william blum: “our leaders do not mean well”

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

THE ABRIDGED STATEMENTS BELOW are lifted from an ar­ticle ti­tled “Our Leaders Do Not Mean Well,” which is an in­ter­view by Daniel Fal­cone of au­thor William Blum for Truthout (Jan­uary 4, 2014). Blum is a former anti-commie-turned-anti-war-activist and un­der­ground news­paper pub­lisher. In 1966, he was one of the founders and ed­i­tors of the Wash­ington Free Press, the first al­ter­na­tive paper in the na­tion’s capital.

Fal­cone: How do you think people that are a part of the elec­torate today dif­fer­en­tiate Pres­i­dent Bush from Pres­i­dent Obama, and what are the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two in ap­proach of the of­fice in terms of diplo­macy, meaning in terms of diplo­macy or for­eign affairs?

Blum: I cannot name any sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in for­eign policy be­tween Bush and Obama. Obama is, per­haps, worse. He’s in­vaded six na­tions al­ready. I cannot think of any way to point out that Obama is less of an im­pe­ri­alist than Bush. The Obama sup­porters would love to think he’s better and they would argue even—and they do argue that it’s the Re­pub­li­cans who forced him to do what he did.

I get this again and again. If Obama was free to do what he wants, he would be an angel or at least much better than he is now. I don’t buy that. He’s the most pow­erful person in the world, and he’s just lacking courage—he’s lacking be­lief, too.

There’s nothing re­ally im­por­tant to that man ex­cept being pres­i­dent of the United States. That he likes. He likes what goes with that.

But there’s no issue that he would not com­pro­mise on. He’s willing to take any side of any issue in order to get elected. So he’s no better than Bush. Bush at least be­lieves what he says, I think. Obama doesn’t even do that.

Fal­cone: Going back to what you were saying about ed­u­ca­tion ear­lier, do you think that it’s pos­sible to get an un­der­standing of how the world is or­ga­nized without being self-taught? Or is this some­thing that is a skill that you must ac­quire on your own?

Blum: One doesn’t have to be self-taught. One can learn in all kinds of ways. One can have a teacher that in­spires them. If I had had a teacher like that, I might not have had to be­come self-taught. But I didn’t.

Blum is best known today for his book Killing Hope: U.S. Mil­i­tary And CIA In­ter­ven­tions Since World War II (2003), whose title should tell you all you need to know. His cur­rent book is ti­tled Amer­i­ca’s Dead­liest Ex­port: Democ­racy – The Truth About US For­eign Policy And Every­thing Else.


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