Obama Inaugural Speech: US to Maintain Global Military Presence

Obama declared an end to a decade of war, but pledged to maintain the militaristic US empire

After taking his second inaugural oath of office in front of the Capitol building on Monday, Obama declared misleadingly that “a decade of war is now ending,” while pledging to maintain America’s superpower status through a global military presence.

“America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation,” Obama said in his speech.

Translated out of its flowery rhetoric, Obama was vowing to continue to bribe foreign governments “in every corner of the globe” with military and economic aid and mutual defense treaties, no matter how undemocratic and illegitimate they are.

In reaffirming “those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad,” Obama was referring to America’s global empire of bases, which afford Washington the ability to project military power and threaten any disobedient nation with rapid attack.

“The United States should preserve the model of ‘lily pad’ bases throughout the Gulf,” read a recent report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “which permits the rapid escalation of military force,” enabling “the United States to quickly deploy its superior conventional force should conflict arise.”

“We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom,” Obama continued.

Here, Obama is using the term “democracy” with its technical, Washington-speak meaning. Supporting democracy actually means supporting any government or regime which willingly conforms to US demands, regardless of how good a democracy or how horrible a dictatorship it is.

“Yes,” wrote Lebanese-American academic As’ad AbuKhalil on Monday, Obama meant supporting democracy in the Middle East “except Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Morocco, Libya, Jordan, etc.”

In Asia, this doctrine of supporting democracy “on behalf of those who long for freedom” actually refers to the Obama administration’s Asia-Pivot strategy, which consists of surging America’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and bolstering US allies there in an aggressive, imperialistic attempt to contain a rising China.

When the President spoke of bringing an end to a decade of war, he was undoubtedly talking about the drawdown of US military forces from Afghanistan in 2014. But how many thousands of US troops will continue to occupy that country is still to be decided, and Washington does still plan to prop up the government in Kabul, one of the most corrupt regimes in the world.

More than that, the sorts of conventional ground wars the Bush administration demonstrated a fondness for, are in fact meant to decrease under Obama’s administration. But in place of that is not an absence of war, but a new kind of war: the drone war, which is waged mostly secret, allowing Obama to misleadingly claim America is ending its wars.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.