FALSE HOPES AND REALPOLITIK
By Uli Schmetzer
February 11, 2008
Undated - While the media floods the world with every nuance of the American presidential race pundits
conveniently forget the new presidency will not change the face of U.S. militarism or diminish the Pentagonâ€™s
appetite for military adventures.
In fact no PR firm or spin-doctor could have invented a better show then this election with its black-white
and gender issues to distract attention from the bloodletting and the misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The race
to the White House is offering voters the choice of candidates who appear to be on everyoneâ€™s side and
determined to upset no one or the status quo.
Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton, the three frontrunners, remain wishy-washy on
international issues though all three confess to one common credo: The belief in the American war
machine and the need to use this machine whenever â€œU.S. interests and national security are
This convenient formula can be applied to anyone or any country, from Venezuela to Iran, from Lebanon
to Bolivia, from Syria to China and Cuba, in fact wherever U.S. commercial interests may run up against nationalism,
religion or political divergence.
In a gun-ho, patriotic U.S.A who would have the courage to abandon what Noam Chomsky called
Americaâ€™s â€œnew military humanismâ€� by dismantling a war machine justified as a protection
against another 9/11? Who would have the courage to reduce an estimated $700 billion national security,
military spending and war expense budget (the largest since World War II) passed partly to develop
gadgets and systems that experts have described as â€˜uselessâ€™ in the fight against terror? But this
budget will keep turning over Americaâ€™s huge armament industry, its associated service industry and
the mercenary forces that have become an appendix to the U.S. military.
Why the fuss about candidates who are already committed to and hamstrung by a hybrid civil-military
government whose leaders are elected by the ability of who can spend most on TV advertising.
Today billions of people across the world are flooded with the vote-canvassing declarations and jazzed-up
sideshows to an election whose main hope for global viewers was the expectation of an America backtracking to the
days when it was seen as the champion of freedom, liberty and fraternity even though those lofty principles were
imposed with the help of lethal air strikes, tanks, heavy artillery and some infantry to mop up the leftovers.
The main reason for this mesmerized attention to the new face in the White House is the sad reality that
every economic cough, hiccup or belch in the U.S. today affects the entire planet, wipes out billions of dollars in
stocks, real estate and investment values - as witnessed once again in recent weeks. Today if America has stomach
pains so has the world, if America decides to punish another invented enemy the rest of the world goes into a tailspin
or is persuaded to jump onto the bellicose bandwagon.
The result: The global public believes whoever runs America now runs the world.
And belief, though conjured on TV, now rules our lives.
A new face often generates new hope but in the case of the Democrats, the party most expected to curtail
the influence and spending of the military, Barack Obama in the Senate and in campaign speeches ordained the
military budget as sacrosanct. Hillary Clinton, once promoted as a lily-white dove with an olive-branch in her beak, has
even advocated more military spending, not less. As for withdrawal from Iraq neither candidate feels this is possible
until, surprise, surprise, Iraq is stable â€“ the very line of the Bush administration whose invasion made Iraq unstable
in the first place.
Republican war veteran and former North Vietnam POW John McCain has promoted himself in the past as a
critical watchdog on the military budget and ridiculed much of the allotments as wasteful and superfluous for combating
terrorism. But during his campaign he too donned the robe of a hawk by proclaiming if elected as president he would
not leave Iraq until â€œcomplete victory.â€�
For a Vietnam War veteran who knows all about the enormous cost of fighting a lost war that was a bizarre
statement, just as bizarre as an election that will rivet the worldâ€™s attention for the next ten months though it will
change nothing - except the face of the president of the U.S.A. (ends)