Goodbye Obama – Merkel Will Miss You

merkel-obama

“There will be no return to a world before globalisation. We owe it to our companies and our citizens, indeed to the entire world community, to broaden and deepen our co-operation.”

Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have jointly produced an article strongly defending globalization, on Obama’s final visit to Germany as U.S. President. (Though it’s doubtful they burned the midnight oil together, pens poised and parchment aflutter by the light of a single, spluttering, candle). It was published in the German business paper, Wirtschaftswoche.

Above, and below, are quotes from same.

“We are stronger when we work together. Now that the global economy is developing faster than ever and the global challenges are never greater, this collaboration is more important than ever before.” [1]

Merkel has never been shy in displaying her enthusiasm for the TTIP, which would likely have been ratified in Europe but for the reticence of French president, Francois Hollande, who wasn’t at all happy with the wording of the trade deal. Not that that really mattered. It was slipped in through the backdoor of CETA, dressed up as a benign Canadian idea, rather than the U.S.- backed neoliberal poison it truly is.

This latest U.S.- German collaboration is an obvious thrust at the next inhabitant of the White House, whose objections to trade agreements the new president-elect has never failed to – eh, Trump-et?

Obama has always been welcome in Germany so long as Merkel is in control, but his silver tongue doesn’t work so well in some other parts of Europe, and Greece gave him a much cooler reception:

In Athens, Mr Obama acknowledged that globalisation had created a “sense of injustice” and a “course correction” was needed to address growing inequality.
“When we see people, global elites, wealthy corporations seemingly living by a different set of rules, avoiding taxes, manipulating loopholes… this feeds a profound sense of injustice,” he told Greek leaders. [1]

How can it be that in Germany he praises globalization as the cure-all for the world’s ills, yet in Greece he insists a “course correction” is necessary, denouncing all that the TPTP and TTIP are designed to propagate – “… global elites, wealthy corporations seemingly living by a different set of rules, avoiding taxes, manipulating loopholes..” – exactly the objectives these two massive trade agreements he’s been peddling for the last four years are designed to bring about.

The Greeks were not impressed:

Mr Obama’s visit to Greece was marked by street protests by leftist groups which denounced US “imperialism”. Police used tear gas against about 2,500 demonstrators who had tried to reach the city centre on Tuesday.

It’s always been the case, since his election campaign of 2007-08, that Obama’s told his audience exactly what they want to hear. Throughout his eight year presidency his glib tongue has promised much to the Western world (Yes, We Can! Greater Together!) but behind the scenes he’s operated to a totally different agenda: hobnobbing with the corporate elite, secretly peddling his corporate “trade agreements” around the world, expanding his ‘war’ powers to such an extent the U.S. president now has total control of a whole secret military (the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), over which there is no Congressional oversight, and which he is about to leave in the hands of Donald J Trump) and security services bloated out of all proportion during his presidency with in excess of one million employees with top security clearances, if one includes the numerous private contractors working in the service of the National Security Agencies.

Yet still one hears Americans crying, “If only Obama could stay in power!” How little they realize the damage this one man has done to his country, and to the world. By embracing the neoliberal philosophies of Rand, Friedman, Hayek, Reagan and Thatcher, he’s kept open the floodgates of poverty for many thousands of his countrymen and women – not to forget the children – and the only slightly positive aspect of his presidency has been Obamacare, which in reality did more for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies than it’s ever benefited the people. They still have to find expensive co-pays and add-ons that make medical care in the U.S. the most expensive in the Western world.

Globalization isn’t a necessary evil we have to put up with, and trade tariffs aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but despite all Donald Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign it’s unlikely he’ll produce anything positive for the nation, or the world. We’ve already seen the effects of globalization over the last forty years, since Reagan and Thatcher developed their infamous monetarism policies. It’s great for making the rich wealthier, the corporations more powerful, and the rest of us poorer, working longer hours in more menial jobs – if we’re so fortunate as to have a job at all.

Truly, the neoliberal version of globalization sucks, as does Obama. He’s led his people a merry dance these last eight years, hoodwinked the populace while cosying up to the corporate powers. He’s not alone in this. The U.K., German, and even the French governments are awash with neoliberal policies, while fearing a backlash from their electorate after the shock of Donald Trump’s election.

Already the far-right parties in Europe are gearing up for their next election campaigns. Hollande, Merkel, and other European leaders may well find their careers curtailed at the ballot box if they continue on the course they’ve agreed with Obama.

Of course, that’s not something that’ll bother Mister Obama. He’ll be too busy trying to decide which lucrative corporate position he’ll accept from the many and varied offers pouring in. That is, if he hasn’t already had an offer he can’t refuse – from Angela Merkel.

[1] “Globalisierung. Gemeinsam. Gestalten.”” Wirtschaftswoche, November 16th 2016 (In German)

Relevant quotes in English can also be found at: “Obama defends globalisation on Germany visit” BBC, November 16th 2016

2 Replies to “Goodbye Obama – Merkel Will Miss You”

  1. I just had a flare-up on my FB wall re Drumpf. I’m totally sick and tired of all of this. We’re on a runaway train. None of these two faced leaders can save us. Or address the real pressing concerns of polar ice cap melt. Business as usual. Globalization. Double-Speak.
    XO
    WWW

  2. WWW – I’ve ditched Facebook, there’s too much venom and bitterness out there. Twitter is worse and I’ve never entered into that. Mass communication has its limitations and both internet sites have long overreached them.

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