Postcards from Ecotopia

old new lefty

old new lefty
alienation, discontent
September 16
Making trouble whenever possible
virgin novelist, middle school teacher for the morally handicapped, government bureaucrat, most famous unknown photographer in LA, PhD dropout, coat hanger sorter, presidential campaign worker, sewer worker, and retired guy -- but not in that order.


Old new lefty's Links

No links in this category.
OCTOBER 2, 2013 12:15PM


Rate: 7 Flag


Conservatives rightly sneered when Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.  After all, it was pretty much equivalent to a freshman college football player winning the Heisman Trophy for suiting up for his first game.  And as we all know, there've been plenty of reasons during the Obama administration where it was pretty obvious that he might not have been as worthy a recipient as Mother Theresa.

Failure to close Guantanamo, drones, the surge in Afghanistan and Iraq...

No need to list them all.

 But now it's time to play the game of "Let's Pretend."

First, let's think of Barack Obama who's actually just a regular human being. If you were in the position that he's in (winning the Nobel Prize) -- wouldn't you feel just a teeny bit guilty about the crap that you've had to ladle because of the demands that the American Empire has put on you? We can get into psychoanalyzing the man in the Oval Office, but believe me. 99.9% of the time when you're Prez -- you better jump when the Defense Department tells you what to do.

We can get all liberal and whiny about Obama's lack of leadership and everything, but let me tell you. A stronger, better person than Barack Obama as POTUS would have only a 5% chance to do anything different than what Obama has done.  And sure, I wish that he'd never appointed Timmy Geithner or Eric Holder, but a lot of crap is baked into the cake in DC. And there's nothing that anybody can do about it.

Needless to say, President Obama was and is no doubt trying to figure out how to justify winning the Nobel Peace Prize for himself, but he is in many respects just a creature of circumstance.  But once, in a great while (a real blue moon), opportunity reveals itself.  And in this case, opportunity came from Syria. 

I have no secret knowledge of the inner workings of the Obama White House. However, I do know that power does have its privilege. And princes do talk only to princes. So let's just pretend that we have 100% access to all of Barack Obama's phone calls.

First, let's go back in time to the middle of 2012 or thereabouts.  The Syrian conflict had been boiling over for a couple of years, and the Defense Intelligence Agency has a better handle on the day to day situation on the ground  in Syria than the CIA.  Monitoring military developments is the exclusive job of the DIA.  The CIA, unfortunately, is sometimes capable of allowing ideological zealots to color its analyses.

Most people pay more attention to what the CIA says.  During the fall campaign, I had a brief conversation with Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, and I expressed serious concerns about the way DC appeared to be handling Syria.  I told Wyden that the Russians should definitely be the lead sled dogs with regards to Syria, and Wyden's first impulse was to spout off some 'Merkan BS about how we'll show those Russkies because 'Merka is exceptional. Yadda yadda yadda, or something like that. 

Checkmate to ONL?  No, my last words to him were, "Please get a briefing from the DIA."

Wyden (self-satisfied) said, "They're under my committee!" End of conversation, but I put odds that the Senator actually did what I told him to do.

I make this point not for self-aggrandizement about my psychic powers in foreign policy.  But I want to make a point that anyone with even a modicum of understanding about the situation on the ground knew that a real path to peace in Syria might actually start with Russian intervention. Unfortunately, this common sense proposal couldn't possibly fly in Washington, DC!

Imagine Barack Obama going on television and saying, "My friends -- the only way to solve the problem of peace in Syria is to allow the Russians to be the lead sled dog.  We will follow."  Can you IMAGINE the shit storm that would set loose, not only from the Republicans, but from the lame stream media?  Politically, as they say, this  approach by Obama would be a non-starter, and I think that is a severe understatement.

So what's a Prez to do?  The first rule for any elected is to do nothing when you're bollixed.  Obama mouthed words about freedom fighters, evil Assad, etc. etc. for a year.  And oh yeah, there was that "red line" remark somewhere. So fast forward to what I still think was a false flag operation on the part of rogue elements of the Syrian Army that had gone over to the other side from the chemical weapons corps.

And here, the president was put into a major dilemna. The way policy works in any White House is that the President's words are sacred, and that any development that goes counter to the President's words must be retaliated against.  In the case of Syria, there was the ever present lobbying power of the Saudis, Big Oil, and the Israelis.  And any president's administration is larded with clowns who pretend to advocate for the national interest.  But in fact, they're captured national security advisors whose hearts are with Bandar Bush or AIPAC. That's just the cost of doing business to get into the Oval Office.

What's an Obama to do????

As I explained too briefly in an extended remark in my previous blog, it was necessary to appear to be an idiot to get the job done. And it was necessary to pick up the telephone and talk with other world leaders.  For our purposes, Barack Obama only had to talk to two.  #1 was of course, Vladimir Putin. I'm thinking Obama and Putin had many a heart to heart chats about the Syrian situation.  And no doubt, Obama mentioned more than once in different ways how important it was for Russia to be the lead sled dog, but there were political problems at home getting in the way of implementing this very sensible strategy.

 Here's where phone call #2 comes in. That was the call to London.  Someone, somewhere (I don't know who) said that George Osborne, Prime Minister of Great Britain could do the trick. So Barack picks up and dials. And the fix is in.

Washington has been going around all over the world looking for the usual suspects to be a coalition of the willing to bomb the shit out of Syria, but no action is to be found.  George Osborne is more than willing to be thrown into the tank for Barack. There is a remarkable vote in the House of Parliament where the majority of back benchers express a vote of no confidence in the proposed policies of the British government and there's no cabinet shake-up, dissolution of Parliament, or call for an election?  And you think Worldwide Wrestling is a put up job?????

This little action gives Obama all the excuse he needs to go to Congress to ask for an authorization of the War Powers Act.  Mind you, this was never a problem for Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq, not to mention those hundreds of little military incursions to places like Grenada, Panama, etc. etc. But surprise, surprise! It turns out to be a problem for Barack Obama!  Now how could that just happen?

Of course, the chattering classes go all nuclear. That Barack Obama is so inept and foolish!  What's wrong with that boy? Yadda yadda yadda. And we can see the results. John Kerry's supposed off the cuff remarks lead to a remarkable chain reaction where peace appears to be breaking out all over the Middle East.

Not only does Basher Assad have no problems in giving up his stockpile of chemical weapons, but elements of the Free Syrian Army are now attempting to negotiate with the Assad government to guarantee the safety of Syrian government employees in contested territory if the more liberal elements of the FSA can work with Assad's forces to fight the Islamists who've been bought and paid for by our freedom-loving allies, the Saudis.

We haven't heard the end of the Syrian peace process by a long shot. But you will note that a surgical American air strike against Syria is now totally unthinkable.

Meanwhile, we have the developments in Iran. The election of Hassan Rouhani to be the President of Iran in August is a "BFD," to paraphrase Joe Biden. I will not spend  too much time on the horrible, twisted relations between the USA and that country. However, it's worth noting that Rouhani is closely related not only to the Ayatollah Rasfanjani (and more importantly) President Khatami, both very much good guys in comparson to Nutjob Ahmadinejad.

Khatami, in case you didn't know was a true liberal, serving from 1997 up to 2005.  President Khatami went so far as to offer the United States assistance in hunting down the terrorists who were responsible for 9/11.  And of course, what did George Bush do?  "Iran is part of the axis of evil...."

;(   Say no more....

 No need to talk about the non-existant Iranian atomic bomb. But that alligator in the sewer has been the Great White Whale of Captain Netanyahu & Co. for a long time, and it's been driving our foreign policy machinery. I mix my metaphors, but you get the drift.

And so, Rouhani and Obama can't shake hands in public because both are afraid of their domestic reprecussions. But John Kerry can meet privately with Hassan Rouhani for a half hour and come out with both guys grinning and basically saying, "We can do business!" And Barack Obama can call Rouhani on the telephone and wish him well in Persian, while Rouhani thanks him in English.

It's a long way from now to Point Z in the case of both Syria and Iran.  But I think that President Obama is close to actually deserving that Nobel Peace Prize. 


Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
"... he is in many respects just a creature of circumstance..."
Above and beyond that Obama is a living impossibility... there's no way in hell that a State Senator from Illinois could leap from a keynote speech at the Democratic Convention in 2004 to winning the office of the President with an overwhelming landslide majority in 2008. That he was a black man and a moderate Democrat running in a heated primary against Hillary Clinton further compounded the odds against him. Say what you will about him being a sell out and a hypocrite, Obama has proven to be a master politician in the tradition of LBJ and FDR and he's still got three more years in office. Here's hoping he gets some help in congress in 2014 and that he comes out on the other side of his historic service worthy of that Nobel Prize. R&R ;-)
Mother Teresa was no saint , yknow. Um, well not yet , right?
I could tell u scuttlebutt...

I love LETS PRETEND. I love it so damn much that I live it. Especially going back in time.¬¬
Yeah the Emperor is not gonna ever keep his hands clean.
The Empire may stand on its principles sometimes but is …an Empire, right?
Chrissakes it needs war.
This prez, this creature of circumstance , he just don’t deliver, does he?
All he cares about is HEALTH CARE. Supplication for the suffering.
No war with Syria. Nor with Iran it looks like.
Ha did you see poor Bibi NetanYahoo on the tube ystday?
Give him the Nobel, I say.
Eventually historians will catch up to this fastmoving fluid era in thirty or fifty yrs. Obama will be a goddamn saintlike figure, I bet.
That Iran would have offered to help in 2001 is likely, given that there were protests in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in Tehran - in FAVOR of the United States. I seem to be the only person I know who saw reports at the time on TV but I did.

Ahmedinejad was a dangerous antisemite. Ahmedinejad is gone. Rouhani wished the world's Jews a happy Rosh Hashanah. Bit of a difference. I think at this point that tension with Iran will ratchet down, particularly given that the US is not about to get involved militarily in Syria.

I see no point in an American enmity with Iran. Frankly, a decent American relationship with Iran would probably reduce tensions between Iran and Israel, which would be a good thing. Now, I still submit that the root of those tensions lies more with Iran than with Israel, but a relationship between Iran and the US couldn't hurt.

If you're describing how it actually went down, and No, I don't believe for a minute that Kerry's suggestion was accidental, Obama might be extremely instrumental in ending a conflict and in keeping it from spreading.
He won the Noble as a result of the excitement his Presidency generated in the liberal international community given their relief that Bush, the neo-cons and the right were finally thrown out of power. He stopped the wars, yet escaped being humilated as the Commander-in-Chief. They'd have chopped his balls off otherwise. Not a bad trick if you look at it from the political perspective, which you do not comprehend. He has no explaining to do.

You're ideologically myopic. I think you should join the T-Party and change your name to Lefty the Narcissist. I don't think you have a clue what you're talking about.
You weren't the only one, just one of the few, since the paranoid media went all jingoist by 9/12.
I'll give it to you in two words to explain why Obama won the Nobel from a grateful world and a liberal need not be "whiney" about his Presidency, and don't need you to tell them otherwise: John McCain.

Can you imagine in the most distant regions of your locked down brain where the hell we'd be at if he had won?

And if Obama hadn't iced the militarists the way he did early in his Presidency by placating them what price we'd be paying for that now? Instead of the Affordable Care Act that would be their raison d'etat. I think you ought to start to read more than the funnies and left wing propaganda.
Hey Ben, I'm just glad that you cared enough to stop by. And I'm happy to see that you corrected your spelling of "Nobel."

Robert, when you corporatize media -- one hand washes the other.
I blame the media. Which are owned by Conglomerates who are the real problem. Congloms worship the Almighty Dollar, of course. They don't much care how they acquire it.

One of the best ways is pandering to the lowest common denominator. Take sex, please. Had the Congloms been running, ruining the Media back then, of course neither Ike nor Kennedy would have stood a chance at election.

See, they were Alphas, and Alphas like to have sex. A lot. With many different humans.

Unfortunately--with the Alphas out of the picture, the contestants are a bunch of Betas, some master Betas no doubt.

Hey Lincoln was too ugly, too. Never would have won, either.
Noble is right when you consider the smart rat assholes he has to contend with. I'm not so restricted. Your timing stinks. Fuck with him some other time and stop calling liberals names. You know nothing.
Fascinating scenario you spin onl. The only part that seems too far fetched is Cameron losing the vote in the UK Parliament. He doesn't have a majority and almost all of the opposition Labour and his Lib-Dem coalition partners were against it. The memory of Blair putting one over on everyone re Iraq is still very fresh. I'm also undecided about the rogue element theory.

As for the Nobel, of course Obama didn't deserve it. If that was the way the committee was leaning, they should have awarded it jointly to the 69 million who voted him in. And you would have had a small share in that.
Not all hypotheticals are created equal, and there are a few flaws in your otherwise interesting speculation. The most obvious one is to imagine Putin has the least interest in doing Obama a favor by assuming the role of lead dog -- the strained relationship between the two men is palpable.

So what else might explain Putin's eagerness to back-stab Assad? Well, the most logical explanation is that Putin is no fool, and he is well aware that Russia has a much greater potential problem with Islamist terrorists than do we. After, all Russia's southern border is thick with them.

That Syria's chemical weapons might somehow fall into the hands of -- oh, say Chechen radicals was a possibility Putin wanted to avoid at all costs. So Assad got his marching orders, and Putin got to look like the next likely winner of a Nobel Peace Prize.

That said, fortuitous circumstances -- and I hasten to add he was long overdue for some, given the spoiled child behavior of the Repugnants over the last 4+ years -- painted Obama in a pretty good light, too, so I doubt the Nobel committee will be asking him to return his award.
oh, ONL, Obama is a very talented conman who is riding on American gullibility which you continue to enable and role model. whose betrayal ... well future generations if they manage to exist will ask why bush AND obama were not impeached by Americans during this time.

I read jmac's remark and I despair as well.

I am glad you have Netanyahu's number, but what is this incredible blockage of Obama giving away the store to his Martha Vineyard golf buddies? all corporate criminals keep getting a pass. WTF???? Do you not believe that the corruption and fraud has not happened under his watch? that Bush policies have escalated, not ended?

even jamie dimon gets a secret meeting with Holder to pay off a wrist slap fine and blame for the criminality on lower employees of Dimon. what bullshit. where is the justice? we must let the crooks keep on doing their dirty dealings cuz we must not threaten the banking infrastructure? But let's surveil Americans, every American, especially those with conscience.

Do you know how much money the evil criminal class is making on the bankruptcy of Detroit? The emergency manager has hired 19 consultancy companies who are raking in millions while destroying the welfare of the people of Detroit, practicing for how they are going to devastate the rest of the country. All the money they will rake in for banksters and hedge fund people selling off the DIA paintings?

you minimize the murders done by Obama, the total scope of illegitimate surveillance, the covert CIA and foreign hired and enable death squads against other countries as well as especially the criminal and devastating war against Libya that belongs to Obama, as well as the Syrian devastation which I don't think you really grasp. Putin yanked unhappy Obama from the brink of WWIII which he will run back to asap. Gitmo does matter and should not be minimized. What happened with Manning, Assange and Snowden!

So Obama and Congress are millionaires having made millions from the collapse of the economic security of the population. Bill Clinton handily gave his daughter a $3 million wedding and he made his when he was in the chair, all that enriching deregulation.

So Americans who are duped by the media and vote in anti-constitutional and anti-humanity political opportunists like Obama are still playing that pathetic "lesser evil" song! The fleeced Americans who blindly think the Dems are taking care of their needs will keep us all on the slippery slope, until the vile Republicans win the next election since faux-progressives were corrupt.

"Obama must never be held accountable." Keep singing that mantra to cover up what should be louder and louder cognitive dissonance that Obama and the corporate Dem party betrayed monstrously and is fast dismantling our constitutional republic along with their fellow Republicans!

best, libby
Abrawang, you may be right about Great Britain, but it does seem awfully convenient to me that Osborne took the unprecedented step of speedily referring the Obama request to Parliament.

Tom, I don't claim perscience with the inner workings of the White House, but my wife was a WH staffer. And she didn't give me any qualifiers.

Libby, for the sake of brevity, I minimized Obama's many crimes and malfeasances. You did the fill-in for me.
What I find odd about Obama's accountability is that it's backward: he misses accountability for things he's guilty of but is held accountable for things he isn't.