Thursday, September 13, 2012

Libya-The Question not being asked.

Apart from Mitt Romney’s ridiculous slur against President Obama following the murder of a U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Americans should be focusing on a much more formidable question:

When was the last time a Chinese diplomat was murdered or even roughed up by an angry mob? When did you least hear about a Chinese embassy burned down or pillaged? We’ll be back to that question.

From Morocco and Tunisia to Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Iraq, anti-American crowds have taken to the streets. The outpouring of hatred is symptomatic of the fact that across much of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia American policy is in tatters. Probably more than ever before.

The region is strewn with the wreckage of failed U.S. ambitious and disastrous American plans.
Incredibly though, even as the U.S. surveys the shambles of Libya, there are still Americans pushing for the United States to intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war. (In fact, for months now, the US. And some of its Arab allies have been clandestinely doing just that. )

Even the Prime Minister of Israel, supposedly America’s most valuable ally in the region, makes political points by sticking his finger in the eye of the American President.

The reason for America’s obsession with this part of the world, we’ve heard for years, is that its trade routes and resources are critical to U.S. interests.

But hold on—that may once have been true, but, as things stand now, those trade routes and resources are even more crucial to China than to America. China, for instance, gets a greater percentage of its oil through the vital straights of Hormuz—which the U.S. spends billions to patrol--than does the United States.

And, while the U.S. has been lavishing hundreds of billions on bases, the Chinese have been spending their huge wad across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia buying up mineral deposits, land, forests, petroleum, inking construction contracts for huge infrastructure projects, as well as opening up vast new markets.

Where are the Chinese troops to protect all this? Where are the sprawling Chinese naval and air bases, their drones, killer teams and special forces? Not needed, thanks, the U.S. is handling security.

Which makes for some sad ironies. The fact, for instance, that the murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had spent months aiding the Libyan rebels during their uprising against Khadhafi—while China was one of the last major allies to continue supporting the dictator. Yet the Chinese are back in Libya wheeling and dealing for construction contracts and oil.

Meanwhile, next door in Egypt, newly elected President Mohammed Morsi, whose country, mind you, continues to receive more than 1 billion dollars in aid from the United States, judged he had more to gain by joining in attacks against the U.S., than by cooling the popular passions. And where was his first trip abroad after winning election? To China.

Yet China would seem a very appropriate target for Muslim anger.
The U.S. may have invaded Muslim countries, but for decades China has been brutally persecuting and repressing millions of its own Muslim minorities, such as the Uighars in Northwest China.

But how many furious crowds have taken to the streets in Muslim lands to protest the plight of the Uighars? How many have even heard of them?  How many Muslim leaders who are lambasting the United States because of an off the wall film that the U.S. government had absolutely nothing to do with, how many of them have ever uttered a single word of public protest against China.

That’s not to say the Chinese are beloved in the region. There’ve been violent, sometimes bloody, protests against their labor and trade practices.

But nothing that compares in scale and depth to the hatred and suspicion of the United States throughout the region.

The current outcry over a film insulting Mohammed is just the tip of an emotional iceberg. Underneath it all are more than half a century of Western and American interventions in the region, as well as the U.S.’s continued support of Israel.

While the U.S. has spent huge sums, trying to overthrow regimes, punish perceived enemies, prevent nuclear proliferation (except in Israel), and shape the outcome of the  new political forces that are roiling the area, the Chinese have had their eyes fixed on one objective only—getting hold of vital natural resources to fuel their ravenous economy, finding new markets for their products and mammoth projects for their construction companies.

Why can’t the U.S. do the same?

That’s the kind of basic questions that American should be discussing in the wake of the killing of the U.S. Ambassador, as they go about electing a new President.

But don’t count on it.


  1. If I read you correctly you're saying that the anger directed toward the US is largely the result of our military presence and our support of Israel.
    But if the Chinese had been the dominant economy after WWII wouldn't they have established bases to protect their interests? Whether or not they would have needed Israel is debatable. Is it just our misfortune to have gotten there first?

  2. Dave, thanks for the comment. Seems to me that the Chinese and the Americans are coming from totally different backgrounds and traditions regarding Imperial pretensions. Also, in this modern world i think it's far from clear that countries need bases to protect their interests. The Chinese certainly dont seem to think so.

  3. Whatever you want to call US involvement in the Middle East post 9/11, imperialistic isn't the word I would use. We have spilt blood and treasure and demanded nothing in the way of commercial advantage in return. And I don't think the Soviets ever bothered with negotiating a status of forces agreement with Babrak Karmal or Mohammad Najibullah.

    You make a compelling case why Arab street anger against Americans, and especially when compared to the lack of any such anger towards China (to say nothing of the Russians, who brutally repress their Muslim subjects not in faraway Asia but right next door in Chechnya) is so irrational, but then you embrace the rationality of that hatred by referencing the generality of "half a century of Western and American interventions in the region, as well as the U.S.’s continued support of Israel." As if not every other World power going back to pre-WW II days hasn't been in the region scheming as well.

    nterventions, indeed. The poor Arab street has been deprived of the supplications of Saddam Hussein, and in Afghanistan for at least a while of the mob rule of those who would drive women into soccer stadiums and shoot them in the back of the head for the sin of being forcibly raped. We fought a war to protect a Muslim minority in Kosovo. And to this day we remain the No 1 contributor of aid to the Palestinians.

    Mistakes? Aplently. Deals with lesser devils to fight the greater ones? You bet. But within is the last place we should be looking as reasons for this hatred. We are arrayed against madmen. And if madmen hate us because of our support of the last outpost of Western Civilization in the region, Israel, I'm inclined to wear that as a badge of honor.

  4. "We have spilt blood and treasure and demanded nothing in the way of commercial advantage in return."

    Wrong. The US sells protection.

  5. Am not sure what the Romney slur was:

    Apart from Mitt Romney’s ridiculous slur against President Obama following the murder of a U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Americans should be focusing on a much more formidable question....

    Anyway..I think the question that any progressive should have focused on was why did only 3 prominent US citizens (Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul) speak out against Obama's support with US taxpayer's $$$ at $12 MILLION a month.... the illegal invasion of Libya and called for the impeachment of Obama? Why has the overwhelming majority of the MSM and the so-call progressives been silent on the ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans and African immigrants?

    One of the very few Black progressive website put it this way:

    The Butchering of Gaddafi Is America’s Crime

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared like ghoulish despots at a Roman Coliseum, reveling in their Libyan gladiators’ butchery.”

    Last week the whole world saw, and every decent soul recoiled, at the true face of NATO’s answer to the Arab Spring. An elderly, helpless prisoner struggled to maintain his dignity in a screaming swirl of savages, one of whom thrusts a knife [4] up his rectum. These are Europe and America’s jihadis in the flesh. In a few minutes of joyously recorded bestiality, the rabid pack undid every carefully packaged image of NATO’s “humanitarian” project in North Africa – a horror and revelation indelibly imprinted on the global consciousness by the brutes’ own cell phones.

    Nearly eight months of incessant bombing by the air forces of nations that account for 70 percent of the world’s weapons spending, all culminating in the gang-bang slaughter of Moammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and his military chief of staff, outside Sirte. The NATO-armed bands then displayed the battered corpses for days in Misurata – the city that had earlier made good on its vow to “purge Black skin” through the massacre and dispersal of 30,000 darker residents of nearby Tawurgha – before disposing of the bodies in an unknown location.


    To put it another way..Obama is complicit in the deaths of more Africans than any US president in recent history.....