Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Kiss Of Death

You know you’ve lost your groove when the “so-called” leading country of democracy supports a group in elections and that group consistently loses. These loses are not just in one country or region, but all over the world. There is no political group in the world today that wants its party or movement supported by the US. It seems that having the support of the US is the worse endorsement you can get. I remember a time when the world looked to America as the beacon of hope and worthy of emulation, I guess those days are long gone.

“It’s the kiss of death,” said Turki al-Rasheed, a Saudi reformer who watched last Sunday’s elections closely. “The minute you are counted on or backed by the Americans, kiss it goodbye, you will never win.”

The paradox of American policy in the Middle East — promoting democracy on the assumption it will bring countries closer to the West — is that almost everywhere there are free elections, the American-backed side tends to lose.

Lebanon’s voters in the Metn district, in other words, appeared to have joined the Palestinians, who voted for Hamas; the Iraqis, who voted for a government sympathetic to Iran; and the Egyptians, who have voted in growing numbers in recent elections for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. “No politician can afford to identify with the West because poll after poll shows people don’t believe in the U.S. agenda,” said Mustafa Hamarneh, until recently the director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. Mr. Hamarneh is running for a seat in Jordan’s Parliament in November, but he says he has made a point of keeping his campaign focused locally, and on bread-and-butter issues. “If somebody goes after you as pro-American he can hurt you,” he said.[1]

This should show the neo-cons that even if they try to promote democracy at the end of a gun it won’t work, whoever they support is going to lose in a free and fair election. It looks like we are back in the puppet regime, dictator mode again. You know that it is so much cleaner and just requires bribe money. Free elections are so messy and you can’t predict the outcomes. There is nothing worse than to expend all that money and all those lives only to get a government that will be hostile to you anyway. That ole dictator ain’t looking so bad right about now.

In part, regional analysts say, candidates are tainted by the baggage of American foreign policy — from its backing of Israel to the violence in Iraq. But more important, they say, American support is often applied to one faction instead of to institutions, causing further division rather than bringing stability.

The problem is not necessarily the support itself, Mr. Nassif said, but that it invariably skews conflicts, worsening rather than easing sectarian and ethnic tensions.

“When the U.S. interferes in favor of one party, their interference leads to an explosion,” he said. “The U.S. openly says it supports the Siniora government, but it should say we support the Lebanese government.”[2]

If I didn’t know better I would say he was advocating even handed treatment, but that couldn’t be right. Whether you support Barack Obama or not, the one thing I have to agree with him is that we have to begin to do things another way. The same old rhetoric and business as usual politics is not working, it is not working here or abroad. The world is tired of the same old crap coming out of Washington no matter who is espousing it. If whoever comes into office is not willing to change how we do foreign policy then it won’t matter who wins.

We must get to the place where we are once again viewed as the country that supports the rights of the people and not a divider of the people. Promoting division and factionalism in the long run only hurts our interests and our standing. I don’t really hear that from the current crop of candidates; it seems that they disagree more with how it was done, more than what was done. This would be a dangerous omen to the rest of the world.


[2] Ibid.

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