Posts Tagged ‘Henry Kissinger’

USA | Barack Obamas utrikespolitik har uppfattats av många som både motsägelsefull och otydlig. Någon röd tråd har varit svår att se.

The Atlantic April 2016

Jeffrey Goldberg, nationell korrespondent för The Atlantic, har träffat presidenten vid ett flertal sedan det första intervjutillfället 2006 när han träffade den dåvarande senatorn från Illinois.

Under Goldbergs senaste möte med presidenten i Vita huset redogjorde Obama bl.a. för hur han ser på USA:s roll i världen och vilken utrikes- och säkerhetspolitisk skola han anser sig ligga närmast.

Något förvånande är att Obama är en stor anhängare till den doktrin som i akademiska kretsar brukar kallas den realistiska skolan. Det är en inriktning som präglade president Richard Nixon och Henry Kissinger under deras tid i Vita huset.

I Obamas fall lär det dock mest vara Brent Scowcroft, nationell säkerhetsrådgivare till president George H. W. Bush, som stått för inspirationen.

I den nitton sidor långa essän i The Atlantic skrev Goldberg bl.a. följande:

Obama, unlike liberal interventionists, is an admirer of the foreign-policy realism of President George H. W. Bush and, in particular, of Bush’s national-security adviser, Brent Scowcroft (“I love that guy,” Obama once told me). Bush and Scowcroft removed Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait in 1991, and they deftly managed the disintegration of the Soviet Union; Scowcroft also, on Bush’s behalf, toasted the leaders of China shortly after the slaughter in Tiananmen Square. As Obama was writing his campaign manifesto, The Audacity of Hope, in 2006, Susan Rice, then an informal adviser, felt it necessary to remind him to include at least one line of praise for the foreign policy of President Bill Clinton, to partially balance the praise he showered on Bush and Scowcroft.


One day, over lunch in the Oval Office dining room, I asked the president how he thought his foreign policy might be understood by historians. He started by describing for me a four-box grid representing the main schools of American foreign-policy thought. One box he called isolationism, which he dismissed out of hand. “The world is ever-shrinking,” he said. “Withdrawal is untenable.” The other boxes he labeled realism, liberal interventionism, and internationalism. “I suppose you could call me a realist in believing we can’t, at any given moment, relieve all the world’s misery,” he said. “We have to choose where we can make a real impact.” He also noted that he was quite obviously an internationalist, devoted as he is to strengthening multilateral organizations and international norms.

I told him my impression was that the various traumas of the past seven years have, if anything, intensified his commitment to realist-driven restraint. Had nearly two full terms in the White House soured him on interventionism?

“For all of our warts, the United States has clearly been a force for good in the world,” he said. “If you compare us to previous superpowers, we act less on the basis of naked self-interest, and have been interested in establishing norms that benefit everyone. If it is possible to do good at a bearable cost, to save lives, we will do it.”

If a crisis, or a humanitarian catastrophe, does not meet his stringent standard for what constitutes a direct national-security threat, Obama said, he doesn’t believe that he should be forced into silence. He is not so much the realist, he suggested, that he won’t pass judgment on other leaders. Though he has so far ruled out the use of direct American power to depose Assad, he was not wrong, he argued, to call on Assad to go. “Oftentimes when you get critics of our Syria policy, one of the things that they’ll point out is ‘You called for Assad to go, but you didn’t force him to go. You did not invade.’ And the notion is that if you weren’t going to overthrow the regime, you shouldn’t have said anything. That’s a weird argument to me, the notion that if we use our moral authority to say ‘This is a brutal regime, and this is not how a leader should treat his people,’ once you do that, you are obliged to invade the country and install a government you prefer.”

“I am very much the internationalist,” Obama said in a later conversation. “And I am also an idealist insofar as I believe that we should be promoting values, like democracy and human rights and norms and values, because not only do they serve our interests the more people adopt values that we share—in the same way that, economically, if people adopt rule of law and property rights and so forth, that is to our advantage—but because it makes the world a better place. And I’m willing to say that in a very corny way, and in a way that probably Brent Scowcroft would not say.

“Having said that,” he continued, “I also believe that the world is a tough, complicated, messy, mean place, and full of hardship and tragedy. And in order to advance both our security interests and those ideals and values that we care about, we’ve got to be hardheaded at the same time as we’re bighearted, and pick and choose our spots, and recognize that there are going to be times where the best that we can do is to shine a spotlight on something that’s terrible, but not believe that we can automatically solve it. There are going to be times where our security interests conflict with our concerns about human rights. There are going to be times where we can do something about innocent people being killed, but there are going to be times where we can’t.”

Tidskriftsomslag: The Atlantic, april 2016.

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USA | Det är inte var dag man ser rubriken “Stop Hillary” i en amerikansk s.k. progressiv tidskrift. Ännu mindre på omslaget.

Harper's Magazine November 2014

Doug Henwood, redaktör för Left Business Observer, har skrivit en essay om Hillary Clinton i Harper’s Magazine som väckt stor uppmärksamhet.

I media och bland politiska proffstyckare på både vänster- och högerkanten utgår man mer eller mindre ifrån att nomineringen till demokraternas presidentkandidat är hennes om hon vill ha den.

Och på vänsterkanten är man inte speciellt intresserad av att framföra något negativt om Hillary eftersom man tror hon har störst möjlighet att vinna över en republikansk rival (vem det nu än blir). Dessutom brukar det straffa sig att göra sig till Bill Clintons och Hillarys fiender.

Som Henwood själv skriver: “[M]ost progressives are unwilling to discuss Hillary in anything but the most general, flattering terms. Pundits who have written about her in the past dismissed my queries in rude and patronizing ways.”

Men Henwood är inte lika säker på att ännu en president Clinton skulle vara det bästa för partiet eller landet.

What is the case for Hillary (whose quasi-official website identifies her, in bold blue letters, by her first name only, as do millions upon millions of voters)? It boils down to this: She has experience, she’s a woman, and it’s her turn. It’s hard to find any substantive political argument in her favor. She has, in the past, been associated with women’s issues, with children’s issues — but she also encouraged her husband to sign the 1996 bill that put an end to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC), which had been in effect since 1935. Indeed, longtime Clinton adviser Dick Morris, who has now morphed into a right-wing pundit, credits Hillary for backing both of Bill’s most important moves to the center: the balanced budget and welfare reform. And during her subsequent career as New York’s junior senator and as secretary of state, she has scarcely budged from the centrist sweet spot, and has become increasingly hawkish on foreign policy.


Since leaving the State Department, Hillary has devoted herself to what we can only call […] Clinton, Inc. This fund-raising, favor-dispensing machine is key to understanding her joint enterprise with Bill. Unlike the Bush family, an old-style WASP dynasty for all W.’s populist bluster and blunder, the Clintons are arrivistes who approach politics in a highly neoliberal manner. That means nonstop self-promotion, huge book advances and fat speaking fees. (Hillary has now joined Bill in the six-figure club).


And with an eye to the presidency, Hillary has also kept up her line of neocon patter, while carefully separating herself from Obama.


When I spoke to Dick Morris, I asked him how Hillary would differentiate herself from Obama during the 2016 campaign. His prediction: She would say that her predecessor had outlined a beautiful vision, but now voters “need someone who can get things done.” He added that she would criticize Obama for not having armed the Syrian rebels earlier. Two weeks later, in her conversation with [Jeffrey] Goldberg, Hillary did exactly that, while also suggesting that the president was to blame for the rise of ISIL. (In a revoltingly laudatory Washington Post review of Henry Kissinger’s new book, Hillary distinguishes between the president’s first term, during which they “laid the foundation” for a new approach to international relations – and the “crises of the second term,” as if the world suddenly changed when she strolled out of the State Department.)


Morris told me that if the Massachusetts senator [Elizabeth Warren] “or some genuine figure from the new populist left of the Democratic Party” were to challenge Hillary, “they could upend her in much the same way that Obama did in 2008.” Warren, meanwhile, swears she doesn’t want to run, even as Hillary dons the mantle of inevitability for the second time.

Tidskriftsomslag: Harper’s Magazine, november 2014

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file1UTRIKESPOLITIK: Varför finns det inget politiskt motstånd mot diktaturen i Kina bland företrädare inom politik och näringsliv?

Detta är inget som är typiskt bara för Sverige. Även i kapitalismens högborg USA saknas det kritik mot den kinavänliga politik som har präglat amerikansk utrikespolitik sedan åtminstone Richard Nixons dagar.

Detta trots att argumentet att ökad handel och investeringar skulle skapa både politiska och ekonomiska förbättringar i landet har visat sig grovt överdrivna. Enligt USA:s utrikesdepartement rapport om mänskliga rättigheter har förbättringarna i Kina snarast varit obefintliga eller högst begränsade.

Enligt Ken Silverstein, redaktör på Harper´s Magazine, beror USA:s ”constructive engagement” med Kina helt enkelt på ett stöd köpt genom intensivt lobby arbete från – inte Kina själv – utan från alla som kan dra nytta av den kinesiska marknaden.

Their money also funds think tanks, creates pro-trade business groups, and endows international-finance professorships. Academics and intellectuals who favor engagement thereby reap career and financial rewards: when they do not hold government posts, they can revolve into jobs at sympathetic institutes or at high-paid consultancies whose corporate clients aim to tap the Chinese market.

Silverstein refererar också till en essä där Mark Lagon (idag ”ambassador-at-large” i Bush administrationen) beskriver den överlappande koalition som garanterar att det ständigt råder konsensus kring USA:s Kina politik.

Koalitionen består av 1) näringslivsförespråkare som vill se utvidgad handel och investeringar i Kina, 2) Demokratiska partiets förespråkare från Carter- och Clinton-eran som ville se en politik av ”conciliatory diplomacy” för att kunna knyta affärsband (t.ex. Anthony Lake och Sandy Berger), 3) intellektuella och Sinologer inom den akademiska världen, samt 4) geostrateger, exempelvis Henry Kissinger (och Brent Scowcroft och Alexander Haig), från det Republikanska partiet som ursprungligen såg Kina som en motvikt till Sovjetunionen.  

Som exempel på hur politik och näringslivs blandas ihop kan nämnas Sandy Berger – tidigare i Clintons administration och Barack Obamas rådgivare – som är en av grundarna av Stonebridge International. Denna firma är en av de mest eftersökta firmorna i Washington och Berger ger råd till näringslivsföreträdare som vill göra affärer med Kina.

Enligt firman själv handlar arbetet om att;

[Stonebridge] works together with top multinationals to develop and implement tailored strategies to solve critical problems (…) Stonebridge understands how governments around world operate and we are in a position to help our clients navigate the system to achieve their specific objectives.

Silverstein beskriver det tydligare;

Stonebridge might best be seen as a sort of one-step shop for international fixers – a collection of former government officials who replicate, in privatized and miniatured form, the official foreign-policy apparatus.

Andra exempel på kopplingarna mellan politik och näringsliv är Alexander Haig (f.d. utrikesminister under Ronald Reagan) driver konsultbyrån Worldwide Associates, Inc.

Och en person som har gett John McCain råd är Brent Scowcroft (f.d. nationell säkerhetsrådgivare för George H. W. Bush och ordförande i Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under nuvarande Bush) driver nu firman The Scowcroft Group.

Så den som förväntar sig att president Barack Obama kommer att driva på och stödja demokratiförespråkare i Kina och för att Tibet skall få sin frihet från kommunistregimen i Beijing kommer att bli besvikna.

Tyvärr tyder inget på att USA (eller Sverige och EU för den delen) kommer att lägga om sin Kinapolitik.

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