Dreams: Ferguson, Palestine and Daesh (L'Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)
distant it seems now, the elation surrounding the election six years ago of the
first Afro-American as president of the United States! It was then reasonable to
believe that America had once and for all exorcised the oldest and toughest of
her demons - a racial problem the roots of which date back to the days of
slavery. … While many Americans are disappointed, they are hardly the only ones.
To Arabs, the dream of peace in Palestine announced by a newly-elected Obama on
a visit to Cairo was even more marvelous than that of Martin Luther King. The
distressing results we know only too well."
How distant it seems, the elation surrounding the election
six years ago of the first Afro-American as president of the United States! It was
then reasonable to believe that America had once and for all exorcised the
oldest and toughest of her demons - a racial problem the roots of which date back
to the days of slavery. It is not so in reality, as the events in Ferguson,
until yesterday a small town in Missouri still unknown by the general public
and which now monopolizes CNN news bulletins, have just reminded us.
Because more than half a century after Martin Luther King’s
historic dream, Ferguson is still a place where Blacks, who nevertheless make
up more than half the population, represent only six percent of the police
force - police who hound Black offenders, sometimes going so far as shooting
down a young protester with six bullets on the pretext of self-defense, as occurred
last August. By choosing Monday evening to clear the man who fired the shots of
suspicion, the local judge only launched the signal for violent riots, with protests
immediately spreading to many American cities.
In his appeal for calm and respect for law and order, Barack
Obama didn't fail to express his disappointment - but does he realize the
extent to which he himself generates that same feeling among his fellow
citizens? While many Americans are disappointed, they are hardly the only ones in
the world. To Arabs, the dream of peace in Palestine announced by a
newly-elected Obama on a visit to Cairo was even more marvelous than that of
Martin Luther King. The distressing results we know only too well: a series of
still-born initiatives with America looking on powerless at the swallowing up
of the occupied West Bank, and with its president [Abbas] challenged, humiliated
and ridiculed by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Then came the lamentable case of Syria, one consequence of
which has been added to the Ferguson case and illustrates still more pointedly the
current American malaise. As you might have guessed, this consequence concerns
the resignation - forced - of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the third
incumbent to jump from Obama’s ship. A veteran wounded in Vietnam and the first
former combat soldier to lead the Pentagon - for all that he isn't a warmonger.
On the contrary, he was hired to oversee the withdrawal of American troops from
Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet he was never adopted by Obama’s inner
circle, notably his very influential advisers on national security with whom
there was no shortage of points of friction - not the least of which was
Washington’s policy on Syria.
Right from his appointment, Hagel saw in the phenomenon of
Daesh [Islamic State] , which was minimized at the time by the president, a clear and present danger
to America. In early November he officially became alarmed, this time at the
benefit that Assad's Baathist regime was gleaning from air strikes against the
Islamic State. He went as far as to deplore, in writing, the confusion that
reigns around the U.S. position vis-à-vis Bashar al-Assad.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
The U.S. defense secretary wasn't telling us anything new,
but in his voice (and through his pen) there was an exceptional gravity to his
words of confusion. Is the Obama Administration really looking to bail out the
dictator of Damascus, the departure of whom it so loudly demanded when this all
began? Is its purpose, rather, the perpetuation of a carefully-calculated
balance of forces on the ground, bloody chaos for unmentionable reasons? The
worst thing would perhaps be that the American colossus, who not long ago admitted
itself that it lacked a strategy, still doesn't quite know where to put its big