Monday, June 19, 2006

The root cause, if there ever was one, has been found

Writing for the Washington Post’s Editorial page of Monday 16 June 20006, Robert Kagan surprises Post readers with this and provides us with examples of the “depth” (not!) of the incessant nagging:

I recently took part in a panel discussion in London about civil conflict and "failed states" around the world, centered on the interesting work of the British economist Paul Collier. The panelists included the son of a famous African liberation-leader-turned-dictator, the former leader of a South American guerrilla group, a Pakistani journalist, a U.N. official and the head of a nongovernmental humanitarian organization. Naturally, our reasoned and learned discussion quickly transmogrified into an extended round-robin denunciation of American foreign policy.

The panelists focused instead on a long list of grievances against the United States stretching back over six decades. There was much discussion of the "colonial legacy" and "neo-colonialism," especially in the Middle East and Africa. And even though the colonies in question had been ruled by Europeans...

As for "failed states" and civil conflict, several panelists agreed that they were always and everywhere the fault of the United States. The African insisted that Bosnia and Kosovo were destroyed by American military interventions, not by Slobodan Milosevic, and that Somalia was a failed state because of American policy. The Pakistani insisted the United States was to blame for Afghanistan's descent into anarchy in the 1990s. The former guerrilla leader insisted that most if not all problems in the Western Hemisphere were the product of over a century of American imperialism.

When someone pointed out that the young boys fighting in African tribal and ethnic wars could hardly be fighting against American "imperialism," the African dictator's son insisted they were indeed. When the head of the NGO paused from gnashing his teeth at American policy to suggest that perhaps the United States was not to blame for the genocide in Rwanda, the African dictator's son argued that it was, because it had failed to intervene. The United States was to blame both for the suffering it caused and the suffering it did not alleviate.

If we refrained from action out of fear that others around the world would be angry with us, then we would never act. And count on it: They'd blame us for that, too.
I’m going to leave it at that. It’s safe to say that the panel was made up of the ‘cream of the crop’ of the ‘world’ public opinion that so many people idolize as meaningful. What seems more evident is that there is a emotional avoidance principal at play that is the root cause of much of the passive-aggression that some try to call policy. I really have to wonder though, if those poor folk who are kept miserable by the elite represented by the panel really agree with them, or are just bobbing their heads to get that sack of rice they were promised.

The fuse is lit!

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