My Enemy’s Enemy

Eight years ago I had a conversation with someone, let’s call him Harry, about the great new hope for world peace, Barack Obama. Harry was jubilant that the abominable George Bush was no more, and sincerely believed that the world was finally heading towards a new age of real peace and prosperity. I told Harry I thought he was wrong, that there would be no significant change.

Harry didn’t understand that although the US president has quite a lot of executive power, he doesn’t actually run things. He didn’t understand that US presidential elections are just one long exercise in distraction news. For many, many long months our so-called news media can fill up newspapers and countless hours of radio and TV time telling us about something that really doesn’t matter – instead of telling us things that really do matter.

Unsurprisingly I was right and Harry was wrong. Obama, the great Nobel peace prize winner, not only failed to end America’s illegal wars, he oversaw the spread of even more of them throughout the Middle East and North Africa, recreated a new cold war with Russia, and tightened the noose of US military bases around China. The one new thing which Obama did introduce, which no other US president had attempted, was to order the murders, on a weekly basis, of alleged terrorists anywhere in the world. These diary dates, known as Terror Tuesdays, are not only illegal in international law and the laws of the countries in which the murders are carried out; when the murders involve US citizens, as they have in the past (e.g. Anwar Awlaki), they’re also unconstitutional in US law – a fine thing for a supposed expert on US constitutional law to do.

But the one most obvious piece of evidence of Obama’s complete failure to significantly change the status quo was his failure to close down the Guantanamo Bay torture camp. This was a pre-election promise he made which, were he truly able to run things, would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to do. I mean, Guantanamo is a tiny US government facility on a tiny piece of US-occupied territory. If the US president cannot control that what on earth can he control?

So I never bothered with any of the interminable months of so-called news about the latest US elections: I know it probably doesn’t matter which puppet is installed in the White House. The real decision-making power in the US – and therefore the rest of the world – will remain in the hands of secretive US banks and corporations, as well as the rightly feared military/ intelligence/security-industrial complex. The one thing that very slightly favours Trump rather than Clinton, is the fact that the mainstream media are so strongly opposed to him. Even here in Britain, where it really shouldn’t matter quite as much as in the US, the mainstream media are rabidly anti-Trump. So, given that the enemy of our enemy is sometimes our friend, and the mainstream media is certainly our enemy, I’m inclined to give Trump the benefit of the doubt – for now.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.