Sunday, April 27, 2008

With Imperialists Like These, Who Needs Communists?

There is no question that Communism is the greatest scourge the world has ever known, having to its credit the murder of approximately 100 million of its subjects. But since the victor writes the history, very few people are as aware of the suffocating effect that Western imperialism has had on democracy and liberty, particularly in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Whenever it has suited Western governments--including the United States--democracies around the world have been overthrown in favor of brutal, more predictable tyrants. Ironically, an inordinate fear of Communism caused western leaders to squash liberty in the countries whose liberty they feared would be destroyed by Communism.

Those chickens have now come home to roost, to a great extent in the form of radical Islam.

To be sure, there exists no excuse for the killing of innocents in the name of Muslim extremism. On the other hand, the deep-seated resentment of the United States (and other Western countries) because of our exploitation of the world--particularly the Middle East--is justifiable. Liberty and democracy are natural yearnings

In one of the greatest of ironies, an inordinate fear of Communism caused western leaders to squash liberty in the countries whose liberty they feared would be destroyed by Communism.

of peoples around the globe. Many Middle Easterners wonder, therefore, why if it's good enough for America, France, Britain, Spain, etc., is liberty not good enough for for Middle Easterners? When one studies the underhanded way in which Western imperialist powers have lorded over so many Middle Eastern countries, one is compelled to wonder if leaders of Western democracies feel that democracy and liberty are simply irritating obstacles to their establishment of world dominion.

Here are just a few of the examples of Western imperialist destruction of democracy around the Middle East.

Iran. The most ironic of Imperialistic blowback involves the currently greatest avowed enemy of the United States--Iran. Few Americans know either that Iran was once upon a time a democracy, or that the CIA was instrumental in destroying the liberty that Iranians had just begun to enjoy--in favor of a brutal dictator whose politics could be more predictably controlled by the United States and Britain. Iran has been more or less controlled by the West since 1891, when Britain took over the Iranian tobacco industry. Shortly thereafter, Britain weaseled its way into control of the Iranian natural gas and petroleum industries. Operation Ajax, carried out in large part by the CIA, keelhauled a legitimate fledging democracy in Iran and paved the way for the Shah's brutal new security agency, SAVAK, which killed and tortured thousands of Iranians. The 1979 Iranian revolution, led by Ayatollah Rulhollah Khomeini, likely would never have happened had it not been for the duplicity of the United States, propelled by their illegitimate fear of the Soviet menace.

Egypt. In 1866, the vestiges of democracy began to appear in Egypt. Britain, whose economic interests in Egypt were large, quashed the voice of the people, installing their puppet, King Farouk, on the throne. At about the time of World War I, the Wafd party was very popular among the Egpytian people. Each time Wafd won elections, the British declared the elections invalid. The British and French schemed Egypt into great debt, the means of escaping from which became the selling of the Suez Canal to them for a pittance. The Suez was critical in Britain's self-ordained interest in controlling India. Hosni Mubarak, the current dictator of Egypt, rules with the blessing of the West. Elections are seldom fair under the Mubarak regime. Freedom of the press is nearly non-existent. Because of Mubarak's Western-sanctioned crackdown on democracy in Egypt, religious and political extremism has surged, along with hatred of the West.

Iraq. Britain "won" Iraq following World War II. It immediately and stupidly established King Faisal as its puppet ruler, a foreign Sunni in a predominantly Shiite country. What was perceived in 2003 as a new schism of death between Sunni and Shia had actually been acted out on the Iraqi stage several times before. Their hatred of the British overlords at a crescendo, Iraqis exulted when the Baath party took over the government in 1968. When Saddam Hussein took over dictatorial duties in 1979, Iraq's first modern attempt at democracy was officially over. Stung by the Iranian hostage crisis, the United States supplied mountains of materiel to Hussein in his bid to destroy Iran during the 1980-1988 Iran/Iraq war. Because America lost sight once again of its founding principles, it created another monster, whose effects linger to this day and will be nearly impossible to erase.

. . .

How might history have been different if Western imperialists had left various countries to the governance of their own peoples? We'll never really know. But we can hazard a pretty educated guess. All the while that we fought to contain Communism--America and the West forgot about the principles of liberty and democracy that made us great. Because we fought in so many cases against liberty, the world is now far worse off.

Had America stuck to its founding principles, instead of there now being a radical Islamic Monster, we might instead be contending against a radical Islamic Pest. One thing's nearly for sure: we wouldn't being having a nuclear staredown with Iran. And another: we most assuredly wouldn't have gotten mired in Iraq.




14 comments:

  1. Good work, Frank. Overthrowing governments always seems like a good idea at the time, but it seldom works out in the long run.

    Recommended reading: Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer.

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  2. Excellent Post.

    You can't go about the right thing the wrong way.

    Sadly most of Southern Africa's problems can be traced back to the British occupation.

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  3. Richard,

    Thanks. I found a copy of "Overthrow" at the BYU library. Looks very interesting. How do I answer someone (who asked this before on a previous article about Iran) who claims that if we hadn't done these things then Communism would be ruling the world right now?

    UK,

    I'm glad that you point out "Southern" Africa instead of just "South" Africa, because there is a ton of wreckage left in the British wake in the southern part of Africa.

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  4. My response to those people would be that Communism's little brother Socialism DOES rule the world now and maybe if Communism ruled it would have collapsed under its own weight by now.

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  5. How do you argue with Presidential luminaries like John F. Kennedy, who said:

    "The fact of the matter is that we, this generation of Americans, are the first generation of our country ever to be involved in affairs around the globe. From the beginning of this country, from the days of Washington, until the Second World War, this country lived an isolated existence. Through most of our history we were an unaligned country, an uncommitted nation, a neutralist nation. We were by statute as well as by desire. We had believed that we could live behind our two oceans in safety and prosperity in a comfortable distance from the rest of the world."

    "We find ourselves entangled with apparently unanswerable problems in unpronounceable places. We discover that our enemy in one decade is our ally the next. We find ourselves committed to governments whose actions we cannot often approve, assisting societies with principles very different from our own."

    "We cannot return to the day of the sailing schooner or the covered wagon, even if we wished. And if this Nation is to survive and succeed in the real world of today, we must acknowledge the realities of the world."

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  6. Cameron,

    It sounds like you're serious--that JFK's logic is impeccable. If that's what you're saying, I'm here to disagree--his logic is VERY "peccable".

    George Washington is still correct. That's why Ron Paul would make an excellent president. Because he doesn't think, apparently like JFK, that we should bestride the world in search of monsters to destroy (when in reality, our actions have created quite of few monsters.)

    We can be an example, sure, but a dictator of democracy--never.

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  7. I do not think JFK's logic is impeccable. But the speech that gave us those quotes is very interesting. He takes head on some of the arguments from your post.

    Is the world different than in 1776? Is the United States different than in 1776? Can we choose to be isolated from the concerns and politics of the rest of the world? Is it even possible for a country of our size and influence to remain neutral?

    If the answer to those questions is yes, we must not involve ourselves in affairs overseas, then what happens when there are civil wars and genocide in places like Rwanda, Sudan, and Iraq? Do we continue to stay away and let them sort out their own troubles? Do we have no obligation to intervene? Do we "invade" and "impose democracy" on Rwanda in order to stop the genocide, or do we do nothing and allow 800,000 murders in three months? If we don't intervene, we are left with a terrible tragedy. If we do, we are left with nation building.

    Which is the greater evil?

    Now, I know that the first response to these questions will be to impugn this country's motives in our past foreign policy endeavors. It's a familiar refrain: the US only acts out of its own self interest, it doesn't really care about democracy or humanity, it only cares about power, or corporate imperialism, or Israel, or whatever, and the motives behind those actions have caused much of the strife in the world today. I get it. But ultimately those actions were based on the argument that what happens overseas affects us here. Whether our motives have always been pure, or whether our actions have always had the intended effect doesn't detract from the argument. Can the US not involve itself in foreign affairs?

    JFK argued that because modern technology (in 1963!) had shrunk the world, it is simply not possible for the US to remain isolated. Furthermore, he said that in terms of our own security, not only couldn't we remain isolated, but that we shouldn't.

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  8. Cameron,

    I think I understand your position better now. It would be very difficult to say that we should never involve ourselves in the affairs of other nations. However, what I can say, is that in nearly every case, including Iran, Iraq, and Egypt that I mentioned in the main article, our involvement has made things worse.

    So perhaps it is naive to continue to agree with George Washington (although I still tend to) but in any case, we should have been much more wise in the involvement that we have had in the past, because I think it is indisputable that we have ruined democracy in many places around the globe.

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  9. It is probably worth noting that the Middle-East/Islam is hardly the only hornets nest stirred up by stupid, self-serving, bullying nations. Given the long history of the U.S's abusive relationship with Latin America, I think it is safe to say that people like Castro and Chavez are very direct blowback from U.S. intervention. And while Asia cannot be laid primarily at the feet of the U.S (latecomers as they were to the game of empire in Asia), I think the draw of communism in that region is a direct result of serious abuse at the hands of capitalist powers.

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  10. I agree. I read a little from Noam Chomsky, and while I think he overstates our involvement, America has involved itself way too much in South America as well. Just the shenanigans of the World Bank and the IMF are enough to engender hatred of America for years to come.

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  11. I don’t know specifically what Chomsky statements you’ve seen, and yes, the World Bank and IMF have done enormous damage in their handling of Latin America. But there are any number of more direct U.S. abuses which have turned Latin America against us: The Spanish-American War and the manner in which the U.S. turned Cuba into a client state for decades afterwards; Teddy Roosevelt’s machinations in Panama; Wilson’s repeated interference in Mexico and Latin America, the School of the Americas, overthrowing the democratically elected Allende in order to install the barbarous Pinochet; and Reagan’s support for the Contras (just to name a few off the top of my head.

    Another good book (or pamphlet rather), Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket. For that matter, Butler’s biography, Maverick Marine is a good one.

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  12. It's probably accurate to say that it all started about the time the term Manifest Destiny came into popular usage.

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  13. hey, why don't you look for some book about the close monitoring of negroes and negresses on campus in the early seventies in the locked up section on the 5th floor of the library?

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  14. You u.s. religious weirods make me crap myself from the laughs, go back to screwing your sisters in the mobile home, billy-bob.

    Communism is the only hope ever to build a just and humane society.

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