Obama Bequeaths a More Dangerous World

Special Report: President Obama may have entered the White House with a desire to rein in America’s global war-making but he succumbed to neocon pressure and left behind an even more dangerous world, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Any fair judgment about Barack Obama’s presidency must start with the recognition that he inherited a dismal situation from George W. Bush: the U.S. economy was in free-fall and U.S. troops were bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly, these intertwined economic and foreign policy crises colored how Obama viewed his options, realizing that one false step could tip the world into the abyss.

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s also true that his Republican rivals behaved as if they had no responsibility for the messes that Obama had to clean up. From the start, they set out to trip him up rather than lend a hand. Plus, the mainstream media blamed Obama for this failure of bipartisanship, rewarding the Republicans for their nihilistic obstructionism.

That said, however, it is also true that Obama – an inexperienced manager – made huge mistakes from the outset and failed to rectify them in a timely fashion. For instance, he bought into the romantic notion of a “Team of Rivals” with his White House trumpeting the comparisons to Abraham Lincoln (although some of Lincoln’s inclusion of rivals actually resulted from deals made at the 1860 Republican convention in Chicago to gain Lincoln the nomination).

In the real world of modern Washington, Obama’s choice of hawkish Sen. Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State and Republican apparatchik Robert Gates to remain as Secretary of Defense – along with keeping Bush’s high command, including neocon favorite Gen. David Petraeus – guaranteed that he would achieve little real foreign policy change.

Indeed, in 2009, this triumvirate collaborated to lock Obama into a futile counterinsurgency escalation in Afghanistan that did little more than get another 1,000 or so U.S. soldiers killed along with many more Afghans. In his memoir Duty, Gates said he and Clinton could push their joint views – favoring more militaristic strategies – in the face of White House opposition because “we were both seen as ‘un-fireable.’”

Seasoned Operatives

So, Obama’s rookie management mistake of surrounding himself with seasoned Washington operatives with a hawkish agenda doomed his early presidency to maneuvering at the edges of change rather than engineering a major – and necessary – overhaul of how the United States deals with the world.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on May 1, 2011, watching developments in the Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Neither played a particularly prominent role in the operation. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

Obama may have thought he could persuade these experienced players with his intellect and charm but that is not how power works. At moments when Obama was inclined to move in a less warlike direction, Clinton, Gates and Petraeus could easily leak damaging comments about his “weakness” to friendly journalists at mainstream publications. Obama found himself consistently under pressure and he lacked the backbone to prove Gates wrong by firing Gates and Clinton.

Thus, Obama was frequently outmaneuvered. Besides the ill-fated counterinsurgency surge in Afghanistan, there was his attempt in 2009-10 to get Brazil and Turkey to broker a deal with Iran in which it would surrender much of its enriched uranium. But Israel and the neocons wanted a “regime change” bombing strategy against Iran, leading Secretary Clinton to personally torpedo the Brazil-Turkey initiative (with the strong support of The New York Times’ editorial page) as Obama silently acquiesced to her insubordination.

In 2011, Obama also gave in to pressure from Clinton and one of his key advisers, “humanitarian” warmonger Samantha Power, to support another “regime change” in Libya. That U.S.-facilitated air war devastated the Libyan military and ended with Islamic militants sodomizing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi with a knife and then murdering him, a grisly outcome that Clinton celebrated with a chirpy rephrase of Julius Caesar’s famous boast about a conquest, as she said: “We came, we saw, he died.”

Clinton was less upbeat a year later when Islamic militants in Benghazi, Libya, killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel, launching a scandal that led to the exposure of her private email server and reverberated through to the final days of her failed presidential campaign in 2016.

Second-Term Indecision

Even after Clinton, Gates and Petraeus were gone by the start of Obama’s second term, he continued to acquiesce to most of the demands of the neocons and liberal interventionists. Rather than act as a decisive U.S. president, Obama often behaved more like the sullen teen-ager complaining from the backseat about not wanting to go on a family trip. Obama grumbled about some of the neocon/liberal-hawk policies but he mostly went along, albeit half-heartedly at times.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on Nov. 9, 2015. (Photo credit: Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

For instance, although he recognized that the idea of “moderate” Syrian rebels being successful in ousting President Bashar al-Assad was a “fantasy,” he nevertheless approved covert shipments of weapons, which often ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists and their  allies. But he balked at a full-scale U.S. military intervention.

Obama’s mixed-signal Syrian strategy not only violated international law – by committing aggression against a sovereign state – but also contributed to the horrific bloodshed that ripped apart Syria and created a massive flow of refugees into Turkey and Europe. By the end of his presidency, the United States found itself largely sidelined as Russia and regional powers, Turkey and Iran, took the lead in trying to resolve the conflict.

But one of the apparent reasons for Obama’s susceptibility to such fruitless undertakings was that he seemed terrified of Israel and its pugnacious Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who made clear his disdain for Obama by essentially endorsing Obama’s 2012 Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

Although Obama may have bristled at Netanyahu’s arrogance – displayed even during meetings in the Oval Office – the President always sought to mollify the tempestuous Prime Minister. At the peak of Obama’s power – after he vanquished Romney despite Netanyahu’s electoral interference – Obama chose to grovel before Netanyahu with an obsequious three-day visit to Israel.

Despite that trip, Netanyahu treated Obama with disdain, setting a new standard for chutzpah by accepting a Republican invitation to appear before a joint session of Congress in 2015 and urge U.S. senators and representatives to side with Israel against their own president over Obama’s negotiated agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu and the neocons wanted to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran.

However, the Iran nuclear deal, which Netanyahu failed to derail, may have been Obama’s most significant diplomatic achievement. (In his passive-aggressive way, Obama gave Netanyahu some measure of payback by abstaining on a December 2016 motion before the United Nations Security Council condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands. Obama neither vetoed it nor voted for it, but let it pass.)

Obama also defied Washington’s hardliners when he moved to normalize relations with Cuba, although – by 2016 – the passionate feelings about the Caribbean island had faded as a geopolitical issue, making the Cuban sanctions more a relic of the old Cold War than a hot-button issue.

Obama’s Dubious Legacy

Yet, Obama’s fear of standing up consistently to Official Washington’s  neocons and cowering before the Israeli-Saudi tandem in the Middle East did much to define his foreign policy legacy. While Obama did drag his heels on some of their more extreme demands by resisting their calls to bomb the Syrian government in 2013 and by choosing diplomacy over war with Iran in 2014, Obama repeatedly circled back to ingratiating himself to the neocons and America’s demanding Israeli-Saudi “allies.”

King Salman greets the President and First Lady during a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Instead of getting tough with Israel over its continued abuse of the Palestinians, Obama gave Netanyahu’s regime the most sophisticated weapons from the U.S. arsenal. Instead of calling out the Saudis as the principal state sponsor of terrorism – for their support for Al Qaeda and the Islamic State – Obama continued the fiction that Iran was the lead villain on terrorism and cooperated when the Saudis launched a brutal air war against their impoverished neighbors in Yemen.

Obama personally acknowledged authorizing military strikes in seven countries, mostly through his aggressive use of drones, an approach toward push-button warfare that has spread animosity against the United States to the seven corners of the earth.

However, perhaps Obama’s most dangerous legacy is the New Cold War with Russia, which began in earnest when Washington’s neocons struck back against Moscow for its cooperation with Obama in getting Syria to surrender its chemical weapons (which short-circuited neocon hopes to bomb the Syrian military) and in persuading Iran to accept tight limits on its nuclear program (another obstacle to a neocon bombing plan).

In both cases, the neocons were bent on “regime change,” or at least a destructive bombing operation in line with Israeli and Saudi hostility toward Syria and Iran. But the biggest challenge to these schemes was the positive relationship that had developed between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. So, that relationship had to be shattered and the wedge that the neocons found handy was Ukraine.

By September 2013, Carl Gershman, the neocon president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, had identified Ukraine as “the biggest prize” and a steppingstone toward the ultimate goal of ousting Putin. By late fall 2013 and winter 2014, neocons inside the U.S. government, including Sen. John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, were actively agitating for a “regime change” in Ukraine, a putsch against elected President Viktor Yanukovych that was carried out on Feb. 22, 2014.

This operation on Russia’s border provoked an immediate reaction from the Kremlin, which then supported ethnic-Russian Ukrainians who had voted heavily for Yanukovych and who objected to the coup regime in Kiev. The neocon-dominated U.S. mainstream media, of course, portrayed  the Ukrainian conflict as a simple case of “Russian aggression,” and Obama fell in line with this propaganda narrative.

After his relationship with Putin had deteriorated over the ensuring two-plus years, Obama chose to escalate the New Cold War in his final weeks in  office by having U.S. intelligence agencies leak unsubstantiated claims that Putin interfered in the U.S. presidential election by hacking and publicizing Democratic emails that helped Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

Smearing Trump

The CIA also put in play salacious rumors about the Kremlin blackmailing Trump over a supposed video of him cavorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. And, according to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. counterintelligence agents investigated communications between retired Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor, and Russian officials. In the New McCarthyism that now surrounds the New Cold War, any conversation with Russians apparently puts an American under suspicion for treason.

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The anti-Russian frenzy also pulled in The New York Times, The Washington Post and virtually the entire mainstream media, which now treat any dissent from the official U.S. narratives condemning Moscow as prima facie evidence that you are part of a Russian propaganda apparatus. Even some “progressive” publications have joined this stampede because they so despise Trump that they will tout any accusation to damage his presidency.

Besides raising serious concerns about civil liberties and freedom of association, Obama’s end-of-term anti-Russian hysteria may be leading the Democratic Party into supplanting the Republicans as America’s leading pro-war party allied with neocons, liberal hawks, the CIA and the Military-Industrial Complex – in opposition to President Trump’s less belligerent approach toward Russia.

This “trading places” moment over which party is the bigger warmonger could be another profound part of Obama’s legacy, presenting a crisis for pro-peace Democrats as the Trump presidency unfolds.

The Real Obama

Yet, one of the mysteries of Obama is whether he was always a closet hawk who just let his true colors show over the course of his eight years in office or whether he was a weak executive who desperately wanted to belong to the Washington establishment and underwent a gradual submission to achieve that acceptance.

I know some Obama watchers favor the first answer, that he simply bamboozled people into thinking that he was an agent for foreign policy change when he was always a stealth warmonger. But I tend to take the second position. To me, Obama was a person who – despite his intelligence, eloquence and accomplishments – was never accepted by America’s predominantly white establishment.

Because he was a black male raised in a white family and in a white-dominated society, Obama understood that he never really belonged. But Obama desperately wanted to be part of that power structure of well-dressed, well-schooled and well-connected elites who moved with such confidence within the economic-political system.

An instructive moment came in 2014 when Obama was under sustained criticism for his refusal to bomb the Syrian military after a sarin gas attack outside Damascus that was initially blamed on the government though later evidence suggested that it was a provocation committed by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

Despite the uncertainty about who was responsible, the neocons and liberal hawks deemed Obama “weak” for not ordering the bombing strike to enforce his “red line” against chemical weapons use.

In a 2016 article in The Atlantic, Obama cited his sarin decision as a moment when he resisted the Washington “playbook” that usually favors a military response. The article also reported that Obama had been informed by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that there was no “slam dunk” evidence pinning the attack on the Syrian military. Yet, still Obama came under intense pressure to strike.

A leader of this pressure campaign was neocon ideologue Robert Kagan, an architect of the Iraq War and the husband of Assistant Secretary of State Nuland. Kagan penned a long essay in The New Republic entitled “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire.” A subsequent New York Times article observed that Kagan “depicted President Obama as presiding over an inward turn by the United States that threatened the global order and broke with more than 70 years of American presidents and precedence.”

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan. (Photo credit: Mariusz Kubik, http://www.mariuszkubik.pl)

Kagan “called for Mr. Obama to resist a popular pull toward making the United States a nation without larger responsibilities, and to reassume the more muscular approach to the world out of vogue in Washington since the war in Iraq drained the country of its appetite for intervention,” the Times article read.

Obama was so sensitive to this criticism that he modified his speech to the West Point graduation and “even invited Mr. Kagan to lunch to compare world views,” the Times reported. A source familiar with that conversation described it to me as a “meeting of equals.”

So, Obama’s subservience to the neocons and liberal hawks may have begun as a case of an inexperienced president getting outmaneuvered by rivals whom he had foolishly empowered. But Obama’s descent into a full-scale New Cold Warrior by the end of his second term suggests that he was no longer an overpowered naïf but someone who had become a committed convert.

How Obama reached that point may be less significant than the fact that he did. Thus, the world that President Obama bequeaths to President Trump may not have all the same dangers that Bush left to Obama but the post-Obama world has hazards that Obama did more to create than to resolve — and some of the new risks may be even scarier.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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70 comments for “Obama Bequeaths a More Dangerous World

  1. LJ
    January 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Agreed . Do you like Irony? Nixon banned fracking ( Well,he banked oil reserves anyway) and made Detente happen, opened relations with China, established the US petrodollar as the World’s Reserve currency when his Administration took us off the Gold Standard, Got us out of Vietnam, the riots at the Democratic National Convention and the ML King assassination , and RFK’s were fading into the background, Disco was beginning to happen, Remember Rocky Mountain High, John Denver? Clearly,Yes, he left the world a better,safer place when he was forced from office (primarily because of Haig’s orders to erase a few minutes of tape’s that probably related to to Dean’s hit squad’s excesses at the Watergate Apartments). So what?. Well, Obama blew all that up and yes he did leave the world a more unsafe place with countless more US deployments in countries besides Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. The South China Sea and Eastern Europe are stupidly as I type hot and it was all unnecessary.. Did the Republicans force his hand? Maybe when he signed the Jobs Act. I do not like what he did and his abuses of our Constitutional Rights through Executive Fiat are probably the most pernicious , long lasting and potentially damaging of all. Dark Clouds are gathering which the Deep State and a cabal between the Democrats and Republicans will blame on Trump but oooohhh,,, he makes it sooooo easy, doesn’t he?

  2. BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS
    January 24, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    The failed presidency of Obama is obvious to anyone who is paying attention. Obama and Clinton destroyed Libya and insured that her president was murdered on live television. Clinton’s reaction? “We came, we saw, he died” ha ha ha ha. What a horrible and sadistic response. That was not presidential, but only disgusting. Obama was supposed to tamp down the Afghanistan war but, instead, sent 50K men and women of the US military into that Valley of Death.

    As Parry points out, Obama has left the world a much more dangerous place than it would have been had it been just like the world he received from Bush II. Thanks to Obama, we are in a more dangerous world. And Obama, who we thought was a peace president because of his Nobel Peace Prize, it turns out Obama was never a peace president and had been thoroughly vetted by the military-industrial complex which assured itself that Obama would be a friend of the military-industrial complex. Obama’s 2008 campaign was a big snow job and many of us fell for it. I did, but I learned within a couple of months what the real Obama was up to and became a public critic.

    The failed president, the snake oil salesman, has been a man committed to creating a more dangerous world even before he ran for the presidency.

  3. January 24, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    It’s only because the administration was not seeking peace, fairness and justice.
    Here’s how.
    https://www.iwu.edu/physics/faculty/REVEALED-peace.pdf

    Raymond G. Wilson, Ph.D.
    Emeritus Associate Professor of Physics
    Illinois Wesleyan University
    Bloomington, IL 61702-2900

    • Zachary Smith
      January 25, 2017 at 1:24 am

      Professor Wilson, I looked through your book and found you left out a whole lot of details. When I made a word-search for “overpopulation” this was all I found:

      Morrison and Tsipis, in their book, Reason Enough To Hope (2), explore some of the problems facing the world should the impoverished billions of people be brought online to also benefit from “the good life” as we in the Developed world have. Food and energy needs, and overpopulation are likely to present many difficulties. Food requirements and overpopulation are of course linked. In the Japan of 100 years ago large families were common, families with four to eight and more children. In today’s highly Developed Japan the “ideal” family, to maintain population, will have two children, one girl and one boy. In actuality, now in a Japanese woman’s lifetime, on average, she will bear less than two children. If food and water, education, health care, peace, and economic opportunity are available, parents in a democratic society of a Less Developed nation should rather quickly learn that a family totaling four will likely do better all around in contrast to a family of ten.

      That “quickly learn” business may or may not be quick, and an entirely different lesson may be learned. If meddling religious fanatics interfere with assistance programs, contraception [a word not in your book] won’t be permitted at all. Unless I’ve been misinformed, Japan’s drastic drop in family size wasn’t due to “birth control” in the sense we normally use it in the US, but to massive abortion practices. Supposedly that’s because MacArthur succumbed to pressure from Vatican officials to suppress contraception.

      People will fight wars to get a better life they’ve convinced themselves they deserve, and those being attacked will fight to defend themselves. It’s a pretty well-known fact that good big armies will beat good little armies when everything else is equal. Which isn’t always the case. Armies with machine guns will most always beat armies with flintlock rifles. And armies with nukes are generally going to prevail over those without them.

      All I’m saying is that you can’t ignore the “root causes”, and overpopulation from unrestricted breeding is one of those.

  4. F. G. Sanford
    January 24, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    “Chirpy”. I like it. I honestly believe I may have been the first to characterize it as a “cackle”, but if I was, Mr. Parry has certainly outdone me. Chirpy indeed! Well done, Mr. Parry!

    • Gregory Kruse
      January 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Chirpy was the sound of her words, and cackle was the sound of her laughter.

  5. Gregory Kruse
    January 24, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I think this is the best explanation of Obama as president. Not only was he inexperienced, he moved through important positions too quickly to learn much in them. However, I do suspect he has a sympathy with the elite, and wants to be friends with them.

    • January 25, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Obama was a pro-active defender of oligarchy. He has violated the US Constitution on numerous occasions. His only acts of “bravery” were his personal orders to kill/drone people far away from the White House. With time, the fraud of Obama is going to be more obvious .

    • R. Millis
      January 25, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      G. Kruse: “I think this is the best explanation of Obama as president. Not only was he inexperienced, he moved through important positions too quickly to learn much in them. However, I do suspect he has a sympathy with the elite, and wants to be friends with them.”

      I’m in total agreement. His legacy will be of a weak-kneed “puppet.” It was Citi-Group and other powerhouses who staffed the Obama “Cabinet.” Trump has handpicked his staff; trying to keep away from the fanatic Neo-Cons who were deeply imbedded in both the Bush & Obama years. They’re the first “enemies of the State” Trump needs to remove.

      The MSM always portrayed Obama’s inability to pass legislation as based on the Republican powers in D.C. It was a meme that led to tragic foreign and economic policies here and ’round the world. Obama’s approach to corporate/banking power was to acquiesce to them – every darned time.

      I *was* a lifelong Democrat until about 8 weeks into Obama’s first administration. Seeing the handwriting on the wall – I left the Party. A good move on my part. Too bad the American Democrats are blinded by gender/ethnic issues, trumped up by the DNC and by such figures as George Soros. As long as those citizens remain geo-politically, and economically illiterate, there’s no hope they will ever grow up and act like mature adults.

  6. Sam F
    January 24, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    This is a very moderate and fair consideration. It is amazing that no one is certain how he messed up so completely, and can only speculate that it was lack of dedication to principles, lack of courage and experience, and the social weakness of the black-in-white-company. No doubt the Dem puppeteers dictated the “Team of Rivals” for whom he was merely the facade.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    January 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better, good for you Robert Parry. It took some courage to write this. I have said for too long a time, that upon his leaving the White House how I hope Barack Obama writes a tell all book that gives some light to all that went on inside of his Adminstration, and during his time in office. I’m sure when the books get written we will then, and only then really understand what went down.

  8. January 24, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    What a great piece, and thank you again, Robert Parry. I hope you are writing a book on the failed Obama “Peace” president! The psychopathy of the neoconservatives (mostly chickenhawks, I believe) is the greatest threat to everyone on earth and they have to be exposed. They should be ridiculed, I think, even though the carnage they have caused is not funny. They should be excoriated relentlessly. They are all bullies and bullies hate to be ridiculed. Samantha Power with her unctuous, nauseating pontificating, and all the rest of them!

  9. January 24, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you Bob for your great insights. One could readily admit Obama did a rather successful job saving the American economy and auto industry, and in general was well focused on the domestic side of the fence. But he abdicated the heart of his foreign policy to the neocon-liberal hawk-MI complex-Intelligence coalition when it came to Russia, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. Yes he inherited Iraq and Afghanistan from his predecessor, and did his best to prevent another Viet Nam entrapment in those two places (however leaving close to ruins in both).

    The best that could be said of the remainder is that he did settle the Saran dispute in Syria by following the Russian solution to dump the Saran rather than bomb Damascus, and thus creating huge civilian casualties for IS recruitment. The worst mistake he made was not recognizing (and urging all our NATO allies not to recognize) the huge 27 million Soviet casualty loss (mostly Russian) in the May 9th Victory Day, 2015, the 70th Anniversary of the end of Hitler’s Germany and The Great Patriotic War. The parades in multiple cities of loved ones went on for 19 days, 24/7, with grandchildren in fatigues respectfully carrying poster-photos of their lost grandfathers.

    This experience is seared very deep in the Russian soul, and we could not even bring ourselves to say thank you for this humanity-saving sacrifice. Even the President of China was there to recognize it! When you insult people this way, the rift is very deep, as every patriotic American can understand. We could begin to heal this wound by recognizing Russia as a helpful power and not a pariah.

    • Taras77
      January 27, 2017 at 12:57 am

      I applaud your comment about the failure led by Obama of the West in not recognizing the sacrifice and honor of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. To my mind, that refusal to recognize that sacrifice was an obscenity, ill-considered, childish, and depraved.
      I could not believe that obama would stoop so low at the time and I still can’t but I guess he gets some cover by the characterization that he was totally inept and weak in the face of the neo cons in his admin.

  10. Peppermint
    January 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    OK Mr. Parry, we get it. How many articles lately criticizing Obama’s presidency? Frankly I grow weary of all the speculation and “analysis” by “experts,” many of whom participated in bringing this country to this juncture. What suggestions do you have for going forward? This country (and the world) is in deep trouble. What should average citizens be doing, going forward, to influence decisions made by all those brilliant tacticians that think thy know what they’re doing but continue to obstinately drive the country and planet into the ditch? If you or your colleagues would write an article with answers to those questions, I think I’d fall over from shock. Truth is, you don’t know.

    Kagan’s a piece of sh**. Fat, wealthy, and happy. So, too, the war criminals who were running our government and chose to invade Iraq, but were never prosecuted. And people don’t need to bother answering this post telling me of O’s wars, drones, etc. it makes me sick to my stomach. I regularly read this site so know all about it. How about some solutions instead of arm-chair quarterbacking?

    • Sam F
      January 24, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      We have to admit, though, that good arm-chair quarterbacking has real educational value, and the solutions to chickenhawk war criminals require many to learn the truth from alternative news sites, especially this one.

      Yes, there are slack news periods when the analysis becomes somewhat repetitive in topics, although I’m amazed that distinct articles can be written even weekly. So I just remember the inherent difficulties of journalism, and am thankful that my writing does not have so many deadlines.

    • CitizenOne
      January 25, 2017 at 12:43 am

      As Thomas Jefferson said, “A properly functioning democracy depends on an informed electorate.”

      We have a very badly informed electorate. That is the fault of our Fourth Estate which has realized to their great fortune that a commercial press which is now completely abandoned by paying citizen subscribers and which is wholly beholden to a corporate advertising based business model now only totes the corporate bottom line. It realizes with joy that it has no real legal or constitutional obligations or requirements to tell us the truth if it does not serve their bottom line. There is no requirement in the United States Constitution for the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment of “persons” whether actual or corporate persons to represent the truth. You are free to say whatever.

      Basically, the US Constitution guarantees your right to your opinion and as persons, corporations are also free to have opinions. Our “News” organizations have woken up to this loophole in the law. Now all we hear is opinion. Thus we have a badly informed electorate.

      I’m not sure how Mr. Parry’s website can fix this problem or prescribe a general fix. There is but one fix. That is that you and I have the same rights of free speech to share opinions and try to persuade each other just the same as the big media outlets. We can lie or tell the truth. We can be honest or try to deceive each other.

      I will maintain that this website is more geared toward honest and open debate which often cuts across the cloth of the main stream media but which is always well considered and filled with plenty of serious folks who have no other interest than preserving our stable system of democracy by calling out all the BS published by the major megaphones influencing society at large.

      To the point. Most of the posts by Robert Parry do not favor democrats or republicans. Mr. Parry has published volumes exposing the misdeeds of both republican and democratic elected officials. The fact that much of his recent work has been to defend Donald Trump, a dubious politician at best against larger government and media attacks speaks volumes about his non-partisan critical journalistic analysis.

      You ask what prescription this site offers other than complaining. That prescription is to tell the truth about the stories that are creating a badly informed electorate.

      Thomas Jefferson was not only correct but his words were not just mere whining about problems. He issued a direct call for us to be responsible we are well informed.

      What else would you suggest as a better path forward?

      • R. Millis
        January 25, 2017 at 6:28 pm

        Citizen One: “We have a very badly informed electorate. That is the fault of our Fourth Estate which has realized to their great fortune that a commercial press which is now completely abandoned by paying citizen subscribers and which is wholly beholden to a corporate advertising”

        Your assertion is far too narrow in scope. Yes, we have a malfunctioned 4th Estate, but there have been massive social changes that, in the past, coincided with this “malfunction.”
        Seasoned educators of 3 decades + and who worked in low/middle/high income school districts began seeing the effects of personal technology. A society that has never prided itself on art, literature, historical studies, became magnetized by personal computers and later smartphones.

        Moreover, being a nation of “fads” the movement towards “family” has ended tragically. Sadly, with our astronomical divorce rate, the core family became highly splintered, and threw away ALL family traditions: having dinner together; conversing with others with different social/political ideas; parents dedicated not to reinforcing the importance of education, they discovered driving their kids to soccer practice, gymnastics, and softball was entertaining.

        We’ve substituted our parental duties for short term amusement and millions of our students reflect those changes. Now those students are part of the Millennial Generation. They are abysmally ignorant of history, how to discipline their minds in conveying a meaningful view of issues, and assuredly completely unable to formulate cohesive thoughts in written form.

        Conclusion: only about 20-25% of the youthful population is showing signs of being responsible enough to later act, think, and work effectively in the adult work force and their society. Obviously, the odds reveal a near-death society.

        • CitizenOne
          January 25, 2017 at 11:13 pm

          I agree with your accusations I was too narrow in my definition of a 4th estate as being solely responsible for a badly informed electorate. You have expanded the definition to include other factors which have led to a general disengagement of the youth in matters of science, politics and education. My apologies for being too narrowly focused on a specific aspect of the problem.

          I still think that there is an overarching problem with the media which fails to inform us about all of the problems you mentioned. It is true that the distractions from family conversations such as smart phones and our youths focus on the social platforms which serve to remove their attention away from the experienced members of our society and their concerns have also contributed to the general disengagement of our youth.

          Where are the concerns voiced? Certainly not by the media which seeks to profit from distracting entertainment which it sells.

          I’m not convinced it is “too marrow” an argument to focus on the many media distractions which result in a badly informed electorate but your argument that it is necessary to expand the definition of the 4th estate to include many other distractions is well thought. In an era where the various forms of public communication are multiplying and are having an increasing depth of penetration into the waking moments and interactions of people on multiple fronts, I share your concern that the traditional roles of family are becoming much reduced.

          My only advice is to become an influencer. Insert yourself into the foray. Educate your children that what they are being bombarded with is just the efforts of giant companies to influence them and to bend them to their will.

          I think I have been successful in that approach. It is not easy but with well reasoned arguments and a positive influence at the family level we can combat the noise and the distractions.

          We can as adults future proof our kids and prepare them for the onslaught of the many distractions that will in my opinion attempt to destroy the social fabric of the family by way of technology and mass communication which attempts to turn our youth into unthinking consumers of the products they sell.

          Great commentary! I enjoy responses which challenge my conclusions and which cause me to expand my own thinking. Keep it up. It is working. You have had a positive effect on my thinking.

          Future proof our kids. The road ahead is filled with an exponentially increasing means of distracting them from traditional family values.

          Those values must include teaching our youth to not trust or believe what they are being enticed to follow.

          I am reminded of the scene in Pinocchio where Pinocchio is enticed to go off to the Land of Toys or Pleasure Island where he is transformed into an ass. Pinocchio is saved in the end by magic.

          There is no real magic which will save our youth. It is up to us to teach them how to avoid the trap.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 25, 2017 at 1:44 am

      “We” could start by prosecuting criminals with actual jail time. Something President Figurehead never did.

      As for what “average citizens” might do which would make a difference, I’d suggest agitating to end gerrymandering and computerized no-verification voting. Until the politicians are actually worried about getting reelected, they’re not going to pay any attention to us.

      Example: my GOP House member didn’t send out a single piece of campaign literature to my address. Nor did I see any yard signs for him. The way things are set up, he didn’t have to bother. It’s that way in too many places.

      • Dag
        January 25, 2017 at 5:40 pm

        That’s not entirely true. He prosecuted a hell of a lot of people, whistle blowers mostly. But no, not any real criminals.

    • Brad Owen
      January 25, 2017 at 6:19 am

      We, the people, the average regular folks, are like ants and, individually, have zero influence on “our” government. Our strength resides ENTIRELY in our numbers. This is why labor UNIONS worked to raise the working class up into the middle class of professionals and small businessmen. Whatever you want to say to your government, and have it listened to, will have to be delivered in massive numbers, organized and orchestrated to focus on a handful of important issues. We need a POLITICAL UNION (aka a political party) that is fully funded, and ONLY funded, by the members, LOCKING out big donor bribery. Then we must select, from among ourselves, worthy candidates to challenge every bribed Establishment member in political office. We must challenge and verify every vote-counting operation (like Jill Stein did, and the Green Party does, every election).
      I’ve made my decision to be part of the Green Party and pay them “political union dues” of ten bucks every month, including a letter of advice…my two cents…every month. I’m hoping to see 20 or 30 million citizens do likewise. At 30 million members paying ten bucks a month, the Green Party will have an annual 3.6 billion dollar “war chest” (14.4 billion every presidential cycle) to see that the peoples’ will is accomplished. Not even the billionaire class can compete with this kind of serious lettuce; and they certainly don’t have the numbers either, just propaganda.

  11. January 24, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Sorry, Peppermint, I think we do need an article such as this. Many folks don’t know all of this record and Obama has just left office. Analysis is important and I wouldn’t call it armchair quarterbacking. Who does know how to go forward with this mess created? We need good analysis so as not to repeat the same bumbles. Remember the old quote about those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it?

    But as for the bailout under Obama, all the gains went to Wall Street and banks, the wealthy, and regular folks saw no change, in fact, continued losing because of job loss, wage stagnation and inflation. And he failed Blacks, too.

  12. January 24, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I think you get things exactly right about Obama. It’s truly remarkable that, of all the things he did wrong, he’s almost always criticized for the few things he got right. Regarding the hysteria about the alleged Russian interference in the election, it’s also worth noting that journalists don’t seem very interested in the interference by the Ukrainian government on behalf of Clinton, for which the publicly available evidence is actually much stronger: http://necpluribusimpar.net/not-foreign-interferences-us-presidential-election-equal/.

  13. Annie
    January 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Once again Mr. Perry turns Obama into the reluctant warrior. Basically I see his whole argument as little more then opinion. There is no hard evidence to substantiate his position. I voted for Obama in 2008, but when he made his picks, I knew his agenda was not going to be one of peace. If peace was on his mind why would he choose a bunch of hawks? As long as I’ve been reading Parry’s articles he has viewed Obama as rather weak and ineffectual, but even if that were the case he was as destructive as any hawk, any neocon, and equally culpable in my book.

    That being said I really like Mr. Parry’s site, and appreciate his maintaining a sense of balance in reporting, especially during this recent crazy period in our history.

  14. Abe
    January 24, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    “Contrary to his predecessor, Obama had a firmer grasp on the political risks inherent in the large-scale deployment of US troops in sustained military campaigns, but his strategic objectives differed little and his belief in American exceptionalism was total.

    “Rather than ‘shock and awe’, Obama proffered ‘leading from behind’, culminating in NATO support and air power for insurgents that toppled the Libyan government on the pretext of defending human rights, turning the country into a cauldron of rival fiefdoms and lawlessness.

    “The Obama administration and the CIA fuelled a proxy war on Syria with arms and training for insurgents, many of whom took up arms with ISIS or al-Qaeda affiliated groups. The US military’s presence in Syria and support for non-state actors abjectly violates international law and John Kerry’s leaked comments make clear how the administration cynically leveraged the threat of ISIS against the Syrian government […]

    “Obama’s key achievement has proven to be his skillful usurpation of progressive rhetoric in the interest of an extreme militaristic and pro-corporate political agenda.

    “While many fear the spectre of Donald Trump’s incoming presidency and the new forms of authoritarianism and state violence that will inevitably accompany it, none should forget that it was President Obama who set the precedent for the extreme executive authority that President Trump will soon enjoy.”

    Obama’s Achievement was Whitewashing Permanent Warfare with Eloquence
    By Nile Bowie
    http://journal-neo.org/2017/01/17/obama-s-achievement-was-whitewashing-permanent-warfare-with-eloquence/

    • KB Gloria
      January 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      I thought Bush 2 and Cheney set the precedent for extreme executive power–wasn’t that the irony of the Bush regime–wasted the most money and increased the strong arm of the bad “big” government?

  15. Bill Bodden
    January 24, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Obama Bequeaths a More Dangerous World

    Would it not be more accurate to say “Obama and the people who dominated him bequeathed a more dangerous world” instead of giving him all the blame? Most of the people who influenced Obama in a negative way are still around. We need to know who they are and what they are up to, especially if they get access to the Trump White House.

    • Ragnar Ragnarsson
      January 24, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Good point.

  16. Beverley
    January 24, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Thank you for this most comprehensive and excellent retrospective on the Obama years. Just one thing, I have to question the ending statement that he was a willing convert. .? Just a hunch.

  17. Abe
    January 24, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    “As the ‘failing’ (to quote Trump) New York Times degenerates into a Washington Post organization with its stagnant Cold War vision of a 1950s world where the Russians are to blame for most everything?—?Hillary’s loss, most of the aggression and disorder in the world, the desire to destabilize Europe, etc.?—?the Times has added the issue of ‘fake news’ to reassert its problematic role as the dominant voice for the Washington establishment. Certainly this is true in the case of Russia’s ‘hacking’ the 2016 election and putting into office its Manchurian Candidate in Donald Trump. Apparently the CIA (via various unnamed intelligence officials), and the FBI, NSA, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (who notoriously lied to Congress in the Snowden affair), President Obama, the DNC, Hillary Clinton, and Congress agree that Russia, and Mr. Putin predominantly, is responsible.

    “Certainly the psychotic, war-loving Senator John McCain is right up there alongside these patriots, calling President Putin a ‘thug, bully and a murderer and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying.’ He actually said this?—?the man whose sound judgment chose Sarah Palin as his VP nominee in ’08. And the Times followed by printing the story in its full glory on page one, clearly agreeing with McCain’s point of view. I don’t remember Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, or Reagan, in the darkest days of the 1950s/80s, ever singling out a Russian President like this. The invective was aimed at the Soviet regime, but never were Khrushchev or Brezhnev the target of this bile. I guess this is a new form of American diplomacy […]

    “As much as I may disagree with Donald Trump (and I do) he’s right now target number one of the MSM propaganda?—?until, that is, he jumps to the anti-Kremlin track because of some kind of false intelligence or misunderstanding cooked up by CIA. Then I fear, in his hot-headed way, he starts fighting with the Russians, and it wouldn’t be long then until a state of war against Russia is declared. I have no doubt then that our over-financed military ($10 to every 1 Russian dollar) will mean NOTHING against a country that right now believes the US, with the largest buildup of NATO on its borders since Hitler’s World War II, is crazed enough to prepare for a preemptive strike. In his analysis, ‘The Need to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable,’ Robert Parry points out that this conflict ironically started in the 1980s with the Neoconservatives defining Iran as the number one terrorist sponsor in the world. How this leads to our present mess is a brilliant analysis that is unknown to the American public.”

    The Russians Are Coming
    By Oliver Stone
    https://medium.com/@TheOliverStone/the-russians-are-coming-eef3697e548b#

  18. CitizenOne
    January 24, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Choose carefully the path you follow. If you go off on an expedition to find monkeys on the Moon, don’t be surprised when you end up on an inhospitable alien world which is also devoid of monkeys.

    So much of our foreign policy as I’m sure it is also true in many other countries is some grand misadventure based on false premises and shoddy evidence which ends very badly.

    The problem seems to be that heady leaders who think they are the smartest people in the room have so often proven to be the worst actors on the World stage.

    I am almost at a loss how Obama ended his presidency declaring that all of the responsibility for the horrors and the death toll from war in Syria landed solely on the government of Bashir Al Assad. Obama declared his intentions to overthrow their government and then carried out the promise by supplying arms to groups who were later identified as linked to ISIS and Al Qaeda.

    Obama ended up supporting terrorists in the hopes of bringing down a stable mid east nation. Syria has survived several coup attempts.

    I don’t know what he was thinking but there was a distinctly cold icy demeanor emanating from his dire warnings about the threat from Syria and our need to overthrow their government and replace it with I don’t know what.

    It’s just war mongering.

    You might think that Obama, a progressive liberal would be above war mongering but there it is.

    I am not at all bothered if Donald Trump insists that five hundred billion actual space aliens tipped the popular vote to Hillary. Such is the standard of honesty from those in the White House who went before like Obama’s claim that the Assad regime had only itself to blame for the destruction of Syria.

    Same difference. Just a different lie.

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 25, 2017 at 11:46 am

      ”So much of our foreign policy as I’m sure it is also true in many other countries is some grand misadventure based on false premises and shoddy evidence which ends very badly.

      The problem seems to be that heady leaders who think they are the smartest people in the room have so often proven to be the worst actors on the World stage.”

      I so very much agree with that assessment CitizenOne, surely it is the advent of various think tanks and NGO’s that have led us astray, plus a totally misdirected CIA. We can see deep wisdom on this very site with regard to international policy; it’s no great mystery. An open entity of expert and practical advice could easily be set up in public view for All to see and comment on that would undoubtedly be more valuable than what we’ve experienced for fifty years… Think VIPS, for instance.

  19. Realist
    January 24, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Mr. Parry has come to the conclusion that Obama was eventually “converted” to the neocon mindset, having seen their policies dominate his first term and getting schooled in their philosophy by Robert Kagan (and probably others). Parry thinks that the most plausible alternative explanation (but which he personally rejects) for Obama’s eventual emergence from the neocon closet is that he harbored sympathies with them from the beginning but kept that under wraps under he was safely elected to a second term.

    There are probably a multitude of possible explanations for Barack Hussein Obama, but I, myself, have always entertained the notion that the man simply snapped after being incessantly rolled by the Republicans in congress (even when he had 60% majorities in both houses because of the unprecedented application of the filibuster to EVERY piece of legislation or presidential appointment), after being repeatedly out maneuvered by his “team of rivals” in his own cabinet, after being slandered and humiliated daily by the right wing media (Fox, Limbaugh, etc) and by the vociferous Tea Party, after being disrespected by elements in the international community, most especially PM Netanyahoo, and certainly being endlessly ridiculed and having his very identity as an American citizen challenged (birtherism) by many notable public figures, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump.

    There were numerous other unpleasantries that had to eat at his ego every day throughout his first six years in office, which I largely supported even though he had failed to deliver on most of the promises he had made while running for the presidency and he generally looked weak as an executive, always negotiating from a position of weakness, giving the oposition more than half a loaf as his opening bid, and inexorably losing political clout for his party at the ballot box. I mostly absolved him and blamed the other sides (like the GOPers, Fox, talk radio, the TeaBaggers, Netanyahoo, McCain, etc., etc.–though little did I know that he had seeded his government from the get-go with many neocons and GOP holdovers (like Victoria Nuland) that were the ultimate cause of so many of his failures. How many others knew these neocon moles were there, lurking the whole while because he had installed them–whether purposely or unwittingly? How many of us knew how malignant the glorious little wars of “liberation” in Egypt, Libya, and Syria devised by Obama’s cadre of neocons would eventually become? To the public it was simply “Springtime in the Middle East,” nevermind that a “few” heads had to be broken in the process. Did Obama himself think much further ahead? Seems doubtful in retrospect.

    When those belligerent holdovers and appointees in his administration let their neocon freak flag fly and fomented the coup that toppled the democratically-elected government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine and Putin’s Russia defensively reacted exactly as should have been predicted and within entirely rational boundaries to protect its critical national interests, Obama decided to come down like a ton of bricks against Putin and the Russian response to yet one more in a clear series of Western outrages against its interests. It was as though Obama had finally found a target that he could conveniently victimize the same way he had been disrespected for six long years. After all, there had been a very long tradition of Russophobia, “red baiting” and “McCarthyism” that had worked over the course of several generations and it wasn’t likely that America had completely lost those reflexes in the short period of only two decades.

    Obama’s very first response to Putin’s remarks (before he took any actions) on the crisis was that “Russia is only a regional power” that shouldn’t be expected to be taken seriously or given any hand in solving the problem. Basically, Obama’s first instincts were to diss and talk trash about Putin. Then he egged on the American media to join in on the systematic demonisation of Putin and the Russian state. Cold War II was off and running, in my mind in large part because Obama needed some small animal he could kick to make himself feel better about all the abuse he had taken over his first six years in office.

    Unfortunately for him, Putin and Russia were not as weak and ineffective as he had been led to believe, probably based upon the ease with which Bill Clinton had repeatedly rolled Boris Yeltsin and how George Bush had been able to unilaterally withdraw from the antiballistic missile treaty without much effective protest by the Russians under Medvedev. Anyway, that’s my take on explaining the psychology of why Barack Obama transmogrified from a pussywillow chief executive whom basically everyone on the planet rolled at will to the clear and present danger to the continued existence of life on planet earth that he represented in the final days of his administration. He never wanted to appear to be an uppity angry black man (because that would be disapproved by those fine white folks he always wanted to impress and join in the upper echelons of power) until he found an object of aggression that he felt he could bully with impunity (Russia and Putin). Then he showed his true colors. He was every bit as immature as folks say Trump is, he just uses a different cadence and intonation when he spouts childish nonsense.

    • CitizenOne
      January 24, 2017 at 11:40 pm

      There is another possibility. That is that the Harvard educated Obama was insinuated into the ultra wealthy club early on. He could have only been able to gain national prominence just like the backwater Clinton’s from Arkansas were able to gain early support and eventual dominance of the democratic primary based on support from Washington insiders who were convinced that the Clinton s would tow the line of the financial leadership. After all, it was Bil Clinton which signed the deregulation of the banks just like Reagan signed the deregulation of the Savings and Loan Industry. Each one of those deregulatory measures became a fraud-fest for the financial class. Obama’s support for the TPP resembles Clinton’s support for NAFTA. Both of those moves would suggest they are DINOs. The Democratic Party have been the paid losers for the Republican Party for a long time. It was no surprise that Obama sat on his hands while the democrats enjoyed a super majority in the Senate and a veto proof ability to pass laws even if opposed by Obama.

      Instead, Obama insisted that only a bipartisan approach to law making would pass his muster. That ensured that quagmire and stalemate would follow. It wasn’t only Obama but also a coalition of Blue Dog Democrats which ensured nothing would come of healthcare reform until after the Summer recess in Congress and the following Town Hall meetings which were pitched battles played out on the nightly news with plenty of airtime spent on angry senior citizens alleging Obama was an Islamic terrorist and other disruptions at Democratic Town Hall meetings. The media didn’t even cover Republican Town Hall meetings which were by invite only and where only preapproved questions could be asked.

      Eventually the polls shifted as predicted and Americans came to view Obamacare as a conspiracy. Then the media published those polls which they withheld when the majority of Americans favored socialized healthcare. Soon the avalanche of public opinion shifted against Obamacare boosted by the negative polls and the media circus and what was a slam dunk became a quagmire. Nancy Pelosi stuck the sword in the bull when she declared single payer was dead.

      So it is a chicken and egg question. Did the Washington political machine derail Obama eventually sending him down a road of capitulation or did the leaderless leadership by Obama lead to an open door for the obstructionism which followed?

      We may never know. But I think that the repeat performance of Clinton and Obama who fought with their arms and legs voluntarily shackled lends credence to the theory that they are the bought and paid for losers of every fight.

      Perhaps the American people know this viscerally and chose not to go for another paid loser with Hillary Clinton. Perhaps they instead chose somebody who would fight with all his might to force his will. A winner if you will. It might not turn out for the best but we cannot blame Trump alone for the outcome of the election or created fantasies it is the evil Russians who have created the current situation.

      The Democrats have a long list of failures to account for before they blame the Russians.

      • Realist
        January 25, 2017 at 1:17 am

        It is, of course, possible that the man was simply playing a role the whole time to please the masters who put him in power and he eventually became fed up with it and lashed out displaying the emotional tantrums characteristic of his last two years. Or, maybe that was all theatrics too. My analysis assumed to take his actions at face value. Whether one does so or not, he’s still not the sort of person I would personally trust. Sadly, I think any of our recent presidents, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, would sacrifice an entire American city or state in a false flag to advance the agenda of the powers behind the Oval Office, and sky’s the limit when it comes to the deaths of foreign nationals. I guess that Obama sleeps at night only by rationalizing that a power greater than himself (but distinctly human with lots of money) found it necessary to kill all those people in the Middle East and the Ukraine as well as the American troops sent into the middle of those meat grinders.

      • KB Gloria
        January 25, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        The do indeed!

  20. Josh Stern
    January 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Mr. Parry’s analysis doesn’t explain why Obama became more and more hawkish as time went on – on issues like assassination drones, military interventions, covert coups, prosecution of whistleblowers in the public interest for espionage, forgetting about his promise on Guantanamo and forever detentions without charge or trial, and finally phony anti-Russia sable rattling and accusations. If Obama’s problem was actually the mess inherited from Bush and rookie inexperience, then we would have expected the opposite behavior in his 2nd term. Instead, it seemed that the need to no longer seek or win approval from Democratic voters seemed to unleash his inner pro-CIA mind like never before. By the end of his 2nd term, his foreign and security policies were indistinguishable from John Brennan.

  21. CitizenOne
    January 24, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Wait, I was wrong.

    I said “Same difference. Just a different lie.”

    It is not the same difference.

    A lie told by Obama that the United States has no responsibility for the civil war in Syria is not equivalent to the lie spoken by Trump that he only lost the popular election because of millions of illegal voters.

    Not by a long shot! My apologies to the displaced and dead in Syria. They suffered a far worse fate than the imaginary illegal voters here at home. In fact, they are not really real people. Trump can blame millions of not real voters and there are no consequences. Nobody gets really killed.

    The media should focus more on our culpability in promoting a civil war in Syria more than they are currently paying attention to the claims by Donald Trump that he really won the popular vote.

    What we are witnessing in the media with all their attention being focused on an obviously false claim by Donald Trump that he won the popular vote and which questions his leadership capabilities as a result of his lie distracts us from a foreign policy decision by the Obama administration which resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. This lie is not comparable to an obviously disprovable lie by Trump which killed nobody.

    I watch the nightly news in horror as it focuses on the silly claim by Trump he won the popular vote as a huge problem for the Trump administration while it ignores the victims of the former administrations foreign policy which supported a civil war which resulted in the destruction of a nation.

    We are upside down in our coverage of World events. The trivial and stupid claims by Donald Trump that he won the popular election are not equivalent nor are they the same kind of lie that the United States has no responsibility for the events in Syria.

    The media would have us believe that Donald Trump is the biggest liar in the room. But Obama’s claims that Syria and Syria alone is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people is the greater lie.

    Sorry for the false equivalence I presented earlier. There is no comparison.

    • Realist
      January 25, 2017 at 1:37 am

      What you say about the media’s full out assault on Trump for questioning the accuracy of the popular vote is most definitely true. It was an insult to anyone’s intelligence to hear Chris Matthews carry on in his bombastic way this evening about how juvenile and disrespectful Trump is being for taking on and “lying” to the media on this matter and–get this!–how outrageous it is for Trump to make naked “assertions” that cannot be backed up with fact! Uh, Chris, for someone wasting a huge segment of your show on such a trivial matter and as one who believed every jot and tittle the intelligence community excreted about “Russian interference” in the American elections without the smallest shred of evidence, I’m calling you out for being a hypocrite and a bullshit artist. And, I’m sure the entire rest of the American media played follow the leader and should be subject to the same criticism. Like they always say, “it takes two to tango,” and the American media sure seem hot to trot in this dance they are having with Trump. If they were as “grown up” as they claim to want Trump to be, they’d mention Trump’s complaint in a line of script, perhaps add another line saying there is no data to prove such an assertion, and leave it go at that. The fact is they want a feud. They want to suck Trump into as many tiffs as possible to file in a dossier they are constructing to help prove his instability and bad temperament in a future impeachment trial. They are hardly interested in seeing him succeed and will go to great lengths to aggravate him. Maybe they should question whether they really prefer Mike Pence as our chief executive, but nobody ever thinks things through in this country.

      • CitizenOne
        January 26, 2017 at 12:13 am

        Well, you think through and also I think you are in this country so that at least accounts for somebody who has a clue. You are exactly correct that they are positioning themselves as nitter natterers about every tweet and soundbite to portray Trump in the worst light.

        How hypocritical of them to attack the man that netted them billions of dollars in advertising.

        But then again they can just do a redo of Clinton and get even more billions from the same folks they bilked during the election to discredit and defame and impeach Trump in a revenge fest which will play out like the Dr. Seuss story of The Sneetches where Sylvester McMonkey McBean (calling himself the Fix-It-Up Chappie) manages to snooker the Sneetches coming and going until they all land up on the beaches confused. In the end of the story, Sylvester McMonkey McBean drives off with a car loaded with cash snookered from the scrambled and confused Sneetches on the beaches.

        Anyone would like to get a gig as great as Sylvester McMonkey McBean and control the whole beach with his Star On and Star Off machine.

  22. Lois Gagnon
    January 24, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    The Deep State rules, the Front Puppet obeys.

    • KB Gloria
      January 25, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Yep!

      • KB Gloria
        January 25, 2017 at 1:49 pm

        I have qualified that affirmation by adding: if the Front Puppet even really knows what is going on–Deep State actors have manipulated both presidents and executive officials since OSS days.

  23. Pissedoffalese
    January 24, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    I know there was the thing about Georgia, where the US instigated that crap, but the first I noticed the anti-Putin thing was the Olympics, when the press showed pictures and wrote article after article about hsitty hotels, wolves roaming through the lobbies, just on and on, and I wondered what was going on. Were the Olympics first indication, or was Snowden and chemical weapons deal with Syria first? Something started this chain reaction; I just can’t remember which was first? Was it Bushbaby seeing into “Pooty-Poot’s” soul? Tblisi lobby a grenade at Bushbaby? What started this, in its current form? I’m thinking the Olympics and the wolves. Am I wrong?

    • Josh Stern
      January 24, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      You have the August timing correct. I expect this was the cause: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/missile-envy-modernizing-the-us-icbm-force-06059/ Aug 1, 2016: “On Friday, the service released a request for proposals for the replacement of the existing Minutemen III ICBMs as part of the military’s costly modernization of its atomic weapons systems. The next ten years will see up to $350 billion spent on the modernization with some analysts suggesting the costs will run in excess of $1 trillion over 30 years.”

    • backwardsevolution
      January 25, 2017 at 1:26 am

      Pissedoffalese – I believe I read that the problems in Georgia began during August of 2008 (right about the time of the Beijing Olympics). Then the coup in Ukraine happened in February, 2014 (right about the time of the Sochi, Russia Olympics). Coincidence? Screw them while the world and Russia are watching the Olympics and not paying attention? The timing was perfect.

      Snowden was May/June of 2013. The MH-17 plane was shot down in July, 2014 (which was blamed on Russia).

      • backwardsevolution
        January 25, 2017 at 1:54 am

        Pissedoffalese – the Sarin gas attack in Syria was August of 2013 (which was blamed on Assad, but was later proven untrue). In September, 2013, Putin arranged to have Syria hand over its chemical weapons to the U.S. for neutralization (which was completed, I believe, in July of 2014).

        The Iran nuclear deal was July, 2015. Here Putin again was instrumental in persuading Iran to accept tight limits on its nuclear program.

        Israel and the neocons, as Robert Parry said, want to bomb the crap out of Iran. Iran can’t afford to give them any excuses. Of course, we all know the neocons will probably just invent a reason to attack Iran. They’ll be looking for anything at all to allow them to go in there. Israel wants Iran gone.

      • Pissedoffalese
        January 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        Aha. Snowden, then nixing Obomber’s plans in Syria with the Chem weapons deal. That’s what started it. THEN we had the wolves in Sochi hotel lobbies. They were mad and wanted to get even for V. Putin snatching their prize. TWICE–Snowden and War in Syria. Hence wolves and belittlement of Sochi Olympics. Thanks for helping me straighten that out in my head. I knew it was all related. God, I hate the US media.

        • Pissedoffalese
          January 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm

          P.S.–And thereinafter, it was nonstop Evil Russia, Evil Putin, blah blah, Pussy Riot, Putin is new Hitler (while we were supporting ACTUAL Nazis in Ukraine). It just astounds, don’t it?

          • backwardsevolution
            January 25, 2017 at 11:25 pm

            Pissedoffalese – yes, you just wish that everyone knew these facts. Perhaps then they’d be forced to stop.

  24. George Collins
    January 25, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Hard but nenessary to quibble with this deft assessment but it is too kind in its allusion to attacks on civil liberties and the horror of murder by non-specifying drone, both are incompatible with basic decency.

  25. backwardsevolution
    January 25, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Robert Parry – great article. Thank you.

    “However, perhaps Obama’s most dangerous legacy is the New Cold War with Russia, which began in earnest when Washington’s neocons struck back against Moscow for its cooperation with Obama in getting Syria to surrender its chemical weapons (which short-circuited neocon hopes to bomb the Syrian military) and in persuading Iran to accept tight limits on its nuclear program (another obstacle to a neocon bombing plan).”

    Thanks for filling in the details re Iran. I have read on several other sites that it was Putin who quickly arranged Assad of Syria to relinquish his chemical weapons to the Americans. The U.S. were furious over this. Here they had set up this chemical gas attack (on purpose) in order to blame Assad and then bomb the crap out of Syria, but then in swoops Putin to arrange for Syria to handle over all of their chemicals. The U.S. bombing plan was foiled.

    Then with Iran, it was Putin who swooped in again and got Iran to accept tighter limits, ruining U.S. plans of bombing Iran off the face of the earth. Foiled again.

    I’m sure you’ve seen the photograph of Obama looking down at Putin with absolute hatred in his eyes. Putin had outsmarted him both times by acting quickly to avert disaster. With the world now watching, how could Obama have acted differently? He couldn’t have. Putin took away any reason for the U.S. to bomb these countries. The neocons must have been beside themselves with anger. Two great excuses to blow up two countries, and Putin outsmarted them by smoothing things over!

  26. Zachary Smith
    January 25, 2017 at 2:03 am

    I know some Obama watchers favor the first answer, that he simply bamboozled people into thinking that he was an agent for foreign policy change when he was always a stealth warmonger. But I tend to take the second position. To me, Obama was a person who – despite his intelligence, eloquence and accomplishments – was never accepted by America’s predominantly white establishment.

    There is another explanation which is at least as plausible to me as the “race” one. Obama was willing to jump through any hoops demanded of him to ascend to the Presidency. His handlers yelled “frog!”, and right through the next hoop he’d go.

    Obama was chosen for several reasons. One of them is popular for Supreme Court Justice nominees – the man didn’t have any record to speak of and on that account he could be painted any way they chose without much chance of contradiction. The black skin sure didn’t hurt because it was a “dare” even to mild racists. So far as I know, Obama didn’t deliver anything he campaigned on – it was all “get elected” lies. Obviously a great speaker to make all those promises convincing, though. The most important single issue with BHO was that he was very, very pliable.

    Frankly I doubt if Obama knew any more about economics than your average high-school graduate. Otherwise I can’t believe he’d have willingly averaged a deficit of 1,000 billion dollars each year he was in office. (oops – I was assuming for a moment he was more than a figurehead following orders)

    Obama has done far too much damage to the nation for me to ever forgive him. With his total indifference to Climate Change he may have doomed the planet as well.

  27. backwardsevolution
    January 25, 2017 at 3:37 am

    On Robert Kagan’s Wiki page, it says:

    “Kagan’s essay “Not Fade Away: The Myth of American Decline” (The New Republic, February 2, 2012) was very positively received by President Obama. Josh Rogin reported in Foreign Policy that the president “spent more than 10 minutes talking about it…going over its arguments paragraph by paragraph.” That essay was excerpted from his book, The World America Made (2012).”

    Obama was quite taken with Kagan’s (the neocon) writing.

    “I know some Obama watchers favor the first answer, that he simply bamboozled people into thinking that he was an agent for foreign policy change when he was always a stealth warmonger. But I tend to take the second position. To me, Obama was a person who – despite his intelligence, eloquence and accomplishments – was never accepted by America’s predominantly white establishment.

    Because he was a black male raised in a white family and in a white-dominated society, Obama understood that he never really belonged. But Obama desperately wanted to be part of that power structure of well-dressed, well-schooled and well-connected elites who moved with such confidence within the economic-political system.”

    I have another explanation. I see Obama as having a large ego, he thinks he’s special. He’s not over-the-top like Trump, but I think Obama feels he’s quite exceptional. When they came courting him for the job of President and when the media fawned all over him, I don’t think there was ever any doubt in his mind that, of course, he should be President. No doubt. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind when he was slated to get the Nobel Prize either. “Of course I should get the Nobel Prize, because I am me.” Most people can’t see this in Obama, although a few are beginning to.

    I think the white establishment accepted him just fine, so long as he did what they asked of him. They’re frying Trump, and he’s white, but then Trump is NOT doing what they’re asking of him. And the American public who voted overwhelmingly for Obama accepted him just fine too. I don’t see Obama as feeling he “never really belonged”. The guy is arrogant, although he’s careful to mask it. Of course he felt he belonged. In his mind, he felt he was equal to or better than all the other people in the room.

    But I don’t think Obama is a real warmonger. I think he went along because they would have just worn him down, and he was not strong enough to put them in their place.

  28. Sangy
    January 25, 2017 at 3:50 am

    call me a cynic but there could be a simpler (and cruder) reason he grew more hawkish in the second term. Remember the capitulation on super pacs? In order to defeat Romney, he had to offer his remaining manhood up to the monied interests. By then he had kissed the ring, been bought and paid for. Soon thereafter, he was a ‘made man’.

  29. January 25, 2017 at 7:03 am

    I’m a little surprised at how mild this article is. I normally expect something more pointed from Robert Parry. I really believe you have to go back to 1989 and Obama’s first grooming for office at the law firm and later Penny Pritzker. When you look at his record for the early years in his state office, then senator you don’t seen any kind of real accomplishment. He just sort of glides on as he gets passed upward. He’s like someone on the bus with his name on the bus except he doesn’t own the bus and doesn’t drive the bus. I stopped thinking of him as a real president for some time now. He is the display model in the store window, the front.
    This article by William Black on the “new Democrats” and austerity really hits Obama where it should:
    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2017/01/new-democrats-addiction-austerity-will-not-die.html
    I saw a link on this site to another article (can’t find it now) some days ago which added to my understanding of his early grooming, before Pritzker. Maybe someone else has that link or remembers it.

  30. January 25, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Mr. Parry

    “……Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State and Republican apparatchik Robert Gates to remain as Secretary of Defense – along with keeping Bush’s high command, including neocon favorite Gen. David Petraeus…….. But Israel and the neocons wanted a “regime change” bombing strategy against Iran,…… Even after Clinton, Gates and Petraeus were gone by the start of Obama’s second term, he continued to acquiesce to most of the demands of the neocons and liberal interventionists……..Obama grumbled about some of the neocon/liberal-hawk policies but he mostly went along, albeit half-heartedly at times…….Netanyahu and the neocons wanted to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran……Yet, Obama’s fear of standing up consistently to Official Washington’s neocons……Obama repeatedly circled back to ingratiating himself to the neocons…..[neocon, neocon, neocon]…….. ” my insert in brackets

    There are a couple of notable conclusions from your article. You mention the neocons 21 times. In Washington, there appears to be a neocon behind every door, wall and in every closet waiting to subvert the next President forcing him to tow the Washington line for regime change as well as join the anti-Russian hysteria. However, the truth is somewhat different. The neocons had relatively little influence on Obama. He was the diplomatic President. In fact, the neocons lost a considerable amount of influence after the invasion of Iraq – even in the second term of the Bush administration.

    1. At the end of George W. Bush’s second term, he turned down an Israeli request to bomb Iran. This of course was a neocon dream!
    2. Obama negotiated a nuclear agreement with Iran – instead of bombing Iran. This might have been the most painful decision for the neocons.
    3. Obama reopened the US embassy in Syria in 2010 despite Syria’s apparent role in the murder of Rafik Hariri – a Sunni leader that opposed Syrian troops on Lebanese soil. The assassination only increased sectarian division and came back to haunt Assad in the Syrian civil war.
    4. Obama negotiated an agreement to remove the chemical weapons from Syria instead of bombing the regime. Again, snubbing the neocons on his decision to avoid war.
    5. Obama turned down a no-fly zone in Syria which would have likely deposed the brutal dictator. The neocons supported regime change and a no-fly zone represented the best way forward for regime change.
    6. In 2016, 51 diplomats urged the US to conduct military strikes against Assad because of his persistent cease fire violations – and Kerry indicated his negotiations with Russia (on tape with the opposition) were “not been backed by a serious threat of military force”.
    7. The foray into Lebanon was a liberal intervention in support of the Arab Spring pushed hard by France and Britain.
    8. The revolution in Ukraine was simply a revolt by ethnic Ukrainians against Russian domination initiated when Yanukovych snubbed the EU economic package in favor of Russia. In general, EU and Nato membership advanced eastward AT THE REQUEST of former nations under the domination of the USSR for decades. This must be seen as a similar situation as in South America where leftist populist governments emerged after US domination in the Southern hemisphere during the cold war. Ethnic Ukrainians fought for self-determination after WWII. The US did meddle in Ukraine, but who can deny that Russia did the same?

    Quit giving Russia a free pass and blaming the neocons. A sphere of influence is NOT recognized in any international law. Currently, Russia is supporting a war in Eastern Ukraine and has annexed a part of a sovereign country.

    “……..Obama’s end-of-term anti-Russian hysteria may be leading the Democratic Party into supplanting the Republicans as America’s leading pro-war party allied with neocons, liberal hawks, the CIA and the Military-Industrial Complex – in opposition to President Trump’s less belligerent approach toward Russia………”

    In that context, Trump represents the alternative to the “neocons, liberal hawks, the CIA and the military industrial complex” – a President unafraid to change policies and take a friendlier approach to Russia. Trump is (supposedly) the anti-neocon – and that is where the far left and radical antiwar libertarians pin their hope. This is a massive gamble on a hyper sensitive, unpredictable President. Paul Pillar writes at The National Interest (“Why Donald Trump Might Become an Interventionist” http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/why-trump-might-become-interventionist-19149):

    “…….Those commentators who have been repelled by the hegemonic inclinations of the Washington consensus or by the hawkishness of Mr. Trump’s general election opponent and who have hope for fewer foreign misadventures may be in for some unpleasant surprises……..”.

    Already, Trump has vowed to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and he has alienated China with the threat to recognize two Chinas. The world may become far more unstable under his leadership.

  31. turk151
    January 25, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I am not sure all of this can be laid on Obama, the path to a corrupt Presidency is a very well-worn one.

    Although it is plausible that Obama’s race and sense of inferiority were instrumental to his demise, I think it is more likely a factor and not a cause in it. First, while there are plenty of Americans who are racists, I feel they are greatly outnumbered by those who aren’t. A person as adept in psychology as Obama surely is, could have worked through various theories to understand the American psyche. I am sure he also took great comfort in knowing whatever the situation is in regards to racism in America, the American people elected him, not once, but twice. Twice does not imply a knee-jerk reaction by the public to Bush, but a very deliberate decision by the American public. Having said that, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans were the real deplorables, as the racial overtones of the politicians within Washington were outrageous. It is pretty clear that an old-school, small group of Southern elite decided there would not be another black President and perhaps they succeeded.

    Back to the well worn path to Presidential corruption. We cannot look at any of Presidents in the past half century who has not taken the path of least residence, that is, say yes to the War profiteers. This is the easy path to support by the establishment. We look at Trump and their is a large and blatant carrot in front of him, that if he wants the criticism to stop, is all he has to do is declare War on Russia and invade Syria. Then suddenly, he will be a strong leader, who will have the cheerleading squad of the press, (and Israel) supporting him. This is the easy path to 26 standing ovations in Congress. (With this last statement, I realize that I am going into dangerous territory and the cliche of blaming Israel is not my point). I

    At some point, America needs to be held responsible for the carrot to exist. I had no choice but to take take the carrot is not an acceptable as it brings into question our species long term survival. Kennedy may have been the one President in our recent memories who did not take the carrot. At the moment, Trump is probably being offered the carrot and is doing whatever he can to avoid taking it, but he realizes that it is only a matter of time before he is forced to eat the carrot.

    Now to the solution, truth is the disinfectant of corruption. We need to end this fear of being labeled a conspiracy theorist. Our founding fathers were conspiracy theorists. We need to make it clear and a part of our dialogue that certain institutional dark forces, whomever that might be, are perfectly willing to kill a President if suits their interest. We also need to acknowledge that our Presidents are being threatened and coerced whenever they enter office. This is something that many of us suspect and murmer to our close friends, but that conversation needs to be amplified by a factor of a 1000.

    • KB Gloria
      January 25, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Well stated, thanks! Nothing proves the solid entrenchment of this old (literally and minded) dominant ruling class than Ms. Sanders’ run, or more correctly, the marginalization and trivialization of it.

  32. Joe
    January 25, 2017 at 10:33 am

    He’s making it sound as if Obama were a poor brainless hostage instead of a neocon criminal against humanity himself. No sale.

    • turk151
      January 25, 2017 at 10:53 am

      No, I am saying he chose the path of a war criminal, but he did not create the path. And, Trump is now being shown the same path.

  33. evelync
    January 25, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    About Obama’s presidency:
    I suspect he cut a quid pro quo with W, protecting W from a war crimes investigation in return for W’s commitment not to attack him in public.

    I suspect that he bought Clinton’s allegiance at that private meeting in NYC, right after the election, by giving her State.

    I suspect that he chose the criminal use of drones, consoling himself that he would use them in lieu of more “boots on the ground” thus “saving lives”.
    A pitiful submission to the NEOCON foreign policy agenda.

    I suspect that he supported military action in Afghanistan to prove he wasn’t a pussy for voting against the AUMF.

    He lost so much opportunity. The money he spent continuing to destroy the Middle East (which in turn helped destabilize Europe with the massive refugee influx) should have been apportioned between helping to rebuild the infrastructure of the countries we’d decimated (Colin Powell “You break it you fix it”(sic) and rebuilding our own country’s infrastructure – massive rail projects, etc.etc. Consider that China is constructing a massive multli trillion dollar new silk road trade route connecting Asia and Europe called “One Belt, One Road”
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/11/22/what-win-win-along-the-new-silk-road-really-means/#bc276f55ab39
    The only mention of the U.S. in this article is the Ukraine conflict, Russian sanctions and the possibility that we could blockade the straight of Malacca to cut off China’s energy supply lines: “On top of this comes the unlikely — but still conceivable — reality that a US-led naval blockade of the Straight of Malacca could cut China off from its energy supply lines and trade routes in the Middle East and Europe, which has made the creation of a variety of alternative access points to the sea of national importance.”

    Is that all we do to stay relevant? threaten and destroy?

    His murder of OBL was the low point for me – a frat boy chest thumping. Had he brought OBL to trial in order to educate the American public about our sorry history with the Mujihadeen he might have accomplished something – namely question the wisdom of 70 years of destructive foreign policy. Obama, Clinton, Biden and that whole photo op in the situation room was a very low point in our history.

    I think that NEOCON Netan-yahoooooo disrespected Obama because he was African American. And no one called Netanyahu out for that outrage. It was like Netanyahu was an early Donald Trump totally disrespectful of the president.

    The one area that I am somewhat better informed about because of my college major in economics and my work in the financial services industry is his decision to stick with the Bush game plan to bail out the banks, ignoring Main Street.

    My impression there is that the game was rigged to protect the profits gleaned thanks to Bill Clinton’s predatory deregulation of the financial markets.
    The too big to fail banks had turned into gambling casinos. They knew that the mortgage backed market was full of holes and bet against it using credit default swaps. (They bought insurance against the failure of billions of dollars worth of bonds that they knew were crap because millions of homeowners were sold predatory mortgages structured in a way that they were doomed to be unaffordable once the floating rate got reset 2 years after the loan was made.)

    Obama had a choice, IMO.
    He chose to use taxpayer funds to prop up the losers who insured those bets so they could in turn pay off the winners including Goldman et al. Goldman alum, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, held Obama’s hand during proceedings to use taxpayer funds to protect the ill gotten gains of the too big to fail banks created by Clinton’s shredding of Glass Steagall.

    He could have said ok, there are millions of people who are about to default on the mortgage loans that were made to them without any due diligence and under false pretenses – namely that they could afford the floating rate loans – when in reality the “unexpected” reset of the floating rate was unaffordable. He could have said to the country – there’s all these people who were treated unfairly because they were not sophisticated enough to understand these gimmicky loans. He could have said – instead of letting Wall Street make a killing from betting that these mortgages would go bad, and then later swoop in for the double bludgeoning to pick up foreclosed homes, we’re going to restructure the loans so they are affordable and manageable – turn them into 30 year fixed rate at an affordable rate. That will stabilize the mortgage market and probably help stabilize the rest of the financial markets.
    And we are also going to have the winners and losers of those casino bets (the credit default swaps) segregate these transactions from their balance sheets as though these predatory bets were never made – no windfall for the winners no huuuge losses for the losers. And the restructuring of the homeowner mortgages will help stabilize the mortgage market so that they remain solvent which brings stability back to the mortgage market which had been in free fall.

    Instead he gave the banks, “primary dealers” for goodness sakes, a huge payoff as a reward for their reckless pranks that destabilized the markets.

    So Obama had many failures. It’s hard to know how much he tossed and turned at night because he knew he was pandering to destructive powerful forces that were surely on the wrong track as far as the vast majority of people in this country and elsewhere in the world are concerned.
    It’s like we have a death wish.

    I agree that he was afraid of countering the Deep State. He knows that Edward Snowden is a hero. how can he not know. Apparently he never believed that he offered Hope and Change.

    But he did change the national rhetoric from the fear mongering of Bush and Darth Vader. The activism in the country right now is partly driven by the failures of policy -trade/banking/wars – that have hurt so many people because of the shift away from the New Deal.
    But people are also less fearful to speak out I think and I think Obama’s style played a part in that. And for that he gave us something.

    • KB Gloria
      January 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      “Pussy”? Pussies, my dear evlynnc, are tough!

      • evelync
        January 25, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        lol!!!!
        Thank you!!!!

  34. exiled off mainstreet
    January 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    It boils down to this: Obama was too weak or too complicit to rein in the deep state. While in a few instances such as in 2013 when at the end he resisted direct intervention in Syria, he curbed the deep state to a slight extent, he was in general a useful better appearing tool on behalf of the corrupt yankee imperium, and his record indicates that rather than curbing the excesses of the Bush regime, he consolidated the odious imperial power structure.

  35. backwardsevolution
    January 25, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Obama does NOT feel inferior to anyone. In fact, he feels superior to most people. He is an arrogant, self-centered man. There was no “I’d better do what they want because I’m black and I feel inferior to them.” If they offered him a second Nobel Peace Prize right now, he’d take it, no qualms. Inside, Obama feels that he is a very important man.

    He became more aggressive in his second term because he was surrounded by neocons, and eventually he started to believe what they were saying. Look at the way he looked at Putin – with such hatred! If he felt inferior at all, there’s no way he could have looked at Putin that way.

    Obama is a man who felt that he deserved the job as President, even though he’d done virtually nothing to warrant it. When he was chosen as President, he was not surprised. Not at all. He has a very large ego.

  36. January 25, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    A “meeting of equals”. That’s not saying much. Robert Kagan was just regurgitating the same old zioinst neo-con drivel that he has been soaking up from his tribe his whole life, ingrained in them from their historic ethnic grudge against the Russian czars for alleged ill-treatment.

    For Obama to have stayed on the sidelines while Victoria FTEU Nuland handed out cookies and John McCain (the guy who spent a couple of months in a North Vietnamese pit and got his head all messed up) made the most moronic speech you’ve ever heard in Maidan Square after the coup in Kiev with Lindsay Graham freaking out behind him shows that he really didn’t have any understanding of that part of the world, and, furthermore, had no business being the President of the U.S..

    It looks like the article failed to mention the “takeback” of Crimea in the aftermath of the coup, which perhaps made it all worthwhile, obviously for the Russians, but also for all those wishing to see justice done and the Neo-Cons get their comeuppance. Did anyone ever mention that we and the EU really had no business there after the promise GHW Bush gave to Gorbachev in 1991 that we wouldn’t go “East”? And, after all, let’s not forget that Kruschev had given Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 under entirely different circumstances.

    The Iran Deal recouped a little bit of the American pride lost in the Nuttyyahoo’s speech debacle in Congress.

    Finally, the abstention of Res. 2334 was a parting shot which was the least he could have done for his country (the United States), although I don’t think he thought of it in that way.

  37. Truth First
    January 28, 2017 at 11:16 am

    “Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan.”

    I thought ‘intellectual’ meant ‘smart’??

  38. BASLE
    January 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    John Kennedy’s American University speech in June 1963 was the immediate cause of his assassination. Obama must know that.

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