Sunday, January 30, 2011

Damned if we Do, Damned if we Don't!

America is often criticized for bolstering authoritarian regimes of the most despicable type. It is frequently pointed out that America has a vested interest in its foreign policy dependencies to be repressive, brutal regimes that will strictly protect America's geopolitical aims, at whatever means.

It is true that in the past it has happened. America did help instigate coup d'etat in many cases. They supported militarily regimes of the most unsavory kind.

But is this some foreign policy conspiracy to keep other nations down while America dictates the terms?

I don't think so...

Let's look at some of America's closest allies:

Canada, UK, Australia - Westminster style parliamentary democracy. By all counts, freedom and personal liberties are fairly high.

Germany, Japan - A brutal dictatorship that was transformed under American military occupation into a very free and liberal democratic state.

And of course I can add many more... For example, Israel's typical government survival rate is probably shorter than the president's Press Secretary's typical tenure. 

So why is America of bolstering dictators at the expense of the liberties of its people?

I think the answer is pretty simple... American bolsters cooperative dictators in countries where liberty and democracy are not happening, anyway. I think most would agree that the Shah's autocratic rule is much preferable to the current Islamic Republic. In fact it seems most Iranians would agree!

In the current situation, America is in a position of 'damned if we do, damned if we don't'. If they help Mubarak stay in power, they are accused of supporting an autocrat. If they don't, they will be shamed for dumping their staunchest ally in the region (Israel aside), as our favourite 'liberal democrat' Hugo Chavez did very recently.

Whichever way this revolution goes, it will be bad for Israel, bad for America and probably very bad for Egyptians.


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