, by different arguments.

One of several piquant grafs:

The president also seems to believe that sharing leadership with other countries is a way to check America’s more unruly impulses. “One of the reasons I am so focused on taking action multilaterally where our direct interests are not at stake is that multilateralism regulates hubris,” he explained. He consistently invokes what he understands to be America’s past failures overseas as a means of checking American self-righteousness. “We have history,” he said. “We have history in Iran, we have history in Indonesia and Central America. So we have to be mindful of our history when we start talking about intervening, and understand the source of other people’s suspicions.”
That history includes sponsorship of two of our time's biggest genocides, in Indonesia and Guatemala. So there's that.

And another, aimed at the ignorant sabre-rattlers who lost 2 wars, and still haven't realized it:

 Obama didn’t much like my line of inquiry. “Look, this theory is so easily disposed of that I’m always puzzled by how people make the argument. I don’t think anybody thought that George W. Bush was overly rational or cautious in his use of military force. And as I recall, because apparently nobody in this town does, Putin went into Georgia on Bush’s watch, right smack dab in the middle of us having over 100,000 troops deployed in Iraq.” Obama was referring to Putin’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, a former Soviet republic, which was undertaken for many of the same reasons Putin later invaded Ukraine—to keep an ex–Soviet republic in Russia’s sphere of influence.

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