Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Our Monomaniacal Foreign Policy

It seems that this administration -- for all of its trumpeting of "after 9/11, everything is different" for defending every powergrab they make -- has not learned the real foreign policy lesson of that "the enemy of my [current] enemy is" not necessarily "my friend".

The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 were not always our enemies. Back in the 1980s, we helped expand the movement which eventually gave us the Taliban and Al Qaeda because they were the enemies of our enemy, the Soviet Union. Too often we aided and abetted cruel dictators (and this is "why they hate us" ... they don't hate our freedoms, they hate that we've not let them have theirs) because they were "the enemy of our enemy", viz the Soviets. And look at where this "realist" foreign policy got us -- it weren't too realistic, was it?

Of course the neo-cons who control our foreign policy nowadays (which are, it must be said, a subset of the neo-cons in existance, many of whom really don't like GW Bush and still wish McCain were President) claim to get this lesson, claim they are basing foreign policy around "spreading freedom and democracy" and even claim those of us who oppose them are turning to "realist" foreign policy.

But is this the case? While the merits of the Chavez regime are debatable (I would say he's doing what needs to be done to start an actual capitalist, i.e. not latifundia monopolist business based, economy there -- maybe he's a demagogue about it, but it could be far worse -- the necessary reforms could be being turned into a Mugabe-scale violation of the very rights on which modern democratic capitalist states are predicated, a violation as bad or worse than the plantations being euthanized) and it may be necessary to offer some real sticks to Qaddafi so as to bring him back into the society of decent leaders, to say that Chavez is bad because of some dubious evidence that he "opposes us in the war on terror" (seems to me he's got our back with shipments of cheap oil so we aren't sending all our money to states with a history of buying off terrorism and supporting "Islamo-fascism": maybe that's what BushCO means? he is opposing the efforts to keep the "war on terror" from being never ending?) while Qaddafi is good, no matter how poorly he treats his people, because he is "helping" us in the war on terror is very much keeping in lines with the myopic "enemy of my enemy is my friend" foreign policy that got us into this mess in the first place.

If the neo-cons truly wished to reject "realist" foreign policy, instead of talking the good talk on spreading popular sovereignty, they would actually do something about it. They would reform the IMF/World Bank/WTO so that they stop undermining popular sovereignty and local capitalism by foisting bizarre "growth plans" and "austerity plans" (and Wolfowitz actually has indicated that he does realize the importance of this) -- that tell 3rd world nations to do the exact opposite of how strong economies actually got that way -- on needy nations. They would respect the results of free and fair elections so long as the elected leaders behaved themselves -- no matter what outrageous things those leaders say. They would allow popularly elected leaders latitude to reform their own economies in the way those leaders and their supporters see fit. And they would stop playing the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" game but rather support leaders not myopically based their support for our current war but in their living up to the ideals which made our country great (e.g. not necessarily those ideals supported by BushCO0.

Because the "enemy of my enemy" is often not "my friend" but my next enemy. That is the lesson of 9/11. Until the neo-cons learn this, they should have the decency to stop wrapping themselves in the mantle of 9/11 and defending everything they do to undermine our nation by invoking "after 9/11 everything is different" -- 'cause they themselves haven't learned the real lesson.

... unless they have and the whole point is to ensure a steady supply of enemies for us to fight in the future, thus keeping the military-industrial complex afloat and not risking another post-cold-war collapse of that industry [ / Eisenhower's tinfoil hat -- speaking of whom, are the neo-cons in their way with pseudo-idealistic rhetoric actually the heirs of the Dulles brothers who, with their clumsy, ostensibly high-minded strategic bungling of our foreign policy, seemed to turn the friends of our enemies into new enemies for ourselves while getting us mixed up with some pretty unsaviory "friends"? ]

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