Although remixed around the patriotic beat of Ambassador Chris Stevens, President Barack Obama's latest foreign policy address provides no reason to edit a review of his Democratic nomination speech. Speaking to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama instead resorts to many of the fallacies and blatant lies that mark his overall foreign policy, especially his administration's duplicitous reaction to the Arab revolutions:
"It has been less than two years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country, and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. And since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that’s taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.
We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator, because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspiration of men and women who took to the streets.
We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people.
We supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, because the interests of the people were no longer being served by a corrupt status quo.
We intervened in Libya alongside a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council, because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents, and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant.
And as we meet here, we again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and a new dawn can begin."
The first claims involving Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen demonstrate, without need of further proof, that Obama entered the UN chamber with the intention of rewriting history rather than making it. Tunisia's events occurred so quickly that Washington never had a chance to fully react, but the administration hesitated from ditching a U.S.-Saudi ally in Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The administration was slightly more prepared when the first embers of revolution engulfed Egypt, resulting in an attempt to install the country's intelligence chief as Vice President. While the experiment predictably failed to prevent the collapse of Hosni Mubarak's regime, Washington's more viable contingency soon kicked in and supported the Egypt's Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) until its dissolution in June 2012.
During this time the SCAF waged a systemic harassment campaign against Egypt's revolution in order to disrupt their political organization and slander their credibility.
As for U.S. policy in Yemen, Washington had few problems with Ali Abdullah Saleh before the revolution started to threaten spheres of power. Despite his fair-weather friendship, the Obama administration decided that Saleh's corrupt regime needed to be fed if he was to cooperate against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In fact a drones base was approved prior to January 2011 and accelerated after the revolution broke out across the country (a billion dollar aid package was put on hold). Had none of these revolutions occurred, the U.S. government would have stuck behind the exploitive and repressive governments that counted themselves as allies of America. Obama naturally presents an alternative version of this reality.
"Now, let me be clear: Just as we cannot solve every problem in the world, the United States has not and will not seek to dictate the outcome of democratic transitions abroad."
On February 21th, 2012, Washington and Riyadh watched the conclusion of their single-candidate referendum promote Saleh's compliant vice president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi. Obama recently "dropped by" Hadi's UN side-meeting with counterterrorism czar John Brennan to reinforce America's hegemony in Yemen.
The relationship between Libya and Syria forms the second half of U.S. policy - the half that explicitly desires total regime change. U.S. officials argue that these two warzones far exceed the response of those governments intwined with Western capitals, a truism that obstructs a debate over America's notion of "selective democracy." When paired with the governments that Washington has attempted to preserve, U.S. policy in Libya and Syria appears less concerned with freedom than hegemony. Russia's behavior in Syria is particularly influenced by Libya's events and the general belief that Washington is manipulating revolutionary outcomes in its favor.
"These are not simply American values or Western values - they are universal values," Obama tries to convince his audience. "And even as there will be huge challenges to come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people, and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world."
By frequently invoking Stevens' death as he counters an inflammatory film and its aftershocks, Obama spins the ambassador into another instrument of U.S. propaganda. Couched within his message of unity and tolerance is an unflinching counterrevolutionary message. Obama claims that, "the events of the last two weeks also speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab world that is moving towards democracy." This tension is a product of the status quo that Washington is still pushing on the Middle East. After promoting his own administration's counterrevolution and "diplomatically" targeting Iran's nuclear program, Obama ignores the island of Bahrain entirely and puts in a hallow word of support for the Palestinians (who were dropped in favor of Israel during his nomination speech).
"Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on a prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, those who reject the right of Israel to exist. The road is hard, but the destination is clear -- a secure, Jewish state of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine. (Applause.) Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey."
Obama has spent the majority of his term ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and appeared to give up until his next potential term after George Mitchell resigned from his mediation role. Nor has he been dissuaded by Iraq's ongoing violence when declaring, "The war in Iraq is over. American troops have come home." Obama claims that "America and our allies will end our war in Afghanistan on schedule in 2014," seemingly ruling out the possibility of a long-term military presence. However the Taliban will continue fighting regardless of the presence of a residual force, meaning this war will also fail to end neatly in December 2014. Given that Obama is willing to lie about the end of war and Washington's involvement in democratic transitions, he's liable to distort the conditions in any area ofU.S. foreign policy.
"The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people and for people all across the world. That was our founding purpose. That is what our history shows. That is what Chris Stevens worked for throughout his life."
This isn't what recent history shows - only a history that is deep in the process of subjective revision.