‘Isolate, stoic and a killer’ - Mir Adnan Aziz - Thursday, February 10, 2011

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=30443&Cat=9&dt=2/10/2011

“And he wore a kingly crown / And in his grasp a sceptre shone;/ On his brow this mark I saw: / I am god and king and law! / For with pomp to meet him came, clothed in arms like blood and flame, the hired murderers, who did sing thou art god, and law, and king. / We have waited, weak and lone for thy coming, mighty one! / Our purses are empty, our swords are cold, give us glory, and blood, and gold. / Then all cried with one accord; Thou art king, and god and lord!” (Shelly, “The Mask of Anarchy.”)

The United States calls itself the global champion of human rights and democracy. But its interventionist policies have wrought death, misery autocracy and anarchy. No other country can stake a claim to the interventionist crown, so strong and blatant is the United States’ global role in intervention.

Those who proclaimed Washington lord, king and law have ultimately brought ruin to their states and societies. Individuals like these are democratic America’s autocratic allies. After they assume power through US intervention, military or non-military, their opulence grows phenomenally, while the fortunes of their countries and masses plummet, beginning with a slide towards economic ruin. Never are these individuals called to account for their crimes.

By the time Ferdinand Marcos was ousted in February 1986, the Philippine dictator had accumulated a personal fortune of 7,500 tons of gold. Leila Trabelsi, the wife of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, flew into exile with 1.5 tons of gold. Gamal Mubarak, the son Hosni Mubarak was grooming to succeed him, landed at Heathrow with 97 attache cases. Mubarak’s personal fortune is estimated at $70 billion and his reportedly plane waits, engines running. Many others like him continue to thrive in power.

In the late 1980s Washington developed a novel mechanism of political intervention. It launched “democracy promotion” programmes around the world, the phrase being a buzzword for political interventions. These brought together an array of US governmental and non-governmental organisations, think tanks, financial institutions and private corporations.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and several other branches of the State Department are allocated billions of dollars to be doled out to the “weak and lone with the empty purse.” Either directly or via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which The New York Times described as “a quasi-governmental foundation created by the Reagan Administration in 1983 to channel millions of federal dollars into anti-communist private diplomacy.”

Political intervention has been partially outsourced to USAID and the NED. Organisations that receive USAID and NED funds include, among a host of NGOs (including some in Pakistani), the Centre for Democracy (CFD) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). These organisations and state and non-state actors coalesce into a complex and multimillion-dollar political “reform” network.

Many see US foreign policy as one displaying aggression, insensitivity and intrusion. It is also seen as based on hypocrisy and selective morality, which is blatantly evident in the criminal case of “technical adviser” of Raymond Davis. The Sept 11 attacks appear to have come as Godsend to the Bush administration, bringing with them demons in many forms, from Al-Qaeda to a nuclear Pakistan. The “war on terrorism” became the latest construct for America’s historical aim of world hegemony.

The invasion of Iraq was part of a broader American effort to transform the Middle East through the use of military power. However, the $3-trillion war served to strengthen Iran, weakened US influence and increased the United States’ military vulnerability, of which Afghanistan is a proof.

The adventure in Afghanistan, annually costing $1 million per soldier, became a US nightmare. It has seen a resurgent Taliban gaining military, moral and political dominance. The incessant drone attacks and bombings in Pakistan, the relentless “do more” arm-twisting to pressure this country to extend the war theatre to North Waziristan, the presence of hordes of unleashed Blackwater-type contractors and spooks of the kind of Raymond Davis. All these have worsened Pakistan’s instability through its population’s frustration and hatred with regard to the US.

“Governments deal with the US...not because they trust us... Some because they fear us....most because they need us,” Defence Secretary Robert Gates commented following the Wikileaks barrage. “We are still essentially the indispensable nation.” In the words of novelist and poet D H Lawrence, “the essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

The result is a total erosion of US moral authority, and a diplomatic and military decline. Now America has lost its economic clout too, with a national debt of about $10 trillion.

With the departure of President Bush, the world expected the realisation of the “change” promised by Barack Obama. This expectation was despite the fact that in 2007 the Democratic presidential hopeful had declared that “no president should ever hesitate to use force--unilaterally if necessary--to protect ourselves and our vital interests.” These words had neocon guru Robert Kagan dubbing him “Obama the Interventionist” in a Washington Post column that year. Kagan also said, directly candidate Obama: “He wants the American military to ‘stay on the offense, from Djibouti to Kandahar.’ “

Egypt has received more than $50 billion since the Camp David Accord, yet its people loathe US policies. Ironically it was in Cairo that President Obama said on June 4, 2009: “I’ve come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Pakistan, to name a few, all call for such a new beginning, a change in US policies based on mutual interest and respect. The Middle East upheaval presents an opportunity to President Obama, who has become a Nobel peace laureate since, to transform the United States’ flawed foreign policy that only evokes hatred, thereby undermining US national security. Unless he wants the United States to end up losing, still persisting in the attitude of “I am god, king and law.”

The writer is a freelance contributor.

Email: miradnanaziz@gmail.com

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