“ …. Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other. …… The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional, and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.” – Barack Obama (Oslo, Norway December – 2009)
At the end of his term as 2009 Nobel Peace awardee, I come to understand better Obama’s rather contradictory speech at the Oslo Nobel ceremony last year.
Obama’s personal peace convictions have come up against the reality of the tasks of the man that took over the Oval Office from a belligerent predecessor who left him the bitter inheritance of a questionable invasion of Iraq and a rather shaky strategy to defeat Al Qaeda’s expansive terrorism at its Afghanistan roots. No less relevant was the status of international relations with the European allies across the Atlantic or the state of the thawing Cold War with defunct USSR’s successor, Russia.
The recently concluded NATO Summit celebrated this weekend in Lisbon has taken a gigantic leap towards a stronger military alliance that has declared Russia, at last, as an ally. The Cold War seems to have been finally buried for good, or least up till a new confrontation crops up between Russia and the USA.
Why my reluctance to accept Lisbon’s alliance declaration at face value?
First, Medvédev and Obama signed earlier this year a renewed START agreement that should conclude in a joint reduction of their missiles’ arsenals. Nevertheless, said agreement may never come into effect if and when the new Republican majority in the US Congress decide to reject same. Both Republicans and the White House are presently engaged in a bluff & counter-bluff game to put pressure upon each other prior to the constitution of the new Congress in January, 2011.
Second, Afghanistan topped the NATO meet priority list and the conclusions reached of a gradual withdrawal to end in 2014 seemed to please not only Karzai but the NATO members as well. Not so, Medvédev, who doubts that such deadline is realistic.
Third, instead of heading towards peace, NATO expansion with a missile shield to protect Europe with Russian cooperation, may well be a means to combat international terrorism but likewise it is a sign that more wars and conflicts are expected from territories to the East of Europe.
Are we about to set new standards for ‘just war’ which may well surpass reasons of shear military logistics to enter other areas of international relations such as economics?
Are we assisting to a new distribution of geo-political power that will only move the demarcation line further towards the East of the Atlantic?
Has President Obama’s brief stay in Lisbon been intended towards a Western-front pact with Russia included to curtail other world powers from the temptation of going beyond their economic ambitions?
So far, since I started my posts in this English blog in April, 2009, my humble views have made bulls-eye on major international issues. Those who have followed my Spanish blog http://www.blogger.com/profile/06825435168558835379 since 2005, have seen that we have likewise pointed out certain flaws in US-EU relations which have led to this rather estranged situation, apparently cleared in a 90-minute meeting as an appendix of the NATO Summit. Unfortunately, time will prove that encounter insufficient to patch the tattered relations dating back to the clashes during the 8-year Bush Administration. Obama has not been too observant to realise that his problems back home in such vital issues such as the economic crisis, climate change and military alliances have only one possible firm ally – the European Union.
Obama has now reached his objective, the EU’s support and that of Russia for a missile shield. Likewise, the NATO partners have approved his proposal of a more powerful NATO military alliance. Nevertheless, Obama in his metamorphosis has left out his search for peace and a more balanced distribution of wealth to curtail the miseries of millions in underdeveloped nations around the world. He has become unworthy of the Nobel Peace Award granted him in 2009.
His true problems start now not only in the home front but before millions of citizens of different races, religions and cultures who had looked up to him as a symbol of democracy in peace.
Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.
Observer of Human Behaviour