When Barack Hussein Obama was first elected US President, a sense of mad elation swept through areas that were once regarded as Third World; Africa, because of his blood ties; and the Middle East, because of the faith tradition of his father.
For them, Obama’s elevation to the highest office in the land seemed to signify a change of epic proportions, for both regions are places where one’s tribe, clan and ancestry are powerful markers of identity.
When Obama gave his speech in Cairo (4 June, 2009), his honeyed words sent excitement throughout Arab and Muslim communities. The sense of change was palpable.
But power elites don’t support change, unless it’s to their advantage.
Economic and political forces, at first shocked by his ascension, learned to fight long battles against him, to assert their primacy in foreign affairs.
Cronies of the Bush regime were absorbed back onto corporate boards and into think tanks, from which they launched word wars against Obama’s patriotism, his faith, his competency and his honesty. He was a ‘wimp, they said. He’s ‘soft’, they said.
And along came ISIS –formerly known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
They provided the lure that proved utterly irresistible.
And suddenly, to the delight of the military industrial complex, a new war was here.
An air war – in two countries!
And we are back.
That old imperial itch, the urge to rule others, to determine the leaders of other countries, must be scratched.
After 6 years, the Obama administration sounds like a brighter replay of those boorish Bush years.