Obama and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)
Once again, liberals are at a loss. How could this be? How could Obama, a Democrat, who was supposed to chart a new course for the US, push for another so-called “free trade” agreement, after similar ones in the past drove down and stagnated wages of American workers, shipped American jobs to countries with super low wages forcing them to compete with starving workers overseas, imposed draconian “austerity measures” on and further impoverished millions of already poor workers and reinforced sweat shop working conditions and accelerated the devastation of the environment, all for the benefit of giant and obscenely wealthy multinational corporations and their rich shareholders, who were behind these agreements? How could he turn out to be so rightwing? First, came his wars of aggression, which made Bush look like Mother Theresa; then came his endorsement of Bush’s warrantless searches and eavesdropping, followed by his severe punishment of whistle blowers and government secrecy and then the revelation of the most massive program of spying on all Americans; then came the provocation in Ukraine and escalation of tensions with Russia. And now, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has been called “NAFTA on steroids”, which makes “free trade” agreements before it look like a child’s play. Not only is Obama pushing for it, he wants “fast track”, which means a very quick passage at Congress with very minimal – almost none – debate and discussion, and he wants the contents of the agreement, which were all written by corporations, kept secret from the public. Yes, this is Obama. No one killed the real Obama and wore his skin. It’s he alright.
If they would stop to think for a moment, liberals would understand why this happened, why their hope for change turned into a nightmare. Sometimes what seems befuddling and stupefying has the simplest explanation. The truth of the matter is that Obama himself as breathing, walking man is not the issue and is irrelevant to the discussion. And so are his views. There might have been a time in US politics when the personal views of the president mattered – at least to some degree, anyway. But, this isn’t such time, anymore.
Most people have heard the phrase “military industrial complex” and have a vague idea as to what it means: the complex, conglomerate or collective of US military and the large corporations. But, that’s as far as most people’s understanding of what it really is, how it functions and what its ramifications are in the society will go, which leads them to confusion such as about Obama. The fact is that the military is not some independent, unbiased and indifferent force existing and operating above the society. The military, like other governmental organs and entities, such as the police, the courts and the Congress, belongs and answers to and works for and at the pleasure of a certain class of people. By necessity and by nature, the military as well as the police and Congress become part of that class. And it goes without saying, or should go without saying, that that class has to be the class of the most powerful and influential, the class of billionaires and multimillionaires, the major owners of the wealth of the nation, not ordinary working, wage earning people.
The military industrial complex or the corporate empire, with its military wing on its side ready to go to war with anyone that would dare stand in its way, once formed and established, creates, pursues and implements long term plans, strategies and programs, using a multitude of sources that include different think tanks, scholars, strategists, advisors, military planners and other military and civilian personnel. Their plans and programs are large scale and costly and the wealth of many powerful people to the tune of trillions of dollars depends on their timely, smart and flawless implementation. Giant corporations and their CEO’s and large shareholders are not about to risk their immense wealth with the election of an unknown young community organizer from Chicago who might upend their plans, and even if they do roll the dice and lose, they’re not going to say “oh well, we lost”, take the loss in stride and give up their immense power and wealth they have been accumulating. The giant aircraft carriers and multibillion dollar battleships and fighter jets and satellite systems and many other war equipment do not belong to the American people, any more than the tall buildings going up in city centers or giant banks belong to the people. Those who set fire on a CVS pharmacy during riots understand that well. Those big banks or oil companies headquartered in skyscrapers rely on the battleships, fighter jets, tanks and helicopter gunships of the military as well as on urban police as their facilitators to keep their profits flowing. The American people have been taught to think geographically and nationalistically, meaning that if something is geographically close to them or claims to be “American”, it belongs to them. But, that kind of thinking is as accurate as thinking that you own the bank or Starbucks or gas station that you use in your neighborhood.
Obama does what he’s supposed to for the corporate empire that put him in office. And so will the next president. What he thinks is irrelevant. He knows what he’s supposed to do and he does it. We must stop thinking about the individual president or congress-man or woman and think of the system as a whole: its requirements, its plans, its agenda and program. Anyone who goes to the White House is taking a job that’s offered, directed and paid for by the ruling class. His allegiance will not be to the people but to those who put him or her there and who control him or her and his or her plans and agenda.
As you read this, the corporate empire is on a dangerous path of escalating its provocation against Russia that could lead to a dangerous regional, if not worldwide, confrontation that could lead to a major and devastating war. The US is moving warships and missiles and other heavy weaponry to Baltic and Black Sea literally surrounding Russia with military bases, supposedly in the name of defending against its “threat”. But, they know Russia is not the threat. Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which used to belong to it and where most of its population is Russian, was only a reaction to NATO encroachment and provocation. The initial military encroachment through NATO prompted the Russian reaction and was promptly and predictably – no accident here, everything was planned and foreseen years ago – followed by economic warfare through sanctions and dumping of cheap oil on the market None of these moves are necessarily by Obama’s order. In fact, such plans are made and set in motion long before a certain president becomes a candidate and wins the elections as most such undertakings are planned many years and sometimes decades in advance. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan, likewise, was neither the work of Bush and Cheney, nor due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Nor were they some error in judgement. Even the sanctions against Iran which are meant to weaken it are parts of a large scale and long term plan for world hegemony. Such plans are usually perceived and started long before any president sits in the Oval office and gets briefed by military brass and spy agencies.
Likewise, when Obama pushes for a “trade agreement” that will exacerbate the growing income and wealth gap, intensify world poverty and hunger, ruin the environment even more than it already has been ruined and squeeze workers here and abroad even more, it must be understood in terms of the needs and desires and plans and programs of the corporate empire. Again, Obama is doing what he got hired to do: to continue the long-range plans handed down from president to president. What’s more, he chose the job knowing what it took and he’s performing his duties, just as a CEO who gets hired by shareholders and company board members to maximize company profits would.
What we must focus on is not just the CEO, but the corporation as a whole, not on the gambling or gambling men, but on the casino and its owners, not on the violent police who beat and kill innocent black men, but those who hire and use them like their hit men. We must challenge the notion of the collective of corporations, which owns the government as a vehicle for its aims and goals. Just as a parasite enters and takes control of the brain of its host animal and directs it to do what is beneficial to the parasite at the detriment of the host, so too the government gets taken over by parasitic capitalists and corporations that direct it to do their bidding: to make them rich at any cost, including mass hunger and poverty, devastation of the environment and catastrophic world wars which kill millions of people. What we must stop is not Obama or Hillary or Bush or Paul or Cruz or Warren or Sanders, per se, but the parasites, which own and control the government and all these servants and functionaries of the system. Obama is not the issue. The system is.