Obama stood yesterday to speak to the UN General Assembly (http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/24-3). Like every other world leader, he was allocated 15 minutes. He spoke for 43 minutes. Now obviously he covered a lot of ground in that time, but some themes stood out; in particular his portrayal of the USA as “exceptional” for its capacity to think beyond its own self-interest and in the defence of freedom and democracy in the world.
I nearly choked on my baked beans reading that.
Its probably picking the low hanging fruit to say that he is incredibly deluded. And there are people in South America, Africa, much of Asia and parts of Europe who could speak with more authority about how American wars and support for despots is the theme, rather than the exception, of American foreign policy. The USA is nothing if not consistent in pursuing a course that is in its own self-interest.
Obama also dismissed as suggestions that there is anything imperial about American foreign policy. He dismissed this immediately after the Brazilian president in her 15 minutes had outlined how Edward Snowden’s intelligence leaks showed systematic spying on South America through the Five Eyes Network, and how American views that South America was their “backyard” (that was John Kerry as Secretary of State in 2013) is an imperial view. Putting that out there is “propaganda” as far as Obama is concerned.
Why should this address matter to us in NZ? Because we want a seat at the UN Security Council. Or perhaps I should say, John Key wants us to have a seat and the USA want us to have that seat as well. John Key was claiming that our “independent foreign policy” was our main selling point. But this is a worn and threadbare myth that died with David Lange. The truth is in the comments John Key made about wanting to reform the Security Council, and in particular, the right of veto.
This is not our bright idea on the world stage. This is the USA wanting to reduce Russia and China’s power on the world stage. It is geopolitics amongst the big boys. And we are playing along like a good dog. We used to be seen as an honest broker committed to a fair solution. I suspect we are now tarred with the brush of the NSA revelations about the Five Eyes Network and the militant role we played for the Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. If we sit on the Security Council, we may as well sit on the lap of the American representative.
If John Key and friends are seriously committed to our safety and security, they should spending less on a seat at the Security Council and more on trips to encourage the USA to heed the democratic voice of the General Assembly. Time and again the USA ignores what the majority of the world actually wants. Let’s not be a tool in their self-serving imperial mission.