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Checking In Around the World

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kevin Michert of the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Josh Richman from the Oakland Tribune in California, Gautam Siddarth of The Times of India, and Lamis Andoni, Middle East Analyst for Al-Jazeera in Amman, Jordan.

Guests:

Lamis Andoni, Kevin Michert, Josh Richman and Gautam Siddarth
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Comments [1]

samir from Bay Ridge

'The World' Against Obama
Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network, greets President Obama's inauguration by publishing an article titled "Obama 'Is No Martin Luther King' " The author is one Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report, a far-left Web site that also denounces the Congressional Black Caucus for being anti-Hamas.

In his al-Jazeera piece, Ford claims that Dr. King and Obama "represent opposing moral and political camps."

Obama a segregationist? No, but it turns out that to Ford, the important thing about Dr. King's legacy is not his vindication of racial equality but his adoption, late in life, of some rather eccentric views on economics and foreign policy:

We can understand, then, how people would imagine Obama and Dr King to be soul mates.
The fact that one of these men fought his whole life against the forces of militarism and economic exploitation, while the other empowers, and is empowered by, bankers and militarists, does not register on their anaesthetised moral and political sensors. . . .
King's break with his one-time ally, Lyndon Johnson, the former president, set the standard for both political and moral behaviour.
When it became clear that the war on poverty, a programme of government aid to help the poor in the mid-1960s, was doomed by the war in Vietnam, which acted "like some demonic destructive suction tube," devouring all available resources, King publicly declared against the war.
Ford complains that Obama wants "a generally bigger US military footprint on the planet," something he believes Dr. King would oppose. There is no way of knowing what position a man would take who has been dead 40 years, but it's certainly reassuring that Obama is no Glen Ford. As for al-Jazeera, its embrace of Ford is the latest evidence of the fatuity of expecting "the world" to embrace America merely because Obama has succeeded George W. Bush.

Jan. 20 2009 04:55 PM

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