November 2011, Week 1


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Wed, 2 Nov 2011 22:14:56 -0400
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Black America and Obama's Foreign Policy

By Bill Fletcher, jr.
and Carl Bloice
and Jamala Rogers


Nov. 3, 2011 - In the face of the deployment of 100 US
troops to Uganda and the assassination of unindicted
accused Al Qaeda operative and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki
by the Obama administration, and a clear pattern of
increased militarization of  U.S. policy toward Africa
there is a serious question to be posed to Black America:
where is the outcry?

It is no rhetorical flourish to say that the foreign
policy of the Obama administration, far from representing
a qualitative break with that of the Bush administration,
has proven in most spheres to be continuity. This in no
way means that the same verbal belligerence is at play. In
fact, the policy is more akin to that followed by former
President Bill Clinton in that there is more of an effort
to collaborate with other imperial allies in our
aggression rather than the unilateralism that was very
characteristic of President George W. Bush. Nevertheless,
what we are not seeing is anything approaching a
transformation of relations between the USA and the rest
of the world, making the 2009 awarding of the Nobel Peace
Prize to President Obama premature at best.

Instead we have seen the escalation of war in Afghanistan
to the point that one can correctly describe it as the
Afpak War (Afghanistan/Pakistan) with the regular drone
attacks taking place in both countries and the increase in
terrorist activity within Pakistan itself, a phenomenon
that truly represents the chickens coming home to roost
for US policy. While we applaud the announced withdrawal
of US troops from Iraq, there is continued saber-rattling
towards Iran. Of course there was the US/NATO intervention
in the Libyan civil war with the hypocritical claim to
human rights while at the same time casting a blind eye to
atrocities in the close US allies like Bahrain. And in the
Western Hemisphere, minute changes in US policy towards
Cuba, along with on-going hostility towards Venezuela and
de facto (if not de jure) support of the 2009 coup in
Honduras that overthrew a democratically elected
government. Of course, to this list we must add Haiti and
US efforts that were undertaken to block the return of
deposed President Aristide, not to mention the abject
failure of reconstruction efforts since the massive

Well, this is a partial list, but the point here is that
there is something very wrong in Obama's foreign policy,
yet you would not know that from Black America's response.
Foreign policy is not being debated on most African
American talk radio programs and very rarely do we hear
African American commentators in the mainstream media
address the limitations of US foreign policy under Obama.
While the Congressional Black Caucus has increasingly
criticized the President around domestic policies,
particularly the need by the administration to address the
economic depression-like conditions of Black America,
there is relative silence on foreign policy.

This relative silence appears to be rooted in the same
general problem that has afflicted Black America since the
election of Obama: a belief that criticism and pressure is
somehow destructive and disloyal. One can only conclude
this in light of the fact that on most foreign policy
matters Black America has shown an historic identification
with the struggles for liberation and independence,
especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. African
Americans were the most critical demographic segment of
the USA when it came to the US invasion of Iraq, for
instance, and we regularly criticize and openly oppose
interventionist activities by the USA...except when they are
carried out by the Obama Administration.

We are not waving our fingers at anyone. Rather we are
suggesting that this is a dangerous course of action
because it represents a failure to recognize that the
Obama administration is not about one individual named
Barack Obama. It is an administration overseeing policies,
many historically rooted, in the objective of building and
sustaining global domination. In other words, this goes
way beyond a question of Obama's personal views and
beliefs and speaks to the sort of administration that he
constructed, including who were named top officials and
who were excluded.

By remaining silent in the face of US aggression (and law
violations, such as the murder of Awlaki and drone attacks
that take the lives of many civilian noncombatants) we are
making several mistakes. For one, we are ignoring the
precedent that is being set. Kill one US citizen without
even an indictment (let alone a trial) and where does it
end?  Wave our swords at Iran and promote destabilization,
and does this result in an all-out war?  Send troops to
Uganda, and does this become another Vietnam?  Cajole
military forces in one African country to invade another?
None of this benefits Black America--not to mention the
rest of the world--in the slightest and under other
circumstances many African Americans would be protesting.

Paradoxically, it is probably time for us to rethink
Obama's remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus banquet
in September. When he said African Americans needed to
stop complaining and put on our marching boots, many
people became upset and felt insulted. But let's think
about this for a moment. Too many of us have been content
to complain--sometimes bitterly--in private about what we
fail to see from the Obama administration. So, maybe it is
time to put on those marching boots, indeed, and march in
protest not only against the demonic activities of the
Republicans but as well against US aggression carried out
by the first African American President of the United
States of America?

If not now, when?  If not you (us), who?

Carl Bloice is a BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board
member, writer and senior activist in San Francisco, a
member of the National Coordinating Committee of the
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism,
a moderator at portside.org and formerly worked for a
healthcare union.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a long-time racial justice, labor
and international activist and writer. He is a Senior
Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the
immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. He is the
co-author of Solidarity Divided.

Jamala is a long-time organizer and writer. She is a 2011
Alston-Bannerman Fellow and author of The Best of The Way
I See It & Other Political Writings. She is the co-founder
of the Organization for Black Struggle.


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