American Democratic Hypocrisy? – New Muslim Nations; Just Say, “NO!”By: Brett Redmayne-Titley
With the “Arab Spring” in full bloom the mandatory pro-democracy cries from American politicians and pundits cheer this as an American democratic success story in a Muslim world. Democracy? Hopefully. American democracy? Not a chance.
When it comes to American foreign-policy there is, apparently, only one type of democracy encouraged, or allowed, in the world. American Democracy. As with most things American, the times have changed, and American brand democracy is not welcome.
The multitude of examples of American imperialism and aggression in the supposed name of Democracy will always be fresh in the minds of the new fledgling Muslim governments. America has never, in recent memory, supported the people of mid-east nations, unless there was an ulterior motive such as in Iraq. Instead the US has propped up most Arab dictators condoning and supporting their often brutal repression of their populations. These same dictators then let our military have carte blanche to use their sovereign soil as de facto satellite states of America. The people of these counties had no say but most disapproved. This is changing quickly.
Freedom is coming to Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, and, no matter how Israel tries to stop it; Palestine. The people of these countries and their revolutions are about freedom. Democracy will, hopefully, be the vehicle for their freedom.
But this cannot be American democracy, and never will be. America likes to insist that it is America that these countries are emulating but in reality freedoms will be earned not in spite of, but to the exclusion, of America.
Continued American arrogance has ignored the fact that these are Muslim countries. With typical American hubris U.S. foreign policy assumes it can coerce the people of these countries into forgetting the sordid past involvement of the American government and its military on their families, friends, religion and lives of the people of these Muslim nations.
Palestine has been the “Nightly News” for the Arab world to observe American democracy in the form of Imperialism and Israeli aggression on an almost daily basis for over twenty-five years. Always Washington ignored the very important fact that US policy in Palestine was being closely watched by other Muslim nations. The issues of Palestine have done nothing to assuage these nations continued dislike of America, and especially Israel, for which they, already, have many really good reasons.
America’s arbitrary, and often contrary, support of Israel regarding Palestine has been viewed by all mid-east nations as a four decade example of democratic hypocrisy. Israel, with the vast help of U.S. economic and military aid, coupled with America’s timely veto power in the U.N., has always called the tune when it came to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Democracy was not going to be allowed since any Palestinian democracy would not be pro-Israel. Recent developments enforce this position.
It came as no surprise when president Obama showed his own personal hypocrisy on the subject of Palestine, thereby, losing even more respect from the Muslim world. On May 18 Obama issued a statement supporting the original 1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps. Israel and Bi Bi Netanyahu were outraged at this seeming defection. Not to worry, however. Obama was just a few days away from showing the world why his support for Palestine, like so much of his domestic agenda, would be subject to approval of his special interests.
Immediately Netanyahu was in Washington, DC and making the rounds with his stable of congressmen. This visit culminated in a command performance before a very eager Congress. As noted by several news sources Netanyahu received 29 standing ovations, four more than Obama did during his State of the Union address. AIPAC, as the second (financially) largest PAC, and certainly the most organized and influential, had obviously been speaking with their paid representatives, i.e. US congressmen. These standing ovations signaled new very anti- Palestine legislation from this congress.
On June 9 Senators Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, and Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent, proposed a resolution opposing any Israeli withdrawal to 1967 lines, dealing a symbolic blow to President Barack Obama’s lackluster efforts to renew peace talks. As recently as May 13, on the eve of Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington, George Mitchell, special U.S. Envoy to the Palestinian effort, had recognized the futility of his efforts and resigned. The timing of Mitchell’s resignation seemed deliberate and underscored his frustrations with Israel. A New York Times report speculated that,“ he largely abandoned his diplomatic efforts after a failed push last year to persuade Israel to freeze the construction of settlements in territories claimed by the Palestinians”.
Hatch and Lieberman’s resolution is merely symbolic but intended to show, yet again, the congress’s loyalty to Israel despite national and world opinion. It was also an implied message to Obama. Prepare to veto the U.N.’s pending general assembly resolution to establish a Palestinian state. This he will certainly do.
Viewed with the light of history American democratic hypocrisy should not be forgotten here. It was UN resolution 181 which was voted and approved in the U.N. General Assembly in 1947. That resolution established the state of Israel in the face of a world that cared not if the Jews continued to wander the earth without a home land. And it was US world influence that got the job done in the face of this repression and very strong Arab opposition. Now Israel and the congress are sending a message that, despite the arbitrary creation of Israel, the US was not going to allow the exact same method to be used to create Palestine in the face of the same type of repression. Hmmm.
Reciting almost verbatim from Netanyahu’s congressional address Sen. Hatch said, “It is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967”.
Not surprisingly the resolution already enjoys the support of some 30 other senators, including Democrats.
Not to be out done the same day Congress woman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced plans to include language specifically designed to scare the UN into avoiding a General Assembly vote approving a Palestinian state. The language dealing with the Palestinians would seek to make it US policy to “oppose efforts by the Palestinian leadership to evade a negotiated settlement with Israel and undermine opportunities for peace by seeking de facto recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN”. Translation: Continue pointless negotiation with Israel.
In order to further threaten the UN into compliance the legislation would require the US to “withhold funding for any UN body that granted such recognition, either through passing a UN resolution or through granting membership to “Palestine” in participating agencies”. Translation: Don’t make the US look bad by forcing the US to veto a Palestinian state. With the expected vote in the UN General Assembly predicted to be unanimous , except for the US and Israel, a certain pending U.S. veto in Sept will, again, show Americas its true colors and hypocrisy. The new and emerging Muslim governments of the world will be outraged.
Let us not forget that, despite the seven nations with blanket veto power, the U.N. is a democratic organization. When Obama delivers the mandatory veto it will be again be in violation of the principles of democracy. American hypocrisy intends to ignore the will of the world and veto the new Palestinian Nation.
Finally, there was the punch-line to Obama’s previous joke about his support for Palestine. During his recent visit with Germany’s Angela Merkel he backtracked in saying, “We agree that unilateral actions – such as Palestinians seeking a vote on statehood at the UN General Assembly – should be avoided.”
Illustrating just how hollow his support is Obama added, “the principles that I laid out last month as the basis for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians” were just that; the basis for terms of continued pointless negotiations. Pointless; because, as Obama well knows, Netenyahu has already rejected this as a starting point.
Jimmy Carter’s excellent book, “Peace, not Apartheid”, highlights these and a multitude of other atrocities and indignations inflicted by Israel upon the Palestinians. Despite the factual accuracy of this book and the author’s impeccable credentials, including the Noble Prize for peace, Israel excoriated Carter with charges of anti-semitism, racism, and gross inaccuracy.
With the Arab world collectively yearning for Democracy the perpetrators of this new demand for freedom will certainly remember the brief attempt at Democracy in Palestine in 2006. Also, how America helped put a stop to it.
In an election certified by the Carter foundation Hamas won fair and square. With a parliamentary majority in the newly established Palestinian Legislative Congress ( PLC ) Hamas was poised to put strength back in the Palestinian/ Israeli negotiations. Ever since Yasser Arafat died his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, had methodically lost the respect of his people due to his constant appeasement to Israel’s demands. His recent decision to block the long-awaited UN report condemning the Israeli invasion of Gaza on June 27, 2006 was considered treason by virtually every Palestinian citizen and Muslim population. And Hamas, on their behalf, screamed foul.
It came as no surprise, when Hamas defeated Fatah in a landslide election. There was hope again in Palestine and tough negotiations were expected to return. Of course, previously, Hamas had been branded a terrorist organization by the US at Israel’s insistence. But one country’s terrorist is another country’s freedom fighter.
It did not take long for this fledgling democracy to vanish. Democracy did not apply to Palestine or Hamas. Israel said so.
In one fell swoop, on the night of June 26, 2006, Israel, with the public blessing of the Bush administration, kidnapped and jailed thirty-two of the newly elected Hamas officials. Israel then banned further Palestinian elections. The next day Israel invaded Gaza.
In the era of the Arab Spring these and many other harsh lessons will not be forgotten by the leaders of whatever form of democracy is distilled from each Muslim country. No matter, these governments, due to our previous behavior, will be anti-Israel, and regardless of our current involvement, anti-US. U.S. administrations may have a short memory but the Arab world clearly remembers past atrocities.
These new democracies are already moving much quicker than the U.S. expected towards their own elections. Lebanon has also suffered its own attempted US/Israeli coup via the 2006 invasion and razing of the country to the ground by Israel. Hezbollah has increased its power base and is now, like Hamas, a democratically included majority party of Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, this past Monday, named a Lebanon Cabinet dominated by the Hezbollah-led alliance, saying it would serve the whole country. The Daily Star of Beirut quoted Mikati as saying, “The motto of this government is ‘All for the country, all for work,'”.The lineup of Cabinet Ministers that includes a majority of 30 Hezbollah members was announced by Cabinet Secretary General Suheil Bouji at the Baabda presidential palace, The Daily Star of Beirut reported.
Never mind that Hezbollah is listed by the US as a terrorist organization. The government the Lebanese people want, and now have, is decidedly anti Israel and anti-U.S.
In Egypt, scene of another supposed American democratic victory, their interim military government has already shown the signs of things to come. With Mubarak gone the military has already signaled that it is no longer in the American pocket.
On Feb 18 the Egyptian military allowed, for the first time in 32 years, naval traffic by Iran through the Suez Canal. This effectively stopped Israel’s de facto harassment of Iran via this blockade. Egypt then, on Feb 21, watched Iran give the middle finger to Israel by allowing the first two Iranian naval vessels through the Suez Canal since 1979.
Then to re-enforce their future intentions the Egyptian military opened their borders with Palestine. This effectively canceled Israel blockade of Palestine. Joyous Palestinians flooded to the open borders.
Events in Egypt are only getting worse for the US. With democratic elections assured by the interim military government for this September the Muslim Brotherhood has, in just four months, risen to political prominence. The Muslim Brotherhood was sanctioned by Cairo recently to organize its political activity under the Freedom and Justice Party.
Like Hamas, and Hezbollah, the U.S. considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Unfortunately for the U.S. this week it announced it was now joining forces with the liberal Wafd Party to run on a single ticket in September parliamentary elections. With their newly arranged coalition with the Wafd Party the Muslim Brotherhood will likely be the next anti-american democracy.
Of course the US will accept this form of democracy without a fight. Already Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has denounced the Muslim Brotherhood and congress is actively looking for solutions. Obviously, this only strengthens and emboldens this fledgling democracy. The Egyptian people intend to make their own anti-american feelings heard by voting for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Prior to 9/11 Chalmers Johnson wrote his book “Blowback”, which carefully and factually examines the Mideast relations and the serious indiscretions perpetrated by the U.S., usually at Israel’s behest, on the countries of that region. He predicted this would cause these nations to retaliate or “blowback” against America. 9/11 occurred less than a year from the book’s original release.
It is continued American arrogance that has gotten U.S. foreign interests in this adversarial condition in all Muslim countries of the world. All these countries have suffered their own examples of imperial aggression and American Hypocrisy against their populations. Continued “Blow Back” from the Muslim world is understandable and should be expected.
Unauthorized drone strikes and the killing of innocent men, women and children, in Pakistan. The invasion of Iraq. The invasion of Afganistan. The invasion of Libya. Supporting Bahrain’s brutal crack down of it’s own democratic revolution. Using Yemen as an American sister state. Supporting the Saudi Dictatorship. These are just the recent examples. History of the mid-east recalls much harsher hypocrisies as well.
America continues to try to stamp out the rising fires of democracy with its usual influence of cash and intimidation. It will not work at this point as all these Muslim countries are hungry for freedoms. And these freedoms include freedom from the strings of their American puppet masters.
Chalmers Johnson accurately observes, “It is typical of an imperial people to have a short memory for its less pleasant imperial acts, but for those on the receiving end, memory can be long indeed”.
Pay attention America. Yes. There is a democratic wind blowing, but for new Muslim governments; It’s payback time!