Friday, September 12, 2008


Over at the Revolution they have a take on Obama and the so-called Bush Doctrine

What does all this mean? First, that Obama consciously argues for and defends the capitalist system, U.S. capitalism in particular, and would adopt policies to ensure its functioning and operation--including by attempting to deal with the very deep contradictions and obstacles it faces today.

These are the same concerns confronting the Bush administration and shaping its actions. So it’s not surprising that Obama’s agenda sounds eerily similar to core elements of the Bush doctrine as articulated in the Bush National Security Strategy (2002) which declares that American-defined “values of freedom are right and true for every person, in every society,” and that an overarching goal of U.S. policy is creating “a balance of power that favors freedom,” and spreading “free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.” Combined with the NSS’s insistence on U.S. military superiority and its right to wage preemptive war, the document’s economic principles can best be understood as capitalist globalization on U.S. terms, carried out at gunpoint. This is precisely what the U.S. has been trying to carry out in Iraq through privatizing Iraq's economy and opening its vast oil resources up to U.S. capital.

Obama rejects the charge that such U.S.-led capitalist globalization is “American imperialism, designed to exploit the cheap labor and natural resources of other countries,” and claims that critics are wrong “to think that the world’s poor will benefit by rejecting the ideals of free markets and liberal democracy” (Audacity, p. 315). But the world’s profound and growing injustices give lie to this attempt to prettify and cover up the actual workings of global capitalism.


Obama characterizes the U.S. record around the world as “mixed,” and briefly mentions the slaughter of 500,000 Indonesian communists at the behest of the CIA in the 1960s (Obama lived in Indonesia in his youth). However, he ascribes such crimes (which he treats as isolated “mistakes”) not to the deepest dynamics of global imperialism, but to short-sighted, “misguided” policies, “based on false assumptions that ignore the legitimate aspirations of other peoples.” (p. 280) This ignores the actual workings of imperialism as demonstrated by over 100 years of history. The U.S. doesn’t have a “mixed” record in the world, it has a long and consistent track record of murderous interventions and wars: since World War 2, the U.S. has used direct military force against other countries more than 70 times, and there are now over 700 U.S. military bases in 130 foreign countries. So Indonesia--and Iraq today where over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed--are hardly minor aberrations or exceptions to the rule.

In an Obama interview on the redeployment of troops in Afghanistan/Pakistan and it being the central front to the war on terror, Obama when asked a pointed question on the deployment and it being the Bush Doctrine, had this to say.

“Isn’t that the Bush Doctrine?” “Y-y-yes. I do believe it is the current doctrine.”

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