U.S. and World Politics

Obama’s Imperial Offensive

By Glen Ford

President Obama’s speech to “reset” the U.S. stance in the Middle East will take place at the State Department, but the Pentagon is the true epicenter of American policy toward the Arab Reawakening. Briefly paralyzed early in the year by the specter of resurgent Arab nationalism in the planet’s most vital energy reservoirs, Washington quickly launched a massive military assault on Libya in collaboration with European mini-imperialists to show the Arab world who’s really the boss. In the Persian Gulf region, the Saudi Arabian monarchy gathered up their fellow emirs, sultans and sheiks to safeguard the common patrimony of royal families against democratic or nationalist subversion.

Moammar Gaddafi was drafted as imperialism’s designated demon in North Africa, while Shi’ite Iran served as the scapegoat for royal reaction in the Gulf. The monarch-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council, acting through a confused Arab League, gave moral cover to the Euro-American bum-rush of an equally confused United Nations Security Council. “No-fly” Resolution 1973 landed on the heads of Libyan soldiers amidst the methodical destruction of the country’s infrastructure. Thousands of miles to the east, the Saudis and lesser royals brutally smashed the democratic aspirations of Bahrain’s Shia majority, and schemed to save Yemen from a peaceful people’s uprising.

In the short-term, the Euro-American imperialists and Arab royal Mafioso hope their joint venture will quarantine or crush the Arab Reawakening outside its (barely and tentatively) “liberated” territory in Egypt and Tunisia. But the shock of seeing the empire’s death pass in front of its eyes in the form of a democratic—and, by definition, anti-U.S. imperialism—Arab nationalist oil dominion caused the Obama administration to kick the U.S. military’s Full Spectrum Dominance machinery into high gear. The world needed to know that this president will not allow American spheres of hegemony to shrink on his watch, and that he has the means and the inclination to kill at will. In the space of a few days, hits were made on Osama bin Laden, Moammar Gaddafi and Yemeni-American Anwar al-Awlaki. Should anyone have been fooled by President Obama’s soothing “A New Beginning” speech in Cairo back in June, 2009, they were quickly reminded that Assassinations-R-US.

At the State Department on Thursday [May 19]1, Obama will likely attempt to elevate “humanitarian” military intervention, or “Responsibility to Protect” (R2p), to something akin to an Obama Doctrine—weaving it into his rhetorical “reset” of relations with Arabs, Muslims and the Greater Middle East. Only the American audience (and imperial-minded Europeans) will take him seriously. No sooner was the UN Security Council resolution to protect” Libyan civilians issued, than it was mangled into a mandate for regime change and political assassination at NATO’s discretion. International law became its opposite. R2P is now wholly discredited in the eyes of the conscious world—which, unfortunately, excludes most Americans.

The International Criminal Court, to which the United States is not a signatory, but which it deploys to indict selected Africans—and only Africans—for human rights offenses, has been eclipsed by Obama’s imperial offensive. Why go through the motions of indicting designated enemies, when Full Spectrum Dominance enables the U.S. to execute them at leisure. The Rubicon has been crossed. Obama’s “reset” speech will only prove that the First Black President is a more outrageously cynical international outlaw than his predecessor.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Black Agenda Report, May 17, 2011

1President Obama’s Middle East Policy Speech at State Department Thursday 19 May 2011 – Full Speech Transcript – (TCP)CHICAGO

[In reference to President Obama’s Middle East Policy Speech at the State Department Thursday, May 19, 20ll. This article was written before Obama’s speech on May 17, 2011]