The presidency of Barack Hussein Obama has ended. He has handed over power to the now president Donald Trump. The man who made hope a commodity and a seductive feeling for many people when he shot into the limelight in 2008 to embark on his then seemingly unlikely journey to the White House shed tears as he bid farewell to his presidency. Let us examine the legacy of the first African American president and his legacy in Africa from where his father hailed.
Barack Obama shot to prominence out of nowhere when he delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2004 where then senator John Kerry was officially nominated as the presidential candidate of the Democratic party. In a speech broadcast on primetime and lasting 17 minutes and 2297 words, he electrified the mood of the American people and launched his rise to national profile. The behind-the-scenes story of how the thin sheet resume known as Barack Obama was chosen to deliver the key note address at that convention is still a mystery. In his own book, The Audacity of Hope (a title which was from a sermon delivered by his then and later spurned pastor Jeremiah Wright), he said that “The process by which I was selected as the keynote speaker remains something of a mystery to me.” As to whether it was a strategic chess move by the Democratic faction of the American Deep State, we will not know.
The only facts we know are, Barack Obama an ordinary non-elite mixed race student of white American and Kenyan parentage at Occidental College in California transferred in 1981 to Columbia University in New York where he took classes in international relations in a political science faculty which included Zbigniew Brzezinski who had been National Security Advisor to the Carter Administration in the 1970s and one of the most powerful men in the American deep state. In another twist to the mystery, Barack Obama talks very little about his time in Columbia one of the most elite American colleges, a breeding ground for America’s up and coming elite. He spent two years at Columbia graduating in 1983. Columbia University was his ticket to the elite halls of American and white privilege. His deafening silence about this important rite of passage leaves many questions unanswered. What happened in those two years in Columbia? What role did Brzezinski play in Obama’s education and what kind of interaction did they have? The only thing we know is that Brzezinski became the architect behind Barack Obama’s foreign policy when he won the presidency in 2008. His son Mark Brzezinski served as a foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign and later was appointed by Obama as ambassador to Sweden.
Obama appeared on the national scene in 2004 after a journey which took him from a community organizer in the mean streets of Chicago where he achieved street creed and acceptance in the African American community and then the inevitable invitation to Harvard to study law. He did his stint in the Illinois State Senate to burnish his political credentials. He won his senate race in 2004 of course to become the 5’th black US Senator in history. The man without deep pockets and the right social class origins, half-white and half-black not having a wealthy white wife who could have provided him access to the moneyed caverns of the American elite but rather with an authentic African American wife suddenly shoots like a meteor to the pinnacle of American politics, a distinguished office of senatorship. The meteoric sprint to the elite school of Columbia from a two-bit Occidental college, the burnishing of street creed and acceptance in Black America in Chicago with the African American wife to cement the connection, the invitation to Harvard and then the yet again meteoric rise to the distinguished office of senatorship. And then the stupefying supernova like rise to the US presidency with a billion dollars or more in campaign funds. It all reads like a fairy tale. But it is all true, I am told that fairy tales do happen in life, maybe in another world, in another parallel universe which I am not privy to.
Thus the Obama era started in 2008, a start that electrified the world, the man preaching the message of hope and its audacity, a powerful boost to American soft power, an elegant tall black face on the brutality of American imperial power, in a world of political optics where perception and illusion rules and shapes the calibration of global power to one side, he was the perfect optical weapon deployed to save an empire fearful of its eventual demise. An empire’s power derives from the illusion of admiration and its power in the minds of subject and vassal peoples. The moment that illusion collapses in the mind of the subject people, no amount of hard military power can restore that mental power. He represented the optical weapon deployed to maintain the mental illusion in the minds of the subject peoples and vassal nations and hence the mental power of the empire. Such an optical weapon is long and carefully prepared and then unleashed at the right time.
Let us pause for a moment and reflect on the words of his Machiavellian geopolitical grand architect and strategic godfather Zbigniew Brzezinski uttered in a speech in London in 2009 to the Chatham House of International Relations. In his speech, he introduced the term the Global Political Awakening and said the following words that this global awakening is “a truly transformative event on the global scene,” since “For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. There are only a few pockets of humanity left in the remotest corners of the world that are not politically alert and engaged with the political turmoil and stirrings that are so widespread today around the world. The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination”
A faction of the American deep state where Brzezinski is a key member read the trends long ago that in a technologically changing world, the political awakening of the subject masses and vassals with bitter memories of racism and colonialism will happen. It was inevitable He wrote a book in 1970 titled “Between Two Ages- America’s Role in the Technetronic Era.” There, he said in part:
Today, the most industrially advanced countries (in the first instance, the United States) are beginning to emerge from the industrial stage of their development. They are entering an age in which technology and especially electronics — hence my neologism “technetronic” * — are increasingly becoming the principal determinants of social change, altering the mores, the social structure, the values, and the global outlook of society. And precisely because today change is so rapid and so complex, it is perhaps more important than ever before that our conduct of foreign affairs be guided by a sense of history — and to speak of history in this context is to speak simultaneously of the past and of the future.
Technology in the future would fundamentally alter global consciousness and an understanding of the correlation of global power and the lack of it among the non-west global masses. How better to prepare the American imperium to meet this existential challenge to power. The half-black and half-white young man and the master geopolitical grand architect and gatekeeper to the American deep state intersecting in those two years in Columbia University. What happened? The silence is deafening. We have a black hole of quantum imaginations here.
It was the year 2008, in a world in deep crisis with the financial crisis, doubts about American leadership and credibility following the disastrous illegal war and occupation of Iraq, anger among the non-western masses in Africa, Asia and Latin America against western corporatist globalization for economic sovereignty and dignity coupled with the rising challenges of China and Russia to American power. Russian president Vladimir Putin had drawn the first blood with his dramatic speech at the 2007 Munich security conference challenging the western world order and reasserting Moscow’s centrality in the correlation of global forces. Putin’s persona was getting popular in the non-western world striking the right cadences in sync with the aspirations of the non-west, a world reawakening, China with its turbo charged economy on the ascendancy. Was it time for the optical weapon to be deployed?
Thus spake the American deep state, “Let there be Obama, and there was Obama”. From the dusty streets of the cities in the heart of Africa, to the narrow winding streets of the Middle East, the sprawling urban jungles of Asia to the favelas of Brazil and the towns of Latin America, the world fell into a trance with the rise of a racially non westner to the seat of American imperial power at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue. He was then given the Nobel Prize in October 2009 to put an aura of humanism on the newest face of imperial bloodlust to spice up the optical illusion that was Obama.
Did the Black face of white American imperial power and arrogance channel the raging aspirations of the globally awake conscious masses to loyalty to the United States and its fading imperium? What was the legacy of the man from nowhere who rose to power in a declining America fearful of the world in which her primacy was slipping away?
His legacy in America might have been great. We outside America cannot judge as that is the business and private concerns of Americans. But we can judge his legacy in the outside world. For us in Africa, the disastrous and concocted intervention in Libya in March 2011 with the schizophrenic mantra of leading from behind led to the brutal murder of Gadhafi and the destruction of the Libya state. Today Libya is a failed state split between three warring governments in the three historical regions from which the Libyan state was created. ISIS has found a home in Libya serving as a Jihadi magnet for many of the so called moderate Islamists that Obama supported in the fight against Gadhafi. The destruction of Libya which led to lawlessness spilled over into West Africa with heavy weapons looted from Libyan army arsenals finding their way to Islamic rebels who overrun large parts of Mali including the historic town of Timbuktu with its priceless African manuscripts, a written record of African intellectual triumph when Europe was still groveling in the dark recesses of ignorance under threat and in fact many destroyed although a significant number was saved. The psychotic irony of a half-African being the primal reason for the destruction of African intellectual and cultural heritage!
In other parts of the world, he managed to drop more bombs than many past US presidents. In fact, in his last year in office, the Nobel Peace Prize winner dropped 26,172 bombs in seven countries including Libya. He has droned more people than any past US president. The black face of American imperialism has done a fine job promoting American imperialism around the world. Under him the number of US drone bases in Africa had increased. The last known drone base he established in Africa was in October 2015 when he sent a letter to the US Congress informing the American Congress about a new US drone base in Cameroon. What a legacy!
The man with the Black face who was selected by the American deep state as an optical illusion of American soft power in the world became a warmonger par excellence shedding the blood of thousands of innocents around the world. The reason why it could not be otherwise rooted deeply in the American cultural and mental DNA. A racial superiority complex which saw the extermination of the native peoples of the continental United States and then extending this behavior worldwide cannot act in any other way. The optical illusion that was Obama was a cog of a system that no amount of soft power optics could change and project around the world. He for a few precious moments in November 2008 seemed to hold the seeds of the tantalizing possibility of a different America coming to end the empire and restoring America to being a normal country.
But that was not to be. Obama could not stop the process of a decaying empire. His legacy has been to inadvertently drive the final nail into the coffin of the American empire which the promise of Trump making American great again will not change. The world has changed in which the primary correlation of global forces for the 21’st century will be to the advantage of the Eurasian Powers of Russia, China and lesser powers in Asia. It will also be a century when Africa will begin to rise from historical slumber to geopolitical and economic power. A hundred years from now, when history is being reviewed, he will be remembered by the west as the Black face that sealed the demise of the West as the sole source of global power in modern times. For us in Africa living in a revitalized and powerful Africa at that time, we will shrug our shoulders and say none of our business, he was not of us.