Obama - a carrot as well as a stick

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The election of Barrack Obama created a buzz all over the world. Some commentators even lost the run of themselves and tried to convince us that the one of the most important events in human history had just happened.People everywhere celebrated Obama’s victory in a way that they would not have done were it a new government in their own countries. This is barely surprising, if we take into account that decisions taken by the rulers in Washington DC carry a heavy load of consequences for millions of people across the five continents.

However, if this represents a “dream” come true, nobody has been able to tell us what type of a dream it is. Obama is portrayed as the quintessential representative of a supposed democratic and humanist tradition that had a brief interruption of sorts with the Bush administration. Before Bush, US imperialism, according to Obama’s supporters, seemingly did not exist or was a rather minor problem. They insist that, after Bush, the “benign” influence of the US will again impose itself globally. Unfortunately, memory is a virtue more often associated with elephants than human beings.

Those of us who suffer from a kind of insomnia of the intellect and who like staying awake do not forget the countless US aggressions against Latin American people, nor the enthusiastic support given to all kinds of Third World dictators and to structurally murderous regimes such as Israel or Colombia. Neither do we forget Vietnam or Korea.

Can the peoples of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan or Haiti expect an end to the occupation of their countries? Can we expect Obama to take some real action against Global Warming? Can the Latin American people expect the end of interventionism, in the forms of Plan Merida and Plan Colombia?

Obama does not seem to be in any rush to radically change the old order, but he does seem concerned about adding a new facade to it. Something like adding new seasoning to old soup. His declarations on Latin America or Palestine, even when he was still a candidate, give us enough reasons not to expect any significant change of policy. His choice of cabinet members does not allow for much optimism either, except by the most gullible.

But those of us tired of waiting and waiting know that imperialism will not end thanks to unselfish actions of the imperialists themselves, nor will exploitation end thanks to those who profit from it. Even if Obama was a convinced “progressive” we know that US imperialism is a well established State policy, serving the powerful elite’s interests.

Now, I don’t want to insinuate that the arrival of Obama in the White House does not represent a new scenario, or even that there aren’t chances of winning some improvements because of the high expectations caused by Obamania. But there’s a big gap between acknowledging this objective fact and seeing in Obama some sort of hero for “progressive” causes.

Quite contrary to those who expect liberation to come from the White House, Obama has turned to out be the Yankee ruling class’s best chance to restore their lost dominance. Imperialism will adopt a friendly face and will swing the carrot a little bit more than the stick.

The magic of Obama is that he renewed illusions in a worn-out model in crisis that loses credibility on a daily basis. We will soon see how little will change under the new administration, even if some clueless people want us to believe that what happened in the US was just slightly short of a socialist revolution.

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