activist John Pilger deflates media hyping of Obama's taking office by comparing it to Blair's ascension more than ten years ago. I sincerely hope that Obama is wiser than the foolish Blair. But so far, Obama's cowardly (if politically correct) silence on Gaza and his intention to escalate the Afghan war are not encouraging. Kennedy's smarts did not give him the moral wisdom to refrain from war in Vietnam, a country of no strategic importance to the US, except in paranoid cold war visions that passed for "reality" in those days.
Sharing the Bollocks Runner-up Prize is the Observer, which on 25 January published a major news report headlined, "How Obama set the tone for a new US revolution." This was reminiscent of the Observer almost a dozen years ago when liberalism's other great white hope, Tony Blair, came to power. "Goodbye Xenophobia" was the Observer's post-election front page in 1997 and "The Foreign Office says Hello World, remember us." The government, said the breathless text, would push for "new worldwide rules on human rights and the environment" and implement "tough new limits" on arms sales. The opposite happened. Last year, Britain was the biggest arms dealer in the world; currently it is second only to the United States.
In the Blair mold, the Obama White House "sprang into action" with its "radical plans." The new president's first phone call was to that Palestinian quisling, the unelected and deeply unpopular Mohammed Abbas. There was a "hot pace" and a "new era," in which a notorious name from an ancien regime, Richard Holbrooke, was dispatched to Pakistan. In 1978, Holbrooke betrayed a promise to normalize relations with the Vietnamese on the eve of a vicious embargo that ruined the lives of countless Vietnamese children. Under Obama, the "sense of a new era abroad," declared the Observer, "was reinforced by the confirmation of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state."
Clinton has threatened to "entirely obliterate Iran" on behalf of Israel.