By ENVER VILLAMIZAR
On June 29, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed a joint sitting of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons following the end of the North American Leaders’ Summit that day. Obama’s speech comes in the twilight of his eight-year Presidency, at a time when U.S. society is mired more deeply than ever in a social crisis, with young black men and other sections of the people being killed with impunity by police while the U.S. is engaged in more wars and conflicts than ever. It also comes in the midst of the U.S. election campaign, where the stated aim has become to “unite the nation” behind a war president capable of “Making America Great Again.”
Despite the conditions facing the United States itself and the resistance of the peoples worldwide to its imposition through force of the neo-liberal program of the monopolies, Obama used the opportunity to present an image of himself as an elder statesman passing the torch of what is called “progressive values” to a younger Trudeau. CBC correspondent Murray Brewster put it this way: “U.S. President Barack Obama handed the torch of progressive politics to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday in a warm, rousing speech to Parliament, in which he also bluntly urged Canada to spend more on defence to meet its international obligations.”
In his remarks Obama laid out a program for the United States of North American Monopolies and Canada’s position within it which has already been worked out secretly behind closed doors between various officials of the two executives. In the arrangement, Canada as a servile entity is being given its new marching orders by the U.S. In this arrangement Trudeau is being hailed by Obama as a fitting successor to himself on the question of “rights” and so-called progressive values so as to disarm the people’s movements, especially as concerns matters of war and peace in both countries. The speech laid the groundwork for a new arrangement for the United States of North American Monopolies in which Trudeau serves as the velvet glove covering the iron fist of neo-liberalism and war of the U.S. imperialists headed by the intended war President Hillary Clinton. Obama came to Canada to lay out for Canadians the role the country is to play in the service of U.S. imperialism’s striving to maintain its dominant position and suppress any independent movement of the peoples for the New.
During his speech he went on to receive some twenty more standing ovations from all parties and guests. Even after he finished, shouts of “Four more years!” resounded through the House.
It is nonetheless disgusting to see a war president of Obama’s calibre, who has authorized drone warfare and a policy of targeted assassinations in lieu of providing problems with political solutions, receive a sustained standing ovation and cheers when he entered the House of Commons to address the joint session of the Houses of Parliament and special invited guests. During his speech he went on to receive some twenty more standing ovations from all parties and guests. Even after he finished, shouts of “Four more years!” resounded through the House.
In this writer’s opinion, it is reminiscent of the time when Hitler marched into Austria in the Anschluss of 1938 with the Nazi-installed head of the Austrian government welcoming him and his occupying army with open arms, voluntarily lifting the border gates to the Nazi army and in so doing offering up the country, its natural and human resources, territory and military to the Nazi war machine. This was a prelude to invasions and occupations of other lands and World War Two.
Talk of “shared values”
Obama’s speech was riddled with references to shared U.S. and Canadian values, which he presented as universal, much like Trudeau’s assertion that there is no core Canadian identity, just a set of shared values. In this way both Obama and Trudeau, through sleight of hand, seek to eliminate any notion of independent countries and peoples in the northern American hemisphere in favour of the establishment of a single North American state. Obama stated, “[O]ur history and our work together speak to a common set of values to build on, proven values, values that your prime minister spoke of in his introduction, values of pluralism and tolerance, rule of law, openness, global engagement, and commerce, and co-operation, coupled with equal opportunity and an investment in our people at home.” At one point he referenced “the colours of the rainbow flag lighting up the White House and flying on Parliament Hill” as an example of the shared values of the two countries.
Shame on the political parties in attendance on Parliament Hill that day which were in total denial of the ongoing racist killings of black youth in the United States, the targeting and entrapment of Muslims, attacks on immigrant workers, pay-the-rich policies and massive war preparations. It was a declaration of support for the seizure of executive power in a striving to avert civil war and “make the U.S. great again.” Obama added, “It’s because we respect all people that the world looks to us as an example.” All of it has the aim of making sure the anti-war movement is destroyed and the polity is depoliticized. With the support of the cartel party system, and all the “extra-parliamentary” wings and social organizations in their service, the peoples of the United States, Canada and Mexico are to be rendered powerless, incapable of waging the resistance struggle and upholding the rights of all. Not even the gullible believe that the U.S. imperialists can be trusted at home or abroad to defend the peoples’ rights. Experience shows that our security lies in the fight for the rights of all.
Obama lauded Trudeau for his “moral leadership,” giving as examples Trudeau’s promise of reconciliation and a new relationship with Indigenous peoples, and receiving Syrian refugees at the airport. He spoke as if he was yearning to do the same in his own country. It was in this manner that through his speech Obama sought to pass the torch to Trudeau as the moral conscience of “Third Way” imperialism for the United States of North American Monopolies with Hillary Clinton the enforcer commander-in-chief.
Obama focused his promotion of Clinton as the next U.S. President on her being a woman to divert attention from the fact she seeks the post of war president. Referring to the few months in 1993 when Kim Campbell took over as Conservative Prime Minister after Brian Mulroney resigned, Obama said, “Here in Canada, a woman has already risen to the highest office in the land. In America, for the first time, a woman is the presumptive nominee of a major party, and perhaps president.” He continued with the diversion, declaring, “[O]ur work won’t be finished until all women in our country are truly equal, paid equally, treated equally, given the same opportunities as men; when our girls have the same opportunities as our boys.”
Pushing neo-liberal free trade as “progressive”
Obama also interfered directly in Canadian politics by trying to disinform the opposition in Canada to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He said the TPP is necessary because of unfair tariffs and other practices used by countries in the Asia Pacific region which do not play by the rules. The TPP is allegedly necessary to be able to penetrate their markets like they penetrate ours. Obama then went on to rehash bogus arguments from the Bill Clinton era concerning the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas at that time, casting “free trade” as a progressive measure that will defend workers’ rights and even limit the global monopolies’ attacks on working people. Experience has proven otherwise. He tried to appeal to the moral conscience of Canadians, which Trudeau presumably champions: “[I]t also affords us the opportunity to increase protections for workers and the environment and promote human rights, including strong prohibitions against human trafficking and child labour,” he said, adding, “And that way, our workers are competing on a level playing field and our businesses are less prone to pursue a race to the bottom” (emphasis added).
Such sophistry is typical of the Obama presidency and has been taken up holus bolus by the Trudeau government which has become expert in presenting night as day and the violation of rights as progressive. It is precisely this role that Obama wants Trudeau to play in the new arrangements in hopes of destroying the people’s resistance movements and their opposition to war and exploitation at home and abroad.
In keeping with the image of an idyllic partnership between the U.S. and Canada based on common values, Obama said, “the only forces crossing our borders are the armies of tourists and business people and families who are shopping and doing business and visiting loved ones. Our only battles take place inside the hockey rink.” This he said as if there were not already U.S. security forces and troops operating openly and clandestinely on Canadian soil, and as if Canada’s armed forces were not under U.S. command in NORAD and through other arrangements wherever the two militaries operate together around the world.
“Universal values” to push imperialist war and interference
After seeking to establish the “shared values” of Canada and the U.S. and telling tales to hide the massive U.S. imperialist intrusion into the lives of Canadians, Obama sought to breathe new life into the discredited colonial notion of white man’s burden. This he recast for modern times as the “responsibility to protect,” of which the Liberals have historically been eager champions. The U.S. is counting on Canada to once again provide the “moral” justifications for imperialist aggression and occupation in the name of “protecting innocents.”
“In fact, both the United States and Canada believe our own security, and not just prosperity, is enhanced when we stand up for the rights of all nations and peoples to live in security and peace,” he said. “I don’t believe that these are American values or Canadian values or Western values. I believe and Justin believes and I hope all of you believe these are universal values and we must be bold in their defence at home and around the world, and not shy away from speaking up on behalf of these values of pluralism and tolerance and equality.” Then, cutting to the chase of what Canada’s role will be at this time within the imperialist system of states, Obama said, “I fear sometimes that we are timid in defence of these – these values. That’s why we’ll continue to stand up for those inalienable rights here in our own hemisphere, in places like Cuba and Venezuela, but also in more distant lands, for the rights of citizens in civil society to speak their mind and work for change; for the rights of journalists to report the truth; for the rights of people of all faiths to practice their religion freely.”
Right on cue, eight days later Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion issued a statement directly interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs, specifically in its judicial system. Dion called for the release of Venezuelan counterrevolutionary leader and convicted criminal Leopoldo López and others convicted of inciting violence and other crimes under Venezuelan law. He called them political prisoners to divert from their crimes and promote the lie that the government suppresses dissent.
Obama also spoke about Colombia and the peace process taking place in that country to end a decades-long war financed, armed and instigated by the U.S. under various pretexts, including the so-called War on Drugs. He spoke of “North America” being a partner, saying, “Colombia is poised to achieve a historic peace, and the nations of North America will be an important partner to Colombia going forward, including working to remove land mines.” Then, again eight days later, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau travelled to Colombia – her first trip to Latin America – to shill for various post-conflict projects Canada says it is going to undertake for “women and girls and demining.”
Annexation of Canadian embassies as tools for imperialism
Obama also discussed the program undertaken by the Liberals to complete the annexation of Canada’s diplomatic corps into U.S. imperialism’s schemes for destabilization and regime change. “Around the world, Canadian and American diplomats working together can make a difference,” he stated. This alludes to the fact that the Trudeau government has mandated meddling in countries’ internal affairs in the name of promoting “human rights and freedom” as a “core activity” for all ambassadors and other heads of mission. As announced by Minister of Global Affairs Stéphane Dion on May 17, all embassies will have their performance monitored and reviewed based on their promotion of “human rights, freedoms and inclusion” in foreign countries.
This coincides with the Liberal government’s creation of the new Office of Human Rights, Freedom and Inclusion. It amounts to making Canadian embassies a kind of laboratory for promoting “Canadian values” and using social media to connect directly with and promote dubious “human rights activists” in targeted countries where the U.S. wants regime change. In Venezuela, Canada’s ambassador specializes in this type of “direct diplomacy.” In Syria it was recently revealed that a Canadian diplomat has been playing a key role in mobilizing and coordinating forces intent on regime change. It appears that under Trudeau such activities are being made the norm at a time when the world’s people despise the role the U.S. embassies play as bases of foreign intervention.
U.S. wants Canada to play a bigger role in NATO
Obama appealed for increased resources and troops from Canada to be placed under its command through NATO to suppress the peoples of Eastern Europe and to threaten Russia and other non-NATO countries in the region. “Meanwhile, when nations violate international rules and norms, such as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the United States and Canada stand united, along with our allies in defence of our collective security,” he said.
“And doing so requires a range of tools, like economic sanctions. But it also requires that we keep our forces ready for 21st century missions and invest in new capabilities. And as your ally and as your friend, let me say that we’ll be more secure when every NATO member, including Canada, contributes its full share to our common security. And if I can borrow a phrase, the world needs more Canada,” which was met by one of the 20 standing ovations. During this ovation Obama added: “NATO needs more Canada. We need you. We need you.”
Ten days later at NATO’s Warsaw Summit, Canada announced a significant increase in the number of forces deployed to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. This includes leading a battalion in Latvia and an increased naval and air force presence to harass and provoke Russia on land, in the air and on water.
Immediately following the NATO Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland visited Ukraine to sign a Free Trade Agreement as well as to observe Canadian troops in action alongside Ukrainian military forces. Canadian troops were taking part in war games targeting “Russian-backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine.” In other words, suppressing Ukrainians’ opposition and resistance to the regime installed in Ukraine by a U.S.-backed coup in 2014.
Obama also appealed for increased Canadian involvement in the perpetual “war on terror.” “[W]ith Canada’s additional contributions, including training Iraqi forces, our coalition is on the offensive across Iraq, across Syria, and we will destroy the terrorist group ISIL. We will destroy them. We’ll continue helping local forces and sharing intelligence from Afghanistan to the Philippines so that we’re pushing back comprehensively against terrorist networks.”
Days later, Canada announced $465 million to continue funding Afghanistan’s Security and Defence Forces, which the U.S. is training and accompanying on their combat missions, as well as “to support women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment, and to help meet the basic needs of Afghans.” Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also paid a visit to Erbil in Iraq this week for meetings with “Iraqi and Kurdish” officials and to inspect Canadian troops put under U.S. command as part of its Global Coalition Against ISIL. The government noted that Sajjan will attend a summit of Coalition defence ministers.
Obama’s passing of the torch to Trudeau and the sycophantic support this received in the House of Commons from MPs reveals the schemes afoot to further embroil Canada in the United States of North American Monopolies for the purposes of dominating rivals internationally through the use of force. This is the program Obama came to sell to Canada and that he is instructing Trudeau to implement. All of the smoke and mirrors reaffirms the importance of Canadians building the movement for an anti-war government to withdraw Canada from NATO and NORAD and other aggressive military alliances and arrangements which place Canadian troops and territory at the disposal of the U.S.
Whatever one thinks of Obama as an individual, or Trudeau for that matter, the fact remains that the Canadian, Quebec and Indigenous peoples have their own thinking and right to decide the direction of their society. They have common cause with the American people who also oppose wars of aggression and occupation and do not want their sons and daughters sent abroad to be used to slaughter others and to be slaughtered. Canadians must pursue peace by pursuing their own nation-building project which rejects being subsumed into the United States of North American Monopolies. The opposition of the workers of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to neo-liberal free trade deals as well as to imperialist war makes this clear.
Canada must stand as a force for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, non-interference in the affairs of other nations and fraternal relations amongst all peoples of the world. This is the stand of Canadians which was completely hidden from view with the “warm welcome” Obama received from those who have usurped elected positions by manipulating their positions of privilege and power.
Source: TML Weekly, July 16, 2016 – No. 29