Sunday, June 17, 2012

Global Disappointment in Obama

Juan Cole

The [pdf] Pew Charitable Trust Global Attitudes Survey finds that most publics abroad have experienced substantial disappointment in Barack Obama. Indeed, Middle Eastern Muslims are hoping Obama will be defeated next November. But, the rest of the world isn’t experiencing buyers’ remorse about Obama for the same reasons as the American public. Not even.

Global disappointment with Obama focuses on three areas, according to the poll, with the Middle East respondents more disappointed than the Europeans.

They had expected him to seek the cooperation of others rather than launching unilateral policies.
They had expected him to do something about the declining situation of the Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he did not.

They had expected him to address the problem of climate change, and from their point of view, he did not.
Aside from not meeting their expectations, he also disappointed them with a new policy, that of throwing drones down on other countries without so much as a by-your-leave.

That these genuinely important issues are the basis of global disappointment with Obama shows how divorced from reality the great American Bubble Island has become, where the bubble-headed spew complete nonsense on the airwaves on certain channels 24/7.

Most Americans don’t believe in man-made climate change! Some will allow as how it seems a mite warmer around here, but they cain’t be sure as to the whys and wherefores of it, apparently not having passed 8th grade chemistry. (The Tea Party, which doesn’t believe in climate change at all, effectively controls the House of Representatives).

Americans think the Palestinians (most of them having been made refugees or stateless or both by the Israelis) should be screwed over even more than they have been, so that Jay-sus will descend sooner from the sky in his Aryan glory.

They think ‘multilateral’ sounds suspiciously French. Bein’ French ain’t exactly a compliment in these parts, what with them havin’ turned socialist ‘n all.

And, unilaterally landing an American drone on an unidentified group of suspicious-looking brown people in another country with a funny name is just about the greatest thing in their eyes since the invention of the traveling gun show.

American disappointment with Obama took the form of the Tea Party, which was formed to make sure that white people don’t have to pay anything toward medical care for minorities, even if that means white people themselves have to go without medical care. That’ll show them.

You see the difference?

The US is peculiar in its attitudes toward reality because it is one big Company Town, where the corporations actually buy and sell politicians, where a handful of them control the major media, and where basic freedoms such as public assembly for protest and petitioning (especially against corporations like those on Wall Street) have de facto been abrogated by aggressive and militarized police tactics. It has a bizarre inheritance in racial attitudes that make the public easily divided and ruled. In short, the US is peculiarly corrupt and peculiarly authoritarian among industrialized democracies, making it possible to pull the wool over a lot of peoples’ eyes. One thing wrong with the famous Lincoln quote is that it is possible and sufficient for the plutocracy to fool most of the people most of the time.

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