How To Change Ugly Regimes
Washington has a simple solution to most governments it doesn't like: isolate them, slap sanctions on them and wait for their downfall.
This is an interesting article from Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek. It addresses a political question that has bothered me for a while – what should we do about dictators, fascists, and totalitarian governments (other than our own, I mean)? You don’t want to do business with them because on some level you feel like it might be morally wrong to do so – so you sanction them, keep a watch on them, and hope they’ll go away.
(Or you make up a story, sell it to the American people, and invade. Go for a "regime change." Guess it depends on who’s in office.)
I think Mr. Zakaria has a great point, and it goes far towards highlighting one of our weakest areas as a nation. The need for our foreign policy makers to see complex issues in terms of black vs. white also mitigates their awareness of the people underneath the tyrants – people who may accept tyranny because they don’t know what else to do. (Or maybe their press is being manipulated. Or their elections are tampered with – gee, I don’t know, could be lotsa things, right?)
Part of me wants to believe that we should indeed ostracize demon nations – or at least do something. But maybe that something ought to be a little more humanitarian and a little less political.
So I do a little more digging on Mr. Zakaria and ran across this article he wrote back in April 2003:
"Improving on Saddam Hussein's tyranny is going to be easy. If the next government of Iraq does not routinely imprison, torture and gas its people, institute a reign of terror, systematically persecute the Shiites and the Kurds, and steal the lionís share of national resources for the Army and secret police, then it will be a better government than Iraqis have had for three decades. Many problems lie ahead, but eliminating Saddamís regime is a huge leap forward for Iraq."
Well, well, well. What do you think, folks? Are we doing a better job? Or are we just another kind of devil? Read this before you answer.
Speaking of media manipulation... I guess it's not enough that Congress decided to slash the PBS budget. Now the GOP is taking over management there, too. *shivers*
Republicans take aim at their small-screen enemies.
Nasty. Is this really my country?