At the risk of being branded cynical, I have chosen the above headline to celebrate the victory of Barack Obama, modifying it from the headline of an alert, “From Blair to Brown – The Killing will Continue”, dated 23 July 2007, published by one of my favourite websites “Media Lens”.
We know the importance of the first para in any story (the intro, or the lead, or the lede); how it ought to hook you and make you want to read on. Here is the first para of the above piece, published by Media Lens when Gordon Brown took over in 2007 from Tony Blair, who had become the British prime minister in 1997.
“The first truth of American foreign policy is that it is formulated to maximise corporate profits and state power. The second truth is that it is perennially sold to the public as a mission to spread freedom, democracy and human rights. The third truth is that the first two truths apply regardless of whether the Republicans or Democrats hold power.” (Taken from “From Blair to Brown – The Killing will Continue”, Media Lens Alert, 23 July 2007.
This direct and heavy dose of reality is required to counter-balance the heady hysteria that may engulf you, given that a “black” man has become the 44th president of the USA.
The authors of the above piece go on to address the moorings of British foreign policy itself:
“The first truth of British foreign policy is that it is also formulated to serve elite power. The second truth is that it is rooted in unwavering support for US policy, including participation in attacks on defenceless Third World targets – the reason London, not Stockholm, has been subject to September 11-style suicide attacks.
"The third truth is that this foreign policy is always sold in a way that echoes US claims of humanitarian intent, so lending a veneer of international legitimacy and support. It is of course very much easier for a “coalition” to claim to be expressing “the will of the international community” than it is for a rogue superpower acting alone.
"The fourth truth is that these truths apply regardless of whether Labour or Conservatives hold power. Finally, because the collision between the reality and appearance of policy becomes increasingly obvious over time, the fifth truth is that a change of British government is always said to herald a change to a more moral foreign policy. This transformed policy is always said to be driven by idealistic new minds acting out of revulsion at past ‘mistakes’ – the slate can thus be wiped clean and media gullibility rebooted to the default setting.”
If you read Indian newspapers (between the lines) and watch our TV channels (between the images), you will grasp the truth of what the authors say. With the signing of the nuclear deal, India too is slowly becoming part of US foreign policy. And if Obama starts to signal that attacks on “defenceless Third World targets” like Pakistan are called for, in order to flush out the terrorists, I am sure the Indian government will jump to the bait.
Like my lectures on truth and objectivity, this piece is like the tip of an iceberg: intended to arouse and provoke. Please navigate the links and comment here itself. Remember, “Comment is free, but facts are sacred.”
Pune, Wednesday, 5 November 2008.