As Romney and Obama prepare do battle over foreign policy in their third and final debate on Monday night, anti-war activist Brian Becker says viewers shouldn’t expect tough questions to be asked – or for foreign policy to change anytime soon.
Whether it’s a Republican or Democrat in the White House, one thing will remain consistent. US foreign policy will still be driven by power structures in America – principally the military industrial complex and big oil, Becker told RT.
RT:You're a long-time campaigner against America's foreign military campaigns. Which candidate would be the least warmongering – and how would you predict the winner's policy to pan out?
Brian Becker: I think if we take the debate tonight and the reflective positions of the two candidates and staged it as a theatrical production, we would borrow the words of William Shakespeare and say “It’s much ado about nothing.” US Foreign Policy, regardless of whether the party in the White House is Republican or Democrat, is consistent. And the consistency is based on central power structures in America that drive US foreign policy – principally the military industrial complex and big oil. And I think we can see and expect that even though the rhetoric will be different tonight than it has been during the campaign, that fundamentally the two candidates represent a foreign policy based on the new empire – the American empire that superseded the British Empire at the close of World War II. And I think that’s what we have to look forward to.
RT: Both Obama and Romney will try to highlight their differences on how they see America in the world. But with such similar views on, say, the condemnation of Iran and the support of Israel, how much difference is there really?
BB: Well, I think there’s differences in terms of what they’re trying to do in terms of positioning themselves for the electorate in these last two weeks. Romney is clearly pitching to the military industrial complex and big oil and some of the big banking backers. Of course that’s a question of appealing to power and money so when he talks about Russia being the primary foe of the US, that he seems to be ready to go to war at the drop of a hat against Iran, that he’s condemning the Bush administration for creating a weaker America – all of that is a demagoguery designed to appeal to a particular power center in American politics. They may not have most of the votes, but the military industrial complex, big oil, the biggest banks, they of course have outsized influence in terms of the outcome of the election, so that’s what Romney is trying to do. He’s trying to tell them that even if we’re going to cut tens of billions of dollars from social programs in a Romney administration which they intend to do – and they will under Obama too – that nothing will be taken from the military industrial complex. So it’s sort of a naked appeal to the forces of militarism which of course are also the forces of big business in America.
RT: Are there any vital foreign policy issues neither candidate would want to touch during the final debate?
BB: There’s something that has to be understood about American politics, because it is an empire – because it is the dominant political and military and economic force in the world – what happens in the world also impacts the American people. So you see Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s was a dominant part of the political consciousness there. During the Iraq invasion, the American people turned against another war in a third world country. Likewise, there is now a majority opinion against Afghanistan. I think the candidates have to be very careful, because while they want to position themselves as the best defenders of the empire, they also have to recognize that the American people are sick and tired of war after war after war and sick and tired of having the national treasury drained so that tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands – of public sector workers’ jobs are lost but the military coffers keep growing and growing. So they’re in something of a vice but of course the media in America is so complicit with the media propaganda campaign of the military industrial complex, I don’t think we’ll have many hard questions asked to either candidate.