Saturday, 2 August 2008

Fisk on Obama

Generally, I can take Robert Fisk or I can leave him. I know he's a Good Thing, but at the same time I often think he is too much aware of this. Take The Great War for Civilisation, for example - five hundred pages would have been sufficient to illustrate his thesis, with as many detailed examples as he desired. Fisk took a thousand, though thankfully there are no rumours of a sequel in the works.

His latest column (1) is Good Fisk, however - direct and too the point and focused on important stuff, rather than trying to underline the (already accepted) point that the world would be a Worse Place wthout Robert Fisk in it.

It focuses on Obama, and the likely lack-of-impact an Obama victory will have on the US attitude towards Israel, and US policy towards the Middle East. Essentially, nothing will change:
Yes, I know the old saw. Every US presidential candidate has to make the pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall, to Yad Vashem, to some Israeli town or village that has taken casualties (albeit minuscule in comparison to those visited upon the Palestinians), to talk about Israel's security, etc. That doesn't mean, we are always told, that Israel is going to have it easy once the US president is elected. Wrong. Israel is going to have it easy. Because no sooner is he elected than he will be enmeshed in the Middle East tragedy and be forced to take sides – Israel's, of course – and then it will be time for the next election, so the president's hands will be tied again and he'll be talking about Israel's security (rather than Palestinian security) and we'll be back on the same old
itinerary. (2)
It doesn't end with Israel, of course. Obamamania is as solid as moonshine. Sure, he's a nice bloke. He might even rein in some of the more egregious offenses of the Bush and Clinton years. If he can do that, resist the urge to attack any countries, and not make too much of a bollocks of things on the domestic front, he'll qualify as the best president since Eisenhower by virtue of being the only one who hasn't Made Things Worse. But he won't change the overall narrative. American politics - Republican or Democrat - will still be beholden to the monied interests, the 'military-industrial complex' Eisenhower warned of, the conservative impulses and blinkered world view that distorts it now.
1 - "New actor on the same old stage," by Robert Fisk, in The Independent,
2nd of August, 2008. (
2 - ibid.

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