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"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

Philip Stephens says Barack Obama’s doctrine has led to paralysis


In response to an FT article by Philip Stephens on 17th March 2016, entitled 'Barack Obama's doctrine has led to paralysis'

"Dwight D Eisenhower left the White House in 1961 cautioning against the designs of the military-industrial complex assembled to confront the Soviet Union...Barack Obama sees a real and present danger in a Washington foreign policy establishment inclined to set military intervention as the default option.What is missing from the Obama doctrine is a strategic view of the role of US leadership in sustaining global order. Analysis drifts into an excuse for paralysis, but inaction carries as many dangers as intervention. Mr Obama’s realism bleeds into fatalism"

This is partial understanding at best, or partial reporting at worst. 

Ike's criticisms were not restricted to the cold war, neither were they restricted to the military-industrial complex. The farewell speech was drafted and edited with the assistance of the President's brother, Milton Eisenhower, then president of Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague in the faculty of political science at JHU, Professor Malcolm Moos.  

In turn they were assisted by a small team of undergraduates from JHU, which included Melvin A. Goodman, now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. According to Mr. Goodman:

"The actual drafter of the speech, Ralph E. Williams, relied on guidance from Professor Moos. Milton Eisenhower explained that one of the drafts of the speech referred to the "Military-industrial-Congressional complex" and said that the president himself inserted the reference to the role of the Congress, an element that did not appear in the delivery of the farewell address.

When the president's brother asked about the dropped reference to Congress, the president replied: "It was more than enough to take on the military and private industry. I couldn't take on the Congress as well."

In addition to the Congress reference, an entire section was dropped from the speech that dealt with the creation of a "permanent, war-based industry," with "flag and general officers retiring at an early age [to] take positions in the war-based industrial complex shaping its decisions and guiding the direction of its tremendous thrust." 

The president warned that steps needed to be taken to "insure that the 'merchants of death' do not come to dictate national policy." 

The section also warned against any belief that some "spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties." 

For more on the above:

Personally, I believe two things:

1. When President Obama expresses disdain for the US establishment’s obsession with “credibility” and use of force as their perennial solution, he is issuing us with a warning.

2. To be accurate, the form that this ‘complex’ has taken for the past three decades would be better described as military-industrial-governmental-financial. AKA the Neocons.

Under President Bush these people held much more sway, due to the influence of Dick Cheney, who steered US foreign policy through manipulating an essentially vain and clueless President.  Mr. Obama has been far less amiable to their interventionist agenda; as I suspect he has been far less willing to be swayed by the globalist guff that comes out of the Centre for Foreign Relations.

But they haven’t gone away, and President Obama is warning us about them. The Wolfowitz doctrine is still alive and well and residing with people like Victoria Nuland, who has done her level best to undermine her boss John Kerry in Ukraine and in dealings with Russia. We have the exquisitely named General Breedlove at NATO, whom Mrs. Merkel’s intelligence staff last year described as issuing ‘dangerous propaganda’. Then we have figures from the field of finance and ‘philanthropy’, like George Soros, who when he is not choosing a colour for his latest revolution, is pontificating on fiscal policy and/or who should be the Republican candidate for the 2016 election. Etc…it’s a long list.

Flawed though he is, and who isn’t, I trust President Obama’s instincts over the list of interventionists and ‘well dressed thugs’ I've mentioned above. I believe Mr. Obama is warning us, but just as Ike had to edit himself, I think President Obama probably has stronger views than he allows himself to enunciate publicly.  Luckily for me, I don't need to be polite or subtle: I think those folks are no better than Capone.

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