Friday, March 18, 2011

America’s Love Affair with Tyrants

Obama has told Aristide not to return to Haiti, at least not until after elections. Apparently, his mere presence could destabilize the elections (which is to say, the people might change their minds and NOT vote for either of the corporatist/coupist candidates and support him, instead). Michel Martelly, one of the run-off candidates, is a pop star, Duvalierist, and a supporter of the disbanded military and the death squads known as FRAPH. He supported the coup that ousted Aristide. Mirlande Manigat, the other runoff candidate, is a former first lady whose husband won the presidency with less than 10% of the vote in an election held by the military in 1988. Her husband is said to have advised Duvalier to form the dreaded tonton macoutes, while her opponent, Martelly, actually served in them. The Duvaliers, of course, were brutal dictators supported by the U.S., while Aristide was a popularly elected president who was ousted in a U.S. supported coup.

So Haiti will get another brutal tyrant, or perhaps a slightly brutal one, dressed up in the garb of democracy, and the U.S. can continue its unsavory relations with the nation, unencumbered by allegations that it is supporting a dictator. Meanwhile, the U.S. will continue to do virtually nothing to help house the thousands still homeless from the earthquake, except saddle the nation with debt to pay off U.S. construction companies, or to quell the still growing cholera epidemic, with total cases expected to approach 800,000 this year.

We loved Mubarak so much that we gave him $1.3 billion a year until he was forced by his own people to flee. We loved him because his did our bidding, supported our policies in the Middle East, including supporting Israeli and helping them to repress the Palestinians. Therefore, we did nothing to aid his ouster, even when it became inevitable. In fact, we continued to support him until the day he fled, in hopes of maintaining some semblance of control over this invaluable region. (We wouldn’t want a popular government to arise or another Nassir).

On the other hand, we hate Gaddafi because he has always gone it alone and refused to do our bidding. However, he hadn’t really gotten in our way much lately, and he was a strong dictator who kept the fundamentalists, communists and unionists all completely suppressed. Therefore, we saw fit to let him run amok until now, when it looks like his ouster may come about despite our inaction, possibly to be replaced with a popular government, or at least one that is antagonistic to the U.S.

Now the U.S. and its allies have insisted on using “any means necessary” in order to Libya’s civilians. Yet, in order to enforce a no fly zone, they will have to bomb the country in much the same way they bombed Iraq, which will no doubt result in far more civilian casualties than Gaddafi has so far caused.

The Arabian Peninsula
Then there are Yemen and Bahrain, where the local governments are slaughtering protesters, sometimes with the aid of the Saudi military and mercenaries from Pakistan. Do we care about these civilians or despise their dictators? Not if it might piss off the Saudis, whose oil and allegiance is far more valuable than the lives and safety of their civilians. So we’ll stand back and allow the local despots quash the uprisings and hope that our shock and awe in Libya will dissuade any would be rebels in other Middle Eastern or North African countries.

No comments:

Post a Comment