from The News Doctors:
In last week’s review of the Russian military intervention in Syria I wrote that Kerry had lost every single negotiation he ever had with the Russians and that he had a record of agreeing to A only to come back to the US and then declare non-A. This time again, the Americans did not change their modus operandi, except that it was Obama himself who declared, yet again, that Assad must go, resulting in some commentators speaking of a “White House Schizophrenia”. Others, however, noted that this could be simply a case of face saving denials. Personally, I think that both of these explanations are correct.
There is no doubt that Obama is an exceptionally weak, and even clueless, President. The man has proven to have no vision, no understanding of international relations, his culture is minimal while his arrogance appears to be infinite – he is all about form over substance.
This is the ideal mix to win a Presidential election in the USA, but once in the White House this is also a recipe for disaster. When such a non-entity is placed at the top of the Executive branch of government, the different part of government do not get a clear message of what the policy is and, as a result, they each begin doing their own thing without worrying too much about what the POTUS has to say. The recent article by Sy Hersh “Military to Military” is a good illustration of that phenomenon. Being weak and lacking vision (or even understanding) Obama’s main concern is conceal his limitations and he therefore falls back on the oldest of political tricks: he tells his audience whatever it wants to hear. Exactly the sames goes for Kerry too. Both of these man will say one thing to the Russian rulers or during an interview with a Russian journalist, and the exact opposite to an American reporter. That kind of “schizophrenia” is perfectly normal, especially in the USA.
To use the expression coined by Chris Hedges, the USA is an “Empire of Illusion”. The US society has an apparently infinite tolerance for the fake as long as the fake looks vaguely similar to the real thing. This is true on all levels, ranging from the food Americans eat, to the way they entertain themselves, to the politicians they elect and to the putative invincibility of the armed forces their taxes pay for. It is all one gigantic lie, but who cares as long as it is a fun, emotionally reassuring lie. In the Syrian context, this ability to ignore reality results in the support of terrorism in the name democracy, the conduct of an “anti-Daesh” campaign which results in Daesh dramatically increase it’s territory, the accusation that Assad used chemical weapons and now the “Assad can stay but he must go” policy. This ability to completely decouple rhetoric and reality can sometimes have a positive side-effect. For example, even if this week saw a Zag! From the US Administration in terms of rhetoric, this does not necessarily mean that the USA will continue to attempt to overthrow Assad. The opposite is also true, however. The fact that the US has said that Assad can stay in no way implies that the US will stop trying to overthrow him.
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