5 Nov 2008

Obama: The world is different?

I've just read Dr Lawson's blog re Obama - worth a read - and if you haven't heard Obama's full victory speech then listen - good stuff! Even McCain's losing speech makes you feel like the world has become a better place overnight.

Of course there are serious doubts about just how much change the democrats and Obama can or will deliver. But there is a real change today is in the 'hearts and minds' of people in the US and around the world. It is about hope for a better future - some restoration of faith in democracy and possibly even a government "of the people, by the people and for the people" as Obama promises.

Like Dr Lawson in his blog I was reminded of the day in May 1997 when Tony Blair was elected. So much hope from a young, good speaker, apparently a man of the people yet look what he became. Let us hope Obama has more depth - he appears to in the glare of the world's media - but also let us not be too taken in by Obama - he is, for example, positively hawkish on Afghanistan and as noted before on this blog there are other areas of concern.

So far the latest I've seen is Greens and McKinney (pic above) have 141,000 votes - ie 0.1% - see more here. Indeed all the other Presidential hopefuls were squeezed. Must dash - a bonfire to attend to commemorate a guy who wanted to blow up Westminister.....then a local Green party monthly meeting...

Obama's speech:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/us_elections_2008/7710038.stm (text)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/us_elections_2008/7710079.stm (video)


Philip Booth said...

Here is this news from Caroline Lucas:


Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas today said that Barack Obama’s election could ‘turn the page’ for the US on green policies.

Looking at his proposals for greening the US economy and re-engaging with the world to agree stronger climate targets, Caroline said that Greens in the UK are very hopeful after the presidential election this week.

She said: “After eight years of ignorant, dangerous and backward-looking policies from George W Bush, Greens can see real hope in Barack Obama. It’s clear that America has elected a President with a different vision of where we need to take our countries in the future. Much of his promised programme would bring real benefits to people and create a more resilient economy, as well as lower carbon emissions.

“His promise to invest in new technology and build up green industries echoes the Green Party’s proposals for a ‘Green New Deal’ for Britain and Europe, and we are delighted to see these Green ideas represented in the new President’s plans.”

Seizing the opportunity for new sustainable industries in the U.S. economy, Mr Obama plans to invest $150 billion to create a clean energy revolution and create five million new “green collar jobs”.

Caroline added “Simultaneous investment in a Green New Deal on both sides of the Atlantic would help new green industries develop and transform our economy more quickly - bringing the benefits of new jobs and lower emissions much sooner than if the UK or Europe acted alone. Since Tuesday’s election, I am optimistic that a change in direction for the USA could herald a new era for green development across the world.“

Caroline also expressed her hopes for new international agreements to be forged on climate change.

“With the crucial Climate Change Conference in Copenhagan just one year away, in December 2009, the focus will be on America to lead the way in setting global reductions targets that will be enough to avert catastrophic climate change. We have less than a hundred months to take serious steps on reducing carbon emissions, and it is vital that America plays a larger role in future in forging an international agreement on the action we will take.”

Anonymous said...

Beware of Obama - yes some hope but...




SchNEWS, Issue 654, Friday 7th November 2008




So eight years of Bush madness are finally over, and mercifully the
election result didn’t turn into a battle over hanging chads or the
matter of how many Hispanics and blacks were excluded from voting.
But do you really think that Obama will send the troops home the day
after he takes office? Out on the campaign trail he was suspiciously
silent about the Iraq war. Could it be he was scared of looking
unpatriotic compared to McCain, or have some well placed Washington
power brokers been having a few quiet words in his ear?

A reality check: What Obama said before the election is a moot point
now. The sign of a brilliant orator is the ability to hold a crowd
spell-bound, without actually saying anything. On the subject of
Iraq, he did announce that US forces would remain there against Iraqi
wishes - although maybe without ‘permanent’ military bases - to train
Iraqi personnel (death squads). He also stated that he will ‘retain
the right to intervene militarily, with our international partners,
to suppress potential genocidal violence within Iraq.’ All this
equates to rehashed liberal interventionist arguments justifying a
continued war on Iraq. But what we’re really looking at was never a
Bush plan, and isn’t an Obama plan, but is the US Imperial plan for
Iraq. There has been cross-party support for the Occupation since the

Further clues to the direction of the future Obama Administration’s
foreign policy comes in the shape of the advisers he’s surrounding
himself with such as hawkish favourite of conspiracy theorists and
former Carter advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, as well as such leading
humanitarians as General Merrill McPeak (a backer of Indonesia’s
occupation of East Timor) and Dennis Ross (supporter of Israel’s
occupation of the West Bank).

To go into more depth about Team Obama’s policy on Iraq, we need to
take a look at his right hand man – soon to be Veep Joe Biden. Obama
may have voted against the Iraq war but Biden was all for it.

Biden’s take on the US plan is for a ‘third way’ between occupation
and independence that reads like divide and rule colonialism of the
old school. His plan for Iraq was hatched in 2006: partition Iraq
into three separate sectarian statelets, Sunni, Kurd and Shia, all
governed by US-friendly puppets instructed to provide an
uninterrupted supply of oil to Western companies.

This ‘third way’ (where have we heard that before?) of ‘soft
partition’ is designed to benefit first and foremost multinational
oil interests – but is not so soft for those who would face death
threats for being on the wrong side of a partition line.

Also central to this strategy is the Oil Law, written in July 2006
and re-drafted with the advice of nine multinational oil companies,
the US and UK authorities and the IMF. Its primary aim is to sanction
Production Sharing Agreements - privatisation deals - and create a
Federal Oil and Gas Council made up of regional political elites.

The Law would allow regions to pass their own oil laws, run their own
industries and sign their own contracts with international oil
companies without any democratic oversight. What former policy boss
of BP Nick Butler calls a ‘parting gift of oil for peace’ is really
designed to create a race to the bottom, aimed to set the Iraqi
factions climbing over each other to sell oil to the multinationals.
If they ever pull it off the net results of this plan will be
division, conflict and decades of dependency on foreign oil companies
for Iraqis.

The Kurdish Regional Government is already ahead of the game,
interpreting the Iraqi constitution as giving them the right to start
signing privatisation contracts with foreign oil companies, passing
their own regional oil law and forming an autonomous ministry of oil.
The Oil Law’s devolution provisions would also economically empower
the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Councils (the country’s most powerful
political party) intentions to form a 9-region super-state in the
south of Iraq. Meanwhile the oil unions are vehemently opposed to any
division of Iraq, the Oil Law, foreign oil control and the occupation


But whoever’s in the White House pulling the levers of power, all
this might just turn out to be irrelevant after all. The Americans’
arrogant disregard for Iraqis’ sentiments has already caused a
nationalist backlash that mobilised opposition to draft the ‘Baghdad
Charter’ opposing any territorial division of Iraq.

One striking feature of Iraqi politics of late is just how little
ability the Americans have to call the shots in the country, even
with 150,000 troops there. Despite the passage of the Oil Law, Iraqi
politicians (even former US allies) are showing worryingly
independent tendencies. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) the
Americans need if their presence in Iraq has even a token agreement
from their puppets is foundering as the deadline for the UN Mandate
runs out in December. Despite a mix of threats and concessions to the
Iraqi government, even their hand-picked Prime Minister Maliki is
still refusing to sign. US politicians, whether Democrat or
Republican, just can’t seem to grasp that they don’t really control
events on the ground. As much as they push for Oil Laws and
agreements legalising their continued military presence, the truth is
that the Occupation is hated too much for them to ever fulfil their
ambitions in the country.

Spouting empty slogans for ‘Change’ and engaging in no-detail
rhetoric in televised debates and speeches shouldn’t make anyone
optimistic that he’ll deliver what most Iraqis (and Americans and
Brits for that matter) want - an immediate end to the occupation.

For more see: