Tuesday, July 27, 2004
A lot is being said in the Arab and the leftist European media about American "hegemony" and how the US considers itself the policeman of the world or simply the bully on the block. Personally, I most often see a different America, an America that enslaves itself to other countries or entities just to reach a short term goal. OK OK, am I talking nonsense? Let me elaborate. What I mean is that sometimes the US, in order to take care of current interests with a certain foreign entity, chooses to lock itself in a cage and act as a hostage to this entity even if it was hurting the US in one way or another. Below are just few examples of what I mean.
Let us take the UN for example. It is now clear that tremendous corruption and theft occurred in the UN's oil for food program in Iraq. This issue is so great that if investigated correctly (and truthfully), can blow right in the face of US basher Kofie Anan. There are also indications that even his son might be implicated in the scandal. What has the US done? In order to win UN involvement in Iraq, Paul Bremer (and the state department) has done everything to prevent the previous Governing Council from investigating the scandal on their own. US forces embarrassed their Iraqi counterparts by storming the house of former Governing Council member (and anti-UN and anti-Brahimi) Ahmed Chalabi and confiscated crucial documents related to the oil for food program fiasco. Chalabi claimed that the state department and the CIA were afraid lest his efforts might hamper Brahimi's work in forging an interim government. And what did the Arabist Lakhdar Brahimi, who didn't move a single hair on his buttock when Iraqi corpses were filling the mass graves, say today? He slammed the liberating war calling it "useless".
Let us go to Saudi Arabia. For so long the Saudi ruling family was treated by the US just as a poor villager would treat a fat hen that laid its eggs on time. As long as the Saudis were pumping oil in the market, the US didn't care much about what they were doing to their people or about what they were printing on their elementary school books. The oil in Saudi was a blessing to many (especially the ruling elite) and a curse to others. Instead of really spending on improving the standard of living for all Saudis and teaching kids that hating Christians and Jews is not a nice thing, oil revenues just made the rich richer and left the poor to their poverty and to their ignorance. The oppressed and humiliated Saudi youth (who didn't join the oil party) were exploited by radicals such as Bin Laden and flew planes into the tallest of buildings. It always amazes me how a country such as South Korea that had absolutely no natural resources managed to create a democratic society and a functioning economy that tremendously exceeds the medieval society that Saudi is still in.
Now we turn to Qatar. This tiny country loves to wear oversized shoes. It hosts the US' largest military base in the region and competes with Saudi Arabia in who will have better relations with Washington. However, the Qatari government finances Al Jazerah channel that has mutual beneficiary relationships with Al Qaeda and had a direct link with Saddam's intelligence. The channel employs some of the most radical figures in the Arab media and never ceases to spill out the most awful anti-America propaganda. This channel incites violence in Iraq and indirectly caused the death of hundreds of coalition forces and Iraqis. A recent Saudi Arabian hostage who was kidnapped in Iraq and released after a US raid on the terrorist hideout filed a law suit against Al Jazerah accusing the Qatari channel of directly collaborating with his kidnappers. What was the US' response? A few harsh words from Colin Powell to his Qatari counterpart that did absolutely nothing to change Al Jazerah's propaganda. Does the Emir of Qatar have influence on the channel? Sure he does (he's its money pipeline!). Al Jazerah is allowed to fiddle and mess with any Arab country except Qatar. If Colin Powell really wants to influence Qatar, he could simply pick up the phone and call the Qatari foreign minister and frankly tell him "dude, if you're not going to fix that out, we're out of Qatar". The Emire of Qatar will simply pee in his pants and might do a little bit of change to his mouth of horror. Has the US made that phone call? No.
Germany, the most ferocious anti-American country on the face of the European continent. Anti-Americanism there runs so deep and I simply do not know why the US' base is still there. New European countries such as Poland and Romania, two Reagan babies, are worthier hosts.
Now Israel. The relationship between Israel and the US is so vital and it should remain so. Israel deserves the friendship of the US and I don't have a problem with that. However, sometimes the unequivocal support for Israel conflicts some of America's interests. For example, during the premiership of Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen, President Bush said clearly that the fence that Israel is building "is a problem". Bush didn't mean that the fence in itself is a problem, but the problem arises when it snakes through the occupied territories and makes the life of thousands of Palestinian villagers literally impossible. After sensing that Israel will not abandon its plans to build the fence inside areas of the West Bank, the US had to silently nod its head to this and appeared as if it is defending the idea of building a fence that would cause hardships to thousands of Palestinians even though Bush pointed to this negative issue before. Where are the days of Eisenhower and Reagan? Sensing danger to US strategic interests, President Eisenhower called for the withdrawal of all British, French, and Israeli forces from the Sinai in 1956 war. President Reagan wanted to sell one of America's most sophisticated aircrafts to Saudi Arabia but the pro-Israel lobby and the Israeli government objected to that. What did the Gipper say? He said "it is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy". Reagan was a great friend of Israel and a firm defender of its security, but he simply put America first.