Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bound: Thirst For Oil Strangles Democracy

You didn't really buy that stuff about "bringing democracy to the Middle East," did you? Even getting past the fact that this was the latest rationale proposed to invade Iraq (lately morphed into the reason why the US is still there...), this was a howler when the minions of Bush trotted it out and is no less unpersuasive today. Ever wonder why Imperial Nation doesn't decapitate the House of Saud? After all, one of the most repressive regimes in the world routinely tortures, flogs and executes citizens, engages in secret detentions, trials without due process, and violates womens rights. This in addition to tolerating the rise of Wahabbism and its progeny, the jihadists, an extreme sect of Islam that advocates violent action and whose most famous follower is Osama Ben Laden. The answer to this question and subsequent followups are found in a current story on democratic parties in Syria. Imperial Nation would like to support these democrats in that troubled country, but is constrained by what would actually happen if it did (hint: it's also Reason #13 Imperial Nation Can't Win in Iraq: Be Careful What You Wish For). Simply put, democracy in Middle East dictatorships would result in elected regimes hostile to the Fatherland, since the vast majority of people in the Middle East: 1. hate Imperial Nation and 2. think being ruled by a strict Muslim government is a fine idea. Oh, and "hostile to the Fatherland" in this context means no more oil to evil infidel empires. When commentator Fareed Zakaria noted a few weeks ago that higher prices for oil were "crippling" US foreign policy, he understated the problem by a magnitude of ten. Once again, it's impossible to credibly talk about "promoting democracy" when one beds down every night with repressive dictators. American officials and the mainstream media downplay this dynamic, probably because those in power know that there really is nothing to do about it, and the media have an awful lot of SUV advertising to sell. Middle Easterners and other people on the planet, however, seem to have no difficulty making this connection.
Tomorrow: Healthcare cleanup...

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