What’s that unheard-of political specimen spreading its wings over the geopolitical spectrum? It is aggressive as a hawk, compromising as a dove; it dances like a butterfly and stings like a bee. What kind of plumed composite is that? A hawdovebutterbee (HDBB)?
Get used to it. The HDBB happens to be no other than the President of the United States (POTUS), Barack Obama. Yet the question is inevitable. Will it fly?
POTUS as HDBB made a soaring entrance in front of official delegations of 192 countries at the annual UN General Assembly in New York. Here’s the 30-minute speech. And here’s the little blue bird’s version. We’ll do everything to prevent Iran from going nuclear. We won’t abandon the protagonists of the Arab Spring. And we want regime change in Syria.
Mars, we got a problem. Iran is not about to obtain a nuclear weapon – according to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the rosary of US intel agencies. True protagonists of the Arab Spring – as in Bahrain – have already been abandoned. As for regime change in Syria, Washington has no qualms to work for it embedded with Salafi-jihadis.
HDBB once more peddled the US role of “defending democratic values around the world”.
What he could not possibly admit is that a “Greater” Middle East that truly follows voters’ wishes will hardly submit to Washington’s worldview – especially if Washington itself continues to be blindly subjected to every Israeli whim. HDBB himself could point to the new Egypt under a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) president as the best example.
HDBB also challenged the Arab world to use its “newfound” embrace of democracy to protect freedom of religion and speech.
What HDBB could not possibly admit is that this embrace was “newfound” because every previous embrace for the past four decades was stifled by US-backed dictators and petromonarchs – against the wishes of their own people.
So HDBB conveniently forgot that waves of Arabs have not forgotten those long decades of Washington being in bed with local autocrats and tyrants. Still is, in fact; see the House of Saud for reference.
Death from above
HDBB’s crack advisor team knows foreign policy does not win a US presidential election. But it may be instrumental in losing one.
So HDBB is now essentially playing defense. With some nuanced passing, of course. Four years ago, POTUS-to-be Obama campaigned on a platform of Enough War. Now HDBB says there’s still some space for a diplomatic solution on Iran, although time is not unlimited. That implies no option is off the table – to the delight of a substantial warring sector of the industrial-military-security-media complex.
HDBB said, “There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents … There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.”
If HDBB had read the just-published, devastating report by Stanford and New York University’s law schools, based on extensive interviews with victims, witnesses and experts, about the shadow drone war in the Pakistani tribal areas, he would have seen the true effect of HDBB-ordered “signature strikes”, when targets are selected via a shady “pattern of life”.
So if HDBB asserts that “no video justifies an attack on an embassy”, he would have to revert to cosmic silence to justify the killing of Pashtun women and children, in fact an indiscriminate US death from above operation terrorizing the 800,000 people living in the Waziristans, north and south.
No chance HDBB would talk about this war OF terror. In fact he didn’t linger to talk about anything. After the 30-minute speech he vanished like a falcon, spending zero time in one-on-one meetings with foreign leaders.
Fly like an eagle
Contrast HDBB’s flash appearance at the UN with what took place in another part of Manhattan; the Almighty Bubba himself, Bill Clinton, introducing the man upstaged by an empty chair, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, aka The Robot, to a room filled with Democrats at the Clinton Global Initiative, a flush bipartisan aid operation.
The Robot at least had the grace to admit, “If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good. After that introduction, I guess all I have to do is wait a day or two for the bounce.”
There’s no bounce in the cards for The Robot. On the contrary. He’s now on a two-day bus tour of prime swing state Ohio. According to the latest Washington Post poll HDBB leads The Robot in Ohio by eight points. If HDBB clinches both Ohio and Florida – as seems increasingly likely – it’s game over.
According to Nate Silver, HDBB has now a 77.7% chance of winning on November 6, up 2.9% compared to last week.
What’s left, as Tom Engelhardt impeccably argues, is HDBB investing in all manner of aerial/rhetorical contortions to prevent the world from exploding in his plumed face in the next 40 days. Then hawk, dove, butterfly and bee will gel into a bald eagle – a formidable specimen flying over the wreckage of a dystopian future.
 Full speech: US President Barack Obama at UN, September 25, 2012
 See here
 See here
 Obama Against the World, TomDispatch.com