Aug 18, 2008
The Foreign Policy of Fools
It is impossible to look at recent US diplomacy without discovering that it is one based more on whim and fancy, than reason.
That's because much of what passes for diplomacy and foreign policy is driven by the market, which is ultimately, the only true bipartisan feature of the nation's politics.
The market buys politicians by the bushel, and when they are slick enough to gain office, they serve corporate interests first, second, and always.
When you think about it, isn't this a perversity of democracy?
In Raj Patel's brilliant new book, Stuffed & Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (Brooklyn, NY: Melville House Publ., 2008) we find a telling quotation from Robert Strauss, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, describing his relationship with the agricultural business giant, Archer Daniels Midland. Speaking of the company's former chairman, Strauss said, "Dwayne Andreas just owns me. But I mean that in a nice way" (pp.112-13).
If you visited the nation's capital, you'd doubtless find hundreds of men and women who could quite effortlessly replace ADM with Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, Occidental Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton ad infinitum.
And it is precisely on behalf of such interests that foreign policy is made. It's not, and has never been, democracy. It's not freedom. It's none of these things. It's what's good for business.
This may seem a hard truth, but it is the truth.
The Iraq war was a pipe dream of the energy corporations, and opposed by more Americans than almost any war in generations. Who did the politicians listen to -- the people? -- or the corporations?
The impact on US foreign policy and democracy couldn't be more pronounced, as shown by incumbent President Bush's recent visit to the Middle East. America's closest allies essentially gave him the brush-off, and one US-supported leader, Lebanon's Prime Minister, Fuad Saniora, actually told Bush that he didn't have time to rap -- he had another, more important meeting -- with Hezbollah.
Indeed, several weeks later Lebanon's Parliament voted to give more power to Hezbollah.
That's one side-effect of US foreign policy; here's another.
Virtually every elected forum in Pakistan has voted for the impeachment of Pakistan's so-called President (and US ally) Pervez Musharraf, the de facto dictator who locked up his opponents, tossed lawyers in jail, and removed Supreme Court judges who didn't vote his way. Who has America supported - the dictator? -- or the People?
How's this supporting democracy?
Over the border in Afghanistan, the US supports what may be called a narcocracy -- or a narco-state.
The preferred US ally is a military junta (or dictatorship) which oppressed its people with violence and terror. We have nearly a century of examples to prove this all throughout Latin America.
What kind of foreign policy is this but an imperial one? One designed to make millions of enemies, instead of a few isolated 'friends?'
Mumia Abu-Jamal (c) 8/16/08
Source: "Hezbollah Gains Power in Lebanon," USA Today, 8/13/08, 5A; Mr. Patel's book, Stuffed & Starved, is available at:www.mhpbooks.com