Since January 2008 I have maintained that Barack Obama is nothing more and nothing less than a classic Chicago Democrat: a hard nosed, sophisticated politico with a Hallmark Card gift of the gab. Peel away the prettiness and what’s revealed is a slightly softer (and browner) face on American imperialism. With a total of 50,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, Obama is following in the footsteps of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and both Bushes in his determination that America must set the tone in world affairs…by force of arms when necessary. With historically crippling debt; high levels of unemployment; an unresolved Iraq; Guantanamo still open; Mexican migrants outrageously victimized at the border; health care hanging precariously in congress (btw it’s hard not to see this foreign ploy as a means to rally right-centre support for health care), Barack Obama has chosen to play the classic American foreign policy card: more war.
Following his election I was stunned to find so many otherwise intelligent people who were blissfully unaware of his plans for Afghanistan. If you believe ratcheting up the war there is good policy, Obama’s your man. If you expected a legitimate alternative to Bush-ism, I hope you will reconsider your hitherto unconditional support for America’s latest risky adventure. If the British and Soviet experience is anything to go on, America has just guaranteed itself a world of pain even with a planned pull-out of 2011.