“How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.”
The Arab Awakening continues. German tanks roll across Poland. Life goes on in America as if nothing is happening, as if the events unfolding in the Middle East are no more inconvenience than a brief rise in gas prices and a few images of demonstrators on TV. I mean, most Americans couldn’t find Iraq and Afghanistan on a map, how many have even heard of Libya and Tunisia? It’s fascinating to watch, I imagine it’s like America in 1939 when the Germans rolled into Poland. I’m sure plenty were concerned, but I suspect most Americans paid little attention, Europeans had been waging war with each other for centuries, how could their war affect America? Little did they know that events were being set into play that would change America, and the world, forever. I know it’s far from a perfect analogy in all sorts of ways, but I think it expresses the general tone of what’s going on. More than five decades of America’s shortsighted, self-serving, foreign policy in the Middle East is falling into ruin … and we’re watching Charlie Sheen brag about having two girlfriends.
The focus is still on Libya, effectively in a state of civil war, with Qaddafi holding onto pats of his capitol, Tripoli, and making grandiose and bizarre claims about how his people still love him and the problems are all being caused by terrorists and Al Qaeda agents! In fact he’s claimed that his people were fed drugs by Al Qaeda, yes, that’s what’s going on! Well, on the plus side, at least we now know that his selling out to the west a few years ago was sincere, he’s trotting out the obedient propaganda that when something happens the west doesn’t like in the Middle East, why, it must be those goddamn islamo-fascist terrorists! Hell, Qaddafi may even believe it, his hold on reality appears a bit tenuous at this point. If Qaddafi is a malignant narcissist, and that may very well be the case, he simply can’t grasp that his people don’t love him.
And how is the west responding to Libya? Why, they have a number of brilliant ideas. Sanctions. No-fly zones. International condemnation and isolation. Yes, all those things that worked so well to force Saddam to resign. Can we spell “lack of imagination?” Yes, the west has no ideas. All they’ve done in the Middle east for decades is prop up dictators while talking democracy. And now that Arabs have decided they want to give democracy a try and to hell with the western imposed dictators, the west has no plan B. Or to be more accurate, there is a plan B, but it’s insane. Yes, the USA is apparently seriously considering “humanitarian intervention” in Libya. That they are even considering the ultimate failed strategy in Libya shows the shallowness of American foreign policy, our government simply can’t grasp that events are spinning out of our control and that we are becoming irrelevant to what is going on in the Middle East.
How about we MYOB? Apparently letting the people of the Middle East determine their own destiny isn’t an option. As a final example of the utter failure of the USA government to even grasp the basics of what is going on in the world today is that the USA insisted that the African mercenaries who Qaddafi as hired be made immune from prosecution. That’s right, Obama insisted that Qaddafi’s hired thugs be immune from prosecution. Why did he do this? To protect American mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan from prosecution. Yes, we are doing something stupider to fix something stupid we did. How well does that work in real life? It doesn’t, at least not for very long. We shouldn’t be hiring American mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan, trying to shield them from the law is simply going to make America even less popular in the Middle East. And in a world where we will have to actually have relations with the people of the Middle East instead of the quisling governments we install, this is head-in-the-sand strategy at best.
Speaking of head-in-the-sand, I’ve come across a few Faux News viewers who appear to actually believe that the revolutions sweeping the Middle East are some sort of Al-Qaeda/Islamist plot. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. News flash, the “War on Terror” is propaganda, Al-Qaeda and their ilk are tiny number of fanatics that pose essentially zero threat to the USA. The USA has been wildly exaggerating the “threats” facing it since at least 1945 … to justify our militaristic imperialistic foreign policy. “Get Smart” was an escapist fantasy, “KAOS” an absurd literary device, not a reality. No, the revolutions sweeping the Middle East are because of decades of poverty, lies, and repression. They aren’t fuelled by AlQaeda, if anything they are fuelled by Al Jazeera. Yes, the Middle East now has a free press, like the USA did in the sixties. Something to think about.
Lastly, as a synchronistic event, the USA’s last veteran from World War One has just died. Yeah, just a coincidence, but symbolic of the end of an era. And in a few decades from now the last World War Two veteran will be dead. I don’t know what’s going to emerge from the events unfolding in the Middle East, but whatever transpires, I suspect it’s going to put post World War Two America and our “New American Century” fantasy empire in the dustbin of history with the Soviet Union and the Ottoman Empire. The era of colonial empires is over, we are a relict state of a bygone era, like Cuba or North Korea. No amount of spin will fix that, reality trumps Hollywood movies every day.
(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s American soldiers going ashore in Operation Torch in North Africa in World War Two. Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen again soon. Coming next, a nice diversion from current events, a post about religion and prayer. Oh, the post title. It’s a quote from Karl Kraus, it seemed appropriate.)