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The March of Folly

One of the foremost causes for the appeal of modern day dictatorship has been the apparent failure of the West, especially the US in seizing opportunities to make amends for their folly.

Libya could have been such an opportunity for the US to show the World its benevolent intentions in spreading the spirit of Democracy. Indeed Libya with its small, homogeneous population, vast natural resources and proximity to Europe could have been such a model.

Any keen observer of American foreign policy since the Second World War would not have failed to notice how Uncle Sam’s vision has been afflicted by short sightedness or even blindness at times.

If we take a flash back and project the light of history on certain events it will become clear to see how this march of folly has become apparent and manifested in their modus operandi in the Middle East, Vietnam and Latin America.

The Mosaddek saga, the support of the Shah of Iran and the seizing of any opportunity to humiliate the Arab populous are only few examples. The quagmire of Vietnam shook America to its very foundations, but did they learn the lesson of history? No.

The overthrow of democratically elected governments in Latin America; the time when US Business became a tool of American foreign policy (the case of ITT comes to mind) as Chile’s military {stooges of America} reduced the function of government to death squads.

The result of an erroneous perception that led to hope and Democracy being robbed from Chile, and turned many countries in the region into an arena of conflict in America’s own ‘back yard’. All these morass of errors have been ignited in the name of security, Democracy and to “prevent” a red blanket of Communism covering the hills and mountains of the Latina terra firma.

American Foreign policy seems to be reactionary in its approach in the sense that it reacts to events rather that shapes them. It is marred with inconsistency, hesitation, doubt and what the philosopher Epicures termed ‘Idle opinion’ in not reflecting the natural hierarchy of their needs. It is this holier than thou approach that lets them down, a false sense of a latter day chosen people seems to be encapsulating their minds. Fukuyama calls it ‘The End of History’; this is the last stop.

Who is the architect of American foreign policy? Is it the white House, the Military Industrial Complex or the sovereign states of the Multinational Corporations? A foreign policy of shoot first and ask questions later, but alas how many times have they ended up shooting themselves in the foot.

The emergence of China with India in its trail has accelerated this sense of panic in the American psyche. Do you remember the cold war slogan “the Reds are coming” well something similar is brewing but the Americans do not seems to be putting their finger on what exactly this is, they are looking for a sequel.

The Eagles claws are over stretched and instead the US is looking to patching up as it goes along. They send conflicting policy signals and we have to read between the lies. America has mastered the art of flirting with rogue states instead of nurturing democracy to win the confidence of the oppressed, why can’t they call a spade a spade?

Well, Gaddafi is a case in point where politics makes strange bedfellows. Gaddafi is an acrobat; he keeps his balance by saying the opposite of what he does. Many Libyans would probably accept a rapprochement between the two countries, but only if it leads to a gradual detangling of Gaddafi from power and in turn may lead to his son Saif replacing him. Gaddafi jr. is their man; America now has an alternative. For a while he has been meeting with US officials and has been undergoing an intensive course, so that maybe one day (not distant future) he will become the new face of the Middle East.

Will Gaddafi part II be a better sequel, or will he be another nightmare on Libya’s streets?

Libyans do not expect a full blown Western style Democracy; but at least they would have the right to choose their own “Dictator”.

Will America act this time or would it promise to build bridges where there is no water?


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