The Era of American Leadership Is Over

a bankrupt and discredited country

Vast numbers of people in the
United States and abroad are hoping that President
Obama will end America`s illegal wars, halt
America`s support for Israel`s massacre of Lebanese
and Palestinians, and punish, instead of reward, the
shyster banksters whose fraudulent financial
instruments have destroyed economies and imposed
massive sufferings on people all over the world. 
If Obama`s appointments are an indication, all of
these hopeful people are going to be disappointed.

James Petras

Obama`s foreign policy appointments and
finds the largest collection of Zionist militarists 
outside of Avigdor Lieberman`s far right political
party in Israel.  

Petras concludes that Obama`s
"diplomatic" team has Iran in its sights, an hostility that meshes
with Israel`s own intent.  Not realizing that a
member of the press had been mistakenly invited to a
selected audience, the Israeli ambassador to
Australia said that Israel`s attack on Gaza was a
dress rehearsal for a major attack on Iran. 
Netanyahu, the expected winner of Israel`s March
elections, has again declared that Israel will not
permit Iran to have a nuclear energy program as it
would provide the basis for developing nuclear

It makes no sense for Israel to
baldly state its intention to attack Iran if Israel
does not mean it.  What if the Iranians believe
the Israelis and decide to strike first with their
long-range missiles?  

Obama`s economic appointments
are just as discouraging.  Obama chose as his
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the man who
helped Bush`s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson,
engineer the
$700 billion dollar rip off
of the US taxpayer,
money that was gifted to the crooked banksters who
destroyed Americans` pensions, jobs and health care

These banksters, and the
negligent federal regulators that enabled them,
should be put in prison, not handed hundreds of
billions of dollars.

Instead, Obama has appointed
one of the chief orchestrators of the rip off to the
helm of the Treasury.  Obama`s National
Economic Council is just as depressing. 
Clinton`s Treasury Secretary,

Larry Summers
, is its head.  Summers
recently declared that he had no inkling that a
financial crisis was about to hit.  Why did
Obama put a person without a clue in charge?

Summer`s colleagues are just as

Obama has appointed Diana Farrell,
lead author
of a phony study that claimed offshoring of American
jobs is a win-win game for Americans, as deputy
director of the National Economic Council. 
Farrell is affiliated with McKinsey & Company, a

firm that helps American corporations offshore their
.  In his book,  Outsourcing America,

Ron Hira
tore Farrell`s McKinsey report to

Why not appoint Ron Hira and
Nouriel Roubina, who predicted the crisis, to the
National Economic Council?

With Israel`s most fervent
American allies whispering in one ear and banksters
and offshoring propagandists whispering in the
other, how can President Obama fulfill any of the
hopes that people have?

The discouraging fact is that
even when faced with crisis in the economy and in
foreign policy, the American political system is
incapable of producing any leadership.  Here we
are in the worst economic crisis in a lifetime,
perhaps in our history, and on the brink of war in
Pakistan and Iran while escalating the war in
Afghanistan, and all we get is a government made up
of the very people who have brought us to these

Just as the Bushites could not
admit the failure of their man, the Obamacons will
not be able to admit the failure of their man.

The era of American leadership
has passed.  America`s shyster financial system
has brought economic crisis to the world. 
America`s wars of aggression are seen as serving no
purpose except the enrichment of the military
industries associated with Dick Cheney.  The
world is looking elsewhere for leadership.

Vladimir Putin made a play for
this role at Davos, where his speech at the opening
ceremony was the most intelligent speech of the

Putin reminded
the World Economic Forum
"just a year
ago, American delegates speaking from this rostrum
emphasized the US economy`s fundamental stability
and its cloudless prospects.  Today, investment
banks, the pride of Wall Street, have virtually
ceased to exist.  In just 12 months, they have
posted losses exceeding the profits they made in the
last 25 years."

Putin made his case that the
existing financial system based on the US dollar and
American financial hegemony has failed. 

Putin showed that his economic
understanding was superior to that of the Obama team
when he said that creating more debt on top of the
as Obama is doing, would
"prolong the

With another swipe at America`s
failed economic leadership, Putin said it is time to
get rid of virtual money, false financial reports,
and dubious credit ratings.  Putin proposed a
new reserve currency system to
"replace the
obsolete unipolar world concept."

Putin said that a secure world
requires cooperation which requires trust.  He
made it clear that the Americans have proven that
they cannot be trusted.

This was a powerful message. 
It got a lot of applause.

Paul Craig Roberts [email
] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term.  He was Associate Editor of the
Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of

Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington
and the Soviet Economy

Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

for Peter
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.