NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • The Obama Drone Doctrine


    Vijay Prashad: President Obama plans to expand the use of drone attacks as a way to project US power -   November 14, 12
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    You are an inspiration. Thanks for everything you are doing. - Brenton
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Vijay Prashad is the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK, 2012) and (co-edited with Paul Amar) Dispatches from the Arab Spring (2013). He writes regularly for The Hindu, Frontline, Jadaliyya, Counterpunch, Himal and Bol.

    Transcript

    The Obama Drone DoctrinePAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

    And welcome to the Vijay Prashad [inaud.] now joins us. Vijay Prashad is a professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. His many books include Uncle Swami: South Asians in America and Arab Spring, Libyan Winter. Thanks for joining us.

    VIJAY PRASHAD, PROF. INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, TRINITY COLLEGE: Thank you.

    JAY: So we're just after the elections. How do you respond to another four years of President Obama?

    PRASHAD: Well, just very quickly, my sense is that the party of rape was roundly defeated, and I think that is something to cheer about. Secondly, I think it's very heartening that the social landscape of the United States is finally, perhaps, removing the preacher's aura from the ballot box, meaning the resolutions that passed on behalf of gay marriage, on behalf of recreational use of marijuana—I mean, this is the America that I'm familiar with, and I'm glad it's making at least some kind of impact in the political domain. So these are just two of my immediate reactions to the elections.

    Of course Obama was going to win. There was no question. It's extremely hard for an incumbent in the United States to lose, especially if the challenger is mediocre. You know, the two previous times the incumbent was defeated was when George H. W. Bush lost, and then before that when Jimmy Carter was defeated. In both those cases, they faced formidable challengers in, you know, Bill Clinton on the one hand and Ronald Reagan on the other. It's not like Carter and George H. W. Bush didn't face an economic crisis similar to what Obama faced, but they really faced a political adversary who knew in this telegenic age how to make an impact.

    Obama faced Mitt Romney, the worst kind of character to have when there's a financial crisis. You know, he utterly represents Wall Street and money. He was incapable of overcoming that. If Obama hadn't won in this landslide, it would have been an absolute surprise to me. So that is fine.

    Right after he wins, he sends a little gift to the people of Yemen in the way of a drone strike just south of Sana'a. This is very interesting to me, because it reveals a great continuity, and perhaps a deepening of the Obama foreign policy agenda.

    You know, people have been asking: who will be the next secretary of state? Hillary Clinton has made it clear that she has had enough of that position. And there was some suggestions earlier that Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, might take over from Hillary Clinton. Susan Rice is one of the leaders, the intellectual and political leaders of the wing of so-called humanitarian interventionism—in other words, war for human rights, a liberal kind of war. Unfortunately for her, around this Benghazi attack on the consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed there was a little bit of a dent to her reputation, and the Obama administration may not put her up to be the next secretary of state.

    Instead, some eyes are focusing on the Republican candidate John Huntsman. Huntsman had run against Romney for the Republican nomination, he had been Obama's ambassador to China, and he is something of an Asianist. So there are some people in Washington who are saying that perhaps Huntsman might be the next secretary of state.

    Others look to the more conventional candidate and, I think, the one who might eventually become Hillary Clinton's successor, and that is Thomas Donilon. Donilon is interesting. He is a career man with the Democrats in terms of the area of national security. He is now Obama's national security adviser. He has basically helped Obama craft some of those strategies, such as the drone warfare, etc. Donilon also is a Washington insider. His wife is the chief of staff for Joe Biden's wife. His brother is basically one of the main advisers for Joe Biden. So that is a classical, conventional safe bet for the Obama administration, to move to somebody like Donilon at the State Department.

    JAY: I mean, you mention his role with the drone strike. Am I mistaken? Is he one of the people that's been helping create the hit list?

    PRASHAD: Yeah. I mean, they have this meeting once a week where they construct the hit list. Donilon is part of that community, you know, also part of the community that created the architecture for a kind of, you know, attempt by the United States to renew its primacy around the planet without heavy footprint, you know, without actually invading a country, without invading Mali or invading Somalia or invading Yemen, how to have a strong and powerful impact on those countries without so-called boots on the ground. And this doctrine has pushed for drone strikes, and Donilon was very much a part of it. And, of course, because, you know, we saw that drone strike right after the election—you know, in a sense a snub in the face of the United Nations, which just before the election had made clear that they were going to study the legality of drone use—you know, there was no concern about that. It's—to me it feels like this is going to be a kind of central aspect of this second term of Mr. Obama, that drones [crosstalk]

    JAY: Well, this will be the—this is the Obama doctrine, I suppose.

    PRASHAD: [inaud.] the unfolding Obama doctrine. And, you know, this is going to be for wars in the so-called small countries—as I mentioned, Somalia, Mali, Yemen, and the borderlands of Pakistan.

    There are more fundamental questions before the Obama administration, which I'm afraid they've fumbled during this campaign. For instance, next year, Iran is going to have an election, and there'll be a new leader there of Iran. China right now is deciding on the next generation of leadership.

    It would have been a perfect opportunity during the campaign, and perhaps even in the acceptance speech, for Mr. Obama to have said, we should not make our foreign policy based on the personalities of the current rulers, particularly in Iran. You know, the United States just formed its policy based on the kind of peculiarities of Mr. Ahmadinejad, but Mr. Ahmadinejad no longer will be the head of government in Iran, and therefore the United States has trapped its policy on something that is going to disappear next year. It would have been a perfect opportunity to have called for a so-called reset of U.S.-Iran relations, U.S.-China relations by welcoming the new leadership in these two countries. Instead, Mr. Obama didn't do that, and therefore lost a great opportunity to pivot away from a politics of belligerence to a politics of diplomacy.

    JAY: There was an interesting debate just before the election in the Israeli press. Two journalist pundits, columnist types—I'm sorry I don't have their names at my fingertips, but the debate was who's better for Israel vis-à-vis Iran, Romney or Obama. And the first—there was an email exchange that was published. One journalist argues that Romney's better because he's more full-throttled support for Israeli policy and would never let Netenyahu hang out on a limb and such, and the other journalist was writing that he believed Obama, when push came to shove, if Iran really looked like it was going to have a nuclear weapon, could sell such a war in a way that Romney couldn't, that he would, in other words, defang the antiwar liberal section of American society. What do you make of that argument?

    PRASHAD: Well, you know, it's an interesting bunch of statements, but it doesn't actually help us in any way, because there is no question that both Obama and (had Romney won) Romney were going to take a very so-called strong stand against Iran. There's no question that both committed themselves to a pro-Israel, anti-Iran kind of politics. What that exchange seems to reveal is that Romney, like Bush before him, is tone deaf to public opinion and would go to some kind of military action against Iran regardless of a million people in the streets of New York, etc., as we saw in 2003 in the months before the U.S. went to war in Iraq. It's true, therefore, that the Republicans are tone deaf, and the neoconservatives would have used every and any means to have some kind of military action in Iran.

    It's also true that the Obama administration, given the temperament of the administration, would be better suited to sell the war to the American public or to sell a major strike to the antiwar section, you know, which would then kneel down and say, well, Obama has no choice, etc. In both cases, there is going to be some kind of attack on Iran. I think that's very chilling. You know, whether you have an administration that doesn't care about the population or an administration that is able to hoodwink the population, in both instances it is a loss for world affairs.

    JAY: Well, I'd argue, I think, a little differently, which is I think Obama—and I have no doubt in my mind, 'cause I think he's a total pragmatist and is very subject to all kinds of pressures, especially from the Pentagon, but I don't think the Pentagon's in any way eager for a war with Iran at all. I think they've so far shown that. But my point is I don't think Obama would want to have a real military attack on Iran unless intelligence agencies told him fairly clearly they actually thought Iran was moving towards construction of a weapon. And I don't think Iran has any intention of building a nuclear weapon. But whereas the Romney neocon conservative types—and they're going to be putting enormous pressure on Obama, as will Israel—their objective isn't really about the bomb. Their objective is regime change.

    PRASHAD: Precisely. I mean, exactly the case. The Romney camp wouldn't have even cared about intelligence at all. It is already the case that the Americans, the Israelis, and the International Atomic Energy Agency have made it clear that Iran has no intention of weaponizing, of moving in a weapons direction with the nuclear program. But that has made no impact on the kind of belligerence even coming out of Mr. Obama. So you're right: they may not move to a major, you know, war towards regime change in Iran, but they're already conducting very harsh policies against Iran based on intelligence that says that the Iranians are not interested in warfare at all.

    JAY: Yeah. That—I think that's the most important point. And that's not getting talked about, that there already is a war against Iran, and it's an economic war, and it's being waged based on intelligence that would never justify those kinds of sanctions.

    PRASHAD: Precisely. And the Obama administration has been able to sell both the kind of—you know, if I can put it bluntly, it's been able to sell the lie that Iran is a threat to the region at the same time as it's been able to sell the economic warfare as diplomacy. And that is a very dangerous situation, not only, again, for the idea of international relations, but for the Middle East itself.

    JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Vijay.

    PRASHAD: Thank you very much.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network. If you'd like to see more interviews and journalism like this, you see a Donate button over here. If you don't click it, we can't do this.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting