6 August 2012, 13:30

Obama and his baseball bat: “speak softly and carry a big stick”

Obama and his baseball bat: “speak softly and carry a big stick”

A picture is worth a thousand words and this time the picture in question, a photo of U.S. President Barack Obama holding a baseball bat while speaking to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is seen as a clear threat to the prime minister of the staunch U.S. ally and the sovereign nation of Turkey.

Imagery is very important and the White House is acutely aware of that, therefore the release of the photo can in no way be something as innocent as Obama possessing a love of baseball, a claim made by the White House.

Had he been dressed in a tracksuit and tennis shoes perhaps we could have been convinced of Obama’s sporting virtues and love of sports, yet the photograph shows Obama in his official uniform, complete with jacket and tie, as he very demonstrably holds a baseball bat with a white-knuckle grip.

Perhaps Obama has taken the example of Teddy Roosevelt a little too literally and decided to proceed with his Middle East plans as Roosevelt did with the Monroe Doctrine, his corollary being: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

Roosevelt, who quite possible coined the phrase himself, claimed the phrase was a West African proverb, some saying he did so to show what a prolific reader he was. The phrase and Obama’s carefully composed Oval Office photograph point to the idea of negotiating diplomatically while threatening with a big stick, something so amoral and Machiavellian in nature that it really has no place in our modern “civilized” world, yet which characterizes U.S. foreign policy.

With the U.S. launching wars of aggression at will and already engaged in a campaign of re-shaping and subjugating the entire Muslim world, and most of the planet for that matter, posting a picture of the so-called “leader of the free world” with a baseball bat while stating clearly who he is speaking with, is to a rational person, a very thinly veiled threat at military aggression.

Since the White House was kind enough to inform the world as to the topic of the discussion he was having with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pronounced Er-do-wan) over the phone, that being Syria, it is clear that the message was that Turkey had better toe-the-line when it comes to Syria.

Turkish politicians and the Turkish people were clearly insulted by what many see as a clear threat by the U.S. According to Metin Lutfi Baydar, a Turkish politician with Turkey’s Republican People’s Party, who has been heavily quoted in the press: ” The photo reveals from whom our Prime Minister receives orders to rule the country…” Hmm, orders to rule the country? Interesting.

Another reaction from the Turkish side was by columnist Ahmet Hakan, for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, who wrote: “We need to do something – retaliation seems to be the most reasonable method. Our prime minister needs to hold something in his hand as he’s calling Obama… perhaps a slipper, a belt or a rolling pin.”

The Prime Minister himself told Turkey’s Haber news channel that Obama is “a friend who never falls short of respect or politeness.” clearly a diplomatic acquiescence to his all powerful “friend” Obama.

The Western media, forever apologists for the U.S. when it comes to foreign policy, was quick to publish White House disclaimers and statements as to the innocence of the photo in question.

According to White House spokesperson Caitlin Hayden: “We released the photo with only one purpose in mind, to highlight the President’s continuing close relationship with Prime Minister Erdogan and draw attention to the important conversation they had about the worsening situation in Syria.”

To tell us that it was an innocent photo is to insult our intelligence and an attempt to make us believe something that is highly unlikely. The White House, which employs the world’s best propaganda experts and media analysts, does not make such gaffs.

The whole affair brings to mind a photo by the Bush White House, which was quickly pulled and disappeared from the net as quickly as it appeared, it showed Bush standing with his arms outspread and his head tilted in a sympathetic and merciful manner with a chandelier in the background appearing as a halo over his head, a clear imitation of images of Jesus Christ. This was a clear message promoting Bush’s view that he was on a mission from God.

The White House knows exactly what it is doing. Imagery is a powerful tool and this time the adage; “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true or applicable.

Have a good one, wherever you may be.

The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Voice of Russia.

The author can be reached at robles@ruvr.ru

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