Monday, October 28, 2013

President Obama Has Damaged US Foreign Relations Even More Than Republicans Ever Could

President Obama received a lot of premature praise, especially in Europe, where almost everybody was happy that Bush's successor was a democrat. He made many promises, none of those that Europeans were looking forward to were kept. And now this weekend we saw conflicting reports about Obama's knowledge of the spy programs. Bild claimed the US president learned about eavesdropping on Merkel in 2010, while Spiegel reported that he was informed this Summer.

200,000 people were present in Berlin when candidate Obama held a speech in front of the Victory Pillar in 2008. He was the promise that the eight nightmarish Bush years would be overcome completely. He touched the right nerves:

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common.
America had become the problem. The US had caused death, pain, and suffering with its Iraq war, which was based on nothing but lies. European citizens were being abducted and tortured by CIA agents, some just because they had the wrong name. But he claimed that that missed the truth. He said that:
[O]ur country still sacrifice[s] greatly for freedom around the globe.
Freedom he later chose to deliver to the children of the globe with Predators raining Hellfire on them, on some just because they had the wrong name.

But back then Obama raised the right questions:
Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?
People had to lift the squashed remains of these children in Bangladesh out of the rubble that was left after the sweatshop - they were working in - had collapsed in 2013. So no we did not, we actually never even tried to do any of that. Obama just pretended to care; he made promises he never intended to keep. He tried to sell us snake oil and we were willing to buy - all of it. Not only did he talk about poverty, he also spoke of a "world without nuclear weapons". Oh we just loved his product, it was all we ever wanted. But, he never delivered. Well, except for this one promise which he actually did keep in the end:

True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice.[..] They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.
We are to blame for not understanding what he actually meant. We should now learn that the US cannot be trusted. In the end it doesn't matter when Obama was informed about what the NSA or any other US agency was doing. Either he lead this system or he was never anything more than a puppet unaware of what was actually going on. The latter would actually be worse and is more likely. We were fooled into the idea that a "true partnership" with the US was possible. Now we should remember what his predecessor once said:

There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.

The true progress of not being fooled again by lies about a true partnership will require constant work and sustained sacrifice, and most of all allies that can trust each other. For decades we Europeans have hidden behind the US. It is time to find European answers to Obama's questions. Because he himself answered them all by yelling: "HELL NO!" So can we find European answers?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture [and murder] and stand for the rule of law?
Or will we keep on pretending that the US is a friend or a force for freedom? It has probably become pretty much impossible to do so after Snowden's revelations. We should be thankful for that. It is about time we realize that we have to stand on our own feet.

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