9781844674497-frontcover-max_221

The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

A merciless dissection of Obama’s overseas escalation and domestic retreat.
“Our country has borne a special burden in global affairs. We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents ... Our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might.”
      —Barack Obama, West Point, December 1, 2009

What has really changed since Bush left the White House? Very little, argues Tariq Ali, apart from the mood music. The hopes aroused during Obama’s election campaign have rapidly receded—the honeymoon has been short. Following the financial crisis, the “reform” president bailed out Wall Street without getting anything in return. With Democratic Party leaders and representatives mired in the corrupt lobbying system, the plans for reforming the healthcare system lie wrecked on the Senate floor. Abroad, the “war on terror” continues: torture on a daily basis in the horror chamber that is Bagram, Iraq occupied indefinitely, Israel permanently appeased, and more troops to Afghanistan and more drone attacks in Pakistan than under Bush. The fact that Obama has proved incapable of shifting the political terrain even a few inches in a reformist direction will pave the way for a Republican surge and triumph in the not too distant future.

Reviews

  • The Obama Syndrome will be a powerful boost to Obama dissenters on the left.”
  • The Obama Syndrome documents the collapse of the Myth into a thousand pieces”
  • “A comprehensive account.”
  • “Ali ... remains an outlier and intellectual bomb-thrower in his adopted London; an urbane, Oxford-educated polemicist.”
  • “Ali is smart as fire.”
  • “Ali doesn't put all blame on Obama and offers a prescription for the terrible problems confronting us: 'The lack of popular social movements in the United States enabled the elite to impose its own solutions, and these were, unsurprisingly, designed to boost the existing arrangements ... The lesson is an old one: without action from below, there will be no change above.'”

Blog

  • Emmanuel Macron, spasm of the system

    First published in Le Monde Diplomatique. Translated by David Broder.



    "I'm going to be very clear..." Probably ignorant of the basic logics of the symptom, Emmanuel Macron seems unable to see how this repetitive way of starting each of his answers betrays the deep desire to cover things up — or rather, to recover them — that animates his whole campaign. "Keep on bathing between vagueness and nothingness" — that is what we should take from each of his promises of clarity. In his defence, we will admit that deferring to the obligation to speak when one's intention is to say nothing at all is one of the curses of this "democracy" that we have still found no satisfactory antidote for. Some will object that most of the candidates end up accommodating to this long and difficult moment — a moment one simply has to go through — and that the campaign-season fib is a well-established genre which should no longer be able to surprise anyone. For Macron, however, the problem takes on unprecedented proportions: not just a matter of slipping across a couple of whoppers, even of the calibre of "my enemy is finance" [as François Hollande claimed before his election in 2012]: rather, his entire campaign, and even his very persona as a candidate, constitute an essentially fraudulent enterprise.

    Continue Reading

  • Time on the Clock of The World: Amin Husain on How We Handle Trump

    Susie Day's interview with organizer and artist Amin Husain was first published in Monthly Review online



    Rounding up immigrants, pissing on transgender bathroom rights, barring press from press briefings… The only good thing Donald Trump has done is to galvanize millions of people into political outrage. For months now we've gone to dozens of marches and rallies. Of course, this isn't enough, but what more to do?

    Then I happened on a Facebook post by Amin Husain:"I wish I could share what's wrong and what's missing in how we're handling the Trump era without many of my dear friends thinking that I am just being a downer on the 'resistance.'" I had to hear more.

    Continue Reading

  • Facing Trump, Building the Future

    This essay by George Ciccariello-Maher was written for arranca! issue #51 (forthcoming), to provide an overview for a German-speaking audience on the dynamics behind Trump's election and the resistance to his presidency.  



    With the election of Trump, the tempo of our collective disaster has shifted dramatically. Rather than the slow-rolling nightmare of Clintonite neoliberalism, for which Obama was more continuity than respite, this nightmare has suddenly shifted into high-gear with each new day bringing — via a string of brutal executive orders — a new hell to ponder, lament, and resist.

    How did we get here? The debates are seemingly interminable and inevitably self-serving.

    Continue Reading

Other books by Tariq Ali