A Coherent Explanation of Obama’s Foreign Policy

Eric Zuesse

Foreign policy is both economic and military. An interpretation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy will be presented here that explains both his economic and his military decisions to-date, and that shows he’s been carrying out the policies of his predecessors in office.

On economic matters, he has turned out to be the most ambitious ‘free-trader’ of any U.S. President: he has proposed three gigantic international-trade treaties, two with North Atlantic countries (TTIP for products and TISA for services), and one with Pacific countries (TPP), not only in order to serve America’s aristocracy at the public’s expense (an international “race-to-the-bottom” in terms of workers’ wages, and race to the top in terms of stockholders’ profits and executive pay) (like NAFTA on steroids), but in order to extend the NATO military alliance against Russia, to include now these trade treaties as a companion economic alliance against Russia (to reduce Russian trade with Russia’s biggest market, which is Europe).

Obama’s economic initiative with North Atlantic countries is even more intensive than his one with Pacific countries, because his TTIP & TISA would be economic treaties that would extend the North Atlantic Treaty, or NATO, directly from the military realm into the economic realm. With his TTIP & TISA, Obama is pursuing, essentially, a NATO economic  alliance to complement the military one — virtually the same members as NATO. TPP is less important, because that treaty attempts to isolate China, not Russia — and Russia is to be conquered before a conquest of China can be even seriously considered (in some future U.S. Presidency, though Obama is also ratcheting-up the military hostility against China).

NATO was formed in the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty as being nominally an anti-communist mutual-defense treaty against the Soviet Union. But when the Soviet Union and its communism, and that communist group’s equivalent of the NATO mutual-defense treaty, their Warsaw Pact, all disbanded in 1991, NATO continued on, now as being a purely anti-Russian military alliance. In 1990, the representatives of U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush had told Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union that NATO wouldn’t expand eastward toward Russia, wouldn’t try to do to Russia what Nikita Khrushchev had tried to do to the U.S. in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 (place nuclear missiles right next door), and Gorbachev accepted those assurances and disbanded the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact on that basis, but GHW Bush had actually lied there, and NATO not only continued on, it went right up to the very borders of Russia — exactly what the GHWB Administration had promised that the U.S. would never do. 

U.S. President Bill Clinton continued this GHWB policy of conquering Russia bit-by-bit by bringing into NATO the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland — a direct violation of Bush’s verbal promise to Gorbachev. However, Bush had actually intended  this violation: Bush had told both Helmut Kohl of Germany and Francois Mitterrand of France that the promise made to Gorbachev was only a lie, and that as far as fulfilling it, “To hell with that — we prevailed, they didn’t!” Clinton — and his successors — merely followed through on Bush’s lie. Bush’s son George, in 2004, brought into NATO: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

And that brought us to Obama’s Presidency, which is increasing this assault and threat against Russia to reach now a red-hot, no longer merely Cold, War. The bloody battlefields in this war so far have been in the countries that had been allied with Russia: Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. But the Cold War against Russia became hot in Ukraine first. That’s where Obama crossed Vladimir Putin’s red line.

Russian leader Putin had long set as his red line that the U.S. mustn’t extend its NATO to include Ukraine, which has the longest border with Russia of any European country: 1,576 kilometers. If the U.S. is going to attempt a blitz-attack against Russia from next door, then Ukraine would be the most-dangerous country from which to launch it, and NATO membership for Ukraine would be the key to such success.

In February 2014, Obama arranged a coup that overthrew the Russia-friendly and democratically elected President of Ukraine and replaced his government by one that’s headed by the rabidly anti-Russian Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Obama’s operative who selected Yatsenyuk, Victoria Nuland, during the buildup to the coup, explained that, “Since 1991 [the breakup of the Soviet Union] .. we’ve invested over five billion dollars to assist Ukraine” to “build democratic skills and institutions” (which Ukraine already had, and which Obama — via her — was now tearing down). When she mentioned “1991,” she was thereby acknowledging  that GHWB had actually begun the overthrow of Ukraine. It was an exceedingly bloody coup d’etat in Ukraine, and Putin had always said that if Ukraine were to be added to NATO, that would be totally unacceptable — but now it was already in the process of happening.

Immediately, the nuclear-arms race was resumed. This was very good for America’s ‘defense’ contractors such as Lockheed Martin, but not only for them. Right behind Nuland on the platform when she spoke of “1991” (see that video) was the “Chevron” sign; and Chevron was the American oil-and-gas company that bought the rights to explore for oil and gas in western Ukraine — the area of Ukraine that had voted the most strongly against  the man whom Obama overthrew. (Chevron thus bought the safest  gas-rights. The locals there were happy to have a U.S. company exploring there.) Subsequently, a son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden became appointed by the Ukrainian owner of Ukraine’s largest gas-exploration company in eastern Ukraine, to become a board-member. (That area was extremely hostile towards the United States, angry against the overthrow, and the residents there demonstrated against that company’s fracking and wanted to shut them down.) The American VP didn’t object that his son might become a billionaire from America’s Ukrainian coup — this was considered acceptable by the Obama regime and the aristocracy that it served (most of the U.S. public were never even informed of the now-booming Ukrainian-U.S. corruption).

The overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President (who had been corrupt himself, just as all  of Ukraine’s post-Soviet leaders had been) was an effort by Obama not only to take over Ukraine but to further isolate Russia, virtually all of whose former Warsaw Pact allies were by now firmly in the anti-Russian NATO camp.

However, Obama had actually been preparing for a renewed war against (now) Russia (no longer against the Soviet Union and communism), ever since he first became President in 2009, when his Administration responded to Syria’s drought-provoked 2008 request for food-aid not with food but with scheming to overthrow also that ally of Russia. And, then, Obama dusted off an old CIA plan from 1957, which had been drawn up by the mastermind of the successful 1953 overthrow of Iran’s freely and democratically elected progressive President Mohammed Mossadegh (replacing him with the brutal Shah); and, in this 1957 plan for Syria, the secular Ba’athist Party that ruled Syria was to become replaced by Saudi-allied Sunni fundamentalists — but this plan was placed on-hold until an appropriate time, which finally arrived during the Obama regime, when the widespread ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrations added fuel to the fires of Syria’s drought.

That 1957 plan was itself a part of a longstanding CIA program.

After Putin responded to those recent foreign invasions of Syria by Saudi-backed jihadists, by Russia’s starting on 30 September 2015 an all-out bombing-campaign against those tens of thousands of foreign invaders, Saudi Arabia and its fundamentalist-Sunni ally Turkey tried to draw the United States directly into an all-out invasion of Syria against both the Assad government and its now-committed Russian ally.

In response, the Saud family teamed up with their Sunni-fundamentalist ally-and-NATO-member Turkey, to seek Obama’s support for an all-out ‘Western’ invasion of Syria to defeat both Assad and Russia, as well as to defeat two other allies of Assad: Iran and its Hezbollah ally in Lebanon.

President Obama then reached out to the leaders of various European NATO member-nations, to seek at least one of them to join with the U.S. in making this not only a fundamentalist-Sunni invasion to overthrow and replace Syria’s Ba’athist government — the only remaining secular government in the Mideast. Thus far, Obama has failed to find any; and he seems unwilling to join the Sunni-Islamic countries as the only non-Islamic invader. However, Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, is threatening to complete the 1957 CIA plan without Europe’s participation, if there’s no other way to do it. And the aristocracy’s Council on Foreign Relations recently headlined, “Divide and Conquer in Syria and Iraq; Why the West Should Plan for a Partition.” That ‘partition’ or breakup of Syria is the 1957 CIA plan. But that threat seems likely to be pure bluff from Kerry. After all, Kerry himself also says, “What do you want me to do? Go to war with Russia? Is that what you want?” He doesn’t want that. And he wasn’t bluffing when he said that he doesn’t. And Obama seems to recognize that the U.S. and NATO need at least several more years in order to have all the pieces in place for it to be launched.

As regards Ukraine, Obama seems to have given up there, too. Ukraine is being left to rot, into perhaps sequences of regime-replacements and spiraling chaos: it’s a wrecked country.

The end-result of Obama’s foreign policies, thus far, is to turn Russia’s allied nations into failed states. Whether his successor as the U.S. President will be satisfied with that (after all: it does hurt Russia), or else will ‘go for the gold’ (as Obama has thus far unsuccessfully tried to do) and resume the active quest to conquer Russia, might depend upon whether Obama can get his ‘trade’ deals passed and implemented; because, if that effort fails, then one would be hard-pressed to see any way in which the 1990-Bush-initiated war against Russia will be won, short of some sort of desperate nuclear invasion, for which Russia might be sufficiently well prepared so that whomever the survivors of that war would be (including even the top stockholders in firms such as Lockheed Martin) would wish they weren’t survivors. After all: what would any currency be worth then? Maybe enough to buy a gun and bullet to finish oneself off. Even for those corporate CEOs, their golf-days would be over, and only grim days would remain. But that’s when the true stature of such American Presidents as GHWB, Clinton, GWB, and Obama, would likewise become clear — to those survivors, or at least to the ones that don’t have the gun, or the bullet, or otherwise haven’t yet expired. It’s like the recognition-of-truth that people such as Palestinians, or Auschwitz-victims, or ISIS-victims, might have in their final moments. But here it would be happening even to the few aristocrats who cause such things to occur. Wouldn’t that be “a refreshing change”? After everything is said and done, and no one is around to enjoy it? But, anyway: it would be a change, and it would also be ironic. However, no one would be around to enjoy even the irony of it.

Obama has been carrying out a bipartisan Republican-and-Democratic foreign policy; it’s the policy of America’s aristocracy. Its results have been horrible for the world, but they’ll be even worse if it succeeds. Not only will there then no longer be democracy (but instead a global government by international corporations), but if it succeeds all the way, there won’t even be much of anything except universal misery and mass-death. It is, unquestionably, an extremely ambitious foreign policy. Thus far, it seems to be entirely in accord with the foreign policy of the Saud family. However, that may be about to change: perhaps Obama, and the United States, will simply quit its alliance with the Sauds, and separate from them. But, will Europe separate from NATO? If not, then the anti-Russia policy will continue even if the Sauds’ alliance with the U.S. comes to an end.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
  • tom

    “Obama has been carrying out a bipartisan Republican-and-Democratic foreign policy; it’s the policy of America’s aristocracy. Its results have been horrible for the world, but they’ll be even worse if it succeeds”.

    It is becoming clear that it is them or us. For myself, I would prefer that they be dealt with and we (the rest of the human race) survive.

    • cettel

      That’s not something which should be discussed in public; and whether it is being discussed in private can’t even be known by the public; so, regardless of how one views the matter, this is no appropriate forum to bring such a matter up.

  • Mencken’s Ghost

    Obama’s a free-trader because he sides with mercantilist trade deals? Mr. Zuesse, that’s not free trade. We have never had free trade. Pure free trade would elevate humanity faster and more equitably than any social philosophy ever could. Remeber that stone soup isn’t made of stones and isn’t ordered into existence by any state: it’s a spontaneous, voluntary (not coercion via legislation backed by guns, badges, courts and prisons), cooperative effort sparked by a realization of common interest.

    Obama’s a criminal, but no individual criminal can do much damage without a gigantic apparatus that acts as an amplifier, as leverage, The state enables the evil among us as no other institutional power structure can. Those treaties are evil BECAUSE they are not “free trade” as you refer to them.

  • kimyo

    i just cannot see how an observer could conclude that obama is running the show.

    that would be just as unlikely as determining that dubya was in charge.

    they are solely p.r. flacks, nothing more. obama didn’t write ttip, bush didn’t write the patriot act, clinton didn’t write nafta.

  • F.Y.I. – February 28, 2016 Wikileaks: Saudi Government Vow To Overthrow Assad But Leave Russia Alone

    WikiLeaks began publishing The Saudi Cables: more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world. The publication includes “Top Secret” reports from other Saudi State institutions, including the Ministry of Interior and the Kingdom’s General Intelligence Services. The massive cache of data also contains a large number of email communications between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign entities. The Saudi Cables are being published in tranches of tens of thousands of documents at a time over the coming weeks. Today WikiLeaks is releasing around 70,000 documents from the trove as the first tranche.


  • Patrice

    See also Alfred W. McCoy in http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-quiet-grand-strategy-of-barack-obama/ (initially published in TomDispatch sept 2015)