Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fear and Ignorance

Fear.

It’s the currency of the (this) realm. Unfortunately, many Americans mistake fear-mongering as “leadership”. The truth is, trumpeting an enemy couldn’t be further from real leadership.

First of all: yes, there are bad-guys out there. They want to do us harm. But how is our government address this amorphous, globally distributed problem? Are they looking beyond the fact I just stated? Not really.

Maybe we should look at our policies. After all, Osama and the other radical nut-cases out there tell us (as opposed to our leadership) that they don’t hate us for our freedom… they hate us for our policies. While I don’t advocate taking a terrorist at his word, the supposition is worth, at least, some consideration.

So lets look at our foreign policy – in it’s most recent incarnation: the spread of democracy as the panacea for violent extremism.

The president says that democracy is the cure for extremism. He purports that giving people a voice in government will somehow address perceived injustice. Maybe so … but not if the injustice is perceived to come from abroad.

This is the lesson we should have learned in Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt (where “semi-free” elections are likely to bring jihadists to power). Democracy only gives a legitimized voice to issues of (perceived or real) injustice when it comes to the foreign policy of the United States.

Besides, how can anyone – here or abroad – take our stated goals of democratization seriously when our country boasts of strong ties with Saudi Arabia: one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. Remember: this is a country in which Friday night TV consists of public hangings… where women are forbidden to drive a car… and where limbs are cut off as criminal punishment.

What about Pakistan? Our ally in the war on terror (who just recently agreed to “let bygones be bygones with Osama and his followers). Pakistan is ruled by a military dictator who suppresses the desires of a majority of fundamentalist Islamists who live in that country. He is a dictator who possesses nuclear weapons and who’s chief nuclear scientist SOLD those secrets to N. Korea and Libya.

Our leaders trumpet the threat of Iran. It is a threat. But if a nuclear Iran is a threat, isn’t a country like Pakistan – where the vast majority of its citizens support Usama Bin Laden – an even more likely candidate to pass on nuclear technology to radical Islamists? Especially when you consider they already HAVE nukes?

How do we expect ANY government in the region to take our policies seriously when we obviously have close ties to some of the most repressive regimes in the world? It’s obvious to all – except many Americans – that our policies are completely self-serving. That – in itself – isn’t the problem. It becomes a problem when our leaders stand on a soap box and proclaim that “we’re here to save the world from evil…” that “we’re here to help” while simultaneously dealing with tyrannical leaders from the same neighborhood.

On another note, what about all the disaffected scientists and military folks in the former Soviet Union. Are they likely to sell nuclear material to terrorists to make a quick buck?

On to leadership.

Our own insatiable need to cheap energy created these regimes. As the US moved into the industrial era, our oil-dollars turned places like Saudi Arabia into the states there are today. We’ve had no problem supporting these brutal dictatorships as long as the oil flowed and the dictators stayed in line. We still have no problem with many of them: Even when their societies breed the very types our leaders identify as “the enemies of freedom”.

So what constitutes leadership in such a world? For one, a leader would recognize the situation: he’d recognize that our policies are largely to blame for the situation we find ourselves in. He’d change those policies. A real leader would recognize our dependence on foreign energy sources is perpetuating the problem and would challenge the American people to find a path to energy independence. A leader would implement the policies to put us on that path. A leader would recognize that, with India and China ramping up their economies, that we have to be ready to SELL them the energy technology of the 21st century – not fight it our with them for access to the last remaining oil fields.

But we get none of that… What we get in America is fear… Fear and ignorance.

Even with another election on the horizon, I don’t see much hope for our self-deluded populace.

4 comments:

Blacklander said...

That's an interesting take. Being Egyptian I have very specific thoughts about what US foreign policy is doing to the region.
The regimes US supports are far worse than any so-called "extremist" political organization taking over.
Anyway, it's refreshing to hear an informed voice from the US. Fear tends to mke people bend and accept anything, including lies, misinformation, and unnecessary bloodshed. I hope more Americans will start looking around and try to see through their own eyes -not adminstration's or the likes of fox news.
Kudos.

Reign of Reason said...

Thanks for the comments.

It doesn't take more than a cursory analysis of the situation to see that our leadership is wandering down the garden path. Once you start asking basic questions about the rhetoric, you quickly come to the conclusion that our leaders are either stupid or consider the populace dumb.

Blacklander said...

True, but the number of those who ask basic questions is surprisingly -and terrifyingly- small.

skip sievert said...

Yes , and why is that.? simple, the American people people have been dumbed down by a faulty educational system to be some of the very dumbest people on the entire earth. That is a fact. If they tell the truth , why would we keep a system as the one we have.? Capitalism like Communism or any price system has no future, unless a possible nighmare type one.
We will kill half the world , and then ourselves in our stupid quest to make money. There are alternatives to our present system.