Anyone tuning into the news headlines yesterday could have been forgiven for doing a swift double take at the calendar to ensure we hadn’t somehow fast forwarded to April 1.
First up we had the outgoing US President Barak Obama writing a magazine article in which he criticised “the US’s oldest allies” Britain and France for their catastrophic imperialist adventurism in Libya saying that they had dragged the US into the folly and then left the country in a mess…
Obama particularly criticised David Cameron for failing to secure parliamentary approval for the debacle and attacked then French president Nicolas Sarkozy for grandstanding and boasting of France’s decisive role when in fact it had been the US who had done the dirty work for him.
Now, on the one hand this is actually an unusually accurate assessment of the situation from a US president, not often known for their grasp of foreign affairs, geography or anything else for that matter.
Dubya wouldn’t even have known where Libya was. He probably thinks Tripoli is an Italian ice-cream flavour.
On the other hand, however, this is the president of a nation which has carpet-bombed over 80 countries around the world, many of which, such as Cambodia and Laos, it wasn’t even at war with.
A country which has illegally subverted, destabilised and overthrown democratic governments across Latin America and beyond funding, arming, training and working alongside death squads responsible for the murders of hundreds of thousands of trade unionists and left wing activists.
A country who fabricated another country’s history to impose the shah on Iran in 1953 and has used the same formula again and again to install and prop up puppet regimes in furtherance of their interests and the fight against “communism.”
A country which has kept Cuba under effective siege for over half a century for having the temerity to overthrow Uncle Sam’s pet dictator Fulgencio Batista and its refusal to bow down before its threats and intimidation.
And that’s before we even get to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria which, let’s face it, could not be described as unqualified successes.
So, basically we have the US president interfering in other countries’ affairs to lecture those countries for interfering in other countries affairs.
This column yields to no-one in its loathing of Cameron and Sarkozy. Their smug and entirely premature triumphalism in Benghazi was truly repugnant but they were merely aping Bush and his infamous “Mission Accomplished” moment aboard a US aircraft carrier in 2003.
But I’m damned if I’m going to listen to any lectures from a lame-duck president who couldn’t even keep his own house in order, extended the “war on terror” and signally failed to end the torture and illegal imprisonment of innocent detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Both Downing Street and Washington were apparently rattled by the outspoken criticism with the White House quick to issue a statement praising the “special relationship” and to remind Britain to keep its mouth shut and keep buying their weapons or else.
Oh it’s a special relationship all right, like that between abuser and victim.
Turning closer to home and another unholy alliance was formed this week when Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gave an interview on the European referendum and the refugee crisis in which he claimed that it was “outrageous” to call members of the public who raise genuine concerns about immigration as racist.
His comments were gleefully seized upon by anti-EU crusader Iain Duncan Smith who seems to have conveniently forgotten that Welby basically called him Satan incarnate over his savage attacks on the poor and vulnerable.
IDS gushingly welcomed the Archbishop’s comments which was quite a U-turn from the Work and Pensions Secretary who had previously suggested that the Church should keep its nose out of the business of government.
He said that for years the “elite” had shut down the debate on immigration and that anyone who raised the issue was portrayed as xenophobic.
Ok, a few points if I may.
First, IDS seems not to have noticed the crucial use of the word “genuine” in the Archbishop’s comments.
That is as opposed to the knee-jerk reactionary scaremongering that the Tories and IDS in particular seem to rely upon in an attempt to justify every act of brutality and sadism they inflict on the undeserving public.
Second, they don’t come much more elite than the mansion-dwelling freeloader and millionaire Duncan Smith.
He’s not exactly Spartacus. More like an onanistic Nero fiddling with himself while the welfare state burns.
And, last but by no means least: the reason that those who continually rail against the evils of immigration are accused of being racist… is because in approximately 99 per cent of cases that’s exactly what they are.
And while IDS may well be part of the 1 per cent in financial terms, when it comes to immigration he’s just a common or garden bigot.