Of Motes and Beams

Events of the past two weeks have demonstrated once again that the Atlantic Empire regards humanity as nothing more than pieces on the game board. Wars in the Ukraine, Iraq and Syria, the ongoing meltdown of "liberated" Libya, the barbarous actions of ISIS – all consequences of imperial meddling, to greater or lesser extent – have all been invoked as excuses for more Empire: the "perpetual war for perpetual peace", as Charles A Beard put it.

That, at least, was the message of the speech by the Emperor Himself, given in Talinn, Estonia on the eve of the NATO summit in Wales. It is an instructive case study in the insidious power of propaganda. C-SPAN has the video, while the White House has provided the transcript; you can compare the actual remarks, in context, with what the mainstream media have chosen to feature.

Dreams of Freedom

Emperor Obama began by praising the Estonians’ "dream of freedom," which "endured through centuries of occupation and oppression" and was fought for by poets, protesters and "Forest Brothers" – a phrase that means nothing to most Americans, but in Estonia denotes the WW2 guerrillas who fought against the Soviets.

Some might object that praising the Baltic "freedom fighting" in WW2 is awkward because it involved the SS – except those SS are okay, because the Empire said so:

The Baltic Waffen SS Units (Baltic Legions) are to be considered as separate and distinct in purpose, ideology, activities, and qualifications for membership from the German SS, and therefore the Commission holds them not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States. (U.S. Displaced Persons Commission, 1950, cited here.)

Considering this isn’t the first time the Emperor re-imagined history, such disregard of inconvenient facts in favor of the preferred fantasy narrative ought not to come as a surprise. But the talk of "freedom" and "independence" in a country that has neither – Estonia is part of NATO and the EU, and thus effectively run from Washington and Brussels – represents rank hypocrisy.

In fact, the entire speech is one big exercise in pointing out motes in the eyes of others, while ignoring a beam in the Emperor’s own.


If repression of language and culture is so deplorable – as Emperor Obama implies by praising the Estonian resistance thereto – then why does Washington back the regime in Kiev doing just that to the Russian-speaking population of the Ukraine? And how was it proper for the Baltic States to separate from Russia (and later from the USSR), but not for Crimea to separate from Kiev?

To hear the Emperor say it, it’s because some people are "democratic" (i.e. backed by the Empire) and thus get a free pass to do no wrong, while others are not, and can therefore do no right. Estonia, averred Emperor Obama, is an inspiration to "people working to build their own democracies – from Kyiv to Tunis." But whatever you do, don’t actually look into how "democracy" is working out in North Africa! Everything is fine in "liberated Libya", nothing to see here, move along, what difference does it make?

And "Kyiv"… well, more on that in a moment.

"Facts" of Aggression

The reason Barack Obama picked Estonia for this speech was not the Laulupidu song-and-dance festival he name-checked in the opening remarks, but the country’s position as NATO’s forward outpost on Russia’s border. There Mr. Obama delivered a resounding condemnation of aggression:

It is a brazen assault on the territorial integrity of [Serbia] – a sovereign and independent European nation.  It challenges that most basic of principles of our international system – that borders cannot be redrawn at the barrel of a gun; that nations have the right to determine their own future.  It undermines an international order where the rights of peoples and nations are upheld and can’t simply be taken away by brute force. 

Except he didn’t say "Serbia", but "Ukraine" – yet everything described here is what the United States and NATO have actually done – to Serbia (or rather, Yugoslavia), Iraq, Libya, and even Ukraine itself, where the supposedly sacrosanct right of Ukrainians to make their own choices was usurped by the February coup and the Maidan revolution "midwifed" by Washington.

No problem – according to Mr. Obama, none of this happened. The Maidan protests were "not led by neo-Nazis or fascists" – Lyashko, Kolomoisky, the Right Sector thugs such as Sashko Bily were but "ordinary Ukrainians." The February 22 coup was not an "armed seizure of power," he avers, but the result of an "agreement… for constitutional reform" (!), after which President Yanukovich "abandoned his office." (!!) He then goes on to blame the crisis on "pro-Russian separatists who are encouraged by Russia, financed by Russia, trained by Russia, supplied by Russia and armed by Russia," and shockingly concludes:

Now, these are the facts.  They are provable.  They’re not subject to dispute. 

No. They are not facts. They are not proven. And they are not merely "subject to dispute", they have been conclusively disputed. Notice he said "provable" not "proven" – because he knows all too well both his State Department and its subservient media have "zero proof" for their claims.

Fortress Europe

This was followed by more lies: that NATO was a purely defensive alliance of democracies that never meant anyone any harm – ask the Serbs, Libyans or Afghans how true that is – and that the West is not hostile towards Russia. "Over the past two decades, the United States has gone to great lengths to welcome Russia into the community of nations and to encourage its economic success," Mr. Obama claimed.

This is simply not true. Not to mention that the "encouragement of economic success" was rightly described as "the Rape of Russia", which only ended after Mr. Putin came to power. This is not the first time the Emperor has lied about Russia, and probably won’t be the last.

But the lie of "Russian aggression" and NATO’s innocence is necessary to maintain the US control of Europe. On the eve of a major NATO meeting in Wales, Emperor Obama announced plans to "further increase America’s military presence in Europe," including "American boots on the ground", but also "intelligence and surveillance and reconnaissance and missile defense."

Better yet, it’s the Europeans who are expected to pay the cost of their own occupation – their "full share," in Mr. Obama’s words – even though the US-imposed trade war with Russia is destroying their economy, already mired in welfare-statism and austerity.

Zero Self-Awareness

It is simply amazing to observe the utter lack of self-awareness in a man who says that "lies and misinformation are no match for the truth" after just having lied; who rejects a world "where the big are allowed to bully the small" though his own country is the biggest bully on the planet; and who can say with a straight face that "might does not make right" after just boasting about "the strongest military alliance the world has ever known."

If he rejects "any talk of spheres of influence today", it’s because the Imperial government believes the entire planet to be theirs.

By the time one reaches the claim that the "currents of history" that "flow towards freedom," one simply must shake one’s head in bewilderment, and wonder whether the Emperor’s speechwriter is channeling the Simpsons’ Citizen Kang.

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.