President Obama: Rhetoric and reality

Last week I posted the full transcript and video of President Obama’s stirring speech on the occasion of the downfall of the Egyptian dictator, Husni Mubarak. Obama – and let’s put aside for the moment the USA’s long record of financial, military and diplomatic support for Mubarak’s regime – rose to moment and delivered a majestic defence of democracy and the rights of the Egyptian people. It was moving stuff.

Compare that with the decision of the USA last night to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements in Occupied Palestine. The whole world recognises the illegal settlements as being the most serious obstacle to peace in the region and indeed all 14 other members – including the UK, so well done, William Hague – of the UN Security Council voted in favour of the resolution. But not the USA.

What does this tell us? A BBC news report says:

“It was the first veto exercised by the Obama administration which had promised better relations with the Muslim world…Washington was under pressure from Israel and Congress, which has a strong pro-Israel lobby, to use its veto.”

On the al-Jazeera website, it’s senior political analyst, Marwan Bishara writes:

“…the Obama administration finds itself all too often nowadays on the wrong side of history, embarrassingly supporting unpopular dictators and occupiers instead of people in their march to freedom.

“Allowing Israeli colonisation of Palestine to go on unabated and with impunity in the age of de-colonisation doesn’t bode well for wanting to be on the side of history.
“To escape this uncomfortable position, the Obama administration has been using acrobatic statements and formulas to rewrite history in a way that portrays it supporting peoples’ rights.

“It’s clear, however, that neither the Obama administration nor Congress have internalised the historical transformation sweeping through the Arab region.


“Rather, it continues to deal with the Arabs and Palestinians with the same imperial mindset that long managed its relations with self-serving Arab dictators and clients, as if nothing has changed in the region.”

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