An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Bravo, Barack!



My admiration for Barack Obama continues to grow as he emerges as the master of the post-modern power grab. America has orchestrated a Latin American coup with the smooth efficiency of an executive's image makeover. The term Eva Gollinger uses for the new imperial strategy is "smart power" and she describes it as follows: "The Obama administration has opted for a mutation of these two concepts, fusioning military power with diplomacy, political and economic influence with cultural penetration and legal manuvering. They call this 'Smart Power'. Its first application is the coup d’etat in Honduras, and as of today, it’s worked to perfection." - Eva Golinger, "Honduras: A Victory for Smart Power", Nov. 2, 2009.

This is the essence of the Obama strategy - to modulate, guide and enhance the behavior that they wish to enforce, in this case in order to counter the democratic movements that threaten U.S. hegemony in Latin America. The "smart power" strategy in Honduras worked this way: the rhetoric was constantly on the side of the legitimate President, Zelaya, but the concrete action was always supportive of the coup regime. Golinger sums up the success of this strategy as follows, "Washington lobbyists also wrote the San José 'agreement', and in the end, it was the high level State Department and White House delegation that 'persuaded' the Hondurans to accept the agreement. Despite the constant US interference in the coup d’etat in Honduras – funding, design, and political and military support – Washington’s 'smart power'approach was able to distort public opinion and make the Obama administration come out as the grand victor of 'multilateralism'" - Eva Golinger, "Honduras: A Victory for Smart Power", Nov. 2, 2009.

The genius of this strategy is it emerges with a clear victory for U.S. imperial control while retaining Obama's progressive credentials. "Everything is normal," says the Pentagon about the current situation in Honduras. Indeed it is - "The people were left out, excluded. Months of repression, violence, persecution, human rights violations, curfews, media closures, tortures and political assasinations have been forgotten. What a relief, as Subsecretary of State Thomas Shannon remarked upon achieving the signature of Micheletti and Zelaya on the final 'agreement', that the situation in Honduras was resolved 'without violence'." Precisely, violence is only real when it's against those in power. Repression of those below is elided with the smooth turn of a jazz solo.

The success of this first post-modern coup will doubtless inspire many more ruling elites in Central and South America to hatch their own plots. And the Obama administration will smile benevolently, modulating, guiding and enhancing the process until victory is achieved. Bravo, Barack!

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