U.S. President Barack Obama said in a December 30th Oval Office interview with Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio, that, “wherever we have been involved over the last several years, I think the outcome has been better because of American leadership.” This statement from him was part of his answer when Inskeep asked whether the President had regrets about “overthrowing the Gadhafi regime” in Libya.
“We are hugely influential; we’re the one indispensable nation. But when it comes to nation-building, when it comes to what is going to be a generational project in a place like Libya or a place like Syria or a place like Iraq, we can help, but we can’t do it for them.” In other words: the Libyan people failed, and the Syrian people failed, and the Iraqi people failed, according to America’s President — but he himself and his predecessor Bush did not fail by bombing those countries under false pretenses as they did.
Obama then pivoted into a direct criticism of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. He started his attack here by praising himself for “having some strategic patience. You’ll recall that three or four months ago, everybody in Washington was convinced that President Putin was a genius.” Obama was suggesting that the real genius was himself, for his “strategic patience.”
Inskeep (who apparently was ignorant that the people of Crimea had always opposed the donation of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, and who was also ignorant that Crimeans in March 2014 were delighted to be reunited again with Russia and had not been “taken” by Russia but were instead saved by Russia from the fate that befell Donbass) interjected, there, for clarification to his listeners, that Obama meant that Putin was thought to be a “genius” “for taking Crimea.” Inskeep was here trying to help Obama by clarifying Obama’s anti-Putin reference in his “genius” term; and, by doing so, Inskeep falsely assumed that Crimea had been seized, against the will of Crimeans.
The President skillfully built upon Inskeep’s ignorance, and anti-Russian bias, here, by playing along with Inskeep’s false intrinsic assumption, and by continuing directly from it in such a way as to present himself as being the real “genius”; he asserted, “And he had outmaneuvered all of us and he had, you know, bullied and, you know, strategized his way into expanding Russian power. And I said at the time we don’t want war with Russia [even though his February 2014 anti-Russian coup in Ukraine and actions afterwards show otherwise] but we can apply steady pressure working with our European partners, being the backbone of an international coalition to oppose Russia’s violation of another country’s sovereignty [as if it weren’t the case that two recent Gallup polls in Crimea showed an overwhelming public support there for leaving Ukraine and for reuniting with Russia, and as if it weren’t the case that America’s takeover of Ukraine on Russia’s border hadn’t been the aggressive act here], and that over time, this would be a strategic mistake by Russia [when, in fact, Obama knows quite well that the people he installed in his February coup in Ukraine had already been initiating the process to kick out of Crimea, Russia’s crucial Black Sea Fleet, which had been stationed there since 1783, and that this reversal of Khrushchev’s 1954 gift of Crimea to Ukraine was crucial for Russia’s own national security]. And today, you know, I’d sense that at least outside of Russia [such as among the trusting listeners to NPR], maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn’t so smart [when Obama knows quite well that what Putin did by his re-absorbing Crimea back into Russia was actually vital to Russian national security under the circumstances of Obama’s February coup in Ukraine].”
Inskeep responded to Obama’s distortions, with what he perhaps hoped his listeners would think to be a challenging question to the President: “Are you just lucky that the price of oil went down and therefore their currency collapsed or … is it something that you did?” Inskeep was apparently quite ignorant there that Obama’s Secretary of State had met in Riyadh with the Saudi King on September 11th is widely viewed as having actually produced the King’s decision to flood oil markets in order to drive oil prices so low as to cripple Russia’s economy, so that Inskeep’s question here was assuming a non-existent polarity, in any case (between the sanctions from Obama, vs. the falling oil-price, which was supposedly not from Obama).
Obama answered Inskeep’s ignorance there by triumphantly bragging against Putin:
“If you’ll recall, their economy was already contracting and capital was fleeing even before oil collapsed. And part of our rationale in this process was that the only thing keeping that economy afloat was the price of oil. [Actually,Russia’s economy under Putin had been growing much faster than had the U.S. economy under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama regime.] And if, in fact, we were steady in applying sanction pressure, which we have been, that over time it would make the economy of Russia sufficiently vulnerable that if and when there were disruptions with respect to the price of oil — which, inevitably, there are going to be sometime, if not this year then next year or the year after [which also is a lie from him because the current low oil price is the engineered price, and even the Saudis will have to quit doing it within a few years] — that they’d have enormous difficulty managing it. I say that, not to suggest that we’ve solved Ukraine [by producing the civil war there?], but I’m saying that to give an indication that when it comes to the international stage, these problems are big, they’re difficult, they’re messy [like America’s coups were in Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, etc.]. But wherever we have been involved over the last several years, I think the outcome has been better because of American leadership.”
So, the particular instance in which America’s President feels proudest of having produced an “outcome [that] has been better because of American leadership” was in Ukraine, where Obama’s policy produced a takeover of the Ukrainian Government by racist anti-Russian fascists, or nazis who hate Russians — nazis who are ethnically cleansing ethnic Russians away from Ukraine’s Donbass region, the region that had voted 90% for the President, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama had overthrown with the crucial armed muscle of those nazi snipers who carried out his coup. (And virtually no U.S. ‘news’ medium has reported that the actual person whom Obama placed in control of Ukraine is a longstanding leader of Ukraine’s nazis.)
With ‘news’ coverage like this, it’s clear why, as Gallup headlined on December 29th, “Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Extend Run as Most Admired.”
That sort of thing — respect for people who are actually war-mongers — has become routine in the United States.In 2001, the most-admired man was George W. Bush, and the most-admired woman was his wife. In 2002-2006, the most-admired man was President Bush, and the most-admired woman was former President Bill Clinton’s wife.(Hillary Clinton is a big backer of all invasions and coups by the U.S.)
And, without ‘news’ coverage like that, it’s also clear why people outside the United States consider the U.S. to be the biggest threat to world peace. Internationally, Russia is way down this list. However, America’s President won’t need to ask those foreigners whether to launch a nuclear attack against Russia. All that he will need to control is America’s press — and he (and the aristocrats who placed him into power) do.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.