Obama’s Second Term: “It’s not in America’s Interest to make an Enemy out of Russia or China”
“The US has bad luck with the female State Secretaries during the last 10-15 years since Mrs. Albright became the Secretary of State. Now Mr. Obama can pick up a much more active and much more knowledgeable Secretary of State – John Kerry or someone else. Then we’ll see some change” says Voice of Russia political commentator, Dmitry Babich, in an interview.
The big day was yesterday for Barack Obama and his administration. Overall, do you think Obama did it this time because of his policies and people actually believe in them? Or did Mitt Romney give him much of an opposition?
I think that there was a certain problem with this election – it was basically a replay of a previous election with a challenger being a little younger and probably a little more of a danger to Mr. Obama. Otherwise, we have again “competition between right and extreme-right”, as one of the American commentators put it. I agree with some of the comments that I heard on our radio station. To be frank with you, I spent the whole night listening to you, guys. And I liked the comments of Congressman David Kucinich who said that basically he supports Obama, but he doesn’t expect foreign policy to change. And obviously Mr. Kucinich doesn’t agree with this policy of encircling Russia and bashing lots of nations – not only Russia, but also China and quite a few others.
But don’t you think that a lot of that is things that one has to say to get elected? As we heard with Mitt Romney and his now famous comment regarding Russia being “the №1 geopolitical enemy of the U.S.” and, of course, President Obama coming back during the debates saying, “I think al-Qaeda is №1 enemy of the U.S.” Do you think a lot of this is actually campaign talk? Or will we actually see something really happening?
Well, I guess I know American people a little, because I work with them and communicate with them on a daily basis. I don’t believe that majority of American people enjoy this belligerent talk. It goes against the American tradition. I think passions have been somewhat wiped up by the media and by some interest groups in the U.S., because I don’t believe that it’s in the interests of the U.S. to make an enemy out of Russia or even out of China, for that matter. Obviously, Mr. Eisenhower’s quote about the military-industrial complex shaping the American foreign policy has been quoted dozens of time during this campaign and I think it wasn’t accidental that people somehow remembered this phrase first said in 1961. But, in general, I think this campaign will leave some not very pleasant traces behind, and it’s not only quote about Russia which obviously didn’t help, but the general negativity. Mr. Kucinich said it very well that political manipulators think that they can increase and decrease the amount of negativity, just like they increase or decrease the amount of hot water in their bath tubs, but people stay influenced by negativism. It doesn’t just go away as cynical people among the politicians think that it could. It stays and I think that will be one of the main negativisms of this campaign.
Again, Mr. Obama has got four more years to do what he believes this country needs to do to go forward. Any great change in foreign policy, do you think? Or it’ll stay the same, but with some adjustments? Especially in the Middle East.
Well, we heard during these two days a lot of not very optimistic comments about Obama conducting the same policy. I hope there’ll be some change. First of all, Mr. Obama doesn’t have this liability named Hillary Clinton. He obviously had this liability when he started his first tenure in 2009, because we all remember what a close race he had with Mrs. Clinton during the democratic primaries. She became the Secretary of State and, unfortunately, she wasn’t quite a success. Somehow, the U.S. has bad luck with the female State Secretaries during the last 10-15 years since Mrs. Albright became the Secretary of State. Somehow, the American Secretaries of State decided to sort of refute the public stereotype that women never start wars. Now Mr. Obama can pick up a much more active and much more knowledgeable Secretary of State – John Kerry or someone else. Then we’ll see some change. Obviously what the world needs – is not a more belligerent America, but a more honest and therefore a more respected America. And it needs to revise its policies regarding the Middle East, Syria, Eastern Europe. I don’t think, for example, that Russia is a threat – this policy needs to be changed, because the whole European policy of Bush administration and, unfortunately, the last two years of Obama administration sort of proceeded from this conviction that Russia is somehow a threat to Eastern Europe. Certainly there’s another threat in the Middle East and it’s not the so-called secular authoritarian regimes, it’s the Islamic fundamentalism and religious fanaticism. We saw some horrible demonstrations of that in Libya where the American Ambassador was killed. I’d remind you that John McCain and Joe Lieberman – two possible State Secretaries in the case of Romney’s victory – both of them ruled out that Libya is grateful to the U.S. for liberating them from Gaddafi. And we saw that gratitude when the American Ambassador was attacked.