The more the Obama Administration takes its journey into American history, the more it should be apparent that the President is a figurehead to corporate interests which have just as big a role in shaping American policy as the office holder. That was made apparent earlier this week when Microsoft decided to block access of its popular software Messenger to Sudan, Iran, Cuba, Syria and North Korea. When the news was first announced, everyone asked why these countries and why now? Of course the logic goes they are state sponsors of terrorism, and it’s true they are recognized as such, but it’s equally true they have been so designated for over a decade and all during that time their citizens were able to use the Microsoft product, so why now?
To this observer the reason is because corporate interests do not want to see a rapprochement between the US and these countries and because Obama started his administration talking that way, this is the business world’s way of nixing any such peace deals. The president has been cut off at the knees by those interests who would rather see a continuation of hostility between America and these countries and there is no better way to promote that than to deny them a product they had been accustomed too at a time when they are trying to restore normal relations with the corporate headquarters of said business.
Sudan, in a report released in April, 2009 has been proclaimed by the State Department as taking significant steps towards better counter terrorism cooperation with America. The report went on to say
During the past year, the Sudanese government continued to pursue terrorist operations directly involving threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. Sudanese officials have indicated that they view their continued cooperation with the United States as important and recognize the benefits of U.S. training and information-sharing.
What better way to sabotage such cooperation than to undermine it with a business boycott few would say Sudan deserves.
Obama has made major outreach proposals to Iran, while America’s petulant and strident ally, Israel, has threatened that country at every turn. Despite the saber rattling, even as recently as this week, Iranian president Ahmedinajad in one of his strongest declarations to date against nuclear weapons said, the prospect of acquiring nuclear weapons ‘is politically retarded’ and not in his nation’s interest. This coming on the heels of another attempt by Israel to get international pressure to bear on Iran after floating a story that several South American countries are supplying Iran with uranium to make the bomb. Nevermind that both countries denied the accusation, once made it sticks and is difficult to remove, much like the WMD claim that still resonates with some even today. This all happens at a time, however, when Israel is coming under increasing pressure from the Clinton led State Department, and by extension the Obama administration, to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, something that has not been a part of American policy as it relates to Israel, before now.
We are all aware how the Obama administration has pledged to allow more open and free travel between America and Cuba, another thaw in an otherwise cold, and hostile relationship. It is probably accurate to say that Cuban leadership will undergo a drastic change in the next several years, with the Castro brothers getting older by the day, and that change is apparent and tangible. Yet despite the thaw, a corporate entity inserting itself between two countries, nay, five with a decision that is not only ill-timed but suspect will have a negative impact on the direction a sitting administration is trying to take.
It’s a dangerous yet calculated game Microsoft is playing with this decision because it upsets a delicate balance the official policy arm of America, a politically elected administration, is trying to make. One could even question whether such a move on the part of Microsoft is even in its best interests; allowing the countries affected to seek IT solutions with Microsoft competitors. One thing it does show is how interests beyond the government can insert themselves in a way that affect positively or negatively the interests of countries worldwide.