Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from an African American point of view.

Barack Obama and the Future of American PoliticsLong time activist, researcher and scholar Paul Street offers perhaps the most clear-heded and meticulously researched dissection yet of the career of the current president, along with a frank assessment of the possibilites, good and not so good, in an Obama administration.

In part 3 of this hour-long interview with Dr. Jared Ball, Street completes his exploration of the phenomenon of Barack Obama and what it means to black and progressive politics.

Direct download: 20090615_jared-interviews-paulstreet3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:51 PM

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
When the Bush regime encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in 2006, it may not have realized the fierce forces it was unleashing in the Horn of Africa. Now its Somali allies are on the verge of total defeat at the hands of Islamists. The U.S. claims the ever-shrinking regime in Mogadishu is besieged by foreign jihadis, but “most analysts maintain the fighters are overwhelmingly homegrown.”
 
U.S. Allies on the Ropes in Somalia
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The American-supported Somali faction is now in desperate straights.”
Islamist forces in Somalia are demanding the surrender of the U.S.-backed regime that has been squeezed into a small pocket of the capital city, Mogadishu. The ultimatum, made on Sunday, demands the so-called government lay down its arms within five days. The mini-state refused, apparently counting on the arrival of reinforcements Burundi, in Central Africa. Another U.S. ally, Rwanda, guards Mogadishu airport under the job description of African Union peacekeepers.
As the military situation deteriorated for Washington’s side in Somalia, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson – that’s right, Johnnie Carson, like the deceased comedian – was trying, without much evident success, to convince African heads of state to go along with the American military program in the Horn of Africa.
The Americans encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in late 2006, creating the worst humanitarian crisis on the continent, according to the United Nations. The Ethiopian occupation provoked fierce resistance among the Somalis, forcing the Ethiopians to pull back, but not out of the country. The American-supported Somali faction is now in such desperate straights, it last month literally begged neighboring countries to invade. That shameless abdication of national sovereignty appears to have only led to more desertions from the incredibly shrinking government’s ranks.
“Carson was looking for more troops from a wider range of countries to save America’s allies from absolute defeat in Somalia.”
If Washington learned anything from militarily supporting the Ethiopian invasion, it was that Somalis hate being occupied by foreigners. Last week, at the summit meeting of the African Union, in Libya, the Obama administration’s Johnnie Carson appears to have discovered it was not a good time to put imperial pressure on African heads of state. Carson was looking for more troops from a wider range of countries to save America’s allies from absolute defeat in Somalia. All Carson got was a promise of 800 soldiers from tiny Burundi which, like its neighbor Rwanda, acts as a mercenary for the United States in Africa.
The American’s Somali allies claim Islamist forces are backed by 1,000 foreign jihadis, although most analysts maintain the fighters are overwhelmingly homegrown. But a regime that invites invasion by its neighbors, including the hated Ethiopian military, clearly has no credibility as a defender of the nation.
It would appear that the U.S. is holding a bad hand of cards, in Somalia. But superpowers always have options. One card that still plays well is President Obama, himself, whom the world wants to believe is a man of reason and diplomacy. The Obama administration is loudly declaring it would be “counterproductive” for Ethiopia to move back into Somalia in large numbers – but that Ethiopia has legitimate security concerns. What all this means is, Ethiopia will increase its presence in Somalia, while trying to keep a low profile, while Washington showers the continent with bribes to procure more foreign soldiers to shore up its dwindling friends in their little corner of Mogadishu.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20090707_gf_somalia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:42 AM

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The International Criminal Courts narrow preoccupation with crimes by Africans, as opposed to every other people on the planet, has had a unifying effect on the continent. By consensus agreement, the 53 nations of the African Union agreed to ignore the ICC's directive that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be arrested by member states. Said the AU's commission chairman: “If you don’t want to take into account our proposals…we are also going to act unilaterally.”
 
Africa Rejects Criminal Court Order on Sudan, Moves Toward Unity
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The International Criminal Court indicts Africans because it thinks it can get away with it.”
The heads of state of the African Union (AU) last week denounced the International Criminal Court, agreeing that none of its 53 member-states will honor the court’s demand that nations arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if he sets foot on their soil. The consensus agreement was reached at the 13th summit meeting of leaders of the African Union, held in Libya under the AU’s current president, Moammar Gadhafi.
Gadhafi also spearheaded an agreement to move closer toward the goal of African continental unity by giving the African Union commission more powers to coordinate continent-wide defense, diplomatic and trade policies.
At least on paper, it was not a good week for European and American imperialism in Africa. Libya’s Gadhafi said: “I am sure the founding fathers of Africa are smiling in their graves today.”
The African Union’s rejection of the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudan’s president on charges of crimes against humanity in the Darfur region signals a dramatic break, not only with the court, but with American and European attempts to foment regime change in Africa. Jean Ping, chairman of the AU commission, put it bluntly. Africans, he said, “are showing to the world community that if you don’t want to listen to the continent, if you don’t want to take into account our proposals…we are also going to act unilaterally.”
“Libya’s Gadhafi said: 'I am sure the founding fathers of Africa are smiling in their graves today.'”
In fact, it would be more accurate to say that there is no such thing as a ‘world community’ without the continent of Africa – and there can be no credible legal action taken against Africans without Africa’s consent.
The International Criminal Court has shown itself to be a white man’s tool. In the last seven years, it has restricted its war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations solely to the African continent. Amnesty International claims that Africa’s credibility has been undermined by its refusal to comply with the international court’s order. What racist, Eurocentric nonsense! When 53 nations representing a continent of the world’s people reject the machinations of the court, it is the court that is revealed to be devoid of all credibility. And that goes for Amnesty International, as well.
Human Rights Watch was even more arrogant, accusing Libya of “bullying” the other heads of state at the African Union summit. Human Rights Watch has a twisted idea of who the real bullies are in this world. Global imperialists get a free pass, while insults and indictments are reserved for Africans. Yet these European- and American-based organizations wonder why they’re not welcomed in many countries. As Sudan’s foreign minister declared, correctly: “Most Africans believe [the court] has been set up against Africa and the Third World.”
The International Criminal Court indicts Africans because it thinks it can get away with it, but ignores European and American culpability in atrocities around the globe, including in Africa. The United States refuses even to join the court, and has always ignored international law as a matter of policy. If the U.S. and Europe are allowed to act unilaterally in their perceived interest, then it’s about time the continent of Africa act forcefully and collectively in Africa’s own interests.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

Direct download: 20090708_gf_au_vs_icc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25 AM

shrunken_uncleA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The drive to replace the U.S. dollar as the de facto global currency brings the American empire that much closer to ultimate dissolution. U.S. imperialism’s accelerated decline is best dated to the invasion of Iraq six years ago. In the face of Washington’s general threat to establish itself as the “New Rome,” “much of the planetary community conspired to find ways to break the unequal ties that bound them to the empire.”
The Shrinking American Empire
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Imperialists believe that everything can be made into a weapon with which to bludgeon the rest of humanity into submission.”
The day before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, back in March of 2003, I wrote a piece called “They Have Reached Too Far” – “they” being U.S. imperialists. I was on that day, as U.S. tanks revved their engines in the sands of Kuwait, preparing to cross into what Washington thought would be a glorious future of global domination, that a crack opened up in time, and it was clear as a desert day that the U.S. empire would be swallowed up in that widening crack – maybe in my lifetime.
George Bush and his gang had rolled the dice, betting everything on a land and resource grab designed to save a parasitical system through world-defying theft and awesome – Shock and Awesome – intimidation. But there was not the slightest doubt in my mind that they would fail catastrophically, although no one could predict precisely how the disaster would unfold.
It was also clear that the U.S. aggression against Iraq should not be narrowly interpreted as all about Israel or about oil or about further expansion of U.S. spheres of geopolitical dominance or about beating back the challenge of the euro. It was simultaneously about all of those things, and more. Empires seek to dominate the very planet, to set the terms for every human transaction. Nothing is beyond the ambitions of empire. Imperialists believe that everything can be made into a weapon with which to bludgeon the rest of humanity into submission.
So I wrote, back in 2003, that the impending Iraq war was
an oil currency war, a preemptive strike against the euro’s potential to challenge the U.S. dollar as the sole denominator of petroleum purchases. By seizing the Iraqi oil fields and positioning itself to do the same in Saudi Arabia, Iran and throughout the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea and South Asia, the U.S. can stop the euro cold and rule as its own OPEC, awesomely armed and dreadfully dangerous.” The dollar would “remain supreme, backed by the oil reserves of the globe.”
The American threat to humanity was so general, and so generally perceived and felt, it achieved the opposite of what Washington had wished.”
And that was part of the overall Plan: to set the terms of trade in oil and everything else on the planet, extracting wealth from all the world’s people while creating nothing but terror and, hopefully, submission. But the American threat to humanity was so general, and so generally perceived and felt, it achieved the opposite of what Washington had wished. Rather than the world acclimating itself to the rule of the “New Rome,” as the imperialists were openly calling themselves, much of the planetary community conspired to find ways to break the unequal ties that bound them to the empire.
The Iraq invasion greatly accelerated the process of U.S. imperialism’s decline, so much so, that only a few years later the American Lords of Capital found themselves turning to a Black man to put a dramatically different face on their imperial enterprise. But Barack Obama cannot save them. The U.S. dollar’s days as the world’s reserve currency are numbered, and when the dollar is finally dethroned, only the military aspect of the imperial husk will remain.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

 

 

Direct download: 20090708_gf_shrining_empire.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46 AM