The American people are sick and tired of the Bush era, and they are counting the days until Barack Obama is inaugurated. The reasons for this are manifold, of course, but the one that concerns us especially here at Antiwar.com is the vital question of war and peace. American foreign policy had become so relentlessly aggressive, and with such disastrous results, that John McCain’s alleged national security credentials were moot. Even if the economy hadn’t tanked so spectacularly at a crucial point in the election season, I contend that Obama would’ve won in a landslide anyway. And it surely didn’t help when the author of our disastrous foreign policy, Vice President Dick Cheney, was wheeled out to issue his kiss-of-death endorsement: talk about the stab in the back!
In any case, what I really mean to say is that our crazed foreign policy was a major reason why Americans gave Obama such a stunning victory. There’s just one problem: our foreign policy is going to remain pretty much the same.
That’s right: you heard me. No change in that department. Why is that, you ask? The reason is because the War Party has a strategy perfectly suited to solving their major problem, which is that they lack any kind of popular support, as the McCain campaign discovered to its horror. So instead of playing the game, they decided to rig it and greet the incoming Obama administration with a fait accompli. The Bush administration is now engaged in the last throes of its torturous negotiations with the Iraqis, who have finally agreed to the terms of a status of forces agreement with the U.S. What this means, in short, is that U.S. troops will be authorized to stay in the country until 2011 — way beyond what Obama promised. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they will stay in that long, necessarily, only that the new president has cover now to break his campaign promise, without much of a fuss being made by the Iraqis. As for the Americans, Congress won’t mind, and if it comes to a vote the pro-war faction of the Democrats can always line up with the GOP, as they did in the Bush era.
In order to understand how the sellout happened, however, let’s rewind the tape. As luck would have it, the economy’s collapse occurred just at the high point of the general election campaign. This was a big break for the War Party: it meant, first of all, that the focus was taken off two losing wars — their gift to the new president. It also meant that the incoming president would have his hands full with domestic issues. People are losing their jobs, their homes, and their minds; this is no time to worry about the fate of South Ossetia. Indeed, the problems of the U.S. economy — and the global market — are so overwhelming, that certainly President Obama will have to make them his first and virtually sole concern from the moment he’s sworn in.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.