Sunday 24 April 2016

Obama makes Britain an offer it can't refuse

Obama’s threat that “is not a threat”

The Telegraph: "Why should we take advice from a president who has surrendered the world to chaos?"


Jonathon Freedman of the Guardian (should I refrain from calling him zionist presstitute" ?) has come out with a conspicuous opnion piece:

"The US president destroyed one of the Vote Leave campaign’s core arguments, ending a week that may define the referendum debate"No wonder they were desperate that he keep his mouth shut. At his podium in Downing Street Barack Obama flattered his hosts, paid lip service to the notion that the referendum on British membership of the European Union on 23 June is a matter for the British people – and then calmly ripped apart the case for Brexit."

Elsewhere the Guardian opines,Barack Obama used his farewell trip to the UK as president to make the economic and security arguments for membership

Well, have a look at this: 

If Obomber's public statement is an argument then so too it is when the Godfather "makes an offer that cannot be refused"

For those who weren't brought up on the Godfather like me:

The Godfather chief was capable of making a pretty good “argument”

Let's first just get the facts from an outside source (RT)

Back of free trade queue’: Brits slam Obama for ‘threats’ over Brexit

US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London, Britain April, 22, 2016. © Andy Rain
US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London, Britain April, 22, 2016. © Andy Rain / Reuters

The British public has been vocal in venting its anger over visiting US President Barack Obama’s remarks warning that if the UK votes to leave the EU, it would be sent to the “back of the queue” as far as trade deals with Washington were concerned.

Obama made the comments while speaking at a joint briefing in London alongside UK Prime Minister David Cameron after their Friday meeting at 10 Downing Street. The US leader is in the British capital for a three-day visit coinciding with Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.

I think it’s fair to say that maybe at some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement, but it’s not going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done. And the UK is going to be in the back of the queue,” Obama said, seemingly countering one of the main arguments of Brexit supporters, who claim that the UK would be better off negotiating trade deals on its own terms rather than as part of the EU.

I don’t think the EU moderates UK influence in the world – it magnifies it,” he dded. 

Obama’s veiled threat comes amid talks over the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal that would create a US-EU free trade zone. Recent surveys have revealed a sharp increase in the number of Europeans who believe the pact would have a negative impact on the EU’s economy and consumer protections.

Cameron responded to Obama’s comments by calling him “a very good friend” who the UK could rely upon for “sage advice.”  

The British PM, a known opponent of Brexit, also said that “Britain’s membership of the EU gives us a powerful tool to deliver on the prosperity and security that our people need.” Praising the current state of US-UK relations, he stressed that “when it comes to the special relationship between our two countries, there’s no greater enthusiast than me,” while referring to Obama as “my friend Barack.”

I've spent the afternoon in talks with . The special relationship is as strong as ever.
The British PM also talked about security issues, hailing the Iranian nuclear deal, fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, as well as imposing sanctions on Russia, as major US-UK achievements. .....[ ]

I've left out the rest of the article because I think that the British media can speak for itself

It would be an understatement to say that a large part of the British media (outside liberal apologists like the Guardian) is absolutely (and quite justifiably) up in arms.

Let' s just have a small look:

The Daily Mail

Don’t you dare leave the EU, warns Obama: Fury as President threatens British people with ‘going to back of the queue' for trade with America after Brexit

The Express

Boris Johnson: UK and America can be better friends than ever Mr Obama... if we LEAVE the EU

And finally from the paper that is NOT a tabloid but as close as you'd get to the (Eurosceptic) mouthpiece of the Tory Party, the Telegraph.

"The iron fist of a message inside that velvet glove of carefully recited claptrap about the special relationship is that Obama’s America wants us to stay in the conveniently monolithic, homogeneous trading bloc with which it can most easily do business"

This article is worth quoting in full.

Could this bizarre intervention have been more cynical or wilfully misinformed? In the end, it seemed to come down to trade advantages – to what might once, back in the day, have been called the global interests of US corporate capitalism. Mr Obama even made specific reference in his article in Friday’s Daily Telegraph to the importance of current negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would reduce barriers to US business interests in the European Union.

On the same day, 38 Degrees – a front group for the more proactive elements in the public sector unions – took out full-page newspaper adverts campaigning against the adoption of TTIP (“…no trade deal should give corporations more power than people”). If the Labour Left were not in such disingenuous disarray, they could be making a meal of this. In any event, unnamed US trade officials were being ominously quoted as saying that, in the event of Brexit, the UK would come very low on America’s list of priorities for new trade agreements.

Then Mr Obama himself abandoned such subtlety in his joint press conference with the Prime Minister. Should the UK go its own way, he said, there would be no trade agreement with the US any time soon. Maybe some time down the line, as he put it, we could work something out. But the UK would be “in the back of the queue” because the US would be dealing with the big boys. So this isn’t a warning: it’s a threat. Stay in the EU and make way for American competitors, or else.

Our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done. The UK is going to be in the back of the queue.

----Barack Obama

The iron fist of a message inside that velvet glove of carefully recited claptrap about the special relationship is that Obama’s America wants us to stay in the conveniently monolithic, homogeneous trading bloc with which it can most easily do business. In other words, the tentative US economic recovery needs us to sacrifice our country’s judicial independence and the primacy of our parliamentary system, just as the US once sacrificed so many of its young military officers for our survival. That’s the deal.

But there is no indication, either in Mr Obama’s words or his actual foreign policy, that America would now be prepared to make another such sacrifice for its allies. The withdrawal of the US from world leadership – from being what Mr Obama’s people refer to disparagingly as “the world’s policeman” – has been one of the most dramatic developments on the international stage of the past eight years.

Into the vacuum left by that withdrawal has stepped (or strode) Vladimir Putin, who can’t believe his luck. At just the moment when Russian national pride desperately needed a renaissance after the mortifying collapse of the Soviet Union and the infuriating rise of all those Lilliputian upstarts in the old Eastern Bloc, along comes a US president who announces in no uncertain terms that America wants to pull out of the global power game. Make no mistake, this began long before the funk over removing Assad in Syria – which Mr Obama has outrageously blamed on David Cameron’s failure to win a parliamentary vote – or the “leading from behind” fiasco in Libya, which Mr Obama also blames on Mr Cameron for having the audacity to think that the US might have been prepared to lead from the front. No, the Obama isolationist doctrine was there from the start: deliberate and consciously chosen.

It began in his first term as president when he visited Eastern Europe and gave a series of speeches to make the point: the countries that had once required America’s protection from a Soviet superpower were now emerging democracies and fledgling free-market success stories. They could take care of themselves militarily in future. The interceptor missiles that had been scheduled to arrive in Poland, courtesy of the US, would not be delivered. Although they had never been intended as any sort of threat against Moscow, Obama still allowed this move to be seen as part of his “reset” of relations with post-Soviet Russia.

At home, this was presented as a refusal to pay forever for the protection of a Europe that was no longer threatened by aggressive Communism. The disproportionate share of the Nato budget that the US had been stumping up could be better spent on the kind of welfare and health provision that Europeans took for granted.

All this suited Putin’s self-image as a global strongman perfectly. America and the West had definitively won the Cold War, and were now apparently unconcerned that they might lose the peace. Putin saw clearly that no one would stand in his way when he launched his irredentist assault on eastern Ukraine. Not only did he annex Crimea but the forces he had unleashed shot a civilian airliner out of the sky – which might have been seen as a contemporary sinking of the Lusitania. He went from triumph to triumph, playing hard-faced poker against Washington’s half-hearted attempt at chess. In the Middle East, Obama’s White House scarcely shows any interest now that it is no longer dependent on the region for oil. It can only be roused to do what is minimally required to keep Americans safe from Isil terrorism.

But permitting Russia’s proxy, Assad, to remain in place in Syria, as American inaction does, drives every dissident in the region into the arms of anti-Western extremism, and puts American (and European) security at the mercy of a Russia-Syria alliance. Not to mention the salient fact that Assad’s genocidal tyranny fuelled the migrant rush to the European borders. Was Mr Obama aware of that great success story of EU collaboration, in which an emergency was turned into an international tragedy by bureaucratic incompetence and a complete collapse of cooperative goodwill? The abandonment of border checks inside the EU, combined with the unilateral decision by Germany to encourage mass entry, created a living hell in which organised people-trafficking on an industrial scale became a fixture of life.

When this referendum began, what seems an eternity ago, I was unsure how I would vote. Membership of the EU on a day-to-day basis is pretty much all gain for me, because I am an affluent professional who benefits from the supply of inexpensive domestic help, willing tradesmen and convenient travel that the EU provides. Unlike those whose wages are being undercut by cheap imported labour, or who cannot afford to buy their own homes because of the pressure on housing from unlimited immigration, I have lost nothing.

But I believe in democratic legitimacy, which means paying attention to people who do not have my advantages. So should I go for self-interest, or for political principle? Watching this campaign, with its unscrupulous attempts to bully and terrorise a brave and conscientious electorate, has made up my mind. I shall be voting for Leave.

Threaten Britain and then go and have a game of golf...

I will leave you with this from Zero Hedge

One Day After Threatening The UK, Obama Plays Golf With David Cameron

Following his anti-Brexit Op-Ed which sparked much controversy and confusion as to just why the US president was interfering with yet another domestic issue, Obama held a press conference with UK PM David Cameron in which he in no uncertain terms threatened the UK with trade retaliation if the country were to exit the EU.

He said that "it's fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement but that's not going to happen anytime soon because our focus is negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done. And the UK is going to be in the back of the queue, not because we don't have a special relationship but because given the heavy lift on any trade agreement, us having access to a big market with a lot of countries rather than trying to do piecemeal trade agreements is hugely efficient."

Friday's full press conference can be watched below:

Incidentally, as reported earlierthousands of Germans are protesting precisely the kind of "big trade deal" that Obama wants to entice the UK with, as support for the TTIP there has plunged from 55% in 2014 to only 17%. Germany is not alone: support for Obama's "fair trade" deal has also tumbled in the US, with those supporting it tumbling from 53% to just 18%.

While it is unclear if Obama's latest diplomatic snafu has hurt the anti-Brexit camp, what is clear is what Obama did the day after. He played golf with David Cameron, perhaps a hint of the "benefits" that any future premier will be deprived of should the democratic UK vote be against remaining in Europe.

It was Obama's 286th round of golf in office, but the first time that Obama has golfed during an international trip, according to CBS News' Mark Knoller.

As Reuters reports, Obama played a round of golf with British Prime Minister David Cameron at an exclusive course north of London on Saturday, making time in a busy overseas travel schedule for his favorite weekend pastime. Obama's motorcade raced 20 miles (32 km) to The Grove after a meeting with the leader of Britain's opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn.

"The game at The Grove, a resort that is due to host the British Masters tournament later this year, is a sign of the close personal relationship between the two leaders: Obama rarely mixes business with his preferred way to take a break, and almost always golfs with friends and staff."

Reporters were allowed to watch as Obama, ignoring damp and chilly weather, emerged from the long grass near a duck pond.

"Ooooh!" Obama groaned as he narrowly missed what appeared to be a 12-foot shot.

"Did you see that?" he shouted to reporters. "Robbed!"

There was no official word on the score.

Saturday is golf day for Obama, who usually plays on Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington.

He also plays in places where he travels, such as the stately Olympic club in San Francisco when he was in the Pacific coast city earlier this month.

He golfs most days of his summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard, and during the winter holidays in Hawaii, where he has played against the prime ministers of Malaysia and New Zealand.

He has played Tiger Woods, and occasionally golfs with other sports stars, but rarely against other politicians. While on holiday in 2014, he delivered a somber statement on the murder of an American journalist by Islamic State militants - and then proceeded directly to a golf course to play 18 holes.

* * *
On Sunday, Obama heads to Hanover, Germany for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, where he will pitch the TTIP, his legacy "free trade deal", precisely the kind of deal that he is threatening the UK with. The reason: support for said mega trade deal in Germany has cratered.

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