Barack Obama has made it abundantly clear that, instead of offering real change in US foreign policy and a realignment of US standing in the world, he will instead maintain the status quo of overt US militancy and superpower dominance as he pursues the same foreign policy objectives as George W. Bush and the neoconservatives.
In announcing his national security team, Obama told his audience that, while he believes “16 months is the right time frame” for the ‘withdrawal process’ from Iraq, he leaves the door open for continued occupation by adding “We will have to remain vigilant in making sure that any terrorist elements that remain in Iraq do not become strengthened as a consequence of our drawdown”.
By ‘terrorist elements’ Obama, just as Bush and his neocon supporters have done for the past five years, means anyone who dares rise up and challenge the US-approved and sponsored Iraqi government. Given the reality of the Iraqi geo-political landscape which guarantees that there will always be strife in Iraq while there is any semblance whatsoever of any US influence in Iraqi politics, then Americans can look forward to many more years of some level of occupation in Iraq and, therefore, many more lives of US soldiers being lost as a result.
And, of course, the bogeyman, Osama bin Laden, together with his al Qaeda organisation, will continue to be perpetuated by the President-elect as the Emmanuel Goldstein mythical enemy of the Western World. Obama tells us that “…we're going to have to mobilize our resources and focus [our] attention on defeating Al Qaeda, bin Laden, and any other extremist groups that intend to target American citizens”.
The arrogance of American exceptionalism seems also to have caught up with Obama as he tells the world: “We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends. We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships. We will show the world once more that America is relentless in the defense of our people, steady in advancing our interests, and committed to the ideals that shine as a beacon to the world. Democracy and justice, opportunity and unyielding hope because American values are America's greatest export to the world.”
Significantly, Obama didn’t commit at all to a Palestinian state but, instead, talked of “…seeking a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians”, though didn’t elaborate on whose or what terms such a peace might come about.
At the end of his announcing of his national security team one is left wondering if anything has really changed at all despite the wishes of the American people – and the world. He did mention diplomacy one or twice but that was about the only difference between Bush’s policies and what seems to be Obama’s.