The United States is the world's biggest arms dealer -- guns and bombs are the only thing America really makes anymore -- and Barack Obama is the national-salesman-in-chief, jetting across the globe to sell foreign governments on how, with no down payment and low APR financing, they can be the proud owners of a U.S.-made weapon of mass murder. He'll even throw in a free undercoating.
While those who fetishize political power and the cult of the presidency would like us all to believe the American head of state meets with his counterparts abroad to engage in weighty, high-minded discussions about John Rawls and the burden of maintaining the social contract, the reality is Obama -- like Bush, like Clinton, like Reagan -- is little more than a well-dressed shill for the military-industrial complex. But don't take my word for it.
"President Barack Obama made a strong pitch for the Boeing F-18 jet fighter in a meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff," the White House announced on Sunday, according to Reuters.
Not willing to let a U.S. Manufacturer of Death lose out to some limp-wristed French company, "President Obama underscored that the F-18 is the best plane on offer," Dan Restrepo, the Leader of the Free World's top adviser on Latin America, told reporters. And boy, would you listen to that baby purr?
This is the reality, folks -- *cough* liberals. When you cried over this empty suit's election, so did Lockheed Martin's board of directors, which finally had an eloquent new spokesmodel to replace that tired, twangy one. And since taking office, Obama has served them well, waxing eloquently one day about the virtues of democracy, bringing tears to the eyes of the liberal faithful at home and in Norway, and the next selling $60 billion in fighter jets to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.
But that the U.S. president is a shill for Corporate America isn't exactly breaking news; it's part of the job description. Still, Obama's sales trip to Brazil does highlight something else: what separates a moderate Latin American reformer from a thuggish Latin American tyrant. As the article from Reuters notes, Brazilian President Rousseff's decision earlier this year to restart the bidding process for the purchase of American fighter jets was seen as "one of the earliest signs of the pro-U.S. shift under her administration"; it wasn't her commitment to freedom, liberty and apple pie -- it was her willingness to buy flying war machines that say "Made in America."
Hugo, Evo, Rafael, Danny -- take note: If you want that imperial power to the North off your back and to be seen as "pro-U.S." in the eyes of the Washington foreign policy establishment, just purchase some war-tested, Obama-approved American weapons. After all, it's better to buy them now than to have them delivered whether you like it or not.