Obama Commits to US Backing for Pro-Democracy Movements

Despite Costs, Insists US Has 'Obligation' to Back Protesters

In a speech which also included insistences that he is still concerned about the struggling US economy, President Barack Obama declared total support for pro-democracy rallies across the Middle East and North Africa.

Obama shrugged off concerns about the spiraling budget deficit, insisting that the US has “an obligation” to support democracy worldwide, and that the US must always “leave room” in the budget for such expenditures.

The US has been secretly funneling money to a number of opposition movements in the region, but traditionally only those opposed to dictators who are at odds with US policy in the region. When protests have erupted in pro-US dictatorships, the administration has been, and is likely to remain silent.

Likewise, the commitment to “support” democracy has already been used by the administration as a pretext for one illegal war in Libya, and French officials have suggested Libya might set a precedent for comparable NATO invasions throughout the region. Though President Obama seemed confident he would find the money to pay for what is at its core an increasingly interventionist policy, the official tendency to dramatically underestimate the cost of such advertures is likely to leave open the question of exactly how the US is supposed to afford all these illusory “obligations.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.