Rick Rozoff: Barack Obama’s Legacy: Mediocre

change in chains

Image by spo0nman via Flickr

by Rick Rozoff
Writer, Dandelion Salad
November 12, 2013

John Robles
Voice of Russia
November 12, 2013

By preventing another act of aggressive war against Syria and giving asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden the Russian Federation and due to the efforts of the BRICs countries being led by Russia, the “World’s Sole Military Superpower” has lost the reigns of world domination, and the world has become a multi-polar place once again. This has been another in a long line of failures by US President Barrack Hussein Obama, who has been an ineffective and failed leader domestically and internationally according to regular Voice of Russia contributor Rick Rozoff.

Hello this is John Robles, you are listening to part 2 of an interview with Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find the previous and following parts of this interview on our website at Voice of Russia dot com.

This interview is in progress.

Robles: About Obama possibly doing something dangerous in some “refusal” to just quietly step aside… no no no, “Step Aside” might be a little strong, let’s say: “Quietly allow another player to make the world multi-polar.”

Rozoff: You described that well and I think that’s exactly it, Does one do the right thing morally and politically and recognize…? It is almost like the heavy-weight boxer who finally realizes he is not going to dominate the game much longer.

Does he retire with some modicum of grace and dignity, or does he stay in the ring and perhaps make a fool of himself and damage somebody else in the process? That is a very good question, but we do have to be cautious and circumspect about this because it is entirely possible that; seeing the reigns of world domination slip through their fingers, major members of the US political elite may decide to do something reckless as you indicate and perhaps even catastrophic but increasingly world public opinion, to the extent it can again become a political force in its own right, we’ve seen in the post cold war era unfortunately, a tendency to supplant mass popular political and social consciousness and activity, by state or state-to-state relations.

That has been a part of the new totalitarianism I would call it, to be honest with you, is that a nation is now completely identified with the state apparatus and that state apparatus with the given administration of the day.

And that the idea of a nation state and a country and a populous and a people seem to be downplayed or downgraded as the result of celebrating the role of, the western states in particular, who have now asserted themselves as planners and made themselves the equivalent of the international community.

It is not unusual to hear the likes of the US president and its western European allies refer to strictly NATO countries, NATO-EU countries, the US and Canada as being the “international community”, that has been a trick they have used for the last 20 years, clearly now they can no longer do that.

And the credit is due not to the BRICs countries as a whole, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, but almost entirely to Russia solely.

Again I want to emphasize and underline and italicize, in every way draw attention to the fact it was Moscow’s intervention around Syria to prevent a war which was clearly right on the horizon some 8-10 weeks ago and I think history will record not only principled and brave but perhaps heroic decision to grant refugee status to Edward Snowden, that signaled to the rest of the world that you could… not so much that the emperor was naked (the emperor is not naked, he’s got an arsenal as well as a wardrobe) but that one could stand up to the unipolar world’s sole military super-power and effectively have it back down. Because that is what’s happened and this is a major historical watershed.

Robles: Thanks for underlining that. The 4th of November was an anniversary date. It was the 5-year anniversary of Obama’s being elected to the post of President of the United States. A lot of people are pointing out his failures as a president even with former president Jimmy Carter calling him an “incompetent loser”. Can you comment on that and on a violent, you might say, “homicidal aspect” of Barack Obama that has recently come out?

Rozoff: In the final part of what you said alluding to an excerpt from the book that is to be published where evidently the Commander in Chief Barack Obama in so many words boasted of drone warfare making it easier to kill and in fact those words emanated from him it is an indication of unconscionable, inhumane, how vile and offensive politics that has become in this nation.

But I think rather than focus on his individual traits, rather than psychologizing Barack Obama, the important thing is to realize that somebody who was catapulted from almost total obscurity into the White House in a matter of 4 years (we’ve talked about this before on your show John) going from the Illinois State Legislature to the White House in 5 years, that is unprecedented, and clearly there are some major political forces behind the political career of Mr.Obama and the rapid elevation to the level of “Commander in Chief of the world’s sole military super-power”. Those are exactly his words, by the way, of 4 years ago when he received a Nobel Prize for Peace, if you can believe it.

And the fact that he was saddled with the infamous and egregious warmonger Joseph Biden, as his running mate in 2008, which I cannot believe for a moment would have been Obama’s personal choice, and that his White House as soon as he walked in, was taken over by now Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel who is another fairly disreputable and unprincipled individual, I am saying that at my own risk being a resident of Chicago, but let’s be honest.

But what we are looking at is more a figurehead, but I have no doubt that Mr. Obama is a particularly ambitious individual who would get ahead at any cost, he has proven that in Illinois during state legislative and state senate elections, and that he would trample on anyone necessary to get to where he wants to go.

But aside from his personal characteristics what we are looking at is a system that molds people to represent the interests of that system and he is simply the latest in the succession of such people.

Though I would state that in my lifetime, because I am old enough to remember a good number of presidents, I was born on presidential election day as a matter of fact, that the open brutality and cynicism of the heads of states in the United States I think has become more marked and I think now to the rest of the world as well as to many Americans.

Robles: How would you characterize Obama’s presidency? Has he had any successes in your opinion Rick?

Rozoff: No! I think that what is really astonishing, is that on the domestic front as well as on the foreign one, no!

But we have to keep in mind we have a political system where at best, (however it is defined even in self-interested or limited or cynical terms) it is all but impossible, we now have built a structural log jam that makes it impossible for any president to get much accomplished. By design.

So that having 2 officially sanctioned political parties who are able to exclusively raise billions of dollars for their campaign coffers and for heaven knows what else (or slush fund), creates a situation where neither party is going to compromise of course, because they are dependent on their core constituent contributors for money, and if they appear to be reasonable or moderate or compromised in any manner, they may lose some of that.

So what they are putting on is, as we’ve talked about before, a Punch and Judy show, this is the ultimate World Wrestling Federation (WWF) show, nobody is to believe this is really happening, the blood isn’t real, the person really hasn’t been hit in the head with a metal bar or what happens, but you have to put on a good enough show that it is in fact that which is occurring.

So that no president who doesn’t have a firm control of both houses of congress is going to be able to pass any substantive legislation domestically.

Though in his first term, as we’ll recall, at least for 2 years, Obama, like Clinton in 1993 and ‘94, had control of both houses of congress but his political party still didn’t do anything.

So the inescapable conclusion is nobody is to accomplish anything meaningful.

There are campaign platitudes and bombast that are meant to interest and maybe delude the voting populous but at the end of the day nothing major….

The major banking and corporate interests are going to be able to continue looting the citizenry and the Military Industrial Complex is still going to be given some of the largest military budgets since World War II without there being any country to seriously threaten the United States and that is business as usual and all the major power brokers in the United States are perfectly pleased with that arrangement. Why would they want to change it?

Robles: Personal question, I was looking at your site, how come you had posts in August and then it goes to November?

Rozoff: That is a good question. Somebody is messing with my Word Press site, with the Stop NATO site. I’ve noticed the same thing. As you scroll down instead of it being in chronological order, all of a sudden you have to get past the 4th of 5th, they jump back to any given time, a year ago, 2 years ago, I have no idea why it is happening, but it is part and parcel of a lot of similar inexplicable events.

Robles: I see.

Robles: How would you, in one phrase or sentence if it is possible, characterize so far the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama?

Rozoff: It is hard to see these matters in real time contemporaneously, but I think what will be recorded is: the Obama Administration through no blame or credit of its own, is officiating over the decline of the American Empire.

So, what that is going to mean is you can’t be the general of losing army, if you will, and come off with laurels or being praised.

So, he is going to be held accountable I imagine by historians for having overseen the continuation of the decline of the American Global Imperial Realm, just as his predecessor for 8 years George W. Bush, will be seen to have perhaps, overextended, discredited, US military power abroad.

But the legacy of Obama? It will be mediocre, like that of his predecessor and several predecessors in succession. As a matter of fact, I am hard pressed to think of a President … well we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy who didn’t last most of his term so we have no idea of what he might have done…but I think that is perhaps the last time (and keep in mind we are jumping back half a century), that may be the last time that I think Americans fully expected of the President do something significant, to accomplish anything major and not simply tread water and throw a few favors to the groups that are supporting him.

In terms of any kind of vision, any kind of comprehensive or ambitious program for the nation at home and abroad, the Obama Administration doesn’t have that, could not have it probably under these circumstances and it will be recorded as another mediocre administration that kept the ball rolling and nothing fundamentally changed.

Robles: Didn’t people have great expectations of Obama?

Rozoff: A story is making the rounds today in the internet about Obama’s comments over the past few years about the Affordable Health Care Act, to the effect that those people will have their own insurance policy prior to this recent phase, this year’s phase, of the Affordable Health Care Act could keep their previous insurance. But the long and short of it there is a clear discrepancy between what he had said and what is now in fact the case.

And some Obama advisor, I read, said something like “we have to remember we wanted to keep the message simple and vague … he didn’t say “vague”, but in so many words simple and not too complicated”.

In other words the hallmark of Obama Administration is going to be, having kept this to an almost insultingly basic and primitive level: “Change you can believe in” and “hope”, and so forth, I mean you couldn’t get any more nebulous than that, could you?

When you make very indistinctive or unclear or nebulous statements like that, you can get people stirred up until they walk away and say “Well what does ‘Change’ mean?” “What does hope mean?”

Hope is a transitive verb, you have to hope in something. Change is generally a transitive verb, you have to change something. But when you use these words intransitively, and use them without the relation to anything concrete, then people walk away with a little boost to their morale, but when they think about it subsequently, when they analyze what they’ve heard it really means nothing.

Robles: Nobel Peace Prize, continues wars, change, things have gotten worse, all his promises about the economy, about jobs, rule of law, protecting whistleblowers, it is all gone quite the opposite.

Rozoff: He’s gone back on, he has betrayed most of his major (particularly foreign policy-wise) most of his pledges, that is for sure.

What we see, (this is a country that developed massed advertising industry, Madison Avenue, this public relation so-called. We are a culture here that places form over content) and it maybe reached its apex with the 2004 presidential campaign where Obama was packaged as a very attractive and fashionable and appealing product and he was then sold to people. But the truth is that people bought the packaging and not the content because the content was not, the first one not fundamentally different than that of his predecessor, (as I believe you are alluding to in the question of Guantanamo and other issues), forced renditions and extraordinary renditions, black sites, drone warfare, which is increased exponentially under Obama.

So that people got a nice symbol. I mean they also got – we can’t downplay the significance of this – a not only African-American, bi-racial man coming into the White House – this is very significant in American terms.

And it was seen as exciting and bold and precedent setting and so forth, and it was, on the surface, but the unfortunate thing is, and I think we have to be very clear about this, Barack Obama is not Dr Martin Luther King, he is not somebody who both comes out of and has built up a mass movement of people, he is not somebody who both comes out of and has built up a mass movement of people.

He is somebody who has played his cards right with the Democratic Party political machine, initially in Illinois and then ultimately nationally to get himself into White House.

When he leaves there will be no Obama Movement left. He will leave and that will be the end of the story.

Robles: Not much of a legacy, is it?

Rozoff: No, there won’t be any concrete legacy unless, heaven forbid, as you were alluding to earlier, somebody in or around his administration decides or they are going to go down in a blaze of glory and do something reckless if not lunatic.

But barring that, and let’s hope that doesn’t occur, no there won’t be anything truly significant.

Again the symbolic social significance of an African-American being elected President is indisputable, that is a major advance. But in terms of what legacy is going to lead to, in social economic policy, in the United States, world relations, no there is not going to be any real legacy.

You were listening to part 2 of an interview with Rick Rozoff the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list. You can find the previous and following part of this interview on our website at voiceofrussia.com. Thanks for listening and as always I wish you the best.

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Part 1: Rick Rozoff: The NSA/US/NATO/Cyber Command are Not Simply Passively Spying