Thursday, June 02, 2011

US Foreign Policy: Barbarism and Liberalism

Barbarism and liberalism

Wednesday, 01 June 2011 22:35
Reason Wafawarova
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

THE clear and unambiguous doctrine behind US foreign policy and that of its lap-dog allies in the West is founded on the undesirable reality of very little, if any challenge from Western commentary and scholarship, even among the few critics.

The execution of the doctrine of liberalism has elicited despicable barbarism and brutality from Washington and other Western power centres in a way that does not only contradict the preached values from the West, but also makes it clear that international peace is a value that the West has very little respect for.

The barbaric Western aggression in Libya is being fronted by values of liberalism and the world must accept that Nato has an inalienable right to bomb any targets the Western generals may unilaterally define as legitimate "military installations" or "command centres" including hospitals, people's houses and of course Colonel Gaddafi's residence.

In fact, the Western elites believe they have a legitimate right to openly declare their intention to assassinate Gaddafi, and William Hague of Britain is quite convinced that such an announcement is perfectly fabulous for the good of this world.

Barack Obama is equally convinced that it is perfectly in order for the CIA to "covertly arm" the rebels from east eastern Libya. He is so convinced that he believes there is nothing amiss in openly declaring something that is meant to be covert.

The major theme that guides the behaviour of US presidents is what is called "American exceptionalism": the doctrine that the United States is unlike other nations, even unlike other great powers, past and present, because it has a "transcendent purpose": what is often described as "equality and freedom" throughout the world, since the US has an indisputable self-allocated role of leading the world.

Realism as propounded by Hans Morgenthau, founder of the tough-minded realist school of international relations, is premised on this doctrine of "American exceptionalism".

This kind of realism specifically avoids sentimentalities and keeps to the hard truths of state power in a rather anarchic world, one well exemplified by the burning Libya today.

As an honest and exceptionally competent scholar, Morgenthau did acknowledge that the historical record of the United States is quite inconsistent with the intended "transcendent purpose" as provided by the nobilities upon which the foundations of America are rooted.

He however explains that the contradictions and seeming hypocrisy and double standards must not mislead us into discrediting the necessities and justifications for the doctrine of realism, especially in the pursuit of "freedom and happiness".

He sternly warned that we should not "confound the abuse of reality with reality itself". Of course reality itself is the "national interest" of the United States, the "national purpose", which is well-defined by "the evidence of history as our minds reflect it".

So, history is about how those in power reflect the historical record itself, just like history itself is often a record written by victors and those in power. The actual historical record can only serve to explain the "abuse of reality".

Obama may abuse his powers in Libya and, we must be careful not to confuse this "abuse of reality" with "reality itself": the sacrosanct "national purpose" of wanting to liberate the oppressed civilians of Libya, themselves armed to the teeth with weapons "covertly" supplied by the United States. Morgenthau makes it very clear that those of us who fall into the trap of confusing "reality" with "the abuse of reality" are committing "the error of atheism, which denies the validity of religion on similar grounds."

Sometimes the august character of the United States and the nobility of Western intentions are raised to the level of pure logic. There are a lot of people who watch television across the world and sometimes they begin to genuinely believe the "national identity" of the United States, as "defined by a set of universal political and economic values," namely "liberty, democracy, equality, private property, and markets." The quotes are from the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government School at Harvard University, Samuel Huntington.

The belief that the United States has custody of these glorious values should make us accept that the brutal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the barbaric bombings of Libya are in fact nobilities based on the US' solemn duty to maintain its "international primacy" for the benefit of the entire world, especially for those lesser peoples suffering at the hands of tyrants and dictators who are brutal enough to rid their countries of white privilege - people like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; tyrannical enough to deprive colonially privileged whites of "their" land, giving it to "unskilled black farmers".

Indeed, Libyans deserve to be freed from the 41-year tyranny of Muammar Gaddafi - the despicable tyrant that provided them free education, free health, turned for them a desert into green land, and made Libya arguably the richest country on the African continent.

Democratisation of other nations is quite an acceptable doctrine, at least to those who wield the bludgeon against weaker nations - supposedly run by tyrannical leaders with no idea about the glorious glitter of Western freedoms and liberties.

In one or another form, the doctrines from the West are commonly adopted, whether explicitly or tacitly. Usually it is for good reasons, whose familiarity is undoubtable in many places, Zimbabwe included.

So noble are these values that the West is so eager to impose them upon all others - so determined that they end up "abusing reality": regularly violating the same values in order to deal with tyrannies and dictatorships out there that do not seem to understand and appreciate the righteousness of the atomic bomb-wielding Westerners. This is why we must ululate and cheer in utter happiness as the West burn Libya to ashes in their most noble search for Gaddafi - indeed why we must endorse the hunting down of Gaddafi as a legitimate resolve to assassinate a deserving victim.

He is another Saddam, or so we must believe!
After all, it cannot be wrong if Obama endorses it. He is the man who told us at his inauguration that "if there are those who ever doubted America, today is your answer".

We can never doubt America with Obama in charge. He is the God given living answer to all our questions about America. So, Gaddafi must suffer what he should. Michael Desch once explained, "Indeed, it is precisely American liberalism that makes the United States so illiberal today."

The United States has what appears to be unparalleled zeal to bring to others the values that define its own national identity, and often there is no regard for excesses.

The principles that inspire American action in the world are evidently imperialistic in nature, and what we have in Libya is a business war, and not a war for human rights. Right wingers like Desch and others have at best provided superfluous evidence that indeed the United States and its Western lackeys are inspired by humanitarian causes. Washington's record of undermining democracy and its support for vicious monsters is well documented, including Mussolini, Hitler, the monstrous Central America's right wing dictatorships of the post World War II era, and the likes of Joseph Mobutu of Congo.

David Schmitz concluded that "throughout most of the 20th century, the United States supported right wing dictatorships in violation of America's political ideals" including its declared commitment to "the promotion of democracy and human rights."

It is quite clear that the United States has a history that mocks greatly its declared ideals. But, the doctrine that US leaders are committed to these violated ideals is treated as an "unchallengeable article of faith, sacrosanct, holy writ," as Noam Chomsky cynically puts it. If Obama is wrong in his resolve to assassinate Gaddafi, which in fact he is; the only minor problem we have is simply "abuse of reality", just like George W Bush's noble intention of "promoting democracy" could have been slightly tainted by the lie, sorry; the faulty intelligence that claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

In fact, real dedicated believers in the nobility of American values like Dick Cheney were quite convinced that Hussein had an alliance with Al Qaeda, an assertion that can only be questioned by clueless conspiracy theorists who think that demanding evidence that Osama bin Laden was killed and buried at sea is a sane idea. These are the people who cannot figure out that releasing pictures of a dead Osama bin Laden is a massive security threat to the peace of this world. They do not have an idea what the monstrous Arab supporters of this arch-terrorist are capable of.

This world owes its safety after Osama's death to Obama, the genius president of the United States who vehemently hid the inciting pictures of a dead Osama, denying his barbaric supporters cause for raucous anger. When it became apparent that Saddam Hussein had no WMDs and that there was no such thing as a link between him and Al Qaeda, right wing intellectuals simply jumped on the democratisation bandwagon - the very way they are jumping over each other in telling us how Libya badly needs a Gaddafi-free democracy, regardless of the number of Libyans who might be supporting him.

Obama postures as a man of high values and honour, and when he embarks on the democratisation programmes he succeeded from Bush and those he initiated himself; journalism and intellectual commentary must take his initiatives to be the merest truisms. When we point out the imperialistic motives behind the US foreign policy, and the need for a fairer and more just world; we are met with prominent critics who argue that it is fundamentally important that we do not go too far in our idealism.

One such warning came from respected Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. He sternly warned that "granting idealism a near exclusive hold on our foreign policy" may lead the US to neglect its own legitimate interests in its dedicated service to others. David Ignatius of the Washington Post labelled Paul Wolfowitz an "idealist-in-chief" whose "passion for the noble goals of the Iraq war might overwhelm the prudence and pragmatism that normally guide war planners."

Of course, the attacks are quite misleading when one considers the record of Wolfowitz - himself a warmonger of repute with utter contempt for human rights and democracy, including his support for General Suharto of Indonesia; an easy winner in the international ranking of most corrupt leaders, and an unforgettable murderer and torturer of our era.

But, Suharto was no ordinary dictator as defined by the Western political system. He offered great profits to foreign investors to whom he opened Indonesia's rich resources for plunder, and was therefore very popular in the West, just like the women-oppressing house of Saudi leaders are the darlings of the women-freeing Westerners today. Oil binds the two together.

When Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003, there were European countries that decided to follow the will of the majority of their populations and refused to join the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq. These Donald Rumsfeld called the "Old Europe". There are other European governments that ignored an even larger majority of the population and decided to take their orders from Washington. These were called the "New Europe".

The first group was bitterly condemned by Washington for respecting democratic opinion within their own countries. Indeed there is no such thing as democracy if such a thing stands opposed to a master like the United States.

That is why Zimbabwe can never know democracy for as long as it produces Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his Zanu-PF as winners. Democracy is ranked quite lowly when it comes to obedience to the global master. So, the French leadership under Chirac was mocked as "freedom fries" for refusing to go to war alongside the United States.

It appears Nicolas Sarkozy is making spirited atonement for this errant bit of French history; as he seems quite determined to lead even the Americans in the murderous onslaught of Libya, at least by the measurement of zeal and novice eagerness. The favourites of "New Europe" were all hailed as the hope for democracy. Italy's Berlusconi was honoured with a visit to the White House and, he was highly exalted as a dedicated ally of the US, before he was duly punished by angry Italians who voted him out of power in protest to his ill-thought lackey behaviour.

Spain's Aznar was honoured with an invitation to join Bush and Blair in announcing the war - regardless of the fact that he carried with him a tiny 2 percent support for this cause from the Spanish population. Like his Italian counterpart, he too suffered heavily from the wrath of voters and was ousted from power the same way Bush himself, Blair, and John Howard of Australia paid for the aggression they spearheaded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Turkey decided to follow the will of 95 percent of its population and refused to join the invasion. That was democracy at its practical best.

The "idealist-in-chief" was absolutely outraged. Wolfowitz joined Colin Powell in condemning the Turkish government. The two targetted their wrath at the Turkish military; denouncing it for failing to compel the government to follow Washington's orders.

They demanded that Turkey apologise and recognise that it was their responsibility to help America, whatever their ridiculous population believed.

Today, Pakistan is being attacked similarly for its alleged failure to help America in its search for Osama bin Laden.

Those Pakistanis who have openly expressed grief over the reported death of Osama have been condemned as unthinking lunatics that the Pakistan government must accordingly deal with.

So determined to "promote democracy" and to the "noble goal" was George W Bush that the reverence for his resolve could not be tarnished, at least by the liberal press. There was a dramatic refutation that unfortunately failed to halt the misguided reverence for America's love for democracy and freedom. The population of Palestine voted in an election that was recognised to be free and fair in 2006.

This was despite the Bush administration's intervention in an effort to gain victory for its favoured candidate, Mahmoud Abbas. The wrong side won the election, and of course, this was unacceptable for Washington. The US decided to instantly punish the people of Palestine for their irresponsible voting behaviour.

There was severe punishment of the people of Palestine for their unforgivable democratic errors, and Europe "toddled along the US and Israel very politely" as described by Noam Chomsky.

Israel cut off water to Gaza, bombed and destroyed power plants and destroyed the sewer system. As usual there were pretexts given, like claims that Hamas was hurling rockets and missiles at peace loving Israelis, or that Hamas was a terrorist organisation, whatever that means. In reality, the population of Palestine were being punished for voting the wrong way, being induced to shift their support to Washington's favourite.

This is the same reason the West is refusing to lift the murderous illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

The sanctions are meant to shift the population's support in favour of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the British/US political project that masquerades as a political party going by the name Movement for Democratic Change.

The fact that this man is now the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe under a coalition government with his political rivals from Zanu-PF is a sign good enough to encourage the Westerners that indeed barbarism can lead to liberalism. This is why the ruinous sanctions must remain.

The benchmark for their lifting is the departure of Mugabe and Zanu-PF from Zimbabwe's political stage, or more precisely the installation of the treacherous and Western-backed Tsvangirai as the president of Zimbabwe. Clearly, the people of the lesser nations can be strangulated and bludgeoned until they produce a democracy in line with the wishes of the global masters.

So, let barbarism liberate Libya. This is what international affairs have come to.

The brazen brutality of Nato in Libya has sent the African Union into deafening silence. The fear in the African leaders is unmistakable.

Hopefully, Zimbabwe's chairing of the African Union Peace and Security Council will produce a better resolve to stop the madness happening in Libya.

South Africa made a terrible mess of it all, and President Zuma voted for the shedding of the blood of Libyans at the UN Security Council.

Zimbabwe is meant to be economically strangulated into a democracy, just like Libya will be bombed into a liberal democracy. And all this is in violation of the same values that the West preaches so much about.

Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on
or reason@rwafawa or visit

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