Time to Preach What We Practice
by Ted Westervelt
Damn the Torpedoes! Everything has changed since
September 11, except Bush's support of failed middle eastern
Okay America, in a clever circus of foreign policy we've
tried almost every approach in the middle east over the past
fifty years. We've propped up dictators, praised monotheistic
kings as "moderates", traded arms for hostages, supported
terrorists to drive out foreign invaders, and even fought
a war against a man that the first George Bush compared to
Adolph Hitler, only to leave him in power instead of risking
the "stability" of the region by demanding his unconditional
We've also listened to a broad range of proponents of our
medieval foreign policy in the region - from Henry Kissinger
and his "Realpolitik" approaches, to the filtered pleadings
for the continuation of these policies (in the name of stability)
made by the same oil speculators that many believe served
on Cheney's Energy Task Force.
I admit that a case can be made that many of the despots,
tyrants and brutal dictators we support performed useful efforts
in barricading the region from Soviet domination in the Cold
War. However, ten years after the dissolution of the Soviet
Union our Kissengeresque foreign policy in the region sits
stagnant and this tired old cast of characters in the region
remains largely the same.
Meanwhile, at the urging of the United States, democratic
institutions have flooded through Eastern Europe, arisen for
good in central and South America, and have even been popping
up in parts of Africa. Established democratic nations rarely
breed terrorists, and rarely produce leaders with psychotic
nationalist tendencies who are bent on militarily dominating
Unstifled speech and participation in the political process
provides a great format for disagreement. I greatly prefer
it to the stifled speech and limited political participation
that provide the nutrients of misunderstanding and hate on
which terrorism thrives.
It's time to end the circus of errors in our middle east
policy. It's time to practice what we preach, and preach what
we practice. Why not try supporting democratic structures
and demanding their maintenance as a precursor for strong
relations with the industrialized world? Why not at least
make it a stated goal of our current war to bring freedom
and democracy to Afghanistan?
Democracy is not a cultural phenomenon. Freedom is not unique
to the Judeo-Christian belief structure. Self determination
is not only valued by white people.
If, despite my arguments and current events, your concerns
continue to lay primarily with gasoline prices keep in mind
one thing: There is no evidence that the mysterious 50% to
100% price spikes that we experienced last year that had anything
whatsoever to do with events in the middle east.
We told ourselves and anyone else on the planet that would
listen that the Cold War was about extending the light of
freedom into the darkness of tyranny. The Cold War is long
over and the Bush Administration continues to support darkness
and tyranny in the middle east in my name.
As an American, imbued since grade school with the principles
of freedom and democracy above the principles of race, color
and creed - I object.