By Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson
Thursday, October 25, 2012.
It is easy, even tempting to get ensnared in the hype surrounding all of the US Presidential debates razzmatazz. Its effective smoke and mirrors; a fairground illusion – bread and circuses. A well established, and even elaborate, ritual and method not only for entertainment, but also to render its audience passive and pacified.
As to the most recent debate on Foreign Policy. For President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney - these two representatives of corporate interests to be discussing the world’s future as if they – or the economic interests they each represent - have some legitimacy or moral authority to do so. How patronising, how condescending, how peremptory, how arrogant!
Instead the question needs to be raised – and loudly and repetitively in order to overcome the domination of the airwaves, cyberspace and blogosphere, twitterverse and our intimate and private consciousness and consciences. Who gave the government of USA the right to determine the destiny of our world? No one actually – they stole that with violence and menace; and retain that position through the same - brutality and threats. Let’s be crystal clear - the foreign policy of that country has it’s foundation, it’s creation myth - it could be said - in the explorations of Christopher Columbus and his supposed ‘discovery’ of the Americas [the ‘damn blasted liar’ denounced in the immortal words of the Burning Spear Winston Rodney]. That disaster saw invasion, occupation, murder, biological and germ warfare, enslavement, genocide - and more - as the keystone of the entire project.
With each level of the historical scheme fortified and constructed with these same techniques those less well known personalities who followed in Columbus’s footsteps used the same playbook and hymn sheet throughout Asia, Africa, and Australia - and even in their European own back yards. The ongoing venture employs and has perfected the same means – though less blatant and with more stealth, guile and sophistication. Do we really need reminding about the Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, World Wars, Hirsohima and Nagasaki, Vietnam, apartheid? Then what about Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, extraordinary rendition, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Obama’s own sinister Kill Lists; assassinations as policy objective, drones attacks, enforced starvation through sanctions and blockades; or ongoing and deadly instability incited and fomented everywhere.
It’s the default position, the foundation behaviour of the blood craving vampire described by Bob Marley in Babylon System.
So - to the recent debates, prresented as some kind of heavyweight championship trilogy - with the same amount of hype and bluster - it’s said that Obama lost the first with a punch-drunk performance; triumphed in the follow-up, and clinched the third with a comprehensive victory deserved of an undisputed champ. Be that as it may - and boxing bouts are more real, with genuine blood and injury, than the Presidential debates which resemble cartoonish WWF wrestling shows. In either case we are encouraged to look for someone to cheer on, to support.
Now, there may be a natural inclination, a gut feeling to support the first African-American President. Maybe because he looks like some of us. Perhaps that’s why he was groomed as a champion of US corporate interests after the awful W years. That’s the cynical level of discourse of this type of politics. On an emotional level one can understand, even empathise, with the feelings towards the 44th US President – and the potential ignominy of being a one-term President. But emotions aren’t the main thing. Hard, clinical facts are. The hard clinical facts are that he is the Chief Executive of the USA – a military and economic superpower causing havoc around the world.
Economically by attempting to destroy competitors, militarily thorough the score of military bases located in every continent of our world, which the Government of which Obama is Chief Executive has arrogantly decided to divide into regional Commands [AfricaCom, NorthCom, SouthCom, etc.] to determine the future of the peoples, nations and countries within each of these ‘Commands’. So arrogant and so superior. But those are the hard facts.
Regardless of the complexion of the candidates that’s the foundational belief they each have hard-wired into their DNA when it comes to what they call Foreign Policy. Mainly about how the US continues its dominance over those they have designated as enemies – China, Iran, Russia; regions where the US and its allies supposedly have an interest - West Asia/Middle East; apparent regional threats – North Africa, Latin America.
Well Obama may indeed look like some of us but in truth it’s no reason whatsoever to suspend objective thinking, relinquish critical analysis, and abandon independent reasoning - or to disarm ourselves ideologically.
That’s the context in which we must look at the arrogant claim of the US presidential candidates to discuss foreign policy. And of the three debates it’s even been cynically observed that there’s little difference in substance between the Commander in Chief and his Republican rival on this question. And if there is no real divergence between the two candidates the question is begged – why bother?
As a remedial alternative mind-cleansing practice, instead of allowing the agenda to be set, framed, dominated and controlled to emphasise and reinforce the apparent inevitability of these pathetic rituals we should develop our own objective thinking, strengthen our critical analysis, and embrace independent reasoning. That way we can collectively prepare ourselves not only to question everything – but also to use our knowledge, experience and wisdom to propose solutions.
The alternative is the noble and humane aims and ambitions for co-operation, mutual assistance, beneficial economic activity to assist and develop nations, and transform countries, states, regions and our world to utilise Mother Nature’s resources to serve us, as we need to protect and serve Mother Nature’s and its resources in order to maintain her and them.
The recent circus acts will provide none of the above – nor was it intended to. Just like all smoke and mirrors events. When the secrets of the illusion are revealed, they are shown to be - in all circumstances and without fail -confidence tricks achieved by sleight of hand anyway. Don’t believe the hype!
Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson is The New Black Magazine's arts editor and a London-based freelance journalist.