Jeremy Scahill and Anthony Arnove are fine American writers and journalists. In an interview with the Socialist Worker they challenge the widespread belief on the Left that Barack Obama has fundamentally changed US foreign policy.
Let’s step back and look at what we’ve seen happen over five months of the Obama administration when it comes to foreign policy.
We’ve seen a radical escalation of the war in Afghanistan. We’ve seen Obama continue to use a quarter-million U.S. contractors–50 percent of the force that’s fighting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s increasing the number of mercenaries in Afghanistan by 29 percent and approximately 23 percent in Iraq.
He’s continuing the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and maintaining the monstrous U.S. embassy that was built, in part, on the basis of slave labor. He’s continuing to dole out contracts to KBR, the single greatest corporate beneficiary of the war, despite the fact that its work has electrocuted U.S. soldiers.
He’s pumping up the National Endowment for Democracy, the leading organ to promote U.S. neoliberal economic policy and interfere in the elections and democratic processes of countries where the outcome might not be favorable to U.S. interests. He’s continuing to use the rhetoric of the war on drugs in Latin America.
Overall, he’s implementing a U.S. foreign policy that in some ways–or, I think, in many ways–advances the interest of the American empire in a way the Republicans could only have dreamed of doing.