Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Moral high ground in politics is a fool’s real estate 

The successive U.S. administrations never had any qualms striking alliances with leaders from all political spectrums -democrats, dictators, and in-betweens- and dealing with them if they served, for a while, a common objective. As a nation founded by puritans, the U.S. always tried, nominally at least, to introduce morality into its policies as if to invoke the blessing of the Gods and the submission of the mortals. Great Britain who ruled the waves for 300 years and conquered one quarter of the known mass of planet earth at the time, never bothered. France used its ‘Grandeur’ and revolutionary principles especially during the Napoleonic wars, but that miserably backfired as the true colors of the little Corsican emperor were more in display than the spreading of the 1789 egalitarian ideals.

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The U.S. is especially known, as a successor of the British Empire, to have fared badly in reconciling its moral high ground rhetoric at home, with its underhanded politics abroad. Let us cite few noteworthy examples to jot our readers’ memories and to burst the bubble of the humanists, the idealists and the crusading journalists who do a remarkable job in unmasking -but alas with no effect- such shenanigans.

Cooperation between Chile and the U.S. on copper arrangements has been effective since World War II. Anaconda and Kennecott of the U.S. produced three-fourths of Chile’s copper output. Anaconda feuded with the government over customs duties, sales prices, while failing to establish an earlier agreed-upon joint exploration company. Socialists who opposed U.S. interests were eliminated. In 1973, Augusto Pinochet rose to power and overthrew democratically elected President Allende in a CIA orchestrated coup. Pinochet ruled for 17 years bringing tears, torture, and terror and authoring one of the most horrible chapters in dictatorship in modern times, all under the aegis of U.S. special advisers.

In the Near East, the 1953 Iranian 28 Mordad coup d’état toppled the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favor of a ruthless dictator, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The coup was masterminded by Kim Roosevelt Jr, a CIA senior operative. Mosaddegh had sought to audit the documents of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British corporation, in order to verify that AIOC was paying the contracted royalties to Iran, and to limit the company’s control over Iranian oil reserves. The rest is history. Decades later, The U.S. would let the Shah fall whilst denying him a visit for medical treatment, and soon thereafter the Reagan administration got involved in the Iran-Contra Affair, which secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Khomeini with the aim of using the proceeds to fund the Contras, a right-wing rebel group, in Nicaragua

The U.S. covertly supported Rwanda before and during the Congo war. The U.S. believed it was time for a “new generation of African leaders“, such as Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, which was part of the reason the U.S. had previously stopped supporting Mobutu. The U.S. sent soldiers to train the FPR, and the CIA set up communications in Uganda, and during the war, several aircraft landed in Kigali and Entebbe, claiming to be bringing “aid for the genocide victims”; however, it has been alleged they were bringing military and communication supplies for the FPR. 

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So, when President Obama lectures Egyptians on democracy in favor of the terrorist organization better known as the Muslim Brotherhood or recommends that Saudi shares its neighborhood with the nuclear-proliferating, terror-sponsoring regime of Iran, or when Joe Biden takes a high moral ground with MBS over the Khashoggi unsubstantiated allegations and the defensive war in Yemen, one has legitimate reasons to pause, contemplate, and roll one’s eyes in total disbelief. 

Saudi for one, has been an ally of the U.S. since 1944. Not a rogue regime, not a mercenary nation, and not a sponsor of terrorism, but a socially conservative, energy responsible, non-expansionist nation. Saudi has security concerns in the Persian Gulf and Yemen and no plans for landgrab, unlike Iran. MBS might be many things, but he is no Saddam, or Khomeini, or Assad, or Qaddafi, or Arafat, or Mobutu, or Pinochet or Maduro. So, on his hapless July trip to Riyadh, President Biden should not bring his Moral Bible, or his Precis of Woke Culture written by John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Bezos, and the Obama alumnus. But if he insists on doing so, he must bring along a copy of ‘The Prince’ by Niccolò Machiavelli. It would be wise to remember that it’s been translated in many languages (including Arabic) and well memorized by all especially, one of Machiavelli’s famous quotes: “It is a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver”. 

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