The Messianic Syndrome
Wednesday, August 6, 2008 3:17 AM
A wonderful circumstance attendant upon my visit to Southampton, New York, for the annual, week-long croquet tournament in July is that there is no television in the room where I stay. The idiot box is gone, and I scarcely have time to glance at a newspaper. And I do not own a laptop computer. So I am out of the loop when it comes to the news of the world. Regrettably, some news does manage to seep in, which disturbs my tranquility and deflects concentration from the business at hand, to wit, the action on the courts. I have recently returned to home base and am still recovering. I managed a third place finish in doubles, championship flight. It is back to the drawing board in singles.
The news which did seep in revolved around B. Obama's jet-setting tour to the greater Middle East and Europe. All right, I confess to picking up a NY Times maybe twice, against my better judgement. And at the local drugstore I discovered an eye-opening weekly, the Long Island Jewish World, which publication validated my worst suspicions while documenting many of my more direct conclusions regarding the hijacking of U.S. foreign policy. The L.I. Jewish World was almost as confirmatory as AIPAC's website.
An article about the lobbying activities of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and its dynamic chairman from Long Island, Mark Broxmeyer, was especially noteworthy. The real estate developer divulged his ultimate concern: “Israel confronts a possible four-prong attack by Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.” Scary. Broxmeyer explained his passionate support for John McCain in these terms: “McCain is totally behind Israel, and will keep all options on the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. He understands that Israel and the U.S. are tied at the hip.” More scary. In reference to Obama, Broxmeyer averred, “In this dangerous time we don't need to experiment.” Evidently, we need more of the same, something like a Dick Cheney clone. McBush is the one. Most scary!
I also ran into a well-respected journalist from Der Spiegel--not at one of those storied Hamptons' cocktail parties but in the parking lot of a hotel where I was taking part in an impromptu early-evening picnic of beer, pizza and pino grigio with two friends, just outside their first-floor room. Like myself, my friends are a bit eccentric, which may have been the reason for such an anti-Hampton affair. On the other hand, we may have been unconsciously rebalancing our collective checkbooks from the previous night's excesses at Nello, a local Italian eatery where a small plate of spaghetti al pomodora e basilico will set you back forty bucks and where a bottle of pino grigio Santa Margarita is priced at $150.
Although unaware of what was what, my “Country Club Republican” friend referenced in a previous missive and her youngest daughter led me over to Nello. I suggested walking out of the joint five seconds after being handed the menu, but they were starved and did not want to make a scene. No sooner had we ordered, when a party of four--two smart-looking couples at a nearby table--did make the right decision. They got up in unison and headed calmly for the exits.
The Der Spiegel writer, Gabor Steingart, was disgorging his station wagon of luggage with the assistance of his attractive, young family, all bright blonds. One of my friends blurted out: "Hi! Are you guys Russian?" Only in America, right? No warning, no introduction, no nothing. My friends had heard a foreign language, and assumed it was Russian. Why? Because the hotel seemed to be loaded with Russians.
For my part, I can attest that less affluent Russians were in town, efficiently running the local supermarket, where I bought my Saratoga water and Danish feta cheese. Herr Steingart was momently flummoxed, "Russian?" he said, smiling. "No, we're German!"
"Oh," I replied, "that's even better," and commenced a filibuster about the short-comings of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Herr Steingart was graciously noncommittal on that score, no doubt wondering just what sort of crazed desperadoes he had stumbled upon. When he introduced himself, I recognized the name from his weekly column, "The West Wing", which covers Washington and the White House. As best I can recall in my pino grigio fog, we generally concurred that Washington was a bust, and that Bush Jr. had far outperformed Merkel in terms of spreading human disaster and demonstrating natural hypocrisy.
Which brings me to the Messianic Syndrome. I first broached the topic in The Unauthorized World Situation Report (2005), chapter VII, "Crusade to Nowhere, Operation Desert Storm", in an examination of Bush Sr.'s reaction to Saddam Hussein's 1990 annexation of Kuwait: "After initial uncertainties, Bush suffered a messianic syndrome attack. This is a peculiar illness associated with a number of U.S. Presidents, starting with Woodrow Wilson. When combined with the crack-up of the Soviet Union, courtesy of a Jihad in Afghanistan, and with the cessation of the Cold War, which left an avalanche of expensive weapons lying around, the urge to do something pyrotechnic, counter-productive and pointless proved irresistible."
I believe today that evidence of another outbreak of Messianic Syndrome can be ascribed to B. Obama, the presumptive next President of Ex America. My diagnosis is based upon the heady pronunciamentos made during Obama's recent sortie overseas, especially those contained in his important July 24th speech at Tiergarten Park, Berlin. Of course, the same grandiosity has been observed in the personality of Crackbrain McCain, but he is no longer a factor. He is toast.
At this point in time, it is impossible to take McCain, the candidate of the “neocons”, seriously on any level. His campaign has become an embarrassment, much like his sixth-from-the-bottom performance at the Naval Academy, where the class consisted of 899 midshipmen. How does one do that? No wonder the “neocons” love McCain; being clueless and easily misled, he would make a fitting successor to Bush. By contrast, Obama is smart, articulate, fast on his feet, a facile politician, and he seems to be enjoying himself. Mind you, I am strongly against both of them and all of them. I’m penciling in Paris Hilton. I’m only wondering who her running-mate will be.
Gabor Steingart takes a somewhat different tack in "Obama's Romantic Revolution", the current "West Wing" column for Der Spiegel. Steingart does not regard Obama's Berlin speech ("A World That Stands As One") as overarching flapdoodle. He views it as romantic, and he has a point.
Gabor analyzes the B. Obama phenomenon thusly: “It's not possible yet to compare Barack Obama's words with his deeds. His name is not connected with any legislative project or reform concept.... Until now he has been more of a popular speaker than a politician. What is true is that he can make a speech like no one else. On Thursday evening he delivered a masterpiece in the art of political magic. He promised to heal the wounds of the world, from Israel to the melting polar ice caps. He wants to reconcile the world's religions, bring black and white people closer together, Europeans and Americans too.... It's possible to be impressed by all this or to find it shameless.”
Actually, it is possible to be both impressed and to find it shameless. Then Gabor gets to the crux of the matter: “The 200,000 onlookers who thronged to listen to Obama's speech should not deceive us. Listening is not the same as agreeing.... It is, anyway, a great mistake to divide the voters in Western nations into left and right, aggressive and peace-loving, market orientated and critical of capitalism. In reality there are just two types of voters: the romantic democrats and the common-sense democrats. The first type--the romantics--love the big moments and the pretty words. They prefer the higher tone and look at a politician's mouth first. They often have nothing but contempt for pragmatic politicians. Then there are the common-sense democrats.... They are interested in what the politician does, not in what he or she says. They look for records of success and concepts for change....
“So far, Obama has been the candidate for the romantics. His skill lies in enchanting his supporters with words. Whatever is held against him, his supporters turn into his favor.... Of course, Obama may have no option now than to continue to offer the sky. At first many election strategists thought voters wouldn't believe politicians' promises anymore after their experience with Bush. Surprisingly, the opposite seems to be the case: Right now they'll believe everything. Obama was the first to realize that the romantics are currently in the majority.”
True enough. To me, Gabor Steingart's thoughtful analysis simply means, when reduced to a practical matter, that Obama is prepared to say anything to get elected and that he has accurately taken the measure of his credulous fellow citizens. But that has been the norm since time out of mind in American politics, after all, especially when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, and to the all-consuming topic of “Israel” and its U.S. Lobby. The latter is the ten-ton elephant in the room, at the heart of both presidential campaigns...
Take a close look at Obama's interview ("Obama on Iran, Syria, and Jerusalem") given to the Jerusalem Post on July 23rd, the evening before he departed for Berlin...
Litmus test #1. JP Editor: "You told AIPAC that the Israeli strike on Syria last year was 'entirely justified to end that threat.' Would you support an Israeli strike at Iranian facilities in the coming months if Israel felt it had no choice but to act?"
Obama: "I've said in the past and I will repeat that Israelis alone have to make decisions about their own security."
That's a solid green light, my friends, the same green light that Cheney, Bush and McBush are flashing to commence a new conflagration in the Middle East. All of these Washington hack-politicos are on the same page, because they are looking for the same payoff. No one is urging caution--much less, pointing out the quintessential madness of the enterprise. Hey, it’s full-speed ahead in a U.S. presidential election year. No lie is too great, no comment too stupid. Tied at the hip, indeed.
Litmus test #2. JP Editor: "Do you support Israel's current claim to sovereignty throughout the city, or should Jerusalem also come to constitute the capital of a Palestinian state?"
Obama: "I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. But I think that how Israel and the Palestinians resolve this issue is a final-status issue. It needs to be left up to the two parties."
Too clever by half. Who is he kidding? Are we suppose to believe that Obama is so ignorant that he thinks the Palestinians living under military occupation are in a position to negotiate a fair deal with Tel Aviv, which has the collective leadership of both Washington and the EU in its pocket? The answer is that Obama is probably not ignorant; he simply does not care one way or the other. What matters to him and to his advisors is only how all this nonsense plays back home. Period.
The Tel Aviv daily Haaretz let the cat out of the bag on July 23rd: "Four months ago, presumptive Republican candidate Senator John McCain visited Israel, and created a precedent. It was the first time a U.S. presidential candidate came to the Middle East in the midst of the campaign.... Israelis don't interest McCain and Obama. Rather, it is their Jewish voters and contributors at home." Ouch!
On the same day in the same newspaper, Obama is quoted: "I don't think that Ms. Livni [Foreign Minister] or Mr. Barak [Defense Minister] or Bibi [Likud leader] Netanyahu or the others, President Peres, when they spoke to me today got any sense that I would be pressuring them to accept any kinds of concession [my emphasis] that would put their security at stake." Off to the side, observing Obama’s sycophantic performance, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, the democratically-elected party representing a majority of Palestinians in both Gaza and on the West Bank, was quick to observe: "Obama wants to go to the White House through Tel Aviv, at the expense of the Palestinians." Whoa!
English journalist and long-time Middle East expert Robert Fisk further nailed down the 2008 quest for the White House in his column ("New Actor on the same old Stage") for the Independent of August 2nd: "It isn't going to make the slightest difference to the Arabs whether Obama or McCain wins.... Forty-five minutes in Ramallah vs 24 hours in Israel was the Obama equation.... hasn't anyone realised that Obama has chosen for his advisers two of the most lamentable failures of US Middle East policy-making? There, yet again, is Dennis Ross, a former prominent staff member of AIPAC, the most powerful Israeli lobby in America – yup, the very same AIPAC to which Obama groveled last month – and the man who failed to make the Oslo agreement work. And there is Madeleine Albright who, as US ambassador to the UN, said that the price of half a million dead children under sanctions in Iraq was "worth it", and who later announced that Israel was 'under siege'."
On to Berlin. The text of Obama's Berlin speech of July 24th, written presumably by someone in his entourage of 300 foreign policy advisors, exhibits all the effrontery and Messianic delusion of the Washington foreign policy establishment going back to Woodrow Wilson, and specifically the misguided triumphalism coming out of the World War II experience. That is what makes it a masterpiece, the colossal presumption. It is more Washington internationalism, gung-ho “globalization” and interventionism, dressed up in rosy phrases.
Item. "Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof. On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade. This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.... And that’s when the airlift began--when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city." Thus spake Obama.
What this narrative conveniently ignores is that the devastation of Berlin, and of the rest of Germany, and most of the European continent, was caused by policy decisions made in Washington in coordination with Marshall Stalin in Moscow. Afterwards, Washington was obliged, in its own interest, to come to the rescue of a prostrate Europe it had just destroyed, to protect the European continent from being totally Stalinized. At the same time Washington had to make sense out of the desolation it had wrought, pondering "how the world might be remade". Cui bono?
America faces a similar conundrum on a smaller scale today with respect to Iraq. The same question, now and then, should be posed: Why embark on an unprovoked war across the seas in the first place? Why deliberately provoke a war for ulterior motives, to advance a private agenda? That is precisely what FDR did in Europe and in the Far East and what Bush Jr. did in the Middle East, all with the active connivance of their top advisers. Cui bono?
Item. "Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril.... The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers--dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.... The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down." Thus spake Obama. A fascinating farrago of Messianism and myopia.
Obama had just come from Tel Aviv and Palestine, where the leadership of an Ashkenazim colonial enclave called “Israel” has built a gigantic steel-reinforced, concrete wall twice as high as the communist Berlin Wall ever was, and three times its length, all paid for indirectly by the American taxpayer thanks to U.S. "foreign aid". Does Obama want to tear down the wall in Palestine, too? Did he so inform the authorities in Tel Aviv? Of course not. This upstart wants to be elected President of the United States, and his Democratic party wants to be fully funded, as in the past.
While visiting the aforesaid garrison state on the shores of the Mediterranean, with a brief side-visit to its Palestinian annex, Obama proclaimed everything that would give encouragement, comfort and carte blanche to the Zionist occupying power, but delivered short shrift, platitudes and empty words to the indigenous population living under military occupation. In this way, B. Obama revealed himself to be cut from the same template as Crackbrain McCain, the Republican roustabout.
They are not alone. Every Washington office-seeker wants to be elected and therefore takes the path of least resistance. It is a game of quid pro quo, in which the Palestinians are the odd men out, and where if you call for equity and justice for the Palestinians to insure a lasting peace and to take a stab at reconciliation, your political career will be terminated in the next election cycle.
Item. "This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. [My emphasis.] We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close." Thus spake Obama.
New dawn, indeed. I repeat, who is this guy kidding? Himself? Obama must be targeting the unthinking "romantics", which is his base according to Steingart, to wit, the average voter who knows he has been lied to by Bush and Cheney, but who can't make heads or tails out of Crackbrain McCain, the Bush and Cheney surrogate. It's a dilemma all right, a jump-ball, which leaves Obama standing. The Democrats in Washington are positively salivating.
I just love the code-phrases that frontmen, enablers, dupes and fellow-travellers of the Zionist enterprise use to obfuscate the hot topic of Iran and nuclear energy. Above, Obama utilizes the catchall, "nuclear ambitions". Variously you will observe in the establishment media..."nuclear drive"..."nuclear program"..."nuclear policy"..."nuclear issue"...among others, all of which are deliberately nebulous, all-encompassing yet devoid of meaning.
Although both rely on and, indeed, count upon the ignorance of the voters, neither Obama nor McCain is so foolhardy to use the words "Iran's nuclear weapons program". Why? Because both Senators know full well that there is no such program. They do not want to get caught in an outright falsehood after the fact, like Cheney and Bush did in the run-up to the attack on Iraq. Instead, they employ phrases which imply "nuclear weapons" in the minds of trusting , uninformed listeners. Otherwise, where is the danger, right? What is all the fuss about? A nuclear power plant? Is there something “illegitimate” about nuclear power?
Note that virtually no one now refers to the National Intelligence Estimate of December 2007, concerning Iran's nuclear capability, issued by the 16 intelligence agencies of the U.S. Government, which document states that Iran is not embarked on a nuclear weapons program. For the candidates and the rest of official Washington, it is as if the Iran NIE never existed. And why is that?
The only reason this whole factitious crisis over Iran has burst onto the radar screen is that Tel Aviv and its U.S. Israel Lobby have worked themselves into a lather, and expect others do the same. America's politicians have gotten the cue and are performing, true to form, like mindless marionettes. Washington has twisted the arm of the UN Security Council and conspired with the leaders of the EU--in particular, with Merkel and Sarkozy--to wage a campaign of economic sanctions against Tehran, backing it up with the threat of military force, should Iran not halt its goal of enriching uranium.
As a signatory to the NPT as overseen by the IAEA, Iran is perfectly entitled to pursue uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes, that is, to generate electricity. Of course, the presidential candidates of the two major American political parties never bother to mention that. Neither do they broach the fact that Tel Aviv, on whose behalf the two candidates are fronting, is not a signatory to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty but, to the contrary, possesses a considerable arsenal of nuclear weapons, and has efficient means to deliver them thanks to American and German largesse of aircraft, missiles and submarines.
We are talking about hypocrisy, mischief making, and wholesale intellectual dishonesty on the part of Washington, the UNSC and the EU, beyond category. Were Obama to swim against this tsunami, he would already be drowned and discarded. By sailing with the flow, he will be your next President.
To give you an idea just how far Obama and his advisors are willing to go to "get with the program", here's a quote recorded in the Financial Times Weekend Edition of July 26th ("Swooning Paris falls for charm of Obama") after a meeting with President Sarkozy in Paris, Obama's next stop after Berlin: "President Sarkozy and I agree that the world must send a clear message to Iran to end its illicit nuclear programme. [My emphasis.] A nuclear-armed Iran would pose a grave threat to both our nations. It would endanger Israel and the rest of the region and could embolden terrorists and spark an arms race in the Middle East."
Reality check. On its face, there is nothing "illicit" about Iran's nuclear research; Tehran possesses no nuclear weapons. Indeed, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has issued a Fatwa that prohibits the production and use of nuclear weapons and which proclaims that Iran will never acquire such weapons. What is being sought is nuclear power, not nukes. Isn't that in step with the laudable effort to deal with the world-wide energy crisis and keep the planet green? Isn't that what France in particular has done? Yet Sarkozy leads the charge in Europe to oppose Iran doing the same thing as France.
Even if Iran did possess The Bomb, it is hard to see how that fact by itself would "pose a grave threat" to France and America. True, it might give the gentlemen in Tel Aviv pause to think twice before launching an aerial assault upon Iran, something which they have been openly threatening to do, in conjunction with the Cheney-Bush White House. No doubt that is what actually concerns Tel Aviv and the "neocons" in Washington. They would much prefer Iran to be a free-fire zone like the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and, indeed, like all the rest of the greater Middle East. By the way, may I ask if Obama considers Tel Aviv's nuclear weaponry to be illicit? If not, why not? He has nothing to say about it.
Item. Returning to Obama's Berlin speech, in effect a White Paper on what his foreign policy as POTUS 44 would be: "This is the moment when we must defeat terror.... This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success.... The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda.... We have too much at stake to turn back now." Thus spake Omama.
Hasn't Bush Jr. demonstrated a similar blinkered outlook with respect to the enterprise of Iraq?--too much at stake to turn back now! That was in effect the reasoning the White House gave for rejecting the reasonable recommendations of the Iraq Study Group Report in December 2006. But the unanswered question remains: just how much are the American people willing to throw away in blood and treasure to pursue these ill-advised, Messianic adventures? Could America eventually implode like the Soviet Union did? From an economic perspective, that now seems possible.
The Twin Towers were attacked by Arabs, not Afghans. These Arab terrorists were motivated primarily by Washington's long-term, bipartisan policy toward Palestine and by its fulsome, foolish and unabashed embrace of Zionism. The Taliban are Afghan Islamists who have a substantial following inside Afghanistan. Washington was allied with the Islamist mujahideen, including al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and with the Pakistanis and Saudis, when they all engaged in a well-funded, successful guerrilla war against the Soviet Union in the 1980's. The Soviets withdrew in 1989. You can read about it in Charlie Wilson’s War.
Later the Taliban fought the Northern Alliance, which was a group of Afghan war lords and gangsters. The Taliban won, and gave bin Laden a safe haven in Afghanistan. After 9/11, Washington decided to provide the Northern Alliance with artillery support in the form of B-52 and B-1 bombers, which carpet-bombed the Taliban into the hills as part of “Operation Enduring Freedom”. The tactic worked and the Northern Alliance was installed in Kabul, with the foppish Hamid Karzai acting the part of titular President. Bin Laden in the meantime evidently escaped into the badlands of Pakistan.
When the Islamists were in charge of Afghanistan, they outlawed the growing of poppy and suppressed the the drug trade. Now, under the American-installed Karzai regime, the narco business is not just thriving. It is exploding to such an extent that opium accounts for more than 50% of the country’s GNP and Afghanistan now supplies more than 90% of the world’s output. Taxes on this crop fund the Taliban insurgency. Yet another triumph for American foreign policy and military interventionism.
I offer no solution to this imbroglio, except to note that President-to-be Obama will seek to solve it with the same mistakes from the past, to wit, more intervention and manipulation, with the added hope of dragging NATO assets and Germany into the fray in a bigger way. For an expert's lookout on this whole subject read Eric Margolis' two articles: "Obama, the Democratic War President" of July 21st and "Can't Win in Afghanistan? Blame Pakistan" of August 4th.
Item. "Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world?... Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all our people?" Thus spake Obama.
Is he touting a new massive wave of immigration into Europe and America? It sounds like it. That would be absolutely crazy. May I ask, for what possible reason? America is already swamped with illegal immigration, especially from Mexico. It is out of control. As for Europe, the situation is in some ways worse. On this issue, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has correctly pointed out, "Europe does not have the means to welcome with dignity all those who see it as an El Dorado." That is even more true with respect to the United States.
If the term "the West" is to mean anything, it must start with a Europe and an America whose European stock survives as a healthy majority and is recognizable and distinct from humankind outside of Europe. This is only common sense. At the heart of Europe, Germany has more foreigners from Africa, the Middle East and Asia than any other European country, while its own birthrate is insufficient to replace its aging population. And yet, Obama is chiding the Germans for not welcoming more immigrants. A further inflow of non-Europeans would unbalance German culture and endanger the integrity of that country as well as Europe as a whole. Why does Obama even broach the subject?
Item. "People of Berlin--and of the world--the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope... Let us answer our destiny, and remake the world once again." Thus spake Obama.
I do not know what Obama's "improbable hope" is suppose to mean, nor do I care. There is no reason to take any of this rhetoric seriously, but one thing I can tell you. Dubious and misguided characters in Washington, some of them positively evil, have been scheming behind the scenes and have dispatched American armed forces hither and yon for almost a century in an attempt to "remake the world".
That effort has succeeded, but the overall results are not to my liking. Moreover, a lot of innocent people have gotten killed in the process, directly or collaterally, and to no purpose. The last thing American needs at this point in time is a new, ill-conceived crusade based upon errant idealism "to remake the world" yet again, undertaken either by Obama or McCain. God help us if we continue down that warmongering road.
Copyright 2008 Patrick Foy