Jeremy Scahill: Obama Is an Enforcer of Empire
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In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama openly embraced an aggressive military doctrine backed by previous administrations on using armed force beyond the international norm of self-defense. Obama told the world that the United States is prepared to use its military to defend what he called "our core interests" in the Middle East: U.S. access to oil. "[Obama] basically came out and said the U.S. is an imperialist nation and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to conquer areas [and] take resources from people around the world," says independent journalist Jeremy Scahill. "It’s a really naked declaration of imperialism ... When we look back at Obama’s legacy, this is going to have been a very significant period in U.S. history where the ideals of very radical right-wing forces were solidified. President Obama has been a forceful, fierce defender of empire."
The following is a transcript of a Democracy Now! interview with National Security journalist Jeremy Scahill.
AMY GOODMAN: That is the great Somali-Canadian rapper, K’naan. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I am Amy Goodman with Nermeen Shaikh.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: I want to turn back to President Obama’s address at the U.N. General Assembly. During a speech Obama told the world the US is prepared to use its military to defend what he termed “our core interests in the Middle East,” that is US access to oil.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War. We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was President Obama speaking yesterday at the U.N. General assembly. Jeremy, your response to what Obama said in his speech.
JEREMY SCAHILL: During this section of the speech my jaw sort of hit the floor. He basically came out and said the United States is an imperialist nation and we are going to do whatever we need to conquer areas to take resources from around the world. I mean, it was a really naked sort of declaration of imperialism, and I don’t use that word lightly, but it really is. I mean, he pushed back against the Russians when he came out and said I believe America is an exceptional nation. He then defended the Gulf War and basically said that the motivation behind it was about oil and said we are going to continue to take such actions in pursuit of securing natural resources for ourselves and our allies. I mean, this was a pretty incredible and bold declaration he was making, especially given the way that he has tried to portray himself around the world. On the other hand, you know, remember what happened right before Obama took the stage is that the president of Brazil got up, and she herself is a former political prisoner who was abused and targeted in a different lifetime, and she gets up and just blasts the United States over the NSA spy program around the world.
AMY GOODMAN: We have President Dilma Rousseff in her address to the U.N. General Assembly.
PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF: We are a democratic country, surrounded by democratic, peaceful countries that respect international law. We have been living in peace with our neighbors for more than 140 years. Like so many other Latin Americans, I, myself, fought on a first-hand basis against arbitrary behavior and censorship, and I could therefore not possibly fail to uncompromisingly defend individuals’ rights to privacy and my country’s sovereignty.