HARTFORD, CT, March 4, 2013 – Glen Ford, co-host of Black Agenda Report, has been a journalist and political activist – a provider of “information for liberation,” as he puts it -- for more than 40 years. He is also an unrelenting critic of U.S. domestic and foreign policy, lambasting the United States during a recent lecture in McCook Auditorium for its flouting of the rule of law.
Although Ford, whose program airs on the Progressive Radio Network, was slated to speak about “Black Politics, Obama and Foreign Policy,” President Barack Obama was largely a footnote at the end of his talk. Instead, he spoke mostly about European and American imperialism and exploitation of what used to be called Third World Countries but today are more commonly described as developing nations.
Ford’s appearance was one in a series of lectures by prominent speakers during Black History Month at Trinity. Ford created the first syndicated black radio news magazine in 1971; the first syndicated black news interview program on commercial TV in 1977; the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show in 1987; and co-published BlackCommentator.com in 2002 and BlackAgendaReport.com in 2006. In addition, he was a founding member of the Washington Association of Black Journalists and a member of the executive committee of the National Alliance of Third World journalists.
During his 90-minute talk, Ford emphasized what he perceives as the economic – and particularly the manufacturing – decline of Western nations, noting that although some economists have predicted that China will surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy by 2016, others believe that it occurred in 2010. Ford referred to that dynamic as the “economic eclipse of the United States and Europe,” and said China would be joined by Brazil and other developing nations as Western economies continue to fade.
Although China and other Asian countries have become “the [global] center of manufacturing,” what has kept the U.S. apace is that its primary advantage, according to Ford, is its “war machine.”
Ford began his lecture by recounting some of the history of the 19th and 20th centuries, calling the League of Nations “a white man’s club” and President Woodrow Wilson “the most overt racist of the 20th century.” Ford said World War II ended with the U.S. as the “only intact industrial power on the planet,” and alleged that what kept this country as the dominant post-war super-power was its nuclear weaponry.
In terms of Vietnam, Ford said the U.S. violated international law by its military intervention and that this country has had “a murderous record in Africa.”
“U.S. lawlessness happens when the empire begins to collapse,” he said. “It began with the triumph of financial capital over manufacturing capital and when the lords of capital on Wall Street came to dominate the U.S. economic and political life.”
Evan after the economic meltdown of 2008, Ford said, Wall Street and corporate America continued to wield a disproportionate amount of power and have succeeded in shipping industrial capacity and jobs overseas. The consequences of that will be felt far into the future, he said. “Wall Street is where it is by rigging the markets.”
Ford noted that China now holds about $1 trillion in U.S. debt and that the U.S. “doesn’t even bother to compete with China on trade deals.”
Ford again asserted that this country’s trump card was its military might: “the guns, the drones, the threats and the bullying.” That led him to conclude that, “the rule of law and the rule of the gun are antithetical.”
He had unkind words for President George W. Bush, calling the war in Iraq “the product of Texas insanity.”
About two-thirds of the way through his lecture, Ford got around to discussing Obama; he was no more complimentary of his policies than of his predecessors. Ford described Obama’s foreign policy as “insidious,” and alleged that the administration doesn’t view war as the last resort but as a “good thing to do” if it’s perceived to be in the country’s best interest. And he said Obama has waged war in the name of “humanitarianism.”
Ford criticized Obama’s response to the political uprisings in the Middle East, known as the Arab Spring, and said the administration had no idea how to respond to the changes that were taking place. He particularly took the U.S. and Europe to task for their “massive show of force” in Libya and in demonizing Muammar Gaddafi.
Ford told his audience that the Obama doctrine means that it doesn’t matter how many people are killed on other nations’ soil, what matters is how many Americans die in the process. And if none or few do, the policy is a success. Ford called Obama’s reliance on drones “a methodical attack on international law.”
Ford said the same is true domestically. “If the rule of law is an impediment to foreign policy, then it must be an impediment here at home. Due process no longer exists in the United States. Due process is whatever process the president says it is.”
As for Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who Obama nominated unsuccessfully to be secretary of state, Ford said she has been directly involved in the cover-up of genocide in Rwanda and Uganda. “It’s sickening to watch black congressmen praise her,” he said.
Ford concluded his remarks by saying that John Kerry, who recently was approved by the Senate to be secretary of state, will not change anything but will mark a continuation of the Obama administration’s insidious foreign policy.