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The race for the White House 2012: Obama the military aggressor

In the first of a series of videos examining the key issues in the US Presidential election 2012 Professor of International Politics, Inderjeet Parmar, highlights Obama's record of military aggression on the world stage.
by Ben Sawtell

It is not often that a Democrat goes on the offensive against a Republican on the use of hard military power: but the Obama campaign has gone head-to-head with Romney's on this and has come out on top, pushing Romney further to the bellicose right. The Obama administration has essentially continued and further developed the policies of President George W. Bush.

Why does Obama feel he can go on the offensive against Romney? Well, here are just a few examples of his aggressive stance on foreign policy:

  • Ordered the successful killing of Osama bin Laden.
  • Authorised the launch of more drone attacks, i.e. targeted assassinations, than Bush.
  • Retained rendition, i.e, kidnapping, as a practice.
  • Prevented the US Supreme Court from extending constitutional protections to Bagram inmates.
  • Retained the Guantanamo Bay torture facility.
  • Extended anti-terror surveillance on a massive scale to the 'homeland'.
  • Ordered and maintained the military surge in Afghanistan.
  • Committed the United States to arms sales to President Karzai's corrupt regime after US/NATO's withdrawal.

There are those who plausibly argue that the Obama administration inherited a veritable mess that no one could have done much about. But it's important to ask what Obama did about those things that were in his control?

Obama's administration has behaved much the way as one might have expected the George W. Bush administration to react: little support for democracy in Egypt, regime change in Libya, opposing and defeating constitutional protections to Bagram inmates, and mistreating Manning to such an extent that the UN and Amnesty International were called to investigate.

In the end, the differences between Democrats and Republicans are minimal in practice: they are parties of the Establishment that are completely united in their fundamental faith in American power.

Adapted excerpt from an essay by Professor Inderjeet Parmar entitled: "2012 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: TWO PARTIES, ONE ESTABLISHMENT, UNDER GOD"

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