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‘Black Bar Mitzvah’ for Obama?

22 January 2014, 20:34


I believe that somewhere in the back of his mind, US President Barack Obama entertains thoughts of having a presidential finale that would resemble the mythical Black Bamitzvah. A cabinet to celebrate the coming of age of Black politicians and to appease tens of thousands of those who died during the Passage and the US Black Holocaust. In my medium term Crystal balling I see Obama sneaking back into his administration current National Security Advisor Susan Rice to become his Secretary of State and inviting former Secretary of State Gen Collin Powell to head the Pentagon.

This probably sounds too pragmatic; however we all know there was once a time that Obama was pragmatic (at least in one speech delivered in Cairo years back) before he was  tied down by interest groups and lobbyist. That, including the extrajudicial programmes he inherited from George W Bush castrated his Nobel Award winning pragmatism and exposed him to real-politiks of dark Capitol Hill.

Powell, the most decorated Black soldier in recent US history looks like a winning bet since Obama has demonstrated in his first term through retaining Robert Gates and incumbent Chuck Hagel that he has no qualms giving the stick to Republicans while the Democrats wield a carrot. It will also be the last time that Powell can be seen and heard; plus Hagel is carrying too much political baggage from his softening on Iran and hardening on Israel.

However my crystal ball says Democrats would be a lousy lot if they betted all their 2016 White House chips on Hillary Rodham Clinton alone. She needs to run with a few other suitable decoy candidates; and who else to enter the race alongside her than current Secretary of State John Kerry. The chap lost the contest once so he knows the ins-and-outs of debating Republicans, something Clinton still has to demonstrate outside the Senate.

With a team that will include former President Bill Clinton, former deputy Al Gore and incumbent Obama; there’s no way Rodham can drop the ball.

So, Kerry might be sent to bat for the team, even as a decoy; given that he has more international experience and clout than token Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio and bigger-than life front-runner New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Two former senators running against one Republican Senator and a governor might give the Democrats the candy before the baby is served. The recent Bridgegate scandal never helped Christie one bit.

Everybody already knows what a Republicans in the White House will do; bomb Iran and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Maybe at this stage you are wondering how will Rice; discredited after the Benghazi debacle  sneak back into the team; given that she was vetoed by the same bunch when Obama nominated her first? Simple; the House elections in November might not produce miracles but they might teach a few Republican right-wingers that their duty in the House is not to serve settlers in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem but the American people. Even with massive Israel lobby funding some are not going back to Capitol Hill.

In that state of confusion and political realignment; add to that faultlines about who should bat for the Republicans in their 2016 game against the Democrats; the former UN Ambassador can be slipped back into cabinet without fanfare. Intra-party consensus in Washington is difficult 24 months before an election. Everyone will be out posturing.

We all know that Clinton is tipped to win the Democratic ticket and stand a good chance of becoming the first woman to lead ‘the greatest nation on earth’ (American exceptionalism; yuck!). Kerry’s situation will be compounded by the Israeli lobby in Washington led by American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

However Capitol Hill monikers would like to pull that wool over our faces and convince us that there is something called a Jewish lobby which to my surprise does not lobby for Ronnie Kasrils or Noam Chomsky. The biggest lobby group is actually made up of fundamentalist Christians United for Israel.

AIPAC is an Israeli Zionist not Jewish lobby since Jews don’t have consensus on Israel’s right to exist on Palestinian land. I never believed South West Africa was part of South Africa even when we had troops and settlers there. I also failed to understand why we had to keep Walvis Bay after Namibian independence.

I also never believed we had to keep troops on captured Angolan territory because it was strategic to South Africa’s security. So, nobody is campaigning for the Jews in Washington but Israeli occupation interests.

Kerry, who earlier this month learnt from sources that Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon thinks he’s wet behind the ears in understanding history has scuppered his chances at the White House by trying to unhinge that Mideast Elephant in the Room – stalled peace talks.

This former Senator learnt the hard way that taking a J-Street approach to peace is heresy; that process is best left stalled. One even wonders why he believes in a George W Bush façade called a Two-State Solution.

His effort to start the process with dodgy six months’ red lines that don’t take into consideration the 1967 Green Line have irked the same chaps who sponsored Republican hawks Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in their last attempt at power; and billionaire Sheldon Adelson doesn’t want to wake up one morning with such a ‘pro-Palestinian’ pragmatist in the White House.

So, Adelson and AIPAC, or whatever other Israeli lobby groups are out there will gamble their chips with another Republican horse tipped to lose than Clinton who they believe is likely to bring back Kerry; either as a deputy president or another diplomatic incarnation positioned to be a pain in the occupation enterprise’s backside. Kerry’s fairy-tale is doomed even before ‘Once upon a time’ is scribbled.

So, ja, Obama might have a Black Bamitzvah after all; which might be what his father and those charismatic preachers hammered in his head before he took the road to Damascus.

Gakwi Mashego is a political analyst, speechwriter and founder director of Smokin' Gun Media

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