This may be a week late but it’s given me some time to think the event over in my head. I’m not going to analyze local media’s reaction, which is pretty standardized and uneventful Jordanian reporting. And I’m not going to attempt to articulate the average Jordanian’s stance on Obama’s trip, because honestly the overwhelming majority probably didn’t know he was in town and even if they did, they wouldn’t care. Nor am I going to talk about Obama’s meeting with HM King Abdullah over dinner and a midnight drive to the airport with the King behind the wheels (eliciting Fox news to go so far as to call him a chauffeur).
These are the fine details; the microscopic and insignificant salient details that can be interpreted in a million ways.
I’d like to zoom out for a moment.
American dominance over this world has become so heightened that the entire planet Earth is now a stage for their elections. In the Arab world, the general perception on the street is that America runs the world and can do whatever it damn well pleases, and that’s a perception that seems to be proven with a small trip like this.
Think about it.
Obama’s trip abroad is all about one thing: boosting his presidential credentials that have come into question. The trip, as noted by pretty much every observer, political analyst and pundit on the planet, was designed to highlight Obama’s foreign policies, and his ability to demonstrate strong American
dictatorship leadership abroad.
And that’s exactly what he managed to achieve.
Think about it.
How many countries in the world would you see a Senator, not a head of state mind you, but a Senator, who can use the world as a prop; as a stage? Because that’s exactly what it was. He traveled around telling everyone what they wanted to hear, and was treated like a president by everyone, including the heads of state in those countries. Even these heads of state have to be careful as to not make their support for either candidate too obvious as it might jeopardize their relationship with the winner: the man they have to work with for the next 4-8 years.
How essential do you have to be to garner such international treatment? To have the stones to use the world as your stage and have everyone participate in the farce like our countries were some American trade union or political lobby whose support the candidate was attempting to lure.
And that’s another point: a great portion of our lives are depended on the outcome of an election in a country thousands of miles away; an island. Their foreign policies are that influential on our very livelihood. And by “our” I mean the third world, and especially Jordan; something that differentiates us from perhaps the Europeans who have other things to worry about with regards to the US elections.
Whether it’s aid, programs, water, fuel, military support, political support, economic support; a great deal of all of this is based on American policies in the region and specifically Jordan.
USAID and MCC are American aid programs that have poured hundred of millions into nearly everything in Jordan. From water facilities to colleges, to the military, to health care to just about anything you can think of in this country. It’s called aid but anyone with half a brain knows nothing’s for free in this world and everything comes at a cost; in this instance the cost is political.
Yes, Jordan is in the most volatile region in the world, yet it seems we are less affected by the ongoings of our neighbors and more affected by American foreign policy in the region, than anything else. Whether it’s free press or lack thereof, or unemployment, inflation, energy costs, the cars we drive, the shows we watch, the technology we use, the clothes we wear, the jobs we hold, and/or the lives we lead: nearly all of it is dependent in one way or another on American foreign policy. It’s not simply the stability of a regime, but the stability and sustainability of a people. On a domestic and regional level. People – we – tend to forget this.
And so we play this charade like it’s something out of Shakespeare.
Obama and any other senator, congressman, mayor, governor or councilman running for elections can come to any of these countries and expect to receive some red-carpet treatment.
And that concludes my rant for the day.
Thanks for reading.