- Davis Fleetwood
Presidents say the darndest things. Some are shifty eyed and so full malapropos that one wonders how they graduated high school while others wax poetic as if they were scripted in an Aaron Sorkon version of the West Wing. Every single President since WW2, however, governs and politics from non-negotiable set of principles that are misguided, homicidal, and, from the viewpoint of the Empire known as the U.S., ultimately suicidal.
Barack Obama delivered his turn the page speech last night, attempting to close the chapter on Operation Iraqi Freedom. Judging from the new curtains in the oval office, and the tastefully chosen family photographs flanking the President as he calmly gazed into the teleprompter behind his recently waxed eyebrows, one got the sense that this administration had loaded up on their hubris supplements and had set out to make some history.
Turn the page? For what? Another 10 years in Afghanistan? Drive by drones indiscriminately killing perps in Pakistan operated by a pilot in Nebraska? Why don’t we just nuke Iran and then exterminate the Palestinians and expedite this mofo? Turn the page? This book is painful, man. Let’s get to the end already!
We don’t need to turn the page, Mr. President. Every one on the planet is now of an age where they lived most, if not all, of their lives reaping the rewards or (as is more commonly the case) suffers the consequences of living with the reality that would be absurd if it were not so ingrained in us. It is this same reality from which President Obama’s “turn the page speech” came from last night.
Namely (to paraphrase liberally (no pun) from Andrew Bacevichs’s excellent new book, Washington Rules; America’s Path to Permanent War):
First, The world needs to be organized. Without this, there would be chaos.
Second, It will not be an international coalition or organization such as the U.N. charged with organizing the disparate cultures spanning the globe, Au contraire mon cheri, the prescription and enforcement of global order will come from the only nation with the will, vision and wisdom to lead: the U.S. This leadership requires that we take on a never-ending list of obligations worldwide without respect to cost, stretching us both morally (like a crime family kingpin obeying his own set of rules) and financially (like a Gen X grad student with a pocket full of high interest credit cards and an online gambling addiction). Side note to gamblers and borrowers: the house always wins. It doesn’t take an accu history future cast to predict that when all of the blowback comes, we won’t have the money to deal with it or the friends to get our back.
Third, the principles that define the international order will be defined and articulated by… any guesses? Very good, you are getting the hang of this, the U.S. American principles posses’ universal validity. That these principles change over time should not affect their universality. Don’t look behind the curtain, Dorothy, the laws governing the international order are as prescribed by the most recent articulation of American values, and it is this most recent articulation that the rest of the world must conform.
Finally, everyone accepts this reality. If you don’t, you are a kook. World leaders may grumble to the press or even challenge our authority, but in the end, everyone wants Uncle Sam to continue to shoulder the burden of being the world superpower, super cop, and super bag o douche. For evidence of that, peruse the comments in the video and see if you can count the derivatives of the sentiment: “If don’t love the U.S. Fleetwood, then move to Montreal why don’t ya?”
You know, that is a good question, one that I will endeavor to answer with you in the coming months.