International Politics

We (this is the royal we) all love Obama. No doubt about it. I have just finished reading Dreams from my Father that left me with an even greater admiration for the man. But he is not the messiah and giving him a Nobel Peace Prize for achieving absolutely nothing on the ground is as stupid as giving Sadat and Begin a Nobel….oh wait. So the jury of the Nobel does not have a great record but this award really does put it in a category of its own.

Apparently Obama got the prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Great but getting a Nobel Prize for Peace should be for “exiting US troops from Iraq while also maintaining a strong and stable Iraq” or “making a substantial contribution to the ending of Israeli apartheid policies” or “Not fucking up Afghanistan and Pakistan so badly.”

A Nobel Peace Prize should not be awarded for creating one of the most ambitious foreign policies in modern US history, it is not a prize for theoretical policies (at least that was what I thought!) .

A Nobel Peace Prize should not be awarded for the remarkable feet of being elected President of the US and replacing the war criminal that was G W Bush.

A Nobel Peace Prize should not be awarded “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Obama has got so much to achieve in Foreign Policy terms. The policy route that is decided by Obama with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan is going to show what he is really made of. Here there is a real risk of all out disaster the US, as in Iraq, have tried strategy after strategy and they have all failed. Far from bringing enlightenment and states the US has pushed Afghanistan and Pakistan further into the “darkness” with their policies. He has thus far failed to successfully change the current narrative on how to “deal” with these states. A lot of work still needs to be done before awards start being handed!! As for Israel Obama’s the less the said the better on the performance of the Obama team. A bit of a joke but I am all for the give them time argument. They are not going to solve things in an instant. He is not a prophet after all….

While I 100% am personally for supporting Obama this is stupid. I am sure Obama turned to Michelle and said “Are they taking the piss?” (I admit this is what Obama would have said if he was from London but anyway something expressing the same utter flabbergasting confusion.)


For those of the social democratic persuasion, like me, it will not come as a shock that neo-liberal fundamentalists such as Bush and Co feed off disaster to spread their ideology.

Klein destroys the theory of Milton Freidman’s free market ideology and that the state should be as minimal as possible. Klein exposes how proponents of free market fundamentalism far from extending freedom as they claim. The proponents of totally free markets use extreme measures of oppression to ensure that their privatization schemes and rolling back of social welfare can be implemented. Klein illustrates her theory in country after country starting from Chile and Argentina in South America, and then to Russia, China, South Africa, Sri Lanka…

In the Middle East Klien focuses on Iraq, Lebanon and Israel.

In Iraq Klein notes that it was the Freidmanite economic policies that the Bush regime was pushing through in Iraq that really got the insurgency going. The reduction of the state that included the now famous “de-Baathification” that left 500,000 Iraqis jobless, angry and ready to fight. Further to this, Klein documents how most of the reconstruction work went not to Iraqis or the Iraqi state but to private contractors from the US again leaving hundreds of thousand of Iraqis frustrated and jobless.

In Israel Klein remarks how since the Oslo accord Israel has never been interested in peace but security. This Klein argues is primarily becuase Israel moved from a country that relied on high tech computer technologies in the global economy to security, especially in the world of 9/11.  While a convincing argument Israel did not suddenly come up with the idea of security as the main goal, as opposed to peace, in 1993. If Klein picked up a copy of the Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim she will find that ‘security’ has been Israel driving ideology since its inception, with Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his Revisionist Zionism that has dominated Zionist thinking since Israels inception.

As for Lebanon Klein does not give the country the time it deserves and in fact misunderstands the very nature of the beast. Klein rightfully praises Hezbollah for the efficient way they were able to deliver Iranian funds to their constituents after the July 06 war. But Klein  does not grasp that Hezbollah are the representatives of the Shia in Lebanon. Thus, stating that the Shia population took Hezbollah’s money because if they did not they would be left to the mercy of privatization and Solidere, while not wrong does not really grasp what was and is happening in Lebanon. “If the residents of Lebanon were grateful for the results, it was also becuase they knew the alternative. The alternative was Solidere.”

It must be said that many residents of Lebanon were not ‘grateful for the results’ (mainly the non-Shia) and that Lebanon was left bitterly divided that led to a crisis that is only just beginning to be solved today. There was not a Kenysian vs. Friedman economic debate/war. Instead it was while Bush was in power a confrontation between the US, Israeli and Saudi axis against the Syrian and Iranian one. In short there was to economics than what was going on in Lebanon during and after this period, even if Klein can strongly argue that Israel went to war with Hezbollah for economic reasons.