by Gilles d'Aymery
(Swans - August 25, 2008) Of course, I could! What a bizarre question... Barack Obama is a highly intelligent and thoughtful individual with a sturdy political acumen. His life's trajectory and background serve him well to understand and hopefully manage the complexities and the challenges America faces in this young 21st century. His wife Michelle would be an extraordinary First Lady, the most articulate one ever since Eleanor Roosevelt. She actually would make a better president than her husband (or Hillary Clinton for that matter). She is hors-pair in comparison to the current dystopian political apparatus that is drowning itself in an epidemic of cognitive dissonance. But for lack of our first African-American woman as president of the USA, I'd be happy to settle for our first African-American man, knowing that his first confidante and adviser would be Michelle Obama. So, what would it take for me to support the presidential aspirations of Senator Obama? It's rather simple, really, a Fundamental Paradigm Shift.
The single most important step for Obama to take would be a Fundamental Paradigm Shift (FPS) toward the projection of American power away from military force and economic coercion, moving from competition and aggression to cooperation and peaceful diplomacy, and begin in a measured and reasonable fashion the dismantlement of the American empire. As President George W. Bush recently said, "Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century." I could not agree more with his statement. It means that the US foreign policies should be retooled to include the scrapping of the mindset that leads to continuous threats of military intervention or crippling economic sanctions against countries whose regimes are not adhering to the Washington Consensus. It further means that the policy of what's known as "all options remain on the table" should be replaced by a policy of non-aggression except in the case of a direct military attack on the United States proper. It conclusively means the abandonment of the notion of full spectrum dominance and an end to American exceptionalism.
Practically all other policy issues both domestic and international would ensue from this FPS. The next step would be to genuinely engage other nations on matters of life and death -- nuclear weapons, global climate disruptions linked to the overuse of fossil fuels, poverty, etc.
By the end of the first term of an Obama administration, enough financial resources would be redirected from offensive and destructive expenditures to fixing our house by focusing on the welfare of the American people -- jobs, education, housing, healthcare, the development of alternative, clean energy sources (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biofuels not based on edibles...). A fairer tax system would eventually help achieve those goals.
Evidently, there are many additional issues that I wish Mr. Obama would address and which, depending on his position, I could enthusiastically support. For instance, the elimination of all the subsidies to the oil companies, the ethanol agribusiness, and the nuclear industry -- subsidies that ought to be redirected toward the development of alternative energies. The re-regulation of our banking system, and a revived enforcement of making corporations accountable for their misdeeds and the runaway greed of their executives, even when they are driving the corporations they lead to the ground (automotive industry). A targeted campaign originated from the Oval Office all the way through Madison Avenue PR firms to launch a program of deep conservation through suasion, explaining to the American people that conserving energy and resources (like water) is a matter of national security, well being for our descendents and the entire world. I could add the dire need for a single payer national health insurance, and the shift from the notion of a minimum wage to that of a maximum wage, and so many more issues that will impact the future, but when all is said and done, the single most important step that Obama must take to be worthy of my support is the FPS.
The selection of Joe Biden, a liberal hawk, strongly indicates that Barack Obama is not going to make this FPS and will pursue the aggressive policies that the US political establishment from both sides of the aisle has been pursuing for the past 60-some years. I am 58 years old and have heard time and again, whether in France or in the United States, how each presidential election was a do-or-die affair, and time and again, I've seen the results from either side: Death, destruction, the maintenance of the status quo and the enrichment of the few against the welfare of the many.
I am not willing to support this paradigm, the "not-ordinary-times" shibboleth notwithstanding. I shall never call to vote for a candidate, any candidates, that maintain that paradigm. I shall not support war without end -- or war tout court. That's why I am supporting Ralph Nader and his running mate, Matt Gonzalez.